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COVID-19 Update | April 30

Dear Church Family,

We hope you are well, and we continue to pray for your health—both spiritually and physically. We want to update you on our plan to begin regathering at the church. While we do not have every detail worked out yet, we desire to keep open communication with you. The Texas State government has decided to begin reopening public spaces starting May 1st. The governor made it clear that this reopening would happen in stages and with great caution. The governor expressed his hope that churches would be able to meet again, even if it means having to limit our gatherings temporarily. He and his staff have issued guidelines that they hope will keep everyone safe.

After looking at the guidelines (which you can find attached), we believe it best not to open this weekend but to give ourselves one more week to get everything ready. Though no formal decision has been made yet, I’m hoping for a May 10th opening. The elders are meeting on Sunday afternoon to discuss details, and we appreciate your prayers. There are a lot of things to think through, such as: which rows to take out or rope off, where to place hand-sanitizer stations, how to provide face mask for those who need them, how to reorganize our service that allows for connection but not contact, and so on.

While there is still a forthcoming plan, here are a few things you should know:
We will do our best to provide a safe and clean space for all attendees. We also want those who (1) have compromised immune systems, (2) over the age of 65, and/or (3) are pregnant to know that we think of your health and well-being as a priority. We recommend you to continue worshiping online, and we will continue to serve you in any way we can. While we would not tell someone 65 or older to turn around and go home, we hope you will wisely seek the Lord on whether or not you should come to the church building.
We desire for everyone to be gracious with others. Some will be more cautious. They will wear masks, stay home, and take other precautions. Others will be less cautious. They may choose to do other things. Regardless, we are to honor one another and preserve our unity in Christ. No one has found the “perfect” methods for navigating these times. There is no “one-size-fits-all” policy. Therefore, pray. Research. Do as your conscience leads you to do. But remember your first calling is to love others and not judge them. You are also called to love others by protecting their health. Your faithfulness is not based on your plan of action during COVID 19 but whether or not you love others well. For that, we will all stand before our Lord. I found the following article helpful in demonstrating how we should go about this:

Be watching for our email update on Sunday night or Monday morning for our plan to reopen. We are grateful for your patience and grace.

Some have been asking for a “State of the Church”—specifically, how are we doing financially? I am overjoyed to say that God has graciously provided for every need. You can find out the details of our finances by reaching out Amy Minor (our bookkeeper) and Wendy Vaughn (our treasurer). However, I can tell you with confidence that Grace Church will continue in its mission without hindrance. No staff have been laid off. No missionaries have been cut. No ministry organization have been defunded. And I have personally seen the people of Grace rise up to the task as they have met the needs of those around them. Thanks to our wise financial staff and volunteers (and thanks to God), Grace Church is ready to charge ahead into the next season of ministry. I want to thank all of you for giving sacrificially as the Lord has led you. I encourage you to continue in that sacrificial giving, knowing that it is going to the proclamation of the gospel in a fallen world.

Finally, just a personal word from your pastor: This has been a difficult season. Though we have not been able to see each other, I hope you know how much you are loved, thought of, and prayed for. While it has been impossible to navigate through this time perfectly, the elders and I have done our best to care for you and to feed you with the Word of God. Hindsight is 20/20, and there are always ways things could have been done better. However, we love you with sincere love. And I know that each of your elders that serve Grace would happily lay down our lives for you. If there is any way we can serve you, please do not hesitate to let us know.

In Christ,
Justin Jackson