Important Update and Christmas Communion Service
Grace World, thank you!
Thank you for your display of love and appreciation this past month towards our staff and pastoral team! Jenna and I also thank you for honoring us this Sunday morning. You know our heartbeat is always to serve, to give completely of ourselves and expect nothing in return. Honestly, it’s humbling to be on the receiving end. So to our elders, trustees, and church family, thank you for blessing us and our amazing team. You have truly honored those who serve this church so well. I couldn’t be more proud of them…and couldn’t be more proud of you!
I want to update you concerting the latest COVID news in our community. Hernando County just experienced the highest day of positive cases this past Friday. This is a reflection of the Thanksgiving holiday surge. I have spoken with several members of our church family who have now tested positive and are homebound recovering. A few cases have been severe enough to require hospitalization. Thankfully, at this moment, everyone is now home and recovering. This is not a time to let up, but to press in through prayer and keep these families and our community covered as well.
Florida currently remains in Stage III of its reopening. This means no restrictions are in place for our state, yet the CDC guidelines are strongly encouraged and recommended.
When Florida moved into Stage III, we began opening up more of our campus. We opened up seating in the front of the Dome but kept the rear sections at 50% for those who needed or desired to ensure 6 feet of separation. We had hoped that come January we would be able to open more of the campus in classrooms. Unfortunately, we’re just not there yet.
Now with cases spiking in our county we need to make some adjustments to our safety protocols. First, you will notice on Sunday that we are taking the Dome back to 50% capacity. Our sanctuary will seat 2200 people. We’ve been averaging 400 adults in the Dome each week so there’s still ample room for physical distancing. We will also be delaying opening our classrooms and cafe. Our rooms in which physical distancing can be maintained will continue to be used. We are also requiring all of our staff and leaders to use face coverings when engaged in active ministry and when physical distancing cannot be ensured.
We are doing our best to keep people safe in these unprecedented times and I want to ask you to also do your very best as well.
The majority of the spread is taking place inside of homes with trusted friends and family members. This of course makes sense, because it’s where we are most comfortable.
Remember, following the CDC guidelines is the best way to help protect those around you:
- Maintaining physical distance.
- Use a face covering when ensuring physical distance is not possible.
- Practicing good hygiene.
- Staying at home if you are feeling sick.
On that last point let me share some insight I’ve learned as I have spoken with members of our church family who have tested positive. Nearly every case began with a couple of days of slight symptoms. A headache, a little tiredness, a small cough. In other words, a symptom that was easily dismissed as allergies or fatigue. You know what healthy feels like for you. If you notice a change, don’t dismiss it, use caution. I know none of us would ever want to be responsible for inadvertently exposing someone to a virus that could develop into something serious for them.
Honor your loved ones, honor your community, and honor your church family by following those recommendations. There is an end to this coming soon.
Last, let me remind you that our Christmas Communion service will take place this Sunday, December 20, at 10am. This is going to be a spectacular celebration of Emmanuel. This will be a family service, and as such Grace Kids will be joining us in the Dome. It’s called “Home For Christmas” and is a celebration of family both near and far. It’s a great opportunity whether you are coming to the Dome or participating from your home to share Emmanuel with someone who needs the light of Christ in this season. We can’t wait to experience this moment with you!
Praying for Revival,