Grace Covenant family,
Last night (Tuesday March 17) the Elders and Deacons of Grace Covenant met (via Zoom) to discuss immediate actions to both protect and serve the church during this outbreak of COVID-19 here in the Historic Triangle. It was decided, as most would expect, that our public worship gatherings and small group meetings are suspended indefinitely until guidance from medical professionals and local authorities changes.
Second, for the safety of our staff, volunteers, and church members, our church building will also be closed during this time. What this means is that there will be no set office hours, and that no groups will be able to use our church facility. During this time our pastors, our staff, and our church leaders will continue to work, but much of that work will be done remotely. However, if anyone has any need, we urge you to call the church office and leave a message, or email us at any time. We will get back to you promptly.
During this time of hiatus, we will be communicating regularly through email, social media, phone calls, and texts. Though isolated for the good of one another and of our community, we will be developing networks to keep folks connected and strategies for us to serve one another – and our neighbors – in practical ways. Connection may be as simple as encouraging folks to call one another, even some calling others whom they have yet to meet in person. As for service, we expect to devise effective ways to enlist those who are able bodied, and willing, to serve those in need, especially those who most need to remain isolated. That may mean running errands, or doing necessary house or yard work. We will be exploring those opportunities for the Church to be the Church even in this time of cultural crisis.
As for worship, though we cannot gather together, we will offer a worship service each week, with liturgy, song, and message. These will be accessed online, either as pre-recorded services or through LiveStream. Additional information about and links for the service for March 22 will be sent out later in the week.
On a more sober note, we do ask for all to be praying for Grace Covenant member Connie Schaub. Connie, who has had several health issues these past few months, was diagnosed yesterday (Tuesday) with the coronavirus. As of this morning Connie is in critical condition. Please pray for Connie, and her husband Peter. But, to ease possible concerns, Connie and Peter last participated in their small group on February 19, and Connie has not attended a worship service this calendar year. With this virus having an incubation period of two weeks, it is unlikely that anyone at Grace Covenant is presently at risk of being infected by the virus because of contact with the Schaubs.
Finally, this is the first of two communications that will go out today from, or on behalf of, the church Elders. Another email will go out later today that will offer several recommendations regarding the virus.
We are all sailing in unfamiliar waters. But we are not sailing them alone. We are sailing them together. More than that, for all who trust in Christ, we are sailing these seas knowing that the One who is Master of the Storms, has promised to be with us, that he would never leave nor forsake us, and that he is working out all things for the good of those who love him, and who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8.28) May we all be comforted, and even encouraged, by these truths. Whatever is to come, our God is working out his purpose for our good and for his glory – and we are getting to see it unfold.
Grace & Peace,
W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor