Reopening Grace? – from Pastor Chris 5/7/20

Chris Tweitmann   -  

Hello Members and Friends of Grace!

This is the latest update as to the resuming of on-site activities on our Grace church campus. There are three things I’d like to share with you:

1. My sense of where we are headed in terms of this crisis
2. The current plan for Grace moving forward
3. A request for YOU to be a part of this process (and a link to a survey we want you to fill out)

1. My sense of where we are headed
I recently read an informative article that I believe offers an insightful and helpful picture of what the next six months to a year-and-a-half will look like for all of us. You can read this article by clicking here: “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance.”

The gist of our future outlook is that we should anticipate living in a fluctuation between “the hammer,” where aggressive lockdowns and increased restrictions are put into place to stop the spread of the virus. The months-long period between “the hammer” and a vaccine is called “the dance” because it won’t be a period during which measures are always the same harsh ones we currently have.

Some regions will see outbreaks again, others won’t for long stretches of time. Depending on how cases evolve, “the hammer” may need to come back down and we will need to tighten up social distancing measures again. And as the number of coronavirus cases decreases, these measures and restrictions will, again, gradually be eased. Two steps forward, one step back. This is likely to be our rhythm for a while.

2. The current plan for Grace moving forward
With all of this mind, it would appear we are moving in the direction of “dance time.” At the national, state, and county level, steps are being outlined for all of us to reemerge from the crisis borne of COVID-19. This reemergence will be gradual and has been structured in terms of a number of defined phases.

In California, there are four phases. Statewide, we are beginning to start phase 2 of this process. The resuming of on-site religious services is currently considered part of phase 3. However, as we all know, this continues to be a volatile situation. Things can change in a day. This is why, for me, “the hammer” and “the dance” analogy is so helpful.

As for our community of Grace, the leadership is starting to pivot as we anticipate both the requirements and the possibilities that the future will hold. Right now, we are prayerfully thinking through how our ministry models and our mission strategy will need to adapt. The balance we are seeking to achieve is one between safely and wisely being together again in person while not leaving anyone behind who will not be able to physically gather with us – either temporarily or long-term. And as we move forward, we will continue to remain in compliance with state and federal guidelines.

For now, all on-campus activities will remain suspended through the end of May. We will continue to follow the rhythm we have established in terms of our online contact points as well as our Circles of Community. We do not, at this time, have a date for resuming on campus activities at Grace.

3. A request for YOU to be a part of this process! 
As the leadership of Grace seeks to envision what coming back together in person will look like, we would like to get a sense of your mindset and expectations about this matter. As followers of Jesus, we believe that the Holy Spirit speaks not just the individual but the Body of Christ as a whole. Therefore, we NEED each of your input in order to assess what is best for our whole community. Please take a moment to complete the following survey. The information gathered from this will enable the elders, the staff, and me to reach informed decisions as we evaluate all options.

Click here to take the survey about reopening in-person activities at Grace

At some point, this crisis will end. In the meantime, let us together take advantage of this time to learn a new dance, trusting that the Lord, as always, will lead and guard our steps into the future – a future He holds in His hands. If you have any further questions or concerns about this matter, please don’t hesitate to contact me by emailing [email protected]

Peace,
Pastor Chris

P.S. here is the link to that survey again. Please make sure to fill it out as soon as possibleSurvey of Thoughts and Feelings Regarding Returning to Sanctuary Worship