UPDATE AS OF NOVEMBER 20, 2020
Following Howard County Executive Calvin Ball’s most recent update (Nov. 16), along with Governor Hogan’s updates for Maryland (Nov. 17), we wanted to provide updates on how this will impact us and our church community:
- Sunday Gatherings: We will continue our Sunday in-person gatherings with our zip code groupings. The latest state guidelines stated that religious gatherings were capped at 50%. We are currently below 25% capacity in our auditorium on average, on a given Sunday. We will continue to require everyone to wear masks while indoors and utilize the space to put more distance between people/families. Based on the latest information and guidelines, we are confident that we are able to provide a safe environment for our church on Sundays. See below for additional measures we have taken since the start of the pandemic.
- D-Teams / Community Groups: Based on the updated County guidelines for indoor (home) gatherings, along with the current County positive rate (+5% in Howard County and surrounding counties), we are asking our D-Teams and Community Groups to meet virtually or outside, and to not meet indoors /in homes. See below for information on how to reserve outdoor space at Grace.
We are continuing to seek the Lord for His wisdom on how best to keep our community safe. We appreciate your partnership and understanding as we continue to navigate this season together. If you have any questions, please reach out – firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW IS GRACE KEEPING THE BUILDING SAFE?
Once we had an understanding of the virus and the best ways to prevent its spread, we took the following proactive measures at the start of the pandemic:
- We upgraded the air filters for our HVAC with MERV-13 filters (CDC-recommended filters).
- We increased the continuous airflow in commonly used areas, including the auditorium and staff/admin areas.
- We installed a touchless faucet in the staff kitchen and are in the process of installing it in the foyer and admin restrooms.
- We purchased an electrostatic sprayer to sanitize and disinfect the common areas.
These measures are in addition to requiring a mask while indoors at all times, observing physical distancing, and having hand sanitizers available throughout the building.
HOW DO I RESERVE OUTDOOR SPACE AT GRACE?
We are currently allowing Grace ministry-related groups of 24 people or less to meet in our outdoor spaces. We have three areas that are available for the body to reserve:
- Warehouse Patio (includes outdoor propane heaters)
- Atrium Patio (outdoor propane heaters coming soon)
- Pavilion (does not include outdoor heaters)
To make a reservation, please include the following information:
- Date / Time of meeting
- Purpose of meeting
- Point of Contact
- Number of people in the group
Email your reservation request to:
- D-Team leaders, please reach out to email@example.com
- Community Group leaders, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
- For all other requests, reach out to email@example.com
UPDATE AS OF JUNE 10
Last week (June 3), Governor Hogan announced that Maryland would be moving into Phase 2 of the state’s Roadmap to Recovery plan. Howard County aligned its reopening status with the State of Maryland, which allows indoor faith services to be held at 50% capacity.
What does that mean for Grace Community Church?
We have been taking several factors into consideration, including the safety of our team and church body, as we look at our re-gathering plan.
Starting this Sunday (June 14), we will be LIVE STREAMING our gathering at 10AM EST.
Our worship gathering will be broadcasted live from our main auditorium. The gathering will be available for on-demand playback after the live gathering is done. The gathering will be accessible via our normal platforms: Grace web, App, YouTube, and Facebook.
We will start in-person gatherings on July 5.
We will be sharing more updates on how we will facilitate the in-person gatherings in the coming weeks. Please check back here for updates and make sure you are following Grace on social media to receive updated info.
What is the difference between live-stream and what we’ve been doing?
For the past 13 weeks, we have been providing a pre-recorded worship gathering that was viewable at any time.
Starting June 14, the gathering will be recorded LIVE from our main auditorium at 10A, so the earliest it will be available is at 10A. If you choose to join us at 10A, you will be watching the gathering as it is happening. The gathering recording will be available to watch anytime after the live gathering is over (around 11A).
Where can I watch the live-stream?
The live-stream will be available on the Grace website, the Grace app, YouTube, and Facebook.
If i miss the livestream will the recording be available?
Yes. After the live gathering is over, you can watch the recording on the Grace website, app, YouTube, or Facebook.
Why is Grace waiting so long to open doors?
We are excited to begin worshiping with you in person. In early May, Pastor Mitchel felt the call for our Grace staff and elders to fast and pray through the month of June. During this month, we are seeking the Lord for Unity, Fruitfulness & Faithfulness, Work of Ministry, Salvation of Souls, and Gospel-centered Transformation. To honor that commitment, we will be continuing to pray & fast through June.
The health and safety of our body is also a priority, and we have been carefully monitoring local, state, and federal guidance to make the best decision possible. We are using the next several weeks to ensure we have all the proper precautions in place to ensure a safe place of worship.
When will we start meeting again on Sunday?
July 5. We will be providing more information in the coming weeks on how we will be facilitating this in-person gathering. Stay tuned.
We will continue to keep this page updated with the latest information about our new policies and procedures. We know that some of you might not be ready to come back, and that’s ok! You can continue to worship with us virtually.
Get in touch via email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
C ORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) FAQ
What is the Coronavirus?
Just kidding. We know you know. But in case you don’t or to get the latest info, stay close to the CDC.
Are we still gathering on Sunday?
We will not be gathering in-person at our Fulton campus, until further notice. We will provide a full worship gathering for you online. This includes music, announcements, community prayer, and a message, as well as materials from our Grace Kids team.
How can I access the gathering?
We will have a recording of the full gathering available by 9A on Sunday morning. This is not a live-stream so you will be able to worship at anytime. The worship gathering will be available on our web, app, YouTube, and Facebook.
