March 13, 2020
Dear Grace Church Family,
We know many of you are wondering what our plans are in light of the ongoing spread of the coronavirus in our region. We will still have Sunday school and worship this week. However, in an effort to take appropriate precautions, we will temporarily alter some aspects of our service for the time being.
Offering: Instead of collecting the offering during the worship service, we will have a collection plate on the table in the front of the sanctuary where anyone can place their offerings before or after the service. Additionally, you are still welcome to give online.
Communion: We will determine an alternative method for serving the Lord’s Supper, which avoids the use of a common loaf. We will communicate these changes in the coming weeks.
Though we will be holding a worship service, we recognize that there may be several of you who do not feel comfortable attending. We completely understand this concern and support your decision to limit your potential exposure to illness. Additionally, if you are experiencing any signs of illness (including fever, coughing, shortness of breath), we ask you to stay home until you are well. Finally, if you have traveled internationally or flown to another state in the last 14 days, we encourage you to consider staying home from church long enough to ensure that you have not contracted any illness.
The most effective preventative measures to take regarding the coronavirus are the same for any other flu-like sickness:
- Regularly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Cover coughs and sneezes with tissue, sleeve, or elbow
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
This is also a good time to greet one another with a wave instead of a handshake or a hug. For more detailed information about the Coronavirus, please consult the following information from the CDC, MD Deptartment of Health, and The Gospel Coalition.
At this point, the session has not made the decision to cancel other church events. For now, ministry leaders have the option of canceling events at their discretion. However, we will be closely monitoring the situation and will be sure to communicate any further decisions. Keep an eye out through email, Facebook, and the church website for more information.
Above all, we want to encourage you that this is not a time to panic. Our risen Lord is still seated on his throne and is reigning over all things. His promise to work everything for his glory and our good is still true (Rm. 8:28), even in the face of a sickness like the coronavirus. He never changes, and is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). Today as much as ever, he is still our refuge and strength, and a very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1).
Of course it is appropriate to be wise, and to take precautions; but above all, let us continue to place our trust in the Lord Jesus, resting in his peace that passes all understanding, and casting all our anxieties upon him, because he cares for us (Phil. 4:7; 1 Peter 5:7). Let us also seek him in prayer, that he might grant relief from this sickness in our world, and use it draw many to himself.
Finally, we encourage you to remember the comforting words found in Question 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has delivered me from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, also assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
The GRPC Session