Dear Grace Family,
When we closed the church campus in mid-March at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, none of us knew or anticipated that nearly three months later the campus would remain closed. I’m certain we all really miss seeing each other and gathering together for worship. At the end of May, our statewide and local officials and health departments loosened the restrictions for houses of worship. At that point I began praying and consulting with the leadership at Grace to come up with a plan for our congregation. After much prayer and many conversations, I and the Church Council have decided to reopen the church campus on June 21st.
We will once again gather together for worship at Grace on the 21st following the strict guidelines issued by California’s state health agency. What that means is that worship will not look like what we were doing prior to the shelter at home orders. We will be worshipping out in the patio area rather than in the sanctuary and the service itself will not include many of the aspects of worship you have become accustomed to. Our first priority is the safety of all who will gather in worship, the safety of others who use our campus, and the safety of our community. In order to minimize the chance of spreading COVID-19 the following guidelines will be in place until further notice:
- We vehemently suggest that those who are ill or exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 or who have been exposed to the virus in the previous 14 days NOT attend worship.
- We strongly suggest that those who are over 65 years of age, have underlying health conditions, or come in regular contact with the previous 2 groups NOT attend worship.
- Those who choose to join in worship shall maintain social distancing, wear a mask or face covering and bring their own chair to worship.
- We will provide hand sanitizer and urge you to wash your hands prior to and after worship.
- We will not be having any fellowship time before or after worship.
These measures are in place for your protection and because the potential for the virus to be spread and the danger of COVID-19 remains high despite the loosening of quarantine restrictions. In fact, there has been a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases since the restriction were lifted several weeks ago. I feel strongly about these restrictions and precautions and I ask you to do the same.
We will have two services on the 21st. There will be a traditional type service at 9:00 am and a contemporary type service at 10:00 am. Childcare will not be provided at either service. We will continue to worship outside and at two services until further notice. I anticipate outdoor worship to last for weeks if not months. I also anticipate at some time in the near future to eventually move to a single blended service as attendance stabilizes. We will still be recording worship and posting those videos on YouTube on Sunday’s for those who choose not to attend in person on Sundays. Bible study and other meetings will continue online until further notice.
Reopening the church also means that the groups and churches that have been sharing our space will return to their gatherings, though in a limited capacity, and with the same restrictions we will be following.
Finally, due to the continuing uncertainty and possibility of a return to quarantine orders, things may change at any time. We will keep you abreast of any changes as they happen. Please feel free to contact me with your questions, concerns, or clarification. Lastly, I ask you to continue to pray for our church, our community, our country and those on our prayer list and any others in need.
Yours in Christ,