Regathering Update – June 26, 2020
Hello Grace Family,
In the wake of a worldwide pandemic, the agony of George Floyd’s death, and cultural division in an election year, we are reminded of the importance of our Grace family. We love this community. We are grateful for shoulders to cry on, for friends to laugh with, and for our reigning Lord who is sovereign in the midst of it all.
Let’s face it – these times are hard. We need one another more than ever. It is our hope that this regathering update, and the plan it outlines, will provide hope and facilitate meaningful relationships that lead to spiritual growth.
Starting the Regathering Process
Since our latest regathering update on June 5 (you can read it here), our team has continued to evaluate New York State guidelines daily, eager to execute a regathering plan when we felt the data provided by our governing authorities warranted prudent and decisive action.
During Governor Cuomo’s daily briefing on Sunday, June 7, he increased religious gathering allowances to 25% occupancy with social distancing guidelines for regions in Phase II of NY Forward. On Wednesday, June 17, the Capital Region progressed to Phase III, and gathering allowances for all social events increased from 10 to 25 people, with social distancing guidelines.
Further, we are encouraged that while COVID-19 cases are increasing in other areas of the United States, the Capital Region seems to be postured to enter Phase IV on July 1, 2020. In Phase IV, indoor religious gatherings will be allowed up to 33% occupancy and social gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed.
With these considerations in mind, Grace Fellowship has opted to cautiously and methodically begin the regathering process. Here’s what the Grace family can expect over the next three months.
Home Groups in July and August
Home Groups will gather to watch Grace at Home online services in July and August. We have been overjoyed by the stories the Grace family has shared about life change as we’ve worshipped in homes. We are making our lives our ministry!
Let’s amp up the momentum even further! Keep a lookout for a communication coming in early July that will announce the launch of an 8-week Home Group initiative. For 8-weeks, starting July 12, Grace Fellowship will pilot Home Group resources for both adults and children that will facilitate meaningful Home Group discussion.
More information to come, but in the meantime, reach out to your small group, neighbors, and friends, and make plans to gather in a home. You will have the opportunity to register your existing small group or group of friends to be a Home Group or sign up to find a Home Group and receive resources soon. But, no need to wait to meet for the launch on July 12! Home Groups have already started.
Limited Building Reopening
Starting Wednesday, July 1, Grace Fellowship will open their buildings for limited, pre-approved gatherings during the week. Each Campus Pastor and their staff team will navigate conversations with ministry leaders regarding the most strategic location for each ministry to gather, whether in our buildings or in homes, considering the social distancing realities in each campus facility and CDC sanitation guidelines.
Regathering for Weekend Services September 13
Grace Fellowship will regather in our buildings for weekend services on Sunday, September 13, following New York State guidelines in place at that date. If local public schools have reopened at that time, Grace Fellowship will offer children’s ministry immediately, following best safety practices.
We can’t wait for that day and are preparing now to make September 13 a reality. Two volunteer-only, soft-launch weekends will be held Sundays, August 23 and 30 to train staff and volunteers to safely follow New York State guidelines when we regather on September 13. Ministry leaders have begun preparing for these soft launches – recruiting volunteers, ordering CDC required equipment, etc. If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact your local campus team.
The past three months have taught us to plan well but hold expectations loosely. We plan to and believe strongly that we will regather for weekend services on September 13. However, in the case of a national second wave or resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the Capital Region, we will hold our expectations loosely, remaining flexible to whatever God has in store for our future. If, at any point, September 13 is no longer a viable regathering date, we will change plans swiftly and will keep the Grace family informed.
Please look out for a Home Group communication soon, and regularly check in to gracefellowship.com, our social media pages, and our weekly email.
Grace Fellowship Staff