July 23, 2020
Dear Grace Church,
Beginning Sunday, July 26th, we are going to hold our worship service outside on the lawn in the fenced yard area to the north of the church’s building. We believe there will be sufficient space for the entire church to attend. We eagerly anticipate meeting together as a whole church, and have made the following provisions in order to accomplish this.
Plan for Sunday Morning Worship Services (Weather Permitting)
- 8:30 AM - Set Up Chairs & Sound Equipment
- 9:30 AM - Worship Service Start Time
- 11:00 AM - Tear Down Chairs & Sound Equipment
- 11:30 AM - Picnic Lunch on the Lawn
What You Need To Know
Everyone is invited to every worship service, including visitors, as was usual before restrictions were imposed. The rotation schedule for attendance is now void, because everyone can come! If it rains, we will move inside (see note on masks below).
Bulletins with song lyrics will be provided digitally and in print because we will not have a projector outside. Look for the digital bulletin in the Community Update.
Services will still be available to stream online particularly for those who are vulnerable.
Everyone is welcome to stay and visit after services. There is ample space to visit in the yard both inside and outside the fence, along with the playground.
The playground will be available for children after every service. We will be spraying the playground equipment with bleach-water after using it, as Kid Kare, the daycare which owns the playground, normally does.
We will hold picnic lunches after every Sunday service. Please bring your own lunch or plan to order or pick up lunch (Jimmy Johns can deliver to the church, and there are a number of other restaurants nearby). Because lunch will not start immediately after the service, there will be time to go and pick it up. Feel free to bring picnic blankets, etc. or use the church’s chairs to eat lunch on. We can use the fenced area and the lawn to the west of the fenced area as well.
A sizable area of shade will be available during the service and is reserved for the elderly in attendance and those who need shade for smaller children, medical reasons, etc. This shade is afforded us by the shadow cast by the building and the tree in the yard. We will also be setting up shade tents or shade canopies to provide extra shade.
We will continue to observe social distancing throughout our time together on Sundays at the church. It is imperative that we are diligent in this throughout our time together on Sunday mornings as the Governor’s Directive from July 15th requires that masks be worn outside “for any organized outdoor activity where social distancing is not possible or is not observed.” We believe there is sufficient room to social distance, and that will be necessary in order to continue to hold these services. If we prove that we are unable to keep social distancing restrictions, we will have to rescind this entire plan.
Please bring your masks every Sunday. Any time we are inside the church building on Sunday mornings we must be wearing masks. Masks will be required for going inside to use the bathrooms, put away chairs and other items, etc. We will also need masks in case the weather does not permit us to worship outside. In that case, we would meet inside and use the sanctuary and the fellowship hall while wearing masks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
For Sunday Services at Grace Church
with Limited Attendance
Please contact Travis (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about the information provided here or about any related to the Sunday Services with limited attendance.
- Question: Will hugging and handshaking be permitted?
Answer: No. While this is our normal practice and it will feel unnatural to avoid such greetings, we are not permitting hugging or handshaking. We are doing this because we want to honor social distancing requirements, keep one another safe, and consider those who are more cautious and hesitant to resume social contact.
- Question: Am I required to wear a mask?
Answer: No, we are not requiring that you wear a mask. However, if you would like to wear a mask you are more than welcome to.
- Question: Will Sunday School be offered?
Answer: No. At this point, no Sunday School classes will be offered for children or adults.
- Question: Will child care be offered?
Answer: No. At this point, there will be no nursery or any other form of childcare offered. Parents will be responsible for their own children before, during, and after services.
- Question: What time will services start on Sunday
Answer: Services will begin at 10 AM on Sunday mornings. If you are scheduled to attend a Sunday morning service, please get to the church 10-15 minutes early in order to provide sufficient time for the ushers to seat you and everyone else.
- Question: Will the services continue to be streamed online?
Answer: Yes. Each service will be streamed live and recordings will be posted after the service is complete. We encourage you to stream the services that you do not attend.
- Question: When can I attend a Sunday Service?
