The author of the Book of Hebrews wrote:
“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10.24-25)
Such an instruction may feel somewhat irrelevant at the present time, a time of pandemic, social distancing, and voluntary quarantine. At the very least it may seem ill-timed. But I think the reality is that it is as timely and relevant as ever. In the face of this virus we need the mutual encouragement that comes from connection. Only the way we connect is different.
It is gratifying to hear the different stories of the way the people of Grace Covenant have been connecting by phone and online. We hope (and even expect) that this will continue, and even increase as people settle more and more into the routine of life lived out in social distancing. One of the greatest resources at this time is the church directory. I want to encourage everyone who has a directory to use it as both a prayer guide and connecting tool. As a prayer guide, look through the pages and pray for the people & families as you come across them. Whether you pray for one family a day, or multiple families each day, may we all be praying for one another for both physical and spiritual health. As a connecting tool, we want to encourage all who are willing to place a call to others, even if you have not yet met the person you are calling. Borrowing an illustration Camper shared earlier this week, this is a time somewhat like Halloween. At Halloween people expect, and welcome, strangers and friends alike to knock on our doors. At this time, when many feel isolated, phone calls from old friends and would-be-friends are widely welcomed. For those without a directory, feel free to call or e-mail Kathy at the church office. Kathy will be able to provide a .pdf printout of names and numbers of the Grace Covenant family. I am looking forward to that day when we first gather again, and seeing all the new friendships blossoming as people meet for the first time face-to-face, and old friendships are renewed!
As connections are made, we also want to begin coordinating the meeting of needs. Within our church family there are those with specific practical needs, and there are those who are able and willing to serve others. We have heard from some of you, but we now want to invite all of you to let us know if you have any need, and/or if you are available to serve those with needs. Needs may include running errands for those who are quarantined or shut-in; or maybe yard work at homes are those physically unable to do the tasks; etc. If you will e-mail your needs to the church office, we will try to coordinate with those who are able to make themselves available. Likewise, anyone willing to serve please let us know so we can keep a list, and connect you with others as needs are made known. Please also keep in mind that our Deacons are able to serve those in need. If you find yourself with financial strains during this time, please let our Deacons know. (NOTE: Any contact with our Deacons is strictly confidential. Your needs are not shared with anyone else; not staff, not our Elders.)
Worship bulletins will again be sent out on Friday this week, and the service posted on Grace Covenant’s web page and Facebook page, with video being available beginning at 8am. We thank you for the feedback we received this week, and for the graciousness that recognizes that we are far from expert in such production. Again, we expect to get better at this, but we pray we are not scattered long enough to get good at it.
Finally, as you are praying, please continue to pray for Connie Schaub. Connie has made some positive progress this week, but she is still in serious condition. We also ask you pray for Marie Buckner, Laura Smole’s mother, who has been tested for COVID-19 but is still awaiting the test result. Likewise, pray for the Smole family, as they are under quarantine until the results of Marie’s tests come back, and then some if the test results are positive. A handful of others from Grace Covenant have self isolated due to exposure to the virus, but to date no others have reported to us any infections.
Grace & Peace,
W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor