July 25-26, 2020 Update from PJ + Mary
I’m excited to announce in-person worship services for Grace Church! That’s what Mary and I talk about in our brief weekly message that you’ll see here.
In summary form, weighing the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of our church family and our community, here’s what the Elder team has decided: we will have weekly outdoor services at Olmsted Falls beginning Sunday, August 16, and a weekly indoor service at Middleburg Heights beginning Saturday, August 22.
Outdoor service on Sundays starting August 16
• Live outdoor worship service on Sunday at 5pm, and if registration fills up, we’ll add another service at 7pm. I mentioned a different time in the video, but we’ve changed that since recording. We’ll start on August 16 and go for 6-8 weeks depending on how the service is received, how the COVID crisis develops, etc.
• A registration link will open the week prior that allows for 350 cars in a parking lot that has approx 400 spaces.
• The map shows where the platform will be, allowing people to either sit closer on the grass, or in their cars further away. The boulevard will be closed right at the point where you can take a right or left into parking lots, freeing up the boulevard to be additional seating areas (blankets, lawn chairs).
• People will have the option to remain in their cars or find a place to sit next to their cars or in one of many grassy areas. Masks will be worn from a person’s vehicle until the place they end up sitting; they can be removed at that point if they are socially distanced from those around them. Bathrooms in the building will be open.
• We’ll have a special section for elderly and those who have a family member with special needs so they can have a prime view (assuming many of them will remain in their vehicles). The goal is to have an FM transmitter so that audio of the service can be heard in people’s vehicles.
• The message will be the same as our other weekend services. We will continue to have 5 livestream online services, as we have been doing, for anyone who prefers to watch a service from home and avoid gatherings in these uncertain times.
• Weather issues: an announcement will be made 3 hours in advance if it appears that rain will require the outdoor service to be cancelled (we’ll send an email to all those who have registered, plus post on our website); anyone will be able to engage with our livestream service instead.
• Some advantages of the outdoor option: it allows for people to remove their mask during worship; it helps parents who have young children (preferable to being in a worship center seat); it gives those with health vulnerabilities the option to remain in their cars and still be part of a service with others. As we have mentioned this idea to others we have had very positive responses, including from people who are hesitant to attend an indoor service.
Indoor service on Saturday mornings starting August 22
• We’ll have a max capacity of 350 people in the service on Saturday, 11:30am, starting on August 22. This is when we’ll record the service that is then livestreamed five times. If we have more people who sign up than can fit in the Worship Center, we’ll open the Activity Center for another 200 people to gather. A registration link will open the week prior.
• Masks will be required of all attendees. We will have masks available at the welcome area for those who did not bring one.
• We will strongly encourage at-risk groups to stay home or attend the outdoor service; of course, if you are sick please stay home.
• To enable social distancing, alternate rows will be roped off and we’ll leave 3 empty seats between groups. We’ll ask people to refrain from shaking hands, hugging, etc.
• There will be no onsite children’s ministries at this time. They will be welcome, of course, at either the indoor or outdoor services.
• The facility will continue to be sanitized regularly according to best practices.
• We will continue to provide a digital bulletin, connect card, and notes. The offering will be taken digitally, or people are welcome to use secure boxes that will be provided.
Livestream services 5 times every weekend
There will be many folks at Grace who are excited to join a worship gathering like this. Others will feel more comfortable continuing to worship at home. We affirm either of those decisions and simply want each person to grow in their love for Jesus! These are unusual days for our nation and the world; let’s ask the Lord to make our light even brighter, and our impact greater.
This picture is a reminder of our desire to be a “house of prayer for all nations,” a safe place for all cultures that helps us be a small foretaste of heaven. So…we’re excited to see our multi-language sign back up at Grace as of this week! It had been taken down during renovations 18 months ago, for the repainting of the walls.
Hope you’ll be able to engage in our worship services this weekend: today at 5pm, or Sunday at 9:00, 10:30, 12:00, and 6:00. Anyone can participate at facebook.com/gracecmachurch or http://live.gracecma.org/.
Love from Mary, too.
Pastor Jonathan Schaeffer
Senior Pastor, Grace Church