|An update from the Elder Team (03/19/20)|
|Dear Grace Chapel,|
Social distancing is a strange term, and certainly one that wasn’t in everyday use until now. It’s important that we exercise good judgement and follow guidelines presented to us by health officials. For the church, what might this look like as we navigate the ever-changing landscape? What impact has social distancing had on Grace Chapel? When will we meet together again? A few questions, a few answers …
To date, the Elders have decided to suspend the gathered church. We will not be hosting services, or having any activities at the church building or The Rock until, at the earliest, April 5th – Palm Sunday. This falls in line with the CDC’s recommendation of the 15 day slow down. As the Elder Team continues to monitor recommendations made by the government, we will seek advisement from the collective wisdom of what I am calling an internal health advocate team that consists of medical professionals, lead by elders David Mingle and Glenn Harper.
In light of the suspension of the gathered church, Pastor Matt will be video recording the continuation of his series in 1 Samuel this weekend and it will be posted on the newly created Grace Chapel YouTube channel – did you see Pastor Will on it earlier this week?
We are also looking into possible additional online resources for the youth, including rightnowmedia.org.
The Elders are utilizing this unique opportunity for a more pointed return to our first love and duty in Eldership – pastoral care. We want to be personally connected with each family unit through at least a phone call, maybe even face-time for those technically savvy and willing, to hear from you, pray with you, and share in your lives. We are intending to reach out to each of you using the new church directory over the next week or so. However, we may not have contact information for everyone. If you haven’t heard from us, or know of someone who hasn’t heard from us, please send an email with updated contact information. (email@example.com)
The Deacons have taken time to produce a Community Resources for Delaware County guide for those in need. They continue to find creative and helpful ways to meet practical needs of our church community and the community at large. If you have or know of a need, please, reach out to the Deacons. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While discussing Giving, one Elder passed on a pertinent story from his time this past Sunday, as he stood outside the church to let folks know that services had been suspended. Having been informed, one individual reached into their pocket and passed on an envelope marked “tithe”, expressing the importance to them of making sure that they were able to give.
Not having services doesn’t mean the work within the body is suspended. Those who work for the church (e.g., pastors, facilities maintenance, and others) continue on in the employment of the church. In order to sustain payroll, we, the body, must continue to give as we have in the past, cheerfully and out of a passion for the work of the gospel. In the absence of the gathered church, you are encouraged to consider giving online. (https://gracechapel.ccbchurch.com/goto/giving) Many of you already do this; thank you. If you are unable to, or are uncomfortable giving online, please consider using the postal service.
And in all of this, there are the plans of man, where God is directing the footsteps (Proverbs 16:9). Over the last few years, God has laid on the hearts of the Elders the need to better understand the church gathered and the church scattered. To that end we have organized our Vision, Values, and Goals around being biblically prepared, in all circumstances, to live out the gospel. To that end, we are actively encouraging you to take time to get to know your neighbors better, from the appropriate physical distance. Foster relationships that allow you to be the head, hands, and heart of Jesus gospel. Share a story, carry the burdens together, show love. I very much enjoyed a post from a college friend who said “If you need toilet paper, the Olsons will share ours with you. If you need food, you can eat what we have. If there isn’t enough for all of us, you can have mine.” Such sentiments express how to practically show the love of Christ to the world around us.
Longing to be in closer community, and until that time …
Co-Chairman, Elder Team
Dear Grace Chapel,
Well… As we wrote to you yesterday, our Coronavirus response remains a fluid, constantly evolving situation. Given the information we have, we believe it is in our church body’s best interest to suspend all church activities for the next two weeks. We will have no corporate gatherings for this Sunday (03/15/20) and the following Sunday (03/22/20).
There is an interesting balance between seeking to glorify God and also wisely loving our neighbors. Our hope, while we temporarily suspend our corporate gatherings, is for us to display with even more vigor and passion a loving pursuit for God and a faithful love for our neighbors. In short, brothers and sisters, don’t waste this time. Pursue God in love. Pursue one another with wise and intentional hospitality. God has set a unique opportunity before us.
