November 19, 2020
I hope and pray you and your family are healthy during this time. I haven’t written one of these updates two weeks in a row for quite awhile, but things have been changing fast recently! This week’s update is a little longer than usual, but in light of recent developments within the past week there's a lot to discuss. So, let’s begin….
Governor Reynolds’ Most Recent Proclamation
This week has sort of had that “Back to the Future” feel, hasn’t it? It’s as if the future looks like someplace we’ve been before. As I’m sure many of you are aware by now, Governor Reynolds issued a new proclamation on Monday evening, limiting indoor gatherings to 15 people and outdoor gatherings to 30 people. (Scroll to the end of this letter to find a link to the proclamation.) There are, of course, certain exemptions built into this - for example, exemptions for certain businesses, high school/college/professional sporting events, and very importantly for religious and spiritual gatherings.
We continue to be extremely grateful for the Governor’s recognition of our religious liberties in these situations, and yet we also must admit it presents us with unique challenges. While we have freedom in these areas, we never want to abuse that freedom or flaunt it. So, the decisions we make as leadership at GCC must always be bathed in prayer, seeking counsel from the Lord and His Word in everything we do, while wrestling through all options available to make decisions which honor God and the needs of our church family and community.
We are currently in a period of time when COVID-19 cases are clearly higher than they have ever been. People’s concern for themselves and loved ones is also higher than it has ever been, and for very good reason. In light of this, however, there is one more thing which has become abundantly clear to us - the need for Jesus’ church is also higher than it has ever been. More than ever we need the encouragement, the prayers, and the embodied demonstration of hope we can only experience in the physical gathering of God’s people, His church. In a time of increased isolation, loneliness, depression and fear, we have an opportunity to offer a lifeline to people, a spiritual anchor in the midst of the storm. While we thank God for the gift of modern technology which allows us to worship online, at the same time we are always keenly aware of its limitations - the gathering of God’s people can never adequately be reduced to pixels on a TV or computer screen. We were made for fellowship, for person-to-person interaction and real flesh-and-blood worship. This is how our God wired us, and it is good.
So, with all of this in mind, we have decided to continue gathering each week for worship at GCC for those who can physically make it, while continuing to offer our services online for those who can not. There is a power in the physical gathering of the followers of Jesus which simply can not be mimicked in any other environment. We are one body, a spiritual family, bound together as brothers and sisters in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, worshipping together, and giving one another strength when we can’t find it on our own. In the process of doing this, we then strive to be a witness to a hurting, broken world around us which is suffering through pain, fear, and tragedy, all the while wondering where hope and truth can be found. While we can certainly offer something to them strictly online, we also believe a hurting, unbelieving world sometimes needs to see the gospel of Jesus Christ embodied in a local family of Christians - people who are willing to sacrificially love God and love one another, even in difficult circumstances. It is our prayer our physical gatherings of worship will accomplish all of this and more for those who desperately need it.
Now, all of this said, there are some things which are critical for us to re-emphasize, especially during times like these. Many of these things have been stated before or may seem obvious, but they bear repeating:
We realize there are some who should not come to in-person worship due to health reasons, or do not feel comfortable or ready to enter into a public worship gathering. This is completely understandable and ok! We know this still may not be the right time for you to come back. You may need to continue worshiping from afar for now, being careful a bit longer for the sake of those you love. It is our prayer you will be able to join us again soon when the time is right for you!
If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and are still within the mandatory quarantine period, do not come to worship at this time.
Also, please do not attend worship if you recently had close contact (according to CDC guidelines) with someone with COVID-19 and therefore should be in a 14-day period of self-quarantine.
If you are experiencing the most common COVID-19 symptoms such as persistent cough, feely achy, difficulty breathing, and especially a fever, please stay home until you are well or have received a negative COVID test.
We continue to encourage everyone more strongly than ever to consider wearing a mask on Sunday morning. This is primarily for when we are interacting with people as we enter and exit the building, or are going to be within 6 feet of someone outside of our family for an extended period of time. Also, we continue to strongly encourage the critical component of social-distancing in all GCC settings, especially within the pews during our morning worship.
We believe that by doing these things, we can work together to continue to make GCC a safe environment where we can gather as a church family each week for encouragement and worship as God’s people!
GCC’s “Day of Thanksgiving” Worship - THIS SUNDAY
This Sunday, November 22nd, we’ll gather for our annual Day of Thanksgiving worship, which is always a wonderful celebration of the various ways God has blessed our GCC family over the past year. This is an “open mic” time of worship when we invite people to come to the front and share a story about God’s faithfulness to you or your family. So, please come prepared on Sunday to share your stories of how God has revealed his goodness to you! If you can not be here on Sunday morning but would like to submit a written story of thankfulness and gratitude to God, please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Saturday @ noon. We’ll then plan to read those on your behalf in our worship on Sunday!
