Posted May 15, 2020, 7:40 a.m.
RE-OPENING THE BUILDING FOR WORSHIP MAY 17
Your Elders feel that the following steps will guard worshippers’ health, while complying with State mandated protocols. If you are in the high-risk category, including those 65 and older, we encourage you to consider worshipping from home. Do what is best for the health and safety of you and your family, including continuing to worship at home until you feel that you can safely attend. Worship Services will be broadcast on Facebook for those who worship at home. https://www.facebook.com/grahamstreetchurch/
1). The building will be thoroughly cleaned prior to our first Sunday back, and will be cleaned after every assem- bly. Hand sanitizing stations will be available, and members are encouraged to bring their own personal hand sanitizer. However, please stay home and worship, if you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms.
2). The west (hospital) parking lot will be reserved for those 65 and older and at-risk individuals. Doors will be blocked open. Please maintain social distancing and refrain from handshakes or hugs. Wearing masks and gloves is optional; they will not be provided.
3). We will offer two 45-minute Sunday morning worship services at 9:00 and 10:45. We will sit in every other pew (empty pews will be designated). We will maintain six feet separation between different families on the same row. A separate area will be provided for those 65 and older and other at-risk individuals on the west side of the auditorium. The balcony will be closed to minimize cleaning and reduce germs spreading from overhead to those below. We may eventually provide a simulcast of the service to the Family Center and classrooms.
4). Baskets will be provided at entrances into the auditorium for you to place your contribution and for the chil- dren’s offering.
5). We will pick up prepackaged communion elements as we enter the auditorium. The packaging will be dis- posed in trash cans after communion as you exit the building.
6). Please wait to be dismissed at the close of service to allow exiting with appropriate social distancing. Those seated in the designated area for those 65 and older and at-risk individuals will be dismissed first. The build- ing will be disinfected immediately after services.
7). Our ministers will continue to provide online resources to supplement our Sunday morning worship services.
8). In person Sunday morning and Wednesday Bible Classes and Sunday night services will be added later. In the meantime, Bible Classes will continue to be offered online.
9). Any extracurricular fellowship activities will adhere to state mandated COVID-19 health and safety standards.
Posted March 19, 2020, 11:40 a.m.
To the Graham Street Church Family,
Your Graham Street leaders have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation since it became a threat in the United States. On March 13, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) provided a six-page document offering guidance for mass gatherings and large community events, including a recommendation that “for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.” On Monday, March 16, the President recommended limiting gatherings of more than 10 people. Tarleton State University and Stephenville ISD have discontinued meeting for classes and have moved to online learning for this time. The Mayor has issued a declaration prohibiting any gatherings in Stephenville of over 10 people. This is a dynamic situation and we are forced to make decisions based on the best information we have at the moment. While we don’t want to be overreactive, we know that preventive measures are generally more effective than prescriptive measures. In other words, we want to do what is best to protect the health and well-being of our church family and our community. So, we are making some changes to reflect our deep concern for the physical and spiritual welfare of every person. We will adhere to these changes on a week-to-week basis, so we strongly encourage you to stay updated through our emails, texts and our website and Facebook pages. We will also be sharing information by phone within our Elder Groups to those who may not have access to this technology.
Scripture emphasizes how important it is for God’s People to meet together (Hebrews 10:25, Ephesians 4:11-16, etc.), so we make these changes with great humility, sobriety and responsibility. For now, we have discontinued Sunday worship assemblies March 22 and 29, 2020, and we will evaluate how long we should continue this practice for the safety of our members. However, we are encouraging all families to worship in your homes taking time for singing, prayer, Scripture reading, communion, and a lesson from God’s Word. We have individual prepackaged communion bread and juice cups available, contact the Elder of your Elder Group if you need some. Our ministers are providing “house church worship service” resources to assist you. This will allow us to be united in sharing the same message together, even if we are physically not able to be together. We will continue to provide these resources each week as long as we are not able to assemble. You can find them under “Resources” on our website https://grahamstreetchurch.com.
The Grace of Giving
We are altering plans for assemblies in accordance with government recommendations to protect people, but the work of the Kingdom of God continues. So we encourage you to make your weekly contributions by mailing it to the office, or to give through the church website, https://grahamstreetchurch.com; click “Give,” then follow the instructions for giving.
Sunday and Wednesday Bible Classes and Sunday Night Assemblies
All Sunday and Wednesday night classes and Sunday night assemblies are cancelled until we resume having normal Sunday morning assemblies. Materials will be made available on our website to continue for regular Bible Study together.
