Grace’s Response to COVID-19
With over 800 participants in 50 groups, Neighborhood Care Groups are now live! It’s exciting to see how neighbors are connecting and sharing ways to care for each other. It’s not too late to join! Please complete the form here to sign up, and if you are already in a group, make sure you have created a Realm account. This will allow you to post ideas and connect with group members. Create a Realm account here.
Realm is Grace’s main communication tool. In Realm, you can manage your own information, choose how to best receive notifications, give and register for events.
New to Grace? We would love to meet you…digitally. Please complete our Guest Connect Card.
Sundays • 9:15am • facebook.com/grace360
To encourage community interaction and provide a platform where you can share the Grace online experience with others in your network, join us on Sundays for the sermon broadcast on Facebook. It is exciting to see how the Church all over the world is thriving with technology to connect with others, care for people and congregate virtually as they dig into God’s Word and worship together.
Upon the conclusion of the broadcast, we’ll share a link with resources for you to use to continue the worship experience at home with prayer prompts, sermon questions for adults, links to worship music, an opportunity to give, a Grace Kids video and family devotional, and more. If you are unable to participate in Facebook, please visit this webpage a little later on Sunday morning. The sermon and all resources will be accessible on our website for everyone.
Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we are continuing to develop technology and implement new ways to do ministry in these quickly evolving circumstances.
These are strange times and uncharted waters for Grace, our city and our world. As we reflect in years to come, it will be the year that a new coronavirus rocked our daily lives. For most of us, we never lived through a time when guidelines told us where we can go and what we can do. Our jobs, our schools, our social habits—it’s all new territory, and we are learning to navigate this together.
Yes, we are in this together and need to remember that. Even though we may be separated by physical distance, the body of Christ is the body of Christ, and our goal is to care for each other well, encourage one another and continue to unite together to represent God’s presence in this world. We are still an active church. We are called to love God and others, share the Gospel and honor the Lord in all we do no matter where we are. Lean into that, and begin praying about how you can thrive under current circumstances.
We also want to share a few logistical details with you in this email today.
- Grace will be suspending in-person, on-campus worship services and programs through April 30, 2020. The latest city ordinance that was announced today (March 17, 2020) indicates that we cannot gather with more than 10 people in a room at one time. We will do our best to keep you informed of program schedules.
- Grace is online! As hundreds of you experienced with our sermon on Sunday, March 15 through Facebook, we are going to be unfolding more ways to connect in the coming days and weeks in our already established ministries. Please be on the lookout for communications from pastors and leaders of the ministries in which you regularly participate. Join us at 9:15am at facebook.com/grace360 for Sunday’s sermon, and please continue to check updates found on our website regularly.
- The Grace office is currently closed. We are spending the days deep-cleaning and working on plans to connect and encourage you even while we can’t congregate. And during this time, we want those who are in our office to feel safe and have limited exposure to other people.
- If you need to speak with a pastor, please email email@example.com or call us at 512.345.7840. We know that there are many who are struggling spiritually and emotionally. We don’t want you to struggle alone. Pastors will be happy to pray with you. Remember, we are the body of Christ, and even if we are physically separated, you are not alone. As a church, we want to care for each other. We are working diligently to answer the question, “How do we facilitate ministry when we can’t congregate?” We want to encourage you to reach out to your friends, your family, your Life Group, your Communities—those who are connected to you and know you well. Don’t get isolated or leave others isolated.
- Generosity is still encouraged and welcomed. We know that many of you may be financially impacted through job and income loss due to closed businesses. However, if you are able, we would like to encourage you to continue a generous spirit with your regular giving habits, even when we are not meeting in person on Sundays. We are very much an active, busy organization, including caring for Grace employees. We also support many organizations and missionaries who will continue to rely on our church’s financial gifts. To make a one-time gift or set up reoccurring giving, please visit grace360.org/give. If you would like to mail a check, our address is 9508 Jollyville Road Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78759.
Thank you for being a part of our church family! Today, the elders gave the staff a new thematic goal for the next three months—thrive. We are asking you to join us, not to survive, but to thrive in this period. Thrive in your spiritual life, your personal life and as a person whose trust is in the Lord, not our circumstances. You and I have permission to THRIVE.
