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Announcements: GBC Update for 09/13/20 (Social Distancing and Mask Usage)

Melissa James September 7, 2020

Beloved of Grace Bible Church,

Once again, the elders want to commend and thank you for the many ways, by God’s grace, you have continued to pursue the Lord and love each other amid many challenges this year. From streaming services, social distancing, masking, adjustments to service times, and many other changes, you have continued to be diligent in being the church. And God has doubtlessly used this time of separation, social distancing, and other trials for our sanctification and good. Best of all, we believe He has been glorified through us during this time.

As we said when we started meeting again in person, we are thankful for the religious freedom that we have been granted in our country. And we are grateful we live in a state that recognizes that constitutionally protected privilege. The elders have been considering the cost of prolonged, modified services on the life and mission of the church. Therefore, in light of decreasing health risks and improved understanding of COVID19, we desire to lead the church back toward many of the previous practices we employed before COVID19. We want to do this in the most responsible and thoughtful manner possible to enhance body life and gospel ministry and to care for those who are especially vulnerable.

So, starting this Sunday, September 13th, we will be modifying the seating arrangement in the worship center to accommodate more people. As a result, the distance between people will necessarily be decreased. Also, we are no longer encouraging widespread mask use during our Sunday gathering. If it is not an inconvenience to you or if you have a preference, you are certainly welcome to continue wearing a mask. However, starting this Sunday, September 13th, the elders will no longer be “strongly recommending mask use”. Rather, we encourage each family to make the decision they believe is best, not elevating their preferences, but seeking what they believe will most aid the quality of fellowship, building-up conversations, and active engagement during our corporate gathering.

For those who desire social distancing and mask usage, we will have at least one room set aside at church on Sundays with seating set up in a socially distanced manner in which mask use will be a requirement. These rooms will be the rooms that were previously being used for overflow. In these rooms the service will be streamed, communion served when we are partaking, and an elder will be present.

We realize that this may be uncomfortable for some. We understand that in removing previous precautions some of the at-risk among us may not feel comfortable coming to church. If this is you and you chose not to attend church in person, please reach out to the elders. We would love to discuss with you how we can best serve you and provide opportunities for you to serve the body. Each member is vital to the health and growth of the church.

Lastly, we also would love to resume Next Generation Ministries as we are able, and this is the first step in that direction. Thank you for your patience as we try to do this responsibly. We will continue to listen to our local public health authorities and seek to understand the needs of our body as we prayerfully seek to lead this body wisely. Please pray for us.

As we reopen, let us continue to love each other and honor others by looking to others’ needs as greater than our own. There are constant threats for disunity, but even greater opportunities to live by the Spirit together. As body life returns to some sense of normalcy, be particularly aware of who isn’t here and diligent to not forget or minimize the importance of the less visible and temporarily absent portions of our body.

Once again, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or if there are any ways the elders can serve you, we are available and would love to hear from you.

The elders of GBC