Answer: We have created a Rotation Schedule for attendance, with every member or regular attendee of the church permitted to attend three out of every six weeks. If you are planning to visit Grace Church, you are welcome to, as we will have overflow seating available at the very least. We ask that you attend every other week if you are visiting, and stream Sunday services on the weeks you do not attend.
- Question: What if I am scheduled to work on the same Sundays that I have been scheduled to attend church services?
Answer: Firstly, please contact Travis (email@example.com) about your situation, should you find yourself in exceptional circumstances such as the ones described above. You are certainly welcome to attend on a different week if you are scheduled to work on a Sunday when you were on the Rotation Schedule to attend the service. However, we ask that you maintain an attendance rate of three out of every six Sundays, as we are asking the entire congregation to do according to the schedule. If you do attend on a week you were not scheduled, we will have an overflow area in the Fellowship Hall which we request you sit in if the sanctuary fills up that Sunday.
- Question: How will seating in the sanctuary be assigned
Answer: Because seating in the sanctuary will be limited to every other pew (every other pew will be marked off with blue tape), the ushers will be seating individuals and families in such a way as to allow for the maximum number of people to sit in the sanctuary while maintaining social distancing. Please plan to get to the church early in order to ensure sufficient time for the ushers to seat you. If the sanctuary is filled to its maximum capacity with social distancing provisions, an overflow area in the Fellowship Hall will be available for seating as well.
- Question: My immediate family member has been asked to serve at the church this Sunday (for example, on the worship team, as an usher, etc.). Can I attend with them even though we were not scheduled to attend this Sunday?
Answer: Yes. You are welcome to attend when your immediate family member (i.e. same household) is serving. However, we ask that you be willing to sit in the overflow area in the Fellowship Hall during the service if the sanctuary is full.
- Question: Can I sit together with my roommate or family member instead of sitting six feet apart from them?
Answer: If the ushers are able to accommodate this in such a way that it allows for the maximum capacity in the pews, then you are welcome to sit with anyone who lives in the same house as you, friends whom you have been spending substantial time with, or family members.
- Question: Will bathrooms be available for use?
Answer: Yes, the bathrooms upstairs and downstairs will be fully functional. We will provide hand sanitizer that we request you use before you use the bathrooms. We also ask that you wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom. We will have hand sanitizer available after exiting the bathrooms as well. Bathrooms will be disinfected before Sunday services and after the service begins as well. We ask that lines be formed outside of the bathrooms as opposed to inside if they are at full capacity at any given time.
- Question: How will the building be kept safe for routine use?
Answer: We will disinfect surfaces in the sanctuary, bathrooms, and common areas after every service. We will also disinfect bathrooms on Sunday mornings before Sunday services.
- Question: Will there be coffee available at Sunday Services
Answer: No, we will not be making or serving any coffee. In addition to this, water fountains will be unavailable for use. Please bring your own coffee and water to Sunday Services.
- Question: How will traffic flow through the building on Sunday mornings?
Answer: Entry will be through the main doors into the foyer. We request that you go directly into the sanctuary, not pausing in the foyer to socialize. The ushers will meet you at the entrance to the sanctuary to seat you. You will be directed down the center aisle to be seated, filling up the front of the sanctuary first. After the service concludes, you will be dismissed using the middle row starting from the back of the sanctuary. If you need to exit the sanctuary during the service, please be aware of the others around you and exercise social distancing.
- Question: Will the Nursing Mother’s Room and Cry Room still be available for use?
Answer: Yes, both rooms will be open. We ask that you seek to maintain social distancing while using these rooms when possible.
- Question: How will services be dismissed?
Answer: At the close of the service the host of the service will dismiss attendees row by row.
- Question: What will socialization look like after services conclude?
Answer: Weather permitting, we will dismiss families row by row out of the sanctuary and ask them to exit into the parking lot and yard area. Socialization can happen safely at a distance on the lawn to the north of the building, and fenced areas can be utilized for children. Parents will be responsible for their own children at this time.
- Question: What if it is raining outside at the conclusion of the service?
