Grace Point Church - Summer 2020
Some background: A balancing act
The elders and staff have been working on a phased reopening plan shaped by both health and safety concerns and clarity around vision of a preferred ministry future. We understand some of us simply want “to get back to church” and some of us are very cautious. This provides a great opportunity to show grace without judgment to everyone!
We have listened to our health professionals and understand this virus is not yet under control and therefore certain best practices can be followed as an act of love to our neighbor. In our gatherings we are recommending masks be worn, social distancing observed, greetings not include physical touch, and services not include congregational singing to begin. We will be constantly monitoring the developing health landscape in Lancaster County and will adjust this plan as necessary.
We also believe this is a good time to consider moving toward a preferred ministry future. We have been talking for years about moving toward two services at GPC. We think this reopening season provides us a great opportunity to move in that direction. As we reopen gradually, two services is a natural help in limiting crowd size. While that provides a health safety benefit now we also want to use it to learn about two services and talk with you about what a future that might permanently include two services might look like.
Additionally we would like to employ home groups as a new way for us to connect at GPC. Again, we think smaller groups in homes helps us with health safety right now but also serves a greater ministry purpose. We believe part of a preferred future involves the increased use of home groups as a means of discipleship. During this reopening season we think increasing home group engagement and experimenting and dialoging about two services can help us move toward a ministry future that could increase the impact and reach of the church in our community. We are looking forward to more conversations about these things as we move forward.
We hope that background helps you understand a bit more what the Elders and staff have been processing around our reopening. So without further ado, here’s more of the plan: (with a large asterisk: **subject to change** should the health landscape change).
Phase 1: Beginning June 14 we will have a live worship gathering at GPC for a group of 25 in the fellowship hall. The worship team will lead in song, but we will not participate in congregational singing yet. Full building access will be limited. We recommend masks be worn and that social distancing be followed. Nursery care will not be available. No handouts will be given, no offering passed and we recommend personal greetings be a wave or something similar instead of a handshake or hug. This recorded service will be available online to be watched by any small groups meeting Sunday mornings. To attend this service look for a registration link coming in the weekly GPC Happenings email. Home groups would be encouraged and discussion questions for Sunday’s messages will be provided.
Phase 2: Beginning June 28 we would like to increase to two live services of 25. Other aspects of phase 1 still apply.
Phase 3: Beginning July 5 we would like to increase to two live services of 50. Additionally, student ministry large group gatherings can return to normal with recommended health precautions. We also hope to begin opening nursery care at this time. Other aspects of phases 1-2 still apply.
Phase 4: Beginning July 12 we would like to increase to two live services of 100. We believe this will allow almost everyone who would like to attend in-person services to attend. We anticipate running this format for a month or more. Additionally we will be returning kids classes to operations during this time - exact date to be determined. Other aspects of phases 1-3 still apply.
Phase 5: In this final phase we will be moving toward our preferred future. We are looking at September 6 as a start date. We are looking forward to dialogue with you during this reopening time over the ideas and implications of two services and home groups and to what degree we are ready to move into that new ministry space.
We know there is a lot to process here and we look forward to processing all of this with you in the coming season. If you have specific questions right now, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our staff or elders - we’d be glad to hear from you!
Thank you for your patience, care and love for one another during this time. It really means a lot to us and means a lot to our community!
On behalf of the elders & staff,