Hey Grace Hills family!
Boxer Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” I’ve said since we stopped gathering publicly in March that any plans we make will be 1.) subject to change and 2.) reevaluated weekly.
So we’re changing the plan, and we’re reevaluating weekly.
Presently, until further notice:
1.) We will NOT be gathering publicly at our campus on Sundays.
(It was previously announced we would begin public gatherings on June 7, but this is no longer the case for reasons mentioned below.)
2.) We WILL be hosting worship services online each Sunday at 10:00 am.
3.) We DO encourage small groups to gather if they are able to do so in an open space with proper social distancing.
We’re trying to accomplish two things right now. First, to be a thriving, purpose driven community of Christ followers. And second, to be wise and careful with people’s lives.
As you may have heard, Arkansas’ coronavirus numbers are trending upward. You might have also seen the headlines concerning infections, deaths, and reclosings at churches throughout the southeast with the CDC releasing a widely publicized case study on one in Arkansas. Evidence shows that church worship services are a prime opportunity for the virus to spread because people are coming from different neighborhoods and sharing the same airspace for an hour or more.
While our state government has, in kindness, allowed for the reopening of churches (with many restrictions and precautions in place), the Governor is still limiting indoor events to a total attendance of 50 or less.
For us to host a public worship gathering in our facility right now would mean having to ask attenders to RSVP in advance, limit the attendance to 50 per service, have people file in, with masks on, staying six feet from other family units, not shaking hands, not serving coffee, not singing, and not opening any childcare or children or youth classes, passively watching people on stage worship and preach, then being dismissed by rows. We would also encourage people who are vulnerable because of age or immune deficiency to watch online instead of attending in person.
In other words, right now, we could not safely gather as Grace Hills Church in our facility in a way that represents our values and our culture. However, we CAN continue to BE the church to our community and to each other.
Grace Hills began as a church that grew from a few families to over 80 people before we ever hosted a public weekend worship service. We are not driven by the Sunday service, our physical building, or any particular tradition. We are driven by God’s purposes.
As a purpose driven church, we want to challenge you to keep on living out our beliefs and values in the following ways:
- Joining us online each Sunday at 10:00 am on our website or our Facebook page.
- Inviting others by sharing online about these services and loving your neighbors in Jesus’ name.
- Giving to support the ministry and to provide financial relief to families and organizations with whom we partner.
- Participating in a small group and other ministry opportunities.
- Loving one another by reaching out, staying in touch, and encouraging fellow believers.
We’re going to shine the light and show a lot of love. And when we’re able to gather again in our facility as safely as possible, we’re going to celebrate all the lives changed by the gospel even through a season of being unable to meet physically.
Thanks so much for your support. Keep holding each other up, lifting each other up, and building each other up!
Pastor Brandon Cox
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!