GCC COVID-19 Update: 3/23
Good morning, Grace Community Church family.
You continue in my prayers and the prayers of our team. Thank you for attending worship online yesterday, and thank you for your patience as GCC and churches around the nation experienced “technical difficulties” when the online church servers became overloaded and started shutting down mid-morning. Pastors Addison and David scrambled to ensure we could offer the 11:00 service by moving worship to Facebook Live. We also saw many, many people tuning in on GCC’s YouTube channel.
As I announced yesterday, GCC’s onsite worship services and activities are suspended through April 5, which includes the April 4 Family Easter Event. Because the challenges presented by COVID-19 change daily, we will update you regularly. As soon as we can open and begin offering onsite worship and activities, you will be the first to know.
Weekday GCC Kid’s Connections will resume today at 1:00 pm. Young adults will go online Tuesday at 7:00 pm. GCC Youth will go online Wednesday at 7:00 pm. Each event is prerecorded but a simulated live experience will occur at the times listed. You can access our worship services and other recorded events at the GCC YouTube channel.
As I prayed this morning, I was especially burdened for our nation’s healthcare workers. The men and women who are working daily in hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities need our prayers for protection from the virus as well as physical, emotional and spiritual strength. In the same way, we need to pray for workers at ‘life-sustaining’ businesses’ who have direct contact with the public. Grocery store workers come to mind; pray for them.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe”
I’m praying for you as you find daily hope and strength in Christ alone. Let’s keep running to him in prayer.
Thanking God for every one of you,
Pastor Mike Sigman
GCC COVID-19 Update: 3/18
Dear GCC family,
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you”
Isaiah’s words are a much needed reminder that our peace comes from a living, daily relationship with Jesus Christ. Please know that we are praying for you and we are grateful for the many expressions of prayer and support we are receiving from you.
I wanted to personally update you on the ways God is moving in the life and ministry of Grace Community Church. Our online services this past weekend were attended by people in 650 homes. Seventeen people indicated a first time decision to follow Christ. God used the story of Zacchaeus to encourage many believers in their love for and service to others. Thanks be to God!
We will gather again this week for online church at our regular weekend worship times, and our pastors will be live in the virtual chat room to greet you, pray for you, and answer your questions. Last week, at my personal invitation, some worship team family members and a few GCC staff members and leaders came to pray and be a source of encouragement, and I was grateful. This week, in keeping with the newest guidelines, there will only be 10 people in the sanctuary, which includes two pastors and a small worship team. It’s tough to preach to 400 empty seats, but preach we will! We know where you sit and we will “imagine” your presence. We will also be confident of your prayers and we will greet you online!
We are looking forward to tonight’s online youth group and online small groups for junior and senior high youth. Online children’s story time and Sunday School will also be available this week. Young adult ministry will be online next week.
Teams of people are available to run grocery store and pharmacy errands for our GCC family that is most at risk for COVID-19. Our pastors and deacons are also making many calls and online contacts to care for the spiritual and practical needs of those GCC families. We continue to help people know and follow Jesus!
AND PRAY! Let’s cry out to God for an end to COVID-19, the healing of those who are infected, and the comfort of those who have lost loved ones.
Thank you, GCC family, for your grace and faithful support of our pastoral and ministry team. We have never been down this road. Every decision is a new one, and every day brings more decisions. We need your prayers. We love you and we care about you!
Trusting in Christ Alone,
Pastor Mike Sigman
GCC COVID-19 Update - March 16, 2020
GCC will suspend all classes, events, and activities from March 15 to March 27. The suspension includes our March 21-22 weekend on-site worship services and the March 27 Youth Benefit Auction. This decision is not made out of fear, but out of an abundance of caution for the care and well-being of our GCC family. It is also consistent with the ever-changing societal response to COVID-19. Because this situation is ever-changing, we will provide regular updates including plans for ministry from March 28 forward.
Online Church will be offered again on March 21 at 6:00 pm and March 22 at 8:00, 9:15 and 11:00 am. If you need assistance in accessing GCC’s online church, please contact Pastor Addison.
With our children home from school, families would greatly benefit from the thousands of resources available free of charge through RightNow Media. To register and access RightNow Media, please email Pastor Paul.
Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the church building will be closed but our offices remain open by appointment only from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Our pastors and staff continue to serve the GCC family and our community. Feel free to call or e-mail us. Meetings essential to the care of our congregation and the ongoing mission of our church may be conducted. For example, our pastoral team and ministry council will meet as needed.
Pastoral care to members who are homebound or in nursing homes will only take place by phone since these facilities are closed to the public. Pastoral care for hospitalized members is suspended in accordance with the restrictions adopted by the hospitals of Lancaster County. Our pastors and deacons will continue to minister by phone, text, and e-mail. If you need us, call, text or e-mail us.
