Physical Gathering Procedures
Updated Monday, November 2, 2020
Since March 2020, we, along with every other kind of organization, have sought to navigate the difficulties associated with this pandemic. We are ever aware that the procedures we elect to adopt pertain not only to a “general public,” but to dearly loved brothers and sisters who gather regularly as the local church for much-needed encouragement and to worship Jesus together. We need to gather. The very nature of the church is that it is “the assembly” of saints for whom Christ died.
We also recognize that in the body, there is a spectrum of opinions regarding this pandemic (we pastors have them, too). Some of us feel like it is a politically-charged crisis enflamed by the media. Others, seeing that there are still many unknowns as to how this virus works, are genuinely concerned about how contracting it could be harmful to their and their family’s health. Still others of us fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, just doing the best we can to stay healthy and make wise choices with the information we have.
Because of this, as pastors we don’t make decisions that could the affect the health and well-being of the body quickly, but through (often) extended conversation, advice-seeking, and lots of prayer. We want to walk through this pandemic with strong faith that this falls under the sovereign control of God, knowing that He knows how to preserve and protect His people. He has indeed been merciful to us! But we also want to walk through this with love toward one another, recognizing that not everyone may share our opinions and may be struggling with fear. We want to honor civil law, according to Romans 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Yet simultaneously, we want to honor the law of love, according to Romans 14:3, “Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him” (exchange eating here with mask-wearing or social distancing). This update has all of the above in mind.
So as we approach the winter months, and soon, resume Missional Communities in the New Year, we are slightly modifying our previous physical gathering procedures in order to better serve our regular-but-needed gatherings together. Bear in mind that these could change based on updated government health guidelines.
Sunday morning worship: Due to the greater number of people gathered on Sunday mornings and limited ability to physically distance, we will continue to wear masks as we’ve been doing and seek to maintain appropriate physical distancing when possible. We also want to bear in mind that visitors attend frequently and we want them to feel safe in doing so. This policy honors the NC governor’s Executive Order 169, which strongly recommends wearing face masks when physical distancing is not possible in group gatherings.
Smaller gatherings: These would include any GCC-sanctioned gatherings outside Sunday worship numbering less than 25 people (prayer meetings, book studies, small-group gatherings in homes, etc.). We are asking folks to wear masks while walking around indoors and make effort to space chairs apart. When seated, masks may be removed in order to facilitate better communication and fellowship, just as you would in a restaurant while eating with friends. However, masks may be worn throughout the gathering by anyone who would feel more comfortable in doing so.
Non GCC-sanctioned meetings: These would include impromptu gatherings in a home for a meal or for coffee. Follow the law of love here! It is loving to ask your guest if they feel comfortable if you removed your mask while together.
As has always been our practice, should you have any concerns about these procedures, please contact a pastor, and most certainly plan to stay at home if you are feeling unwell. We are happy to schedule a call or meeting to discuss any of these matters. Again, these are difficult waters to navigate, but we always want you to feel heard!
Thank you for the wonderful ways you continue to love one another through all of this. We have great hope that we will come out of this someday refined but stronger!
Updated Thursday, July 16, 2020
What should I do if I am sick?
If you are running a fever near or above 100 degrees or experiencing any respiratory symptoms, please stay at home.
What should I do if I become sick after attending a church service?
If at any time you develop COVID-19 symptoms and/or test positive and have recently attended a church service, please contact us as soon as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Will the church notify others of possible contact?
Yes, we will inform those who attended the same service (attendance records will be kept) as someone who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. We will also ask you to identify those with whom you may have had “close” contact while there and request that you notify them or give your permission to us to do so on your behalf.
What should I do if I attended a service with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
If you did not have close contact with that person, self-monitor for symptoms, and get tested for COVID-19 if symptoms develop.
What should I do if I have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
Consider staying at home and self-monitoring for symptoms and get tested for COVID-19 if symptoms develop.
When can I return to a church service after I have symptoms, or test positive, for COVID-19?
You should not return until you have met the CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation.
What should I do if practical needs arise due to COVID-19?
If you are a part of the body of Grace City and find yourself in need of common necessities or are unable to leave your home, please let us know. Don’t wait to speak up until you find yourself in a desperate situation. Early intervention is best.
If we learn that there are specific practical or financial needs, we’ll do our best to ensure you are cared for!
Grace City Church Wilmington
Meeting Sundays at 10am
1121 S. Front Street
Wilmington, NC 28401