Good News! The Omicron spike has peaked. Medical experts who have studied this COVID variant say that as contagious as this strain has been, cases will also decline quite quickly. Case numbers are already rapidly dropping, including in our area. So, with that good news, I also want to let everyone know that the extra protocols put in for precaution at Grace Covenant have expired. Beginning this Sunday, February 6, we will resume our normal – or, rather, our “normal-ish” – schedule. The protocols will return to those we had in place through the holiday season, into the new year. We advise everyone to be wise, with regard to the lingering risks of COVID. We urge the wearing of masks during worship services and whenever in the church building. We encourage families to space themselves adequately, as you are able, even though we will be removing the cords that have been separating rows these past few weeks. And, of course, if you, or members of your household, have tested positive for COVID, or if you are showing COVID-like symptoms, we would ask that you join us via LiveStream until you come to the end of the recommended quarantine period.
Beginning this Sunday, February 6, nursery will be available to toddlers and infants during both services. Children’s Ministries, including Children’s Church and Kid’s Quest (formerly called “Catechism”) will resume during the 8:30 service. We look forward to eventually resuming all children’s ministries in both services, but as the effects of COVID still linger we do not want to strain our pool of volunteers.
Also, this Sunday, we begin our Discovery Class. This class is designed to introduce those who are curious about Grace Covenant to our history, our church’s DNA – our beliefs, our values, and our ministries. If you are new, or relatively new to Grace Covenant, I invite you to join in that class. This class is designed to serve as our New Members Class, but a commitment to joining the church is not a pre-requisite. But the class would give you an opportunity to explore important aspects of the church, as well as an opportunity to connect with others. One more comment about Discovery Class, while it is designed for those who are new to Grace Covenant, it is open to everyone, even those who have been part of the church for a long time. Participating in this class would enable you to connect with some who are new, as well as offer an opportunity to think more deeply about some of the foundational aspects of our Faith.
Another thing of note beginning this Sunday is a designated time of prayer during the Education Hour. Each week, during the Education Hour, from 10am – 10:45am, throughout the month of February, one of the Elders of our church will lead in a time or corporate prayer. Each week will likely have slightly different formats, but all are intended to join us together praying for one another, for the health of our church, the strength of our mission, the flourishing of our community, and the Shalom of God upon our country and the Nations. We have designated this time for a couple reasons. Pragmatically, we realized we do not know what COVID variants will do, so we did not want to just jump into our next Adult Education series, only to have to postpone it again. But more important, we are always in need of prayer; and we are always in need of being a praying people. For God himself has said: “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56.7) So we invite you to join us in the sanctuary at 10am each week during February. Join us in praying, whether you participate for the whole hour, or if you can only stay for the first few minutes.
One more note about praying, once again this year we will encourage everyone to participate in praying for our community during the weeks leading up to Easter. For the past several years we have provided some prayer guides, and encouraged folks to download the app, Seek God for the City. We will give more info in the coming weeks, but I thought I would mention it now to put it on your radar. The weeks for Seek God for the City this year will be from March 2 through April 10.
Finally, I’d like to invite everyone to join us Sunday evening, from 5pm to 6pm, for our annual congregational meeting. Sadly, will not have the dinner this year because, in planning, we were not sure whether we would be in-person or online. Fortunately we will be in-person. But planning for a dinner with only a few days notice would have been challenging; and to have prepared for the meal but to have had to cancel it would have been wasteful (not to mention frustrating for those who put in the work). Having already had to postpone the meeting once, we did not want to do so again. So we set the date for February 6, and kept watch on the COVID cases. All that background to say, come join us as we take an hour to look back on what God did for and among us in 2021, and as we look forward to, and pray for, what God will do through Grace Covenant in 2022.
Grace & Peace,
Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor