For some reason I have the theme song from Gilligan’s Island stuck in my head. I suppose this is because, in part, I flipped by a channel recently during the opening of the show (which I have not seen in decades) and the tune stuck. I also suspect that it may be that they went on a three hour tour only to be stranded in isolation for years, while it sometime seems to me that we began what was initially just a two-week shelter-at-home order to “flatten the curve” and we are now approaching 6 months of various degrees of shut-down and isolation. (Of course, it is quite possible I am the only one to see some such parallel here.)
But all is not bad. Far from it. We have much for which to be thankful. Among such things, for me, is the graciousness which you, the Grace Covenant family, have continued to respond during this time. As we head into Fall, our church continues to be blessed by the faithfulness, the generosity, and the patience exhibited throughout our congregation. Along with that, we have been blessed by the adding of new people and new families who are considering Grace Covenant their home. I also want to express my thankfulness to all who participated in the recent Red Cross Blood Drive, hosted at Grace Covenant. My thanks to Susan Stallings, for coordinating, to all those who volunteered, and especially to those who gave blood. This is a wonderful way to love our neighbors, especially as the Red Cross has been experiencing serious shortages due to COVID-19. Red Cross reported exceeding their goal of 28 units, receiving 32 units last week at Grace Covenant.
We are also thankful that we have seen our number of in-person worship participants increase over these past few weeks, especially during the 11am services. While we still have room for more in both services, our Deacons have mentioned that if some are willing to attend the 8:30 service, that would help make seating and social distancing easier. The Deacons have also expressed their appreciation for people continuing wearing the face coverings, but want to remind everyone to remember to NOT congregate in the Commons before or after services. We regret that we are not able to be as hospitable as we would like, but it is for the safety of our church members and our community.
A couple reminders from last week:
- Fall Discovery Class will be offered online, beginning Sunday afternoon, September 13. We invite everyone who is at least relatively new to Grace Covenant to consider participating. Our Discovery Class is designed to introduce the DNA of our church, and an overview of our faith, our values, our commitments, and our connections, to those who are either desiring to join the church, or who want a little more info before deciding if Grace Covenant is the church you want to call your home. The class will begin at 5pm each week, for 6 weeks. Commitment to joining the church is not required, nor even expected. This go-round, we would also like to invite those who have been at Grace Covenant to consider participating. Discovery Class is a great place to be renewed in your faith, as you participate in discussions of the faith and mission of Grace Covenant. All who are interested are asked to sign up for the class, as we will need to provide you with a digital notebook, as well as provide the invite and password to the Zoom meetings.
- On Sunday September 6, Grace Covenant will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. This is a holy activity, and an important expression of our Faith. 1 Corinthians 11.28 instructs us to first, ” examine himself or herself” before coming to the Table. In our Reformed tradition, we encourage people to prepare themselves in the week leading up to Communion. Blogger Tim Challies offers a few practical suggestions for preparing ourselves, taken from Puritan Thomas Haweis. It is a very short article titled How to Prepare Yourself for the Lord’s Supper. I commend everyone who plans to partake of the elements of the Table to take some time to read it, and to give some thought to the suggestions for self preparation.
Finally, beginning Sunday Septmber 13, we will resume the study of the Book of Romans that we suspended in the Spring with the beginning of our scattered worship. We will pick up again in Romans 8, with a message from verses 1-17, and then begin working our way through the book each week. We will break from Romans during Advent (the Christmas season) and resume again in January. I have been encourage by the many who have found benefit from our study of Romans, and for those who have been asking when we will begin again. As we have in the past, we will again challenge the congregation to read through this book at least once per month for each month we are studying it. That comes out to a mere 4 chapters per week. We’ll provide some reminders, in the coming weeks, of some of the tools available to help you get the most out of this series.
May the Lord Bless you and sustain you, and grant you His peace.
Grace & Peace,
W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor