Sunday Service & Activities Updates

Update on May 20, 2021

Recently, as many of you are aware, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated their guidance on mask-wearing for individuals who have been vaccinated. That new guidance confirms that individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask in most settings. Similarly, local municipalities and the university have changed their guidelines in response to declines in local infection and hospitalization rates, and the wide-spread use and availability of vaccines. After evaluating our local conditions and the CDC recommendations, Grace is also changing its guidance on wearing masks. 

 Effective immediately at both locations, Grace will no longer require all individuals to wear masks during services. Grace urges everyone who attends services in person to act according to their conscience with respect to wearing a mask for their own health, and the health of those around them. Grace recommends everyone read both the Johnson County Emergency Declaration and the CDC guidance and make their decision with a clear conscience before the Lord. 

A few things will happen as a result of this change: 

  • People, including some staff, will attend services without wearing a mask.
  • Some people who have not been coming to church will start coming again.
  • Some people who have been coming to church may choose to stay home.

Socially distant seating will continue to be available in the North Liberty auditorium during all services. The 9:45am livestream will also continue weekly on Grace’s YouTube channel. Also, if you’re a part of the downtown congregation, Pastor Jason will be updating you this afternoon with some additional information. 

Grace staff and volunteers will not ask if you are vaccinated, or ask to see your vaccination card. We do ask that you respect those who choose to wear, or not wear, masks. Our goal is unity of spirit, honoring others choices based on their good conscience.

Over the last year we, like many of you, have made many difficult decisions in walking through 2020. We thank you for your grace and generosity of spirit throughout this difficult season. We value your partnership in the gospel, and as brothers and sisters in the body of Christ with us. If you have questions or concerns about these changes, please contact Josh Haveman at joshh@graceb3.org or by calling the church at 319-626-2040.

Update on April 25, 2021

Due to the pandemic, there is currently a Johnson County Emergency Declaration that asks all businesses and other entities within the county to enforce procedures that can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. These procedures include the promotion of good hygiene, urging individuals to keep a safe distance from each other in social settings, and the wearing of masks in enclosed public spaces. Grace North Liberty has recognized the emergency declaration by asking people to RSVP for the service they plan to attend, leaving half of the rows in the auditorium empty, and asking everyone who attends the church to wear a mask. Grace Downtown has rearranged seats and required masks. Both in North Liberty and Downtown we have checked people in as they've arrived.

Now that vaccines are becoming widely available, and new guidance is evolving with regard to social distancing, Grace North Liberty is ready to make some changes. Starting with the May 9 service, it will no longer be necessary to RSVP for attendance at a Grace North Liberty service. Also starting that date, more seats in the auditorium will be available. Ushers will help ensure that there are empty seats between each party. But for the most part, people will be able to walk in and sit down. A socially distant seating option will also be available in the auditorium for those who prefer it, just let an usher know.

Masks will still be required for now. We hope to change that requirement soon, too. But we are starting to move back toward our pre-COVID practices.

For those that attend Grace Downtown, there will be no change at this time. The reason there is a difference is due to the fact that Grace does not own the building we meet in downtown. The owners of that facility have rules that we need to follow as good tenants. When we are able to make changes there, we will let you all know.

The church staff thanks everyone for being patient in the midst of this process. We strongly desire to get to a time when everyone feels able to worship freely - without any restrictions. But we also need to be good neighbors. Many in our neighborhood and congregation have suffered greatly from the effects of COVID. So while we long for freedom, we also want to ensure safety. And as long as local restrictions do not inhibit our ability to faithfully preach the gospel, we think the small sacrifice of wearing a mask or maintaining some distance is worth the witness we maintain in the community. Though this hasn't been easy, we thank you for helping us love our community well.

If you have questions or concerns about re-opening and these changes, please share them with us at office@graceb3.org or by phone at (319) 626-2040.

In Christ,

- Josh Haveman, Executive Director

Update on June 28, 2020

View the latest update related to COVID-19 below from our Sunday 6/28 service.

Update on June 14

View the latest update related to COVID-19 below from our Sunday 6/14 service.

Update on May 24

View the latest update related to COVID-19 below from our Sunday 5/24 service.

Update on May 6

Dear Grace Community Church,

Since March 15 we have been hindered from meeting together due to the pandemic. We’ve adapted to continue meeting together online by taking advantage of all that modern technology provides; but virtual church is a concession we make in the moment, not our preferred future. 

We are preparing for in-person church while maintaining social distancing guidelines, but will not be returning to services in the immediate future. This means we will be online-only on May 10, and will continue online-only services until further notice. Once we know the date of our first in-person meeting, we’ll share a two-week notice so you can prepare. 

