Dear Grace Family,
As you know by now, Gov. Newsom, along with California public health officials are recommending that gatherings of over 250 people be cancelled through the end of the month. In light of this announcement, Grace will not be gathering for corporate worship March 15, 22, and 29, but will live stream our 9:30 a.m. service at graceevfree.org. This would be an excellent opportunity for Grace Groups and other small groups to gather and include those whom you know that are not yet a member of one. Further, all events scheduled to be held on site from March 13 through March 31 are postponed until April. In the coming days, ministry leaders will be reaching out to their respective groups with information about rescheduling events.
As you can imagine, this decision was not an easy one. It was painstakingly made on behalf of the elders by our church Executive Team, as advised by members of the Staff Elders and Children’s Ministry Director. Over the course of two hours, we considered a number of ways to keep from canceling anything. In the end, we found ourselves being compelled by two overriding desires. First, a desire to live in deference to Romans 13:1-7 and thereby, “be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Second, we were moved by a desire to be other-centered and not self-centered, as we have been hearing on Sunday morning from 1 Corinthians 8-10. We want the members of our Grace Family who are at special risk of contracting the coronavirus due to physical, medical, or age-related challenges to know that they are loved and cared for. In the end, it was apparent to all of us that the hard thing to do was the right thing to do. So, we prayerfully committed it to the Lord asking that he bless us with fresh and creative ways to serve those with whom we live, work, and go to school.
A task force has been formed to regularly meet and provide updates on this rapidly changing situation at graceevfree.org. The church website will also have resources available to be used on Sunday mornings by households, as well as in residence halls (e.g. bulletin, order of worship, lyrics, children’s activities, etc.). Grace Groups are especially encouraged to be aware of and attend to the needs of their members. And if you are not in a Grace Group, this is a good time to contact graceevfree.org so that you can join one!
Finally, remember that, during these days, there are many ways to maintain your regular giving to Grace. If you are in the habit of placing your offering in a bag as it is passed down the row on Sunday morning, we encourage you to give instead by one of the alternative ways made available on the Grace website. Also, please think about designating an extra gift to the benevolence fund as needs associated with this event may arise.
Brothers and sisters, may the coming days find us proceeding in faith and not in fear, gladly serving the members of our community and especially those who are at risk – all for the sake of the Gospel.
Warmly in Christ,
The Elders of Grace