Reminder of Streaming Options
Please remember we have THREE streaming options you can choose from on a Sunday! This is important because, If one option goes down, there are two other places you can turn. The three options are:
Our official Facebook page by clicking here and watching our Facebook Live stream.
Our YouTube channel by clicking here. If you have the YouTube app on your smart TV or other device, you can also find us by searching "Grinnell Christian Church”.
And finally, for those who don’t like social media and prefer to stay away from YouTube, you can go to our website at www.grinnell.cc and click the link on our homepage. This will open up a dedicated video player right in your browser which is NOT connected to either Facebook or YouTube.
Grinnell Food Coalition
Many people have been affected by the coronavirus, including people who have suffered financial loss due to unemployment and disruption of normal life. The Grinnell Food Coalition wants to make sure everyone in our community gets the food they need for themselves and their family. If you, or someone you know, is struggling financially, the Grinnell Food Coalition can provide vouchers to use at local grocery stores. As long as funds last, they mail vouchers on a bi-weekly schedule to people who sign up. To sign up or get more information, go to https://ahrensfamilyfoundation.org/local-resources/, or call 641-236-5518 ext. 109.
Ways to Give
If you are financially able, we encourage you to continue to give to GCC during this time even if you can't come to the building on Sunday morning. One way to give is to drop off your offering at the GCC Office during regular office hours. You may also go to our website and give by hitting the “Give” button on our homepage. Finally, you can give through the Givelify app or the Grinnell Christian Church app – both are available in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Thanks everyone, God bless, and I hope to see you again on a Sunday morning soon!
Key Information for the Reopening of Nursery
(Effective August 23, 2020)
• Children will be divided into groups of 10 or less.
• Children and workers will be required to stay home when they are sick.
• We will take the temperatures of all children and volunteers working with the children before they can enter Nursery or Greenhouse. If the temperature of anyone checked is higher than 100.4, we will ask that you or the children return home and not participate that week.
• All plush toys have been removed, and all other toys will be disinfected each week. We will follow the guidelines put out by the CDC.
• We will ask volunteers to clean high touch areas throughout the time of Nursery, to limit transfer of germs.
• Where it is feasible, we will adjust activities to limit sharing of items such as toys, belongings, supplies, and equipment.
• We will maintain a good stock of tissue, hand sanitizer and paper towels for drying hands.
• We ask that all volunteers wear face masks during drop off and pick up times. During these times there is more risk of exposure to more people. If a volunteer is uncomfortable with this, then adjustments can be made.
Key Information for the Reopening of Worship (Effective June 28, 2020)
• We will reopen initially with worship only @ 10 am.
• There will be no Sunday School classes for any age group until further notice.
• There will be No Greenhouse during Sunday morning worship until further notice.
• If you fall into a higher-risk category (i.e. age or underlying health issues), or if you are not ready yet to enter a public gathering, please know it is perfectly acceptable not to come at this time. You do not need to feel guilty about this decision. To help with this....
• GCC will continue to live-stream our full worship service for the immediate future for those who are uncomfortable coming or should not come due to high-risk factors.
• If you are experiencing a fever, persistent cough, or difficulty breathing, or if you have a family member experiencing these symptoms, please stay home until you are well.
• A mask will not be required to attend worship but you are certainly encouraged to wear one, especially if you are higher-risk or feel safer wearing one at this time.
• If you desire to wear a mask but do not have one, we have disposable masks available at our Welcome Center. Please ask one of our Greeters for assistance.
• Bulletins will not be handed out at this time, but instead may be picked up on stands at each entrance into the auditorium.
• Families are encouraged to sit together, but please maintain social distancing guidelines of 6-ft between family units or individuals.
• To help facilitate this, we will “close off” every other pew in the center sections of our auditorium (please do not sit in rows marked with an “X”). The east and west wings are completely open, and we encourage larger families to sit in these
sections and use discretion about spacing between family units.
• Due to a potential increase of younger children in our worship service, we will do our best to keep the overall service length to 50-60 minutes.
• Communion trays will not be passed. Instead, Communion trays will be on tables around the room. There will be separate cups for bread and juice. Once you take a cup, please dispose of it in the trash cans next to the tables.
• Please maintain social distancing as you go to the Communion tables.
• Offering trays will not be passed. Instead, please utilize the Offering drop boxes located in the back of the room or continue to use the electronic giving platforms we have used for the past several weeks.
• The GCC website at www.grinnell.cc.
• The official GCC app for your smartphone.
• The Givelify app for your smartphone.
• Hand sanitizer is currently available in our main lobby, the west entrance lobby, at the Welcome Center, and at the Children’s check-in station for you to use before and/or after worship as you feel necessary.
• We will close off the east wing of our building so that everyone enters and exits through the main lobby doors. This will help avoid unnecessary contact with areas not being used at this time.
Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you this Sunday!