In-Person Worship at GCPC
Following the protocols set out by the Session is more than just “obeying the guidelines.” It’s how we show that we care for the whole body of Christ, not just ourselves. By returning to the church building, we ask that all agree to a covenant of behaviors that is designed to extend God’s compassionate care to all worshippers.
Please read this information carefully. If you require further explanation, or have questions that are not covered in this list, please contact the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Worship time changes on Sunday, August 22
Beginning on August 22, Sunday morning worship at Grace Covenant will begin at 9:30am, with Christian education classes starting at 10:45am. This schedule will be in effect through the rest of 2021, after which it will be re-evaluated.
There were a number of good reasons for this change.
- We felt remaining with one service, for now, would help us all get reacquainted. The congregation has held two Sunday worship services for a while now and many of us simply don’t know some of our newer members or members that tended to attend the service we weren’t attending.
- The start time of 9:30am keeps us close to the same time we’re worshipping now, which folks have indicated to be a favorite time.
- It will be easier to have Sunday School following worship, for parents as well as children (or so we’ve been told by parents!).
- Our worship time musicians will be able to attend adult education classes with the change in schedule.
One comment we continue to hear is, “I hope we don’t get rid of online worship.” We will continue to have online worship as well as in-person worship from now on. Our online worship has allowed old friends who have moved away keep in touch by worshipping with us online; helped visitors “check us out” before coming to worship with us; ensured that our members & friends can continue to be part of worship whether ill, recovering from surgery, or homebound for other reasons; and guaranteed we can have worship whether it’s snowy, icy, or rainy!
At the same time we make this time change, we will also explore new possibilities for fellowship time before and after worship services. Thank you for your patience and peace be with you all!
Here’s what you need to know:
Online worship will continue indefinitely on Facebook and Zoom. Online worship service links, and worship information can be found here.
When you arrive ...
You may enter the church via the Sanctuary entrance (preferred) or the Weekday Entrance.
The Offering will not be collected during the service. You will find a locked box in the back of the Sanctuary where you can put your offering at the beginning or ending of the service.
Please note that there will not be congregational singing or spoken prayers during the service.
Further instruction will be given during the service.
Following the service, when there are not planned activities, we ask that people move out of the church building promptly after the end of worship and socialize outside rather than inside the building.
Here's what to do:
Confirm you are free of COVID-19 symptoms. If you are at risk of spreading COVID-19 because of symptoms, exposure, or a positive diagnosis, worship from home. When you enter the building, you will be asked to confirm that you are symptom free, and we will mark your attendance, so that we can conduct contact tracing if we have a COVID-positive worshipper.
Wear a mask the entire time you are inside the building. Masks prevent you from spreading the virus to others and are one of the simplest ways to love your neighbor. Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth as long as you are in the building. Exceptions: children age 5 and under, persons with medical conditions that prevent wearing a mask, and those who are hearing impaired.
Sunday School during this time. Instead of attending Sunday school, plan on enjoying intentional fellowship outdoors following the worship services. (We may go to Heartland Hall in case of inclement weather.)
If possible, continue to give online. We will not pass the offering plates during this pandemic. A lockbox will be provided in the back of the sanctuary for you to drop your offering into, but if you are able to give online, that continues to be the safest and easiest option.
Turn off your Wi-Fi. In order to preserve the most bandwidth for us to stream our service live to at-home worshippers, we ask you to turn off Wi-Fi on your devices during the service.
Prepare yourself for things to be different. Returning to the sanctuary does not mean returning to normal. Basic pieces of our worship, such as congregational singing, will be missing. Beloved faces will be missing too. You are not likely to get to sit in “your” pew. You may experience a variety of emotions from joy to grief to frustration. Extend grace to yourself, the leadership, and your fellow congregation members. This is hard, but God is with us, wherever we worship.