May 28, 2020

Dear Grace Church Family,

 

I feel like I’m letting out a huge sigh of FINALLY! It’s been a long, long time since we’ve worshiped together as the Grace Church Family! I’m so excited that we’re taking this step forward.

 

On June 7th we’re officially re-opening our doors!

We will have two services: 9:00 am & 10:30 am!

 

Please be praying that we’re both wise and careful. Like everyone else, this is all new for all of us. We know that we don’t have all of the answers. We’re seeking with the information that we have to move forward prayerfully, wisely and in a Christlike way. 
 
Praise the Lord that we already had an online format in place! And we are so thankful for the many who worked hard to improve that.

 

On Sunday, June 7th, we will once again open the building for worship services at 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. This presents us with a great opportunity to show the love and grace of Christ to His body! Now that we are planning to come together again, there are a few things to consider.

First, we are limiting each service to 50 per the CDC guidelines. It’s important then to know which service and how many of you will be coming to each service. Currently, we’ve received some “reservations,” with most of them for the 9 am. We need help with folk willing to come to the 10:30 am service so we stay within our 50 parameter.

Like other public buildings, our building will not look the same as it did before the response to the pandemic. We live in a different world. The threat of the virus has resulted in a myriad of reactions and responses. Some have not been concerned at all and some have been very concerned. Some have not felt vulnerable and some have felt very vulnerable.

As a church family of Christ-followers, we want to be very loving and not judge or assign maturity in our faith to our response to the virus. Just because one person does not feel as vulnerable does not necessarily mean they have more faith and just because a person is careful and chooses to take precautionary steps, such as wearing a mask, it does not mean they do not have faith. Remember that in the body of Christ (the Church) there are many different parts—and yet, we all form one body. Paul reminds us to love each part of the body and to walk with each other in great unity (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12). So, as we begin meeting again, let’s work together to make very sure that we are careful to extend great grace to each other, as I am confident you are ready to do!

 

What to expect and how to prepare:

As we reopen the church building, certain steps will be taken to assure, as much as possible, that we are reducing the risk of transmission of the virus. We will reopen in stages. Initially, we will reopen for worship services only on Sundays. We will not be opening the children’s ministry or any Grace Groups meeting on site…yet. We will keep you informed as decisions about them are made.

Before you arrive, the building will be cleaned, and all public spaces will be sanitized. As you prepare to arrive, we want to let you know what to expect. Some things will be the same and some things will be different.

 

Some things will look the same as they did before the closure of the building.

We’re so excited to see you!! And I know that you are excited to see each other!! Of course, we will still be coming to worship God. The morning will be all about Jesus! We will have the livestream service online for those unable to attend.

 

Some things will look quite different!

We believe the Bible teaches that we are individually responsible for our decisions (2 Cor. 5:10).

Some people will be wearing masks, and some will not. We are people of grace so we know that you will extend grace either way.

There will be greeters in the parking lot to assist with any questions you may have before you get to the building.

Doors will be propped open so that you will not need to touch the handle.

Greeters will be wearing masks and will not be shaking hands. We also ask that everyone refrain from shaking hands while in the building.

The Charis Coffee Café will be open if you would like coffee but there will be no treats. All tables and chairs in the Café have been removed. If you would like coffee, please practice social distancing, grab your coffee, and make your way into the gym.

Once you enter the building, please find a seat as soon as possible.

The chairs are set for appropriate physical distancing. Please do not set up your own chairs. If your family needs extra chairs or if chairs need to be moved, please let the ushers move all chairs.

You will want to print bulletins, sermon note sheets, connection cards and children’s activity sheets for yourself at home. We will send them out via G-mail or you can go to our web page (www.gracechurchwi.org) and use the link to print them off. No paper or hard copies will be handed out on Sundays.

Offering boxes will be available as you exit to put your connection card and offering in. Offering plates will not be passed.

The service will be a family-type service. Since no children’s ministries are happening, we will have the joy of having our children with us in the service! If you utilize the emailed activity sheets for child/ren, please bring crayons or markers for them from home.

For our first Sunday back we will not be singing. Studies have shown that singing raises the risk of transmission of the disease. Our leadership team met and determined to err on the side of caution in this area. Now that Wisconsin has re-opened, we want to wait a few weeks to make certain that there is not a major spike locally of the virus. Lord willing, we plan to resume singing on June 14th. At first we will only have instrumental music. Please though feel free to hum or sing in your soul.

When though we do resume singing and it’s a concern for you, you may want to find a seat toward the back of the room.

After the service, we will ask that you immediately leave the building without congregating in the gym or in the hallways. Please use the east exit. This will allow us to clean for the next service.

God has blessed us with this beautiful piece of property. If you want to fellowship (while practicing social distancing), please use the lawn, patio, or the parking lot.

 

We encourage you to do the following things when you come to worship on Sunday.

If you or your child(ren) are sick up to two days before church (especially with a fever or undiagnosed illness), please stay home and worship via the live stream.

Please attend the same service each week if possible (This could help to control the spread within our congregation if individuals come down with Covid-19).

Please sit together as a family and keep spacing between individuals and families that are not related.

Please greet people with friendly words and smiles rather than handshakes or hugs.

Please try to stay 6 feet apart as you talk and don’t congregate in tight groups.

Please practice good hygiene such as washing hands often; use hand sanitizer; cough, and sneeze into elbows (not hands); avoid touching face while at church.

 

Other items of note:

We will prepare and offer communion as sanitary as possible and will have individual communion servings. Unfortunately, we are not able to secure gluten-free ones. If you’re uncomfortable taking communion, we encourage you not to partake. No one will judge your spiritual maturity because you do or don’t take the Lord’s Supper.  

Restrooms will have assigned volunteers to help ensure cleanliness after use.

The water fountain will be turned off.

Sections of the building will be inaccessible.

The nursery will be closed but an usher will open it for someone who is nursing or needs to change a child’s diaper.

Our leaders will be available outdoors to talk with you and answer any questions you may have.

And after receiving this, if you have questions or need a clarification on any of this, please contact your Deacon.

 

We look forward to seeing each of you again, as you feel the time is right for you to reengage with live worship. If you are choosing to wait a while, we fully understand and support you in your decision and will continue to bring the service into your home.

 

In His Loving Grace,

Scott