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Changes at GBC in light of the Coronavirus {COVID-19}

Melissa James March 13, 2020


The Elders urge you to please read this email in its entirety. It contains important information about some changes at GBC related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

As we saw last Sunday from Hebrews 10:19-25, the appropriate and commanded response to a right understanding of the priestly ministry of Jesus is threefold; draw near to God, hold fast the confession of our hope, and intentionally consider each other. All of these are important practices of the Christian walk. Our current situation gives us great opportunity to practice these things. In a world that is driven primarily by reactive fear, the Elders believe it is our biblical mandate to respond in proactive love. We know God is trustworthy and all-powerful. We know that He works all situations for His glory and the good of His people. We also know that Scripture is clear regarding the love we are to have for one another. Thus, it is appropriate for us to take reasonable precautions to preserve our own lives and the lives of others while joyfully entrusting ourselves to our sovereign God. 

As you are all aware, each day brings new clarity and new questions related to The COVID-19 pandemic. The Elders have planned a few changes for this Sunday’s service. Expect regular changes as we gain more clarity and direction from our local infection control authorities. We will seek to communicate regularly and transparently regarding changes via email and other methods. Jacob will be blogging on the GBC Elder blog as well to help us seek to honor God individually and corporately in our responses: These efforts attempt to make common-sense, practical modifications to our regular practices to decrease the likelihood of disease spread within our body. Again, our aim in this is love, particularly for those that are most at risk (elderly, diabetics, those with lung disease, and the immunocompromised) and to do our part to decrease the likelihood of exhausting our medical system’s capacity to care for the sick. 

In light of this, the following precautions and adjustments will be taking place immediately at GBC:

1. While we plan to hold our service at the usual time (9:00 am) with Equipping Hour to follow, we will NOT have any Next Generation Ministries. Children will stay with us in the service. Children appear to get mild symptoms when infected but can effectively transmit the disease to higher-risk individuals. 

2. We have changed the arrangement of the worship center to have more aisles, thus smaller rows. Please be thoughtful in your seating, keeping families sitting together with one chair or an aisle separation between households (social distancing) if possible. 

3. We will not be partaking in the physical elements of the bread and juice during our time of communion. We will still be having a communion mediation. We are actively investigating the best way to serve the body in this practice moving forward. 

4. We love to be together as a body, and our Sunday mornings are filled with the well-intentioned and genuine demonstration of affection, including hugs and handshakes. Until this pandemic has passed, please refrain from handshakes, hugs, or other close interpersonal contact as we meet together at church on Sunday, in your smallgroups, and other gatherings throughout the week. 

5. In loving our neighbors we should always make a practice of staying home if we are sick or likely contagious. This is especially important now. If, in the last 72 hours, you have had any potential symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with somebody who has, please stay home and livestream our service. These symptoms include:
 • Fever of 100.4 or higher
 • Sore or scratchy throat
 • Cough

6. If you are in a high-risk category (immunocompromised, elderly, diabetic, or heart/lung problems), please also consider staying home from church and taking advantage of our livestream.

7. No donuts will be served at Equipping Hour.

These should be time-limited restrictions until the pandemic risk has decreased and our societal preparedness and understanding of this novel disease have increased.

If you have any questions, please direct them to any of the Elders. Expect more communication and changes in the upcoming days and weeks. 

With love, 
-The Elders of GBC