As we reflect on this past weekend, we are grateful to God for the online worship we shared together and God’s good work in our lives. We give thanks for the peace of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
“I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:2).
Thanking God for you and praying for you,
GCC COVID-19 Update - March 15, 2020
Dear GCC Family,
Thank you! We are overwhelmed by the support of GCC's Online Church this weekend as over 650 households came together to worship and interact online. The Lord was with us in mighty and powerful ways!In response to COVID-19 precautions, the following GCC events and activities have been canceled or postponed. A more detailed announcement regarding postponements and cancelations will be sent on Monday, March 16.
GCC Canceled or Postponed Event List:
- Congregational Prayer Meeting - Sunday, March 15
- Baptismal Service at Grace Church Willow Valley - Monday, March 16
In light of the President's declaration that today, Sunday, March 15, be set aside as a “National Day of Prayer” as our nation deals with the Coronavirus pandemic, we are offering the following specific prayer requests. Please use this prayer list (below) today and throughout the week.
Prayer Guide for National Day of Prayer - March 15, 2020
- Pray that fear and confusion would not prevail but that people would find peace and hope in the midst of this current situation. As people are more often prone to seek God’s help during times of adversity, pray that this health threat would be a catalyst to help people come to know and follow Jesus. Pray that God would give you a spirit of peace and hope in these days that will allow you to be a persuasive witness to His love and grace to those around you.
- Pray for our national, state and local leaders, especially the “Coronavirus Task Force,” as they devise plans to address this health threat. Pray for strength and wisdom as they tirelessly work to protect the citizenry of our country. Pray for the adequate supply of testing kits and medications to treat those who come down with this disease. Pray that this epidemic would be short-lived so people’s lives could return to normal as it relates to work, school and social interactions.
- Pray for healing for those who have contracted this disease. Pray that the plans for “social distancing” will minimize the spread of this virus. Seek God’s guidance for your life as you care for others around you in your family and neighborhood – offering to run errands and provide meals especially those who are elderly or have health conditions that would make it hard for them to provide for themselves.
- Pray for those who are caring for the sick - emergency responders, healthcare professionals, hospital workers, etc. - that they would be kept safe as they selflessly seek to provide aid and comfort to those who have been made ill by this virus. Pray that God would provide them with strength and wisdom in these overwhelming times.
- Pray for wisdom for our pastoral staff and our church leadership team – that God would provide them with unusual wisdom to make good decisions and carry out the ministries of Grace Community Church in view of these “uncharted waters” which we are facing for the days ahead. Pray for your pastors as they seek to devise new methods of providing pastoral care for our church family in light of the restrictions of face-to-face responses.
GCC COVID-19 Update - March 13, 2020
As the world faces the uncertainties brought about by the spread of the Coronavirus, Grace Community Church is taking steps to care for and protect the health and well-being of our church family and community.
First and foremost, we need to pray daily for an end to COVID-19, and we need to pray for the healing of all those who have contracted the virus. We also need to pray for wisdom for government leaders as they determine next steps in the effort to stop the spread of this virus. As followers of Christ, we have an opportunity to offer practical help to those who are at greatest risk of COVID-19. For example, you may have an elderly neighbor who is concerned about crowds. Consider offering to shop or run errands for them. We also have an opportunity to share our hope in Christ by being a peaceful, calm voice in the midst of fear and anxiety. Listen to other’s fears; don’t judge them, but offer concern, encouragement and, as appropriate, your prayers and witness to Jesus’ peace and power.
With regard to this weekend’s worship services, we will not meet together for worship on March 14 and 15, but we will offer online worship at https://gccws.online.church during the normal service times. Please join us online at the same time you would normally take your seat in the sanctuary. Each service will be hosted live by a GCC pastor, and I look forward to preaching the next “Story of His Power” from the life of Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Consider gathering with your small group, church friends, or family members and worship together from your living room. The Sunday afternoon new member luncheon and the Sunday evening prayer meeting are also postponed.
This decision was not made out of fear but out of concern for every member of our GCC family. In the past 24 hours, teams of GCC pastoral and Council leaders met several times to pray and seek direction from the Lord. We consulted with community leaders and church leaders from Lancaster County. We thank you for your support and the encouragement of your prayers. We will continue to update you through email, Facebook, Instagram and the GCC website. Again, we look forward to worshipping with you at gccws.online.church.
We serve a God who “is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…!” (Psalm 46:1-2).
Thanking God for you,
Mike Sigman, Lead Pastor
Rob Barley, Ministry Council chairman