We’ll also share updates in the coming weeks and are working in consultation with an epidemiologist, local doctors, and those on the front lines to understand and build protocols to meet in-person safely. The first planning update will be on May 24th. 

As Brooks spoke about last Sunday, Governor Kim Reynolds announced the lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions in 77 Iowa counties on April 27. The restrictions on religious gatherings were also lifted for all 99 counties, “but [churches] must adhere to social distancing guidelines.” The guidelines mentioned include maintaining social distancing, personal hygiene, and safety protocol. 

These guidelines have brought up a host of questions for our church and leadership, including, “How do we do things in a way that are safe for the most vulnerable among us and also get back to church to continue to fellowship and worship together?” At Grace we have folks in a variety of circumstances:  

  • Those who’ve recovered from the virus and those who haven’t been exposed
  • More and less vulnerable people
  • Those who are doing okay and those who have been suffering for weeks
  • A spectrum of viewpoints on how our church body thinks about our circumstances.

We must consider each of these scenarios, each person in our church, and also what is best for our entire community. Further, we must take seriously the recommendations for social distancing, sanitation and safety for when we return. 

In the meantime we ask for your prayers as we consider how to move Grace forward during this uncertain and tumultuous season. Specifically, you can pray for...

  • Wisdom for your leaders 
  • Patience, mercy, and grace for our body of Christ
  • The suffering of our community

Also, educate yourselves. This is a really difficult time for each of us, and it echoes Paul’s addresses in Romans 14. Understand that each of us will need to make decisions, and that others in the church may not agree with what you’ve decided is best. Let your love for each other guide us in this moment, and in the future.

In Christ,

The Grace Community Church Elder Team

Update on April 5

Dear Grace Community Church,

In accordance with our state and federal government guidance, our Sunday services, events, classes, and gatherings will remain online only til Monday 5/4.

  • Our weekly North Liberty worship service will continue to stream on Sunday mornings at 9:45 AM on our YouTube channel ‘GraceB3’.
  • Our Sunday worship music will air at 9 AM each week on our YouTube worship channel.
  • Our North Liberty Sunday service will also be broadcast on local FOX stations on Sundays at 11:30 AM.
  • Our Downtown service is airing Sunday nights at 5 PM on YouTube, with watch parties on the Grace Downtown Facebook page.
  • Donations can be made at graceb3.org/give. If you prefer to donate by check, mail it to:

Grace Community Church
2707 Dubuque St. NE,
North Liberty, IA 52317

Our church office will remain closed but staff are accessible via phone (319-626-2040), email (office@graceb3.org), and webchat (via graceb3.org). Urgent messages will receive priority; other non-urgent correspondence will be responded to in a timely manner. A few ways to stay connected are:

We look forward to meeting together online this Sunday.

In Christ,

The Grace Community Church Elder Team

Update on March 16

Dear Grace Community Church,

It's an understatement to say we are living in an unusual season. Who would have believed our reality could shift so dramatically in such a short period of time?

In the midst of all of this, we are hopeful about the future of the Church. These words from the author of Hebrews come to mind: We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain – Hebrews 6:19.

Hebrews reminds us that our hope rests in God and everything else is unsteady. In a time of worldly fear, the non-believing people in our community are desperate for firm footing, which opens the door for followers of Christ to step up and share the hope of the gospel.

Though we are in a season of turmoil and uncertainty, we will get to the other side of it, and when we do we can anticipate that there will be many hurting people looking for answers—looking for purpose. People will flock to the Church in larger numbers than we have been seeing, and so we need to be preparing now for those who will come; we cannot let up, even as we are in a challenging season.

To that end, in the short-term, we are making adjustments to care for our church body throughout this season and keep our church-support strong so that we are ready to welcome those who seek us out:

 

  • Our weekly worship service will continue without interruption as we move to online gatherings. Our Sunday services and on-site activities will be online-only through April 12, including our Easter services. Sunday service livestream will start at 9:45 AM on our Youtube channel ‘GraceB3’. As important as it is to gather in person (Hebrews 10:25), the Church is the people, not the building, and we live in a time of unprecedented virtual connection. Our aim is to leverage technology to protect our communities from the spread of disease while staying fully engaged in community.
  • The Annual Business Meeting this Sunday, March 22 is postponed and changing formats. We will share documents outlining the budget of the church in the next few weeks, along with a method for Q&A.
  • Our small groups and discipleship will continue but will be modified to accommodate healthy social distancing as recommended by the CDC and the Governor’s office. We are working on moving small group studies and ministry events online. Your small group leader will be in touch to let you know the adjusted plans.
  • We have to stay financially strong. The ongoing ministry of our church is dependent on the tithes and offerings of our people. Our giving has to be modified to accommodate the new reality of not gathering in person for a few weeks. Electronic giving is the best way to do this. Many of you are already doing this, thank you. If you are not giving electronically, this would be a good time to do that. You can get more information about online giving, and sign up, at graceb3.org/give. If you prefer to make your gifts by check, you can mail it to the church: 2707 Dubuque St. NE, North Liberty, IA 52317