Answer: We will not be using the building for socialization after the service, so in the case of bad weather we will dismiss everyone in attendance to exit the building directly to their cars. If anyone would like to socialize outside of the building they are welcome to. Because socialization after the service will be much less comfortable in these circumstances, we would encourage everyone to consider inviting someone they would like to visit with for lunch.
- Question: Why are we taking these precautions?
Answer: We are seeking to observe the directives and guidelines provided by the Governor of Montana and the Flathead City-County Health Department. We are also seeking to love one another well and consider those who are more vulnerable or cautious about social gatherings. This is a good time for us to remember that “love does not insist on its own way” (1 Cor. 13:5).
Dear Grace Church,
We are encouraged by the recent updated Montana state guidelines for gathering as we walk through the current pandemic together. Unfortunately, our facility is not large enough to maintain the required social distancing guidelines for a congregation of our size. As a result, in the near term, we will continue to provide online sermons and worship. We all all eager to resume meeting together as soon as it is logistically feasible and safe to do so.
As we look at logistics and timing to be together again, we would like to know how many people in our congregation are able and willing to return to church. We have sent a brief survey to the members will help us get a more precise count of people that will return to church and the health conditions most important to you. This will give your leaders the information needed to determine space constraints, timing, and help us plan accordingly.
Although being apart is not what any of us would prefer, there is one immediate option for gathering that we can celebrate: With these updated guidelines comes the opportunity for you to gather with other families in homes for worship on Sunday! Please feel free to invite others to worship with you if you feel comfortable doing so. When a group of less than 10 people gather, social distancing is recommended but not required in the current phase. For families gathering together that have groups of more than 10 (especially with small children), please take careful consideration of the social distancing guidelines in the location where you gather. As always, our care for each other includes the health considerations of each person in our congregation.
We will continue to look ahead to returning to worship all together at the church building, and acknowledge that we will face limitations in corporate fellowship even when we are all together again.
Thanks again to everyone for your ongoing patience, care for one another, and serving one another in ways we could not have imagined a few months ago.
Grace Church Elders"
March 18, 2020
Dear Grace Church Family,
In the light of the developing situation with the COVID-19/Coronavirus, and out of respect for the recommendations of the CDC, The President, and our local Flathead City-County Health Dept., the elders have decided to cancel all Grace Church related ministries and gatherings until further notice.
It is a great disappointment not to gather together but we believe that doing our small part to slow the process of the infection will both help to protect the vulnerable among our congregation and be good neighbors in our community. Understanding that this is the spirit behind the government recommendations, we would encourage you to consider avoiding any unnecessary face to face meetings, even in groups less than 10.
Our goal in leading the church through this time is to be hopeful, wise, loving, and unanxious. We admit there is still so much we do not know, but heeding the recommendations from our Federal and State leaders is the way we honor them as the Lord taught us. As circumstances continue to change, we will do our best to make necessary adjustments. For now, we are instituting a few changes that we want you to be aware of immediately.
First, beginning Sunday, we will be streaming a simplified worship service. Exact details about the service will be sent to you in the next couple of days. We would encourage you, parents, to make the very most of this time with your children.
Second, we recognize that streaming a service is no replacement for a gathering of our church. In an attempt to keep people connected and to minimize feelings of isolation, we have created a plan to attempt to address those needs. Largely depending on our Community Groups, we have attempted to connect everyone who attends Grace to a group of people that can pray, encourage, and serve one another while we are not meeting. You will be contacted soon in regard to this arrangement.
Finally, for your convenience, we are also going to be setting up an online giving platform so that we can continue to pay our necessary expenses and be able to help others if/when financial needs arise. In regard to financial help, we will be taking up our special offering this week for the Deacons Fund instead of the scheduled Seminary Scholarship fund. We will send more information regarding this in the near future so
that you can get started with online giving if you choose to do so.
Friends, these are unprecedented times with truly unprecedented opportunities. At this point, I would encourage you to increase your own efforts in your devotions and prayer.
As individuals and as families, build better habits of praying for one another. In the weeks to come, we hope to give more suggestions of ways we can take gospel-advantage
of this moment in time.
Blessings dear friends,