Other Resources on Our Website
You will find a link to The Bigger C Encouragers website for a daily encouraging message from our minister, David Bearden, and other resources for emotional and spiritual support during crisis.
The GPS (Godly Parenting Skills) Bible Class materials.
Information about receiving support and help from Celebrate Recovery and Basic Needs during this time.
Welcome Back Assembly
When COVID-19 has passed, we hope to have a Welcome Back Sunday where we celebrate the joy and privilege of coming together and sharing our hope in Christ. This experience is teaching us what a wonderful, and easily taken for granted, blessing it is for God’s People to come together.
The apostle Paul reminds us, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone — especially to those in the family of faith (Galatians 6:10, NLT). The next few weeks will likely provide us unique opportunities to love others in the Name of Jesus. Let’s be instruments of God’s righteousness. As we go week-to-week, look for opportunities to do good. Be prepared to make sacrifices economically. If you need the shepherds or ministers for spiritual guidance and prayers, call them directly or call the church office. And if you need assistance in some way (e.g., someone to deliver you medicine or deliver you groceries because you are sick or vulnerable), please call the office at 254-965-4510, or one of the elders or ministers, and let us know. Call David if you wish to schedule counseling or set up a Bible Study via FaceTime or Zoom. While most of us are reluctant to invite adversity into our lives, nothing helps us grow quite like it does. If we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us, we will come out of this stronger, deeper and more genuine followers of Christ!
The Elders will continue to meet on Wednesday nights for prayer and to evaluate the status.
In loving service,
Posted March 16, 2020, 12:52 p.m.
Graham Street Church Family,
With the CDC’s recommendation to have no gatherings of over 50 people, the Elders have decided it is best for the health of our members to cancel all of our services for Wednesday night and Sunday this week. We are working on providing a recorded house-church worship service on our website you can use with your family Sunday morning. We will send more updates and family news later in the week. For now, continue in prayer and take care of each other. Don’t hesitate to call if you need help.
David, for the Elders
Posted March 15, 2020, 5:15 p.m.
Dear Church Family,
As a follow up to yesterday’s announcement, please note the additional changes to some of our ministries which will be in place for at least the next two weeks (March 16-27).
- Kinder Care classes will not meet.
- LTC will not practice.
- The Basic Needs clothing store will not be open and clothing donations will not be accepted. Prepackaged food boxes will be distributed by drive thru in the parking lot adjacent to the Basic Needs building.
- The Family Center will not be rented for events. (This will ensure sufficient time to clean the Center before Sunday.)
- Church office hours will be in flux for at least the next few days. However, the phone will be forwarded and answered by Linda if no one is in the office.
- Live internet streaming of our service will soon be available. We encourage you to use the on-line giving app on the website.
- Celebrate Recovery will continue to meet . T4C will maintain its normal Wednesday night schedule.
Finally, and most importantly, remember that we are part of a kingdom that cannot be shaken and we share a hope and peace that nothing can destroy. May we all seize this opportunity to live out our faith as expressed in this quote from the minister of the Dayspring UMC in Tyler, Texas:
I want to remind us that our response to a crisis of any kind is fundamentally different than that of the culture around us. Rather than panic, we trust that God walks with us into the darkest valleys. Instead of hoarding, we give sacrificially of ourselves as Jesus gave of himself. When others cast blame, we take responsibility for ourselves and our community. I found the words of Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky to be a powerful challenge to the common mindset:
“Every hand that we don't shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise."
Pray that God is glorified as we minister to all those affected by this crisis.
Posted March 13, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
Although the risk is currently low in our area, in light of the developing Coronavirus health situation, we are implementing the following precautions for the next two weeks:
- No Sunday morning classes (March 15 & 22). We will have regular worship at 10:30am, including Worship Warriors.
- Connecting Groups will meet as usual this Sunday (15th). Next Sunday night (22nd) will be our regular 5:30 service.
- There will be a devotional Wednesday night (March 18 & 25) in the auditorium for all ages; no classes and no meal.
We will continue to monitor developments and make adjustments accordingly, because your welfare is of paramount concern to us.
To help limit your exposure to the virus, especially if you are elderly or have underlying medical conditions, please feel free to worship at home. If you do attend, feel free to refrain from handshakes and hugs.
To help limit exposure for others, wash your hands thoroughly and often. Please worship at home if you are ill.
If you choose to stay inside and need food or medicine, please call one of your Elders, or the church office (254 965-4510), and let us serve you.
For more information on other church activities, we will post those updates to the church website.
Continue in Prayer and Trust in God, Phil. 4:4-7; 1 Peter 5:7.