Grace's Plan for April

Dear Grace family,

How is everyone doing? I'm glad to hear from people who are checking in on each other. It's important work. Who are five people you can call today? And how do we ensure we're not all calling the same five people?? Food for thought.

Many thanks to everyone who is tuning in to the Facebook Live worship service on Sundays. It's been both effective and frustrating. Did you know: both Sundays the service has reached more than 1000 people? Christy noticed that during the first broadcast people from every church we have served, including our British churches, participated. So we are expanding our reach! It's been frustrating in that the service has been spotty. We have increased our service and upgraded our equipment, so this Sunday should have better quality. We'll be able to continue the broadcasts on a permanent basis even after in-person services resume. Keep watching and sharing!

I really need to stop here and thank Tom Busby for the above and beyond work he has done for the church. Not only is he heading up our newly formed and evolving Church Council; he has worked diligently to find the best equipment and practices to make our technology better and more accessible. Thank you, Tom!

Speaking of online worship, our Church Council met via Zoom, an online video conference tool, last night. The decision was made to continue the closure of the building through April 30, which, of course, includes Holy Week and Easter services. Office hours will continue to be limited to 9:00-12:00 noon, Monday - Thursday. Here's the new schedule for services, all to be broadcast online:
Sunday, March 29: 10:00 a.m.
Palm Sunday, April 5: 10:00 a.m.
Holy Thursday, April 8: 7:00 p.m.
Good Friday, April 9: 12:00 noon
Easter Sunday, April 12: 7:00 (sunrise from the park) and 10:00 a.m.
Sunday, April 19: 10:00 a.m.
Sunday, April 26: 10:00 a.m.

Three of those services, April 5, 8, and 12, are communion services. Instead of communion by intinction, we ordered many self-serve individual servings, the kind we use for homebound ministry. During office hours next week, come by to pick up three servings per family member. We will have a special liturgy for online communion, and will share the Eucharist at the same time during the service. If you cannot come by the church, we can bring it to you; or, if you have your own stash of bread and juice, use that.

Our team also decided to continue paying our hourly employees even while we are away from the building on Sundays and Wednesdays. Our giving is slightly less than what we anticipated at this time of year, but not to the point of concern. Thanks to those of you who have moved to online giving or gifts through the website. We are also mindful of those who are experiencing diminished or lost work and income. Our prayers are with you.

Many of us are worried, stressed, and unsure about the future. Thank you to our healthcare providers who are risking their own well being for others. Thank you to our teachers and administrators, learning "on the fly" how to transition to online teaching so our students do not experience decline. Pray for our leaders to make decisions for the common good.

Let's continue to do whatever we can to protect the health of our community-- spiritual and physical-- here at Grace and beyond. For the first four centuries of the Christian movement, believers had no buildings at all; they met in homes or in secret after dark. Our building, as wonderful as it is, does not define us as a church. It's our connections to each other and love for Christ.

Remember the Bible's most common three word command: "Do not fear."

All Grace is Amazing!
- Pastor Frank