What about my meeting? Or the event I registered for?
All in-person events and meetings are on hiatus until further notice, for the safety of you and our community. We are encouraging people to meet virtually. We are also hosting virtual prayer gatherings – you can get info on our page –> grace.community/virtual.
Where can I go for help?
If you are impacted by the coronavirus and are in need of support and care, please contact us at email@example.com.
What can I do to help?
Please join us in continuing to pray. Pray for those that are significantly impacted by this, those that are in need of healing, and for this virus to be contained.
If you are able and willing to help our body (meals, transportation, etc), please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is the church still open?
Yes, we are still doing ministry. While we may not be able to meet on Sunday as a body, our pastors are available during the week. If you have specific questions, you can reach out to email@example.com
What are you doing to keep Grace clean and safe?
We are committed to do all we can to provide a safe place to gather and worship. We have increased our cleaning and disinfecting efforts at the church for all high touch areas, including our children’s ministry areas, doors, restrooms, at the Connecting Places, and the coffee station. We also have additional hand sanitizers throughout the building for your use and have fresh air coming in through the building.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240.553.1090.
For the past few weeks, our airwaves have been inundated with corona-related guidelines and notifications. We’ve all received numerous emails about washing your hands and being wise if you’re vulnerable or are feeling sick. “Social distance” is now a part of our everyday language. You have more than enough information on what you should do.
We’ve been monitoring the situation, listening to our local and national leaders, talking to medical professionals, and prayerfully discerning what we should do as neighbors in this community, but also citizens of God’s kingdom.
Last night, our elders came together in order to discern how to respond. After much prayer and discussion, we believe that it is best to not gather together at Fulton for the next two weekends. Over the next two weeks, we’ll decide on what to do beyond that timeframe as the situation unfolds.
We are not closing church. The church is more than just the building. We often talk on Sundays about the Church gathering and then scattering. This is our chance to live that out. “Let us not give up meeting together…” the writer of Hebrews says, “but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25) That has been, and will continue to be our goal. To that end, our teams are working hard to create a scattered gathering.
On Sunday morning, we will provide a complete worship gathering – from music to message – for you. I want to encourage you to make plans now to gather with your community group in homes across the region for the purpose of worship, prayer, eating, and giving. Make every effort to not just do it as a family unit – the church is more than just the family unit. I’ll be pressing pause on our Lenten series for the next two weeks in order to help shape a framework for how to trust in God through these times. Our Grace Family team will also be delivering worship materials for your children so we can still experience the multi-generational life that we love about Grace. Community group questions will be embedded into the sermon as well.
Our vision for Abounding – multiplying into the North – now gets an earlier launch than imagined, and in lots of different directions as well. A final word about this: We are making the decision as an act of love, not fear, to show care for our neighbors and to do our part to help contain the community transfer of this virus. We didn’t automatically assume that we should not gather just because the government said we shouldn’t. We wrestled with the decision because I believe there are implications for what it means for the church to gather, and why God desires it.
Fundamentally, as a church, our loyalty ultimately lies with Jesus and His desires, and we will continue to wrestle with anything that we feel might compromise our mission to make disciples of Jesus.
Virtual church just isn’t the same thing. There’s an incarnational, being-with each other aspect that online just can’t deliver. There’s a beauty and power that we experience when God’s Spirit moves among us; a sweetness to being reminded that we are not alone. You could watch plenty of well-produced, creative, and aesthetically pleasing shows. There are so many incredibly gifted speakers that you can listen to or watch. But these are no substitutes for the local church – the person next to you who needs Jesus as much as you do.
As of now, we will do our best to continue meeting outside of our Sunday gatherings. That means our community groups, d-teams, bible studies, and support groups. Wednesday Lenten prayer gatherings are still happening, 6am, noon, and 6pm. We will also use our judgment to postpone as needed and ask you to do the same if you do not feel comfortable being in a group setting. We know the situation is changing day by day, so we will keep you informed of any changes and continue to check in with us.
As we continue to live out church life, we’re going to give generously so that we can bless our surrounding community, including other churches who have been hit hard by the decrease in giving and church attendance. We’re going to figure out ways to assist and bless our neighbors who are gripped by fear of the virus, experiencing loss of income, and the vulnerable among us. With that said, if you need help, please let us know. If you are able and want to help, please let us know (contact email@example.com).
Church isn’t closing. We’re being unleashed to be the church in real, incarnational ways. We will follow up with more information for this upcoming Sunday gathering. Let’s get to work loving, living, and being a blessing to our world.
Lead Pastor // Grace Community Church
As you know, things are changing by the hour and our church leadership team has been carefully assessing the situation. We have decided to postpone all on/off-campus meetings and events at Grace this week, including D-Team and Community Group meetings (March 16 – March 21). Please know that while this was not an easy decision, we are trusting the Lord and His leading in making it. We know how critical our community and ministry groups, and events are to the life and discipleship of our body. We are taking this day by day, week by week, as we continue to learn more.
We are taking this time to find different ways to connect. There is nothing that can replace in-person gatherings and community life, but we know that we also have different resources available to us. With that, we will be praying throughout the week, virtually.
You can find all the ways and times to join us in prayer throughout the week here.
And on Wednesday evening at 7P, Pastor Mitchel and a few other leaders will lead a corporate prayer gathering for our church and our community. Join us on Facebook Live. Though we may all be scattered in our homes, we are still able to come together as one body, praying.
Please let us know if you have any questions (just reply back to this email). While we are having to adjust to this new short-term normal, we are seeing this as an opportunity to really think about who the Church is and how we can be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Again, if you need any assistance, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.