COVID-19 Updates

Dear Grand Lake Church Family,
I am pleased to inform you that as the Governor is working to reopen the state economy, the Bishop has approved churches to reopen for in-person worship services beginning Sunday, May 24th. Much like with the economy, however, this reopening includes several precautions and restrictions to keep us safe. As such, church services will look, feel and sound different for the foreseeable future. Here are some of the things that will be different:
• Every other pew will be blocked off to help ensure social distancing.
• Congregants will be asked to maintain a 6’ “bubble” around themselves/their families.
• If the Sanctuary becomes full based on social distancing guidelines, the Fellowship Hall will be used as an overflow location with worship services on the TVs. Sanctuary seating will be first come, first served, so please don’t wait until the last minute to arrive.
• The Montezuma campus will remain closed for the time being based on our limited ability to clean and sanitize multiple locations (cleaning supplies very limited, too) and to allow the pastoral staff to perform duties normally performed by lay servants on Sunday mornings.
• Everyone in Worship will be required to wear a mask (per the Bishop).
• Songs will be sung by leaders on the chancel in an effort to avoid spreading the virus through congregational singing (no choir).
• No paper bulletins or passing the offering plate (offering baskets at the entrance/exit).
• No ushers or greeters.
• Use only the two sets of Lobby doors, which will be propped open.
• No fellowship time with coffee and cookies.
• No children’s classes, nursery, youth at the Greenhouse, or adult Sunday School classes (Room 201 will be open to parents with children in the event of a full-scale meltdown).
• Congregation will be released by row at the end of the service to minimize contact.
We will evaluate things every week and make adjustments and improvements as we go. This is new for all of us, so please bear with us. As Governor DeWine continues to say, “We’re all in this together.” With that said, please continue being kind, gracious and respectful to one another. Remember Wesley’s Three Simple Rules: (1) Do no harm; (2) Do good; and (3) Stay in love with God. All of these precautions and restrictions are done with the intent of doing no harm as we continue working together to do good and help one another stay in love with God.
We are putting together a plan now to reopen the church to small group ministries as well, including recovery groups. We hope to be able to do that in June, but a lot depends on how things go the next few weeks, and on the availability of supplies for cleaning and sanitizing spaces. When we are ready to resume small groups, we will contact group leaders to schedule days, times and locations in an effort to ensure proper social distancing and cleaning and sanitizing measures. In the meantime, all meal ministries will continue with their current schedule and be served as carry-out only at least thru the month of May. Again, please bear with us as we are learning as we go.
Let me share one final thought with those who are in the high-risk category based on age and/or health issues. Please don’t feel like you have to be here simply because the church building reopens. It is not a sin to keep yourself safe and healthy. You can still connect with your church family by watching worship online until such a time as you feel safe to return in person. If you need help connecting online, please call the church office.
The staff will continue to monitor the situation and recommendations from the Governor, health officials and the Bishop regarding best practices for safe gatherings, inspiring worship, and nurturing one another in faith. We will make improvements whenever and wherever possible, and we’ll keep you informed of all changes. In the meantime, let’s continue to be in prayer for the eradication of this virus and thank God for keeping us safe and connected, even in these difficult and trying times. Truly, we are all in this together because “we are the church!”
Pastor Mick