Session Update 05/21/20
Session and staff have been meeting frequently to begin developing a plan to reopen the church. But we need to hear from you, the members of the congregation about your questions and concerns, your desires and needs. So that we can prepare to worship and gather again in ways that are meaningful and inclusive of as much of our congregation as possible. Church is not one-size-fits-all; and that is certainly true as we weigh the benefits and risks of returning. We also want to ensure that we continue to offer online worship and new ways of staying current and connected to those for whom retuning might not be an option right away. Click on the link to pull up a short survey. Print, complete and return the survey by mail or scan and email to the church office. The survey will also be an insert in this month’s Grace Notes newsletter.
When Your World Falls Apart–Pastor Karen’s devotional for this week.
Psalm 29 and these dreams from Pastor Karen.
A devotion about a mother’s influence from Pastor Karen.
Grace Covenant mission and ministry will continue online and physically separated for a few more weeks. Session has extended the suspension of “in-person” worship and other church activities through Memorial Day weekend. Stay current and connected to your church here on the church website, by following us on Facebook and by subscribing through the church office to weekly email updates.
A devotional from Pastor Karen for those who are in need of a quest.
Pastor Karen with a devotional for Earth Day this week.
Session has extended the suspension of “in-person” worship and other church gatherings through May 10. We will continue to worship online–including a “simulcast” celebration of communion on May 3. Prior to joining us for worship on the 3rd, gather bread and juice to share with your household. We will bless the elements in the sanctuary and invite all to partake together wherever we are. As part of our Mother’s Day service on May 10, we will upload a montage of photos of our mothers to share. Email a photo of your mom (with you if desired) to the church office and we will use it to create a “montage of moms.” No personal information will be included other than your name, e.g., “Sue and her mom” or “Bob’s mother and grandmother”; and the montage will be taken down after the service.
Being the Church
Miss Sheryl has a friend who has some wise words to share.
Pastor Karen’s devotional for this week–Where We Need to Be
Good Friday Meditation
At the Foot of the Cross.
Good Friday Prayer Vigil
A Holy Week devotional–Waiting in the Dark–from Pastor Karen.
We are continuing to love our neighbors by staying home. Session has extended the suspension of in-person worship and other church gatherings through the end of April. The church will remain closed except to staff and volunteers performing essential services, and our resident ministry partners at Small Blessings and Meals on Wheels who are keeping essential workers in our community on the job and delivering meals to shut-ins.
Worship services, including Holy Week services for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Easter, will be available online through the church web-site worship/sermons tab and links on Facebook. Stay connected and current by checking the web-site, following the church on Facebook or subscribing to the weekly newsletter. Call or email the church office to subscribe and for pastoral care concerns and questions.
The work of the church continues and so does the need to support critical church operations. Those who are able are encouraged to mail tithes and offerings to the church office or to make a one-time or recurring donation through the church web-site. Please reach out as well to support and provide for your neighbors and local communities. The church buildings may be closed but we are Christ’s body, called to love one another.
By now you may have heard about the Orange County “Stay at Home” Order which goes into effect at 11:00 pm March 26 and remains in effect until 11:00 pm April 9. The “Stay at Home” order makes an exception for religious services but we are urged to limit gatherings.
Section 2 Non-Essential Businesses and Essential Businesses:
(e) This Order does not limit religious or funeral services at any location, but all persons leading, performing or attending religious or funeral services are urged to fully comply with all measures advised by the CDC, including limiting gatherings to not more than ten (10) people and practicing social distancing of at least six (6) feet between persons.
Session previously voted to suspend in-person worship services and much of the use of the property through April 5 (Palm Sunday.) The suspension is extended through and including April 12 (Easter Sunday). The church office will also be closed during this period except to a few staff members performing essential services.
Although normal church operations and usage have been disrupted, we are still called to be the church and the work of the church will continue. Prayers are being prayed. We are caring for one another and our community. Worship services are being recorded and posted on the church website and Facebook page. Children are learning through their own Grace Kids Now YouTube channel with activities delivered to them. Youth are preparing for Youth Sunday. The phones are being forwarded; contributions are being received by mail and on-line, and the bills are being paid; the property is being kept in good repair; and everything will be ready for the day when we can come together to glorify God in body as well as spirit.
Thank you for your prayers and the many words of encouragement as we continue to trust in God’s protection and provision.
Parish Associate Karen Estes with how hard it is not to worry.
Children’s Ministry Update
Attention Church Family — Invite your children to journey along with Ms. Sheryl our Children’s Ministry Director. Each day she will be posting a short video on GRACE KIDS NOW – it’s our new children’s You Tube site. Here is the link that takes you to the first video – don’t forget to subscribe and join the adventure!
New Parish Associate Karen Estes shares her devotional for Saint Patrick’s Day. Click on the video below.
COVID-19 Initial Update
Grace Covenant Family of Faith,
We have continued to closely monitor the situation involving COVID-19, not just here in our community but around the country. Advisories from government health agencies have made clear that slowing the spread of the virus is best done by limiting gatherings; and we are committed to doing our part here at Grace Covenant to support those most at risk. Session voted this morning to temporarily suspend “in-person” worship services and all church ministries, programs and events through Palm Sunday (March 22, March 29 and April 5.) Session will be reconvening this week and as needed to re-evaluate.
We are still the church and we will continue to worship, fellowship, study, serve and support the church. We are already posting sermons on-line and we will expand that service to include music and prayer. http://www.grace.to/worship/sermons/. Classes and meetings are shifting to virtual formats. We will serve the community as we are able. And we need everyone to continue to support the church through our tithes and offerings by mailing them to the church office at 1655 Peel Ave., Orlando, 32806. You can also make a one-time or recurring donation on-line through the Grace Covenant web-site at http://www.grace.to/online-giving/.
Your church staff will continue to work and the office will remain open as we implement ways to keep vital church functions continuing and to remain in contact with you. Call the church office at 407-898-6571 if you have questions or need assistance. The pastors are also available by phone or email to respond to care concerns or emergencies.
More information will be posted on the church web-site, the church Facebook page, and by email. To receive weekly updates by email, send a request to the church office at ChurchOffice@grace.to.
As we find new ways to love one another and to love our neighbors, be reminded that God is with us. Nothing can separate us from that truth. May God’s presence and perfect peace be with you this day and every day.