We are not called to cower, but to shine our lights before all even in the midst of this warped and wicked world, viruses and all (Phil 2:15).
May he find us faithful…
We will be communicating more in the near future. We appreciate your prayers, especially for unity and wisdom.
grace and peace,
P.S. Please reach out to us with any questions: email@example.comWe will have a few people at the main building for those who may not have seen this email in time.
Dear Grace Chapel,
How should we as followers of Jesus respond to the coronavirus?
We must trust and we must be wise. Our desire must be to walk in trust and wisdom.
First, we must trust. The Lord remains seated on the throne. He reigns. He is the sovereign one in control of all. He is trustworthy. A virus is nothing to the Lord who holds all things together (Col [1:17]).
Times like this should cause us to pause. At times like this our faith is tested. Lord, are you really on the throne? The year King Uzziah died (a time of turmoil, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty) Isaiah saw the Lord seated on the throne, high and lifted up (Isa 6:1). Lord, help us to see!
We encourage you to read Alasdair Groves short article, “Anxiety, Waiting and the Coronavirus.” In our anxiety and worry are we asking God why he is allowing this pandemic? What is he seeking to show to us? What is he hoping to reveal to us? And how may we trust him more deeply in the here and now?
In all things, brothers and sisters, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Prov 3:5-6).
Second, we must be wise. As we trust, we are being more intentional regarding how we clean our properties, how we interact with one another, and how we show the hope of Christ to those who may be fearful or worried. Moments like these are opportunities for us to shine like stars in the sky during these warped and crooked times (see Phil [2:14]-16).
After discussion and prayer, for this Sunday (03/15/20), we are going ahead with our 10:45am gathered worship. However, we have made the decision to suspend our 9:00 am activities. There will be no ABF, no youth and children’s programming, no international class, etc. There will also be no Youth Group in the evening. Parents, please note: there will be no childcare during the Sunday service.
We continue to follow the health dept updates regarding public health recommendations on restrictions for public gatherings.
We would ask anyone who has travelled via mass transit (airplane, train) to wait 2 full weeks before returning to any fellowship related activities and be prudent to postpone meeting together if they have any symptoms of illness.
Also, we would strongly encourage those who are concerned, those who are most vulnerable (elderly, those with low immunity or chronic health issues), and those who are sick to not attend our gathered worship this Sunday. Please do not feel obligated.
If you choose to or need to miss Sunday’s gathering we do strongly encourage you to set aside the [10:45]-12pm time frame for prayer, scripture reading (re-read Zechariah or 1 Samuel, Isaiah 40-66 is full of words of hope in times of worry), or listen to an online message (see some links at the bottom).
Also, for the foreseeable future Tuesday Ladies Bible Class (TLBC) and Mom’s Unlimited will be suspended. Nancy Myers will provide further information to those affected. Please reach out to her with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This is a fluid situation. Information is constantly changing. These decisions regarding Sunday are only for this week. We do not know what the next week may bring. We will keep you posted.
The best way for us to convey information is through email, the website, and social media. If you know someone who doesn’t have access to these forms of communication, please reach out to them and/or let us know so that we may contact them. Contact information is below.
The Coronavirus is an opportunity for us to truly place our faith and trust in the Lord, our God. Trusting in the Lord should lead us to hope. This is an opportunity for us to show the hope of Christ within us (1 Peter [3:15]).
For those of us who are healthy, we look forward to seeing you this Sunday for our time of gathered worship.
And let me encourage us all to go outside (it’s beautiful out!), take a moment and look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns. Yet their heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matt [6:25]-34).
grace and peace,
Grace Chapel: https://soundcloud.com/gracechapelpa
Truth for Life: https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/
Tony Evans: https://tonyevans.org/podcast/
Tenth Presbyterian Church: https://www.tenth.org/resource-library/sermons/by-date