Our Response to COVID-19 and Public Health Mandates
June 3, 2021
Dear GBC Family, Friends, and Guests,
Our core church leadership is comfortable to no longer request that our church family and friends wear masks while on church premises. Masks (along with social distancing and using sanitizers) will now be entirely optional per individual choice.
However, it is important that we be respectful of everyone's decisions. Some in our church membership (along with guests--present and future) may not be in the same place, and we must be sensitive to others who believe differently.
Please note that interior signs, sanctuary cones, etc. pertaining to COVID-19 have now been removed.
November 20, 2020
Dear GBC Family, Friends, and Guests,
The leadership of Grace Baptist Church is committed to keeping our congregation safe and healthy to the best of our ability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines remain very important. Therefore, this congregation will continue to practice the CDC basic recommendations of (1) wearing face masks, (2) washing our hands frequently (soap, sanitizer), and (3) social distancing during this pandemic. Our church will prayerfully seek to make the best decisions possible based upon prayerful guidance, congregational feedback, and governmental recommendations.
In His Service,
July 28, 2020
Upon prayerful reflection, our church leadership (pastor, leadership team, deacons) has determined that it is best to maintain a “Modified Phase 2” protocol until we see better advances toward mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, we will continue with safety measures that are currently in place (masks, distancing, sanitizer, etc.) while meeting on Sunday mornings for worship service and Wednesday evenings for Bible study—both events to be held in the sanctuary for now. We will not seat our choir nor advance into Phase 3 at this point in time.
I will continue to pray while monitoring the coronavirus situation and seek to move us forward as safely as possible. Thank you for your understanding during these challenging days. God bless you!
June 20, 2020
Yes, the time has come for us, as Christ’s body, to begin meeting again in-person for worship [Flash teaching—Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:25)].
Each church body and its leadership must make these difficult decisions during this time of global pandemic. No, COVID-19 has not been eradicated, so we must learn to adapt and thrive among our circumstances.
Therefore, we shall pursue a measured response starting with our first Sunday morning back (6-14-2020, 11:00A) to move back into the rhythms of church life as much as possible. Click here for a file that provides a schedule for our church reopening through the summer months.
Click here for the Governor's Executive Order guiding our decisions.
Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Executive Order.
Now, regarding some details for Sunday mornings:
(1) Entry and exit. Please use the main sanctuary doors facing Highway 220 to enter and exit the church building.
(2) Masks. Governor Northam has mandated the wearing of face masks for indoor public events, including worship services. Exceptions to this guideline are allowed by law under certain conditions, e.g., while Rhonda is leading music and while I am in the pulpit. Surgical masks have been ordered for our church family and friends should someone forget to bring their own. I have also attached two files for your review [Flash teaching—Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God . . . (Romans 13:1-2)].
(3) Seating. We must honor social distancing to stay safer while together by asking our congregants to strive to maintain a distance of at least six (6) feet apart during our worship event. Members of individual households may be seated together but households should be spaced throughout the sanctuary before, during, and after worship services. So, please find “your special spot” and claim it from Sunday-to-Sunday during these days of restrictions. These actions will also minimize exposure to others belongings regarding the touching and handling of spaces and materials (seat coverings, hymnals, pew railings, etc.). Our deacons (ushers) are asked to help us administer and maintain these guidelines for the congregation’s safety. Also, hand sanitizer has been ordered for you to use as necessary.
(4) Restrooms. Please use the restrooms in the hallway directly behind the sanctuary. This effort will minimize the amount of spaces that will need special cleaning between services.
(5) Children. We have suspended the Sunday morning Children’s Message and Sunday Morning Nursery for now. However, PLEASE feel free to bring your children to church and allow them to sit with you during the service—no problem.
(6) Tithes & Offerings. Two offering plates, manned by our deacons, will be placed in the front and rear sanctuary areas to receive your gifts to God rather than us take up the Sunday morning offering as normal. This method will satisfy another governor mandate that materials are not to be passed along from person-to-person.
(7) Respect. I have casually noticed over the course of my Christian life that the exercise of Christian liberties are directly related to Christian maturity I ask, kindly, that you restrict some of your individual rights and freedoms during the pandemic (use of masks, social distancing rules, etc.) in view of thinking of others within our sanctuary and church spaces. Yes, anyone within our congregation can enter the sanctuary on any given Sunday morning and parade his/her God-given rights as an individual, as an American, and as a Christian and have privilege to stand upon. However, Jesus said that our love and Christian witness to others was far more important than any personal rights we may possess. So, please be especially respectful to your brothers and sisters during these days of unrest and allow the Lord to work His sovereign will among us and among the world at large. [Flash teaching—But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak . . . the brother for whose sake Christ died. And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ (1 Corinthians 8:9-12)].
In closing . . . Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). In Christ, DEW.
Dr. Dennis E. Wingate, Pastor