Hey Grace Hills family!
The whole world is suffering, and America in particular. Here in the state of Arkansas, we continue to see high numbers of new COVID-19 infections each day and school is going to begin in just a few weeks.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been online-only for eighteen weeks, and that’s a looooong time to go between seeing the rest of the body of Christ as we worship together.
We’re trying to walk the tightrope between faith and wisdom while doing everything under the banner of love.
On Sunday, August 2, we will begin to meet in-person again for weekly worship services at our campus in Bentonville, but you must know in advance that things aren’t “going back to normal.” We’re going to find a new normal.
More than ever, we need to see ourselves as a church, scattered. While some people may be able to join us on Sundays in person, it will be a long time before everyone is able to confidently attend. We care deeply about those in our congregation who are aging or immune-compromised and want to make sure they feel as much a part of this body as those who are able to safely gather.
Our new normal, for at least the next few weeks, will look like this…
- We’re limiting seating to 100, less than half of our actual seating capacity, to allow for social distancing.
- We’re asking all attenders to RSVP in advance to 1) save a seat and 2) help us with contact tracing in the event of a positive case.
- We will not be offering any nursery or kids ministries until after Bentonville Schools are back in session, currently Sunday, August 30.
- We already have our building professionally cleaned each week, but we’re doing more in the way of disinfecting.
- We’re not serving any coffee or refreshments until further notice.
- We’re asking everyone to wear a mask *, to congregate outside instead of inside the lobby, and to reserve space around you.
This is different, and that’s okay. We want to invite you and warmly welcome you to join us in person this weekend. And if you are worried, or aging, or immune-compromised or especially vulnerable, we want you to know that you are just as much a part of our family when you watch online from home.
If you have any questions, use the form below to let us know.
Pastor Brandon Cox
* I know there are different opinions about the effectiveness of masks, but because we believe in deferring to one another and making allowance for each other, we’re going to do the safest and most loving thing we can do – lean into what experts and public health leaders are saying and wear a mask unless speaking or performing on stage.
And if you’re not sure where to find trustworthy information, we recommend these websites:
- The Arkansas Department of Health COVID-19 Case Map
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Page
- The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Page
- The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Coronavirus News Page (no subscription necessary for this page)
As You Pray Through This Difficult Season…
Our Men’s Pastor, Jared Lett, put together a special prayer guide to help you as you intercede for others during this season.
I wrote a blog post about how we approach this issue, spiritually speaking. Essentially,
Don’t live by fear, walk by faith. Don’t waste time worrying about tomorrow, but do wisely prepare for the future. And never, never stop loving your neighbors on Jesus’ behalf!