Grace Covenant Church
Grace will be broadcasting the sermons at facebook.com/grace360 on Sundays at 9:15am while we are unable to meet on campus. For a full online worship experience—including prayer prompts, worship music, an opportunity to give, a Grace Kids video and family discipleship, and more—visit grace360.org/online-worship on Sundays after the Facebook broadcast of the sermon is complete. Worship with us from wherever you are!
Grace will be suspending in-person, on-campus worship services and programs through April 30, 2020. The latest city ordinance that was announced on March 17, 2020, indicates that we cannot gather with more than 10 people in a room at one time. We will continue to update the timeline and information as the situation develops. Thank you for your patience!
Some of you have asked whether or not your Life Group (small group) can continue to meet while we are not gathering in large groups on Grace’s campus.
We encourage you to make choices for your own groups and what works best. If you are uncomfortable meeting with others in small groups, having people in your home, aren’t feeling well or at high-risk, talk with your group and postpone for a while. If you are comfortable with your small group gathering, we encourage you to continue meeting. If you are unable to get together in person, consider how you can group text, share thoughts in emails, call each other regularly or even video chat during this time to continue to talk through sermons and encourage each other.
In light of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Grace is suspending worship services and all ministries on Sunday, March 15, and all weekday ministries will be suspended for two weeks, beginning Monday, March 16.
As we continue to navigate this evolving situation, we will do our best to keep grace360.org/covid19 up to date with any changes. In the meantime, we’d like to answer a few questions that you may have.
- How can I get the latest information from Grace?
We use Realm as a communications tool. If you have an account, please update your information (the best email for you, phone numbers and date of birth). If you do not have an account, please create one. You can find instructions for either at grace360.org/realm.
- Where will Sunday’s sermon be posted?
At 9:15am on Sunday, we will broadcast the sermon for this week on facebook.com/grace360. Although it will not be the same as gathering in person, we hope that you can join your church family online to view the sermon together. You will also be able to find it later at grace360.org/sermons.
- What about Celebrate Recovery?
In light of COVID-19 (coronavirus), all ministries have been suspended. If you are looking to connect with Celebrate Recovery, please email Robin Wieber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What can I do?
Pray. Join with Christians in Austin to pray for our city, country and world on Monday, March 16 from noon-1pm from wherever you are. We believe in a loving God who is in control and the power of prayer.
Thank you for your flexibility. We will continue to keep you informed as our circumstances evolve and pray that you and yours remain healthy.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Grace Covenant Church
In light of the COVID-19 virus, I want to remind you of some precautions that we all take during cold and flu season, and also let you know more about what Grace is doing in response. First, we have an opportunity to pray and choose not to live in fear while also taking steps to live wisely. As we have been reading in the Old Testament, when the people of God respond in faith they become the beneficiaries of God’s faithfulness. Our God has the power to intervene in this current crisis. It just takes a few to stand with the Lord and the whole world will be blessed.
Second, let’s all choose to do good toward each other:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly for as long as it takes you to sing the chorus of your favorite song. Avoid touching your face as much as possible; easier said than done, right?
- Cover when you sneeze or cough and avoid shaking hands. We’ll suspend for this season: “greeting each other with a holy kiss.”
- If you or your children aren’t feeling well, as with any illness, please choose to stay home. If you are going to miss church, you can watch the sermon at grace360.org/sermons; it will be posted by Monday afternoon each week.
- If you are in a high-risk health group, have preexisting conditions or are elderly, please exercise extra caution to protect your well-being.
- At Grace, we already take measures to sanitize surfaces, especially in buildings with our children’s ministries, and we will increase those efforts during this season. We have hand sanitizer located around the facility. We’ll continue to take wise measures to protect everyone.
Finally, it is important that we have quick access to communicate with you during the week. We will communicate through Realm, our website, social media and other means to keep you informed. But it is only as effective as you linking into those channels. At the bottom of our homepage at www.grace360.org you will find the ways to connect into our communication strategies.
Thank you for joining us in prayer as we live confidently in God’s love and faithfulness.
Grace Covenant Church