Grace Community Church Family,

Our Church Council decided that beginning this Sunday face masks may be removed during the sermon.  I appreciate the work of the Church Council and thank God for their willingness to find unity and consensus even among a diversity of views.  Their decision was not based on fear or politics, but on the biblical principles of submission to authority and loving your neighbor.  This decision is consistent with the latest guidelines from the Governor that were issued last Friday and allows us to gather for worship even as we seek to protect those in society who are the most weak and vulnerable.

I am well aware of the variety of views that exist within our congregation on the issue of masks and their effectiveness.  This makes me more grateful to God that our unity is not centered on agreement around masks or politics or any of the other issues of the day.  Our church has an opportunity to witness to the world of a unity that transcends these issues and is founded on the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  As we display this unity, submit to one another and those in authority as to Christ, define freedom not as the ability to do whatever I want but as the privilege of being a slave to Christ and servant to all, and stand against the evil one who seeks to divide the body of Christ over non-biblical issues, we will shine like stars in the universe and be the salt and light Jesus called us to be.  A Savior that brought Greek and Jew and slave and free people into house churches together can also probably find a way to unite people in worship who do not agree on face coverings.

In that spirit, I hope you all are joining me at 5:21pm daily to pray for unity not just in our church but in The Church.  This prayer is based on Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21:  “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”   My phone alarm is set for 5:21pm daily and each time it goes off I pause to pray that we would be a visible answer to Jesus’ prayer and that the enemy’s efforts to divide the church would be defeated.

The Church Council also made the decision to begin having the Nursery and Kids Church by Sunday, August 2.  We are currently researching, speaking with other churches, and working to develop guidelines and procedures for what this will look.  We currently expect to begin some time between July 19 and August 2.  As we progress, I will keep you informed and give you a firmer date.   

I am grateful to be your pastor and continue to see God working in super cool ways to build up the body of Christ.  He is going before us in triumphant procession!