Grace Greetings to All,
The risen Jesus comes to his followers, then and now, saying: “Peace be with you.”
We will NOT be worshipping in-person the month of May. Let me assure you, we join the majority of Spencer churches in that decision! Yes, the Governor said we could. Her statement did NOT say we should! The matter of opening for worship is NOT a matter of “religious liberty” as some have suggested. It is a community health issue, caring for our neighbors.
At least 23 pastors/leaders of churches were on our twice-weekly Zoom call this afternoon. Only two were weakly considering holding in-person worship this week or even in May. This evening we held a meeting of the Administrative Council over Zoom. There was consensus to hold off until at least June 7.
By the way, even if we would hold corporate worship, it is still expected that people in the “vulnerable” demographic would remain home. That includes anyone with a chronic health condition as well as anyone 65 years or more old. Currently in Iowa, few children have contracted Covid-19 and not all that many elderly, though the elderly do represent the majority of deaths. By far the most positive tests have been “adults” in the middle of the age spectrum. That demographic is now being labeled, unfortunately, “the Spreaders.”
After the Council meeting, I checked my email to discover in my inbox a letter signed by 20 of Iowa’s “denominational leaders” expressing their surprise of the Governor’s proclamation. The numbers of positive cases in Iowa, including the region of which Clay is part, does not suggest it would be a “love your neighbor act” to gather people together. In fact, Colette Rossiter from the Spencer Hospital was part of our pastor’s meeting this afternoon and she said NW Iowa is “exploding” right now with new cases. Incidentally, Dr. Keith, M.D. on the Clay County Board of Public Health who is currently the Bishop (“pastor”) of the local Church of the LDS was on the call and concurred. Eric Tigges of Clay County Emergency Management was also present and said we need to continue to do what we’re doing, wear our mask, keep social distance, stay home.
As we look forward to the next possible startup date your leadership will be making some plans. For example: It is recommended that after use, the room/s & furnishings be disinfected. Therefore, do we worship in the sanctuary, on wood and cloth; or in the Fellowship Hall on steel chairs? The use or even availability of Hymnals or provided Bibles is discouraged. Not a huge thing with our projection capabilities. How shall we enforce, lovingly, social distancing? And many more…
We shall allow Grace-related groups of no more than 10 persons to use the facilities, with the expectation that masks and/or social distancing of at least 6’ be observed. At this point, we also intend the office to remain “open” during regular hours. We appreciate the limited traffic in the building, and those who keep distance and/or wear a mask. At this point we do have masks available right outside the office and if you do not have one to wear when out on business, come and get one!
We will continue to offer worship via SMU access channel, Facebook, website, KICD as well as means of devotion and participation as specified in last week’s newsletter. Prayers welcome!!
Take a PICTURE(S) OF YOURSELF while expressing yourself creatively and doing what you love to do (i.e. quilting, woodworking, coloring, making masks). Also, take pictures of what you are working on. Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any scripture or inspirational quotes that are meaningful to you, please include those as well. In this season of "physical distancing", we encourage you to connect with one another by taking time to share what you are doing. Our plan is to make a video for social media and share inspirational messages with your pictures. This may also be shared when we are able to gather again. Join the FUN!
GRACE REFLECTIONS & STORYTELLING
Take time to reflect on this season of your life and share a story about what you’ve observed and learned, where you’ve seen God at work in your life and in the world around you, and/or lessons learned or words of hope you’d share with others. Feel free to include scripture that has been meaningful to you or what your prayer might be based on your reflections. Submit up to 300 words per story to the church office or email email@example.com. You are welcome to share more than one story!! We will share (online, newsletter, etc.) these reflections of hope, perseverance, and encouragement with others in the upcoming weeks and months. Depending on interest, we may also put together a booklet of reflections for this season of our lives.
WEEKLY PHONE DEVOTIONAL
Needing words of encouragement or spiritual pick-me-up? We record a new weekly devotional each Monday. You can access the message by simply calling the office (at 262-5970) weekdays after 7:00 PM and weekends to listen to a message. When you call during these times, you will get the answering machine. As soon as the answering machine message starts, enter 10. The phone will ring another 3 times and then you will hear the recorded devotional.
CHILDREN STORY TIME
During this season, Grace will have a story time for children on the Spencer Grace Facebook page twice a week. Someone will read a favorite children’s book and it will be posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Noon. If you would like to read a story, contact the church office.
Children's Worship Bulletins has offered a packet of free resources - puzzles, Bible activities, and ideas for fun family activities. Check out this link: https://www.childrensbulletins.com/covid19-childrens-activities-for-churches
Sign up through the church office at 712-262-5970 OR firstname.lastname@example.org.