COVID-19 Response 
 
 

May 28th Update

Dear Grace Family,

Let me reiterate how excited I am that we are resuming in person, corporate worship this Sunday at 11! I have longed for this day since I was called to be your pastor and I am overwhelmed with gratitude and anticipation now that the moment is upon us. Below, please see a list of specifics to guide us in how Sunday morning will “go.”

  • If, for health or personal reasons you aren’t comfortable returning to worship in person then please stay home and join us via livestream. Please don’t let your conscience feel any unnecessary burden about not being with us in person during this unprecedented time.
  • If you are exhibiting any signs of sickness then you MUST stay home.
  • All members are encouraged to wear masks, especially while walking to and from your seats.
  • There will be bulletins placed on the pews where we are permitted to sit. Please only sit where there are bulletins. There will be deacons present to assist where needed.
  • The offering plates will be on the table just outside of the sanctuary entrances. You may place your tithe and offering in the plates either entering or exiting the worship service.
  • As hard as this one will be for many of us as we’ll be so excited to be together again, we MUST maintain social distance while in the building.
  • Lastly, apart from the entryway, sanctuary, and restrooms, the rest of the church facility is to be avoided in order for us to minimize contact points and areas that will need deep cleaning. Even for folks with a key to Grace, please only enter and exit using the main entrance on the front side of the building under the covered drive thru.

For families with young children, YOU ARE MOST WELCOME. Don’t worry about squirmy children right now. Nothing is normal these days and I would much rather have you with us Sunday corralling kids than not with us at all. Will all of you join me in praying that this coming Lord’s Day worship service will be a true foretaste of heaven and a delight for our souls?!

Humbly yours,

Seth

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May 12th  Update
 
Dear Grace Family,

Last night your Elders and Deacons approved May 31 as the target date for us to resume worshiping together once again. I say target date because our desire as a church is to remain safe and in compliance with government directives so this date is very much dependent on having clearance to meet. Would you pray that the necessary obstacles to meet will be removed?

This service will not be a complete return to normalcy, but it is the first big step. There will be no Sunday school, children’s church, or nursery provided as it’s impossible to insure social distancing with kids. However, the whole family will be most welcome in the service. Please hear me say, as your pastor, that there is NO pressure to return to worship on May 31 if you are uncomfortable doing so for health reasons. We will continue to livestream our services going forward. Details will be provided closer to time in regards to the precautions that will be in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

In the meantime, for those who are comfortable attending, let me humbly ask you to make every effort to be in the sanctuary at 11:00am on May 31. I want to worship with you. I need to worship with you. Stay tuned for further details. Make it all so, Lord!
Humbly yours,

Seth

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March 21st Update
 

As we continue to see spread of the CoronaVirus and how that impacts our daily lives, our approach to church and fellowship continues to change as well…although our belief in Christ remains steadfast.

Yesterday, the City of Starkville passed an Ordinance and a Resolution. The main thing that impacts us as a church is the requirement, from a public safety standpoint, that we congregate (including church) in groups of 10 or less.

So, we are only asking required personnel to attend the worship service tomorrow and ask that the rest of us watch the livestream on Facebook, or later watch it posted on YouTube or listen to the audio through the website.

The required personnel are David Felker (preaching), Anthony C and Stefan Tribble (A/V friend of Kenneth and Anthony) for A/V, Cliff and designated musicians, Dave N for announcements (and he will be sharing an exciting and encouraging update from the pastoral search committee), and Ben Ardahl (overall operations).

Please bear with us as we aren’t A/V geeks just yet! We’ve learned a lot this week and will continue to get better!

Thanks again for your continued support of Grace Pres. We will get through this together in the strength of the one who created all things.

In His love,

The Session
 
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March 18th Update
 

As the impact of coronavirus world-wide continues to evolve, know that the shepherds here at Grace Pres are committed to balancing the safety of us all and the continued fellowship that is endearing to us all.  A special Session meeting was called Monday night and, after much discussion and prayer, the following updates were put forth:

As of right now, we will suspend/postpone the following activities:
    • Sunday School (all ages)
    • Nursery
    • Children’s Church
    • Small Groups
    • The upcoming 5th Sunday Fellowship
    • Other Bible studies/activities (especially if there is sharing of food and/or more than 10 members present)
As of right now, we will continue to make the sanctuary available for Sunday morning and Sunday evening worship services (including the upcoming 5th Sunday Evening Prayer Service) to those who believe the benefits to themselves outweigh the possible risk to others.  We will ask that you respect the preventative measures noted below.
 
