grace bible fellowship's covid-19 response
GBF Return to services
Dear GBF Family,
On behalf of the Council, I pray you are doing well during the current Stay at Home order, which extends until June 12. This has been a very challenging season for us all. A huge "Thank You" goes to our pastoral staff for their faithfulness and hard work in leading the effort to produce our weekly service video and finding ways to keep us connected through Bible studies, online meetings, and (very limited!) opportunities for us to meet in a safe manner.
You may have heard in the last week or two that President Trump deemed churches as 'essential' to society and therefore should be allowed to reopen. Our best understanding of the Michigan law is that churches were never officially "closed," but rather that we voluntarily agreed not to meet in order to protect our community and maintain a good testimony to our neighbors (Romans 13:1-2). Our original letter to the congregation (dated March 14th) stated that we were voluntarily suspending activities at our church facility until May 30. Today, we are excited to inform you of our plans to reopen, which will come with guidelines for maintaining as much safety and security as possible for everyone.
Timeline for Returning to Services
June 7th - Next week, GBF Staff, Elders, Deacons and their families are invited to meet for a morning worship service. This will allow the leadership to be able to answer questions and guide others through policies and procedures the following Sunday. A time of prayer and final discussion of plans to return to worship will follow. We will make every effort to transition to live streaming this service either on YouTube or Facebook. We will also provide an open forum Zoom meeting for all members of the congregation to ask questions and express any concerns. We will communicate these details to you as soon as possible.
June 14th - The entire GBF church family is invited to attend. Seating will be arranged in family "pods" (6-10 seats) around the auditorium. Please refer to the attached Guidelines for returning to service.
June 21st - Similar to the previous week, the entire GBF family is invited to attend. Plan on some changes taking place between the 14th and the 21st, as we will learn some things and attempt to improve our processes and procedures. Direction from governmental authorities could change in this time as well, and we will respond accordingly. Any changes will be communicated to you as early as possible.
June 28th - Our annual congregational meeting is scheduled for this day. Please plan to come to celebrate the successes of the past year of ministry, vote on next year's budget, and ask any additional questions you may have.
We are so thankful for your patience and faithfulness to the ministry during the past two months. We will make every effort to return to regular gatherings together (including youth and children's ministries) as soon as possible, with deference to 'best practices' as recommended by the CDC and any additional guidelines put forward by the State of Michigan.
We will also make every effort to continue to minister virtually and in other ways to those who are vulnerable or who feel unsafe or just plain uncomfortable with returning to services at this point. Please be in prayer for us as your leadership and as we make decisions going forward in a very uncertain time. Wherever you find yourself in response to the pandemic, we love you and are praying for you, and we hope to see you again face to face very soon!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, as staff member, or any elder or deacon.
Grace and peace,
President, GBF Council
May 30th, 2020