 

Our church office is closed to the public but staff are accessible via phone (319-626-2040), email (office@graceb3.org), and webchat (via graceb3.org). Urgent messages will receive priority, other non-urgent correspondence will be responded to in a timely manner. A few ways to stay connected are:

Staying strong in worship, small groups, and finances is important as we work to love and serve hurting people during this tumultuous time.

We are here for you. Let us know how we might serve you as we navigate these challenging times together.

In Christ,

The Grace Community Church Elder Team

 

Update for the week of March 15

In light of the timely coronavirus developments in Johnson County, below are some Grace Community updates regarding Sunday services and activities.

Sunday Service Online-Only

This Sunday, March 15, our North Liberty services will be held online only via our livestream on Youtube. All Sunday church activities are canceled (e.g. Thrive, etc). Service this Sunday at our Downtown campus is canceled. Details for the livestream are:

  • Livestream starts at 9:45 AM on Sunday, March 15
  • View the Livestream on Youtube (direct link) – VIEW THE 3/15 LIVESTREAM

The sermon will be posted to our website, and an audio version will be available for listening via the ‘graceb3’ app available for Android and iPhone users.

Activities Canceled March 14 –  21

All activities on-site at the North Liberty campus are canceled starting tomorrow Saturday 3/14 through Saturday 3/21. As the Johnson County environment continues to evolve the Elder Team will make further announcements about upcoming Sundays and weekday activities, as needed. This will allow for more timely and informed decision-making to ensure the Grace Community is shepherded and cared for in the best way possible. Future activity cancellations, online-only Sunday services announcements, and other relevant news will be shared on graceb3.org, the Grace Community Facebook group, the Graceb3 phone app, and other methods such as local broadcast media as appropriate.

Please continue to pray for our local community, and the world, while sharing the confidence we hold in our identity as followers of Christ and adopted sons and daughters.

 

In Christ,

The Grace Community Elder Team

A letter to the Grace Community about coronavirus.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

If you’ve been watching the news, you are most likely aware that efforts to contain the coronavirus have entered a new level of concern. Both national and Iowa state governments are ramping up their emergency responses to ensure our communities and neighborhoods are prepared, and Grace Community Church is doing the same. Our hope is that all those who call Grace Community their church home will be informed and prepared.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised that places of public worship should prepare for the possibility of the new coronavirus spreading within local communities. At this time, we encourage anyone coming to either Grace Community Church campus to take the following preventative measures outlined by the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases:

  • Stay home if you’re sick, and keep family members home if they show signs of illness.

  • Cover coughing and sneezing with an arm or tissue, not a hand.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.

  • Do not greet others by shaking hands.

  • Consistently clean frequently touched surfaces and objects at home, school, and work.

  • Members of higher risk groups as defined by the CDC should review the recommendations of public health organizations and take precautions as necessary.

 

Grace Community Church is taking the following measures to keep our campuses clean:

  • Sanitizing highly touched surfaces before and after every service such as doors, handles, tables, water fountains, check-in stations, toys, and sinks. Coffee ministry volunteers will wear gloves when preparing coffee, and volunteers will wear gloves when serving snacks and food.
  • Staff and volunteer teams are washing their hands frequently and will stay home if they are sick.
  • Additional hand sanitizer stations will be provided around campus for everyone to use.

If you or your loved ones must stay home, Grace offers livestreams of Sunday service at 9:45 AM at graceb3.org/youtube . We also record and archive audio messages online at graceb3.org/sermon for both campuses. While we continue to monitor the situation closely, we do not feel any need for alarm at this time.

 

To stay connected with Grace and ensure you receive timely updates, we recommend you take the following steps:

  1. Download the “Graceb3” app to your mobile device (iPhone, Android) and enable push notifications

  2. Subscribe to the Grace Insider monthly magazine at: graceb3.org/insider

  3. Join the Grace Community Facebook group at: facebook.com/groups/graceb3

 

We will use the above methods to communicate community news, cancellations, and other relevant information to those who call Grace their home church.

Lastly, please pray for people in Iowa and around the world who are currently suffering from coronavirus and their caregivers, families and communities; for the loved ones who grieve the loss of their family and friends; and that God’s glory will be made manifest through the work of His people.

 

In Christ,
The Grace Community Church Elder Team