We will make the Sunday morning and evening church services available to everyone via Facebook Live at the usual time Sunday morning.  The live stream will start about 10-15 minutes before the service. After the Sunday morning service, the sermon will also be available via podcast and YouTube.
 
How do you get to Facebook Live?
Simply get the app on your computer, Smart TV or phone and ‘search’ for Grace Presbyterian Church.  Multiple ones will pop up.  It’s about the fourth one down on the list – you’ll recognize our logo.  ‘Like’ (or thumbs up) the page then you can go to it.  Depending on your phone and notification settings, it may tell you when GPC ‘goes live’ – otherwise, you should at least see an alert in your notifications.
 
How do I listen to the audio/podcast?

The easiest way right now is to go to the website to access an audio version of the sermon.  You can find it on Apple Podcasts but it’s a little more difficult to explain in this email.  Honestly, I listen to a TON of podcasts – this is a great way to hear some of your favorite preachers!!

How do I watch it on YouTube?

It will be posted to YouTube after the Service.  There are 2 ways.  You can go to the website and access it and/or get details to access it.  You can also go to YouTube and search for ‘Grace Presbyterian Church Starkville MS’.  You can then ‘Subscribe’.  This is a new service that we are exploring as a church, so bear with us as there may be some kinks to work out!

What do we ask of you?

    • Wash your hands (with soap and for more than 20 seconds [sing your ABCs and say the last part])!  Antibacterial squirts don’t help.
    • Cough into your elbow.
    • Try not to touch your face.
    • If you feel sick, avoid all interactions you possibly can for 14 days.
    • If you are over the age of 65 or immunocompromised, we would ask that you strongly consider following the worship service through one of the virtual access points noted above, mainly for your safety.  We ultimately leave that risk/benefit analysis up to you.
    • If you come to the sanctuary for Sunday morning or evening service, please sit at least 6 feet away from your fellow church member.  For family units, this doesn’t count.  Also, please skip at least every other row when it comes to seating to make this 6 feet work!

What are we doing as Shepherds?

    • Again, know that your best interest is at heart.  For all of us, our chief end is glorifying God in all we do.  As leaders in the church, our goal is to take care of you, our fellow sheep, and maintain our focus on that chief end.
    • Offering will be given at the completion of the service.  Offering plates will be located in the narthex and I ask that you please give your tithes and offerings otherwise as usual.  If you are staying at home through some or all of this, realize your continued financial support (along with God’s grace and nurture) is crucial to the church’s ability to prevail.  You can drop your offering by the church office any day that Lisa is there.  You can also mail in your tithe/offering – please put ‘tithe’ or ‘offering’ in the Note section of the check.  If you have questions, please contact office@pcagrace.org
    • We will try to keep doors open in high traffic areas during worship services.
    • We will refrain from a coffee service until further notice.
    • We will make sure the ushers wash their hands prior to handing out bulletins
    • Sermons will be available online for home viewing and listening as noted above.
    • Moving forward, we are well aware of how other churches have responded thus far to the coronavirus and, after deliberation, prayer and weighing the risks/benefits, felt that we have made the appropriate moves to serve you, our congregation, today…but this is an evolving situation and will continue to change.
 

OF NOTE: If you (or people you know) are in a high-risk group and would like assistance with picking up groceries (as you may be avoiding crowds) or assistance of any matter, please contact an elder, deacon, or Lisa (office@pcagrace.org) and we will be glad to help you make arrangements.  Also, Dr. McKelvey has offered his assistance in any way possible and we can facilitate that if needed.

Brothers and Sisters, this is a challenging time, but God is using it for good and the Shepherds of the church thank you for your love for Christ and your patience as we continue to move forward as the Body.

 
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March 14th 
 
In light of the recommendations by health officials to limit close social interactions in order to help slow the spread of Coronavirus, we have decided to cancel Adult, Youth, and Children’s Sunday School tomorrow morning, March 15. If you would like to come anyway, we will use that time to pray together – Charles Clayton will lead this.
 
Morning Worship will take place as usual at 10:50 am.
 
We do advise a few precautionary measures:
 
  1. Wash your hands before church (either just prior to leaving home or upon arrival).
  2. Please avoid close contact (hugs and handshakes) with members of other households. 
  3. If you think you may have come into contact with this virus, we ask that you please stay home.
  4. If you have chronic medical conditions that would make you more susceptible to infection, we would also advise your staying home.
 
During this time, as always, if you are in need of assistance from the church please let an Elder or Deacon know.