Coronavirus Update

June 4, 2020 — Welcome back to church!

The leadership of Grace Presbyterian Church is very pleased to welcome our church family back to worshipping together! Our Session’s elders, deacons, and ministry staff have worked tirelessly and with great care to present these plans for our return to the church building for on-site services. Read the full plan by clicking here.

 

Previous updates:

May 21, 2020

During this stay-at-home pandemic, we want you to know that the leadership of Grace Presbyterian Church (including elders, deacons, and staff) is continuing to monitor all guidelines issued by state and federal officials, as well as health officials, and applying those guidelines as best we can to our future plans. Although new, and sometimes conflicting, information comes out practically every day, we are making preparations for how and when we can resume worshiping together again. Plans are being made within the framework of allowances presented in each of the governor's phases. More than likely, our re-entry will happen in tiers, where not all activities and events will begin at the same time. As you can imagine, there are a lot of moving pieces that need to be considered. Your prayers are invaluable to us as we all seek the Lord's will in the development and consideration of these plans.

We are thankful for the abilities we have to be able to live-stream our services, hold virtual meetings for small groups, and the different ways we can continue to minister to you all during this time. Please know that we wish to represent Christ and the church well in our community and that we also want to make sure our people feel safe when the time comes that we can once more gather together.

If you've been on social media at all, you know there is a wide variety of opinions on everything related to COVID-19, including what precautions are and aren't necessary. In a church of our size, we also have a wide range of thoughts and opinions on all of these issues as well. As you participate in conversations, whether in-person or virtually, remember that we, the church, are to be the hands of feet of Christ. In all things, extend grace and love to our brothers and sisters.

We are looking forward to the day that we can again unite our voices in the song of Revelation 5: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!"

March 24, 2020

Philippians 4:5b-7
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Dear Grace family,
Greetings from the Pastoral Care Team! We wanted to gather into one place various notes regarding how to give and receive help during this time of seeking to contain the coronavirus:

Video conferencing
We encourage everyone within the Grace family to stay connected during the “Shelter at Home” period. We have found Zoom to be a very fine videoconferencing service. Anyone with a computer can sign up for a free Zoom account (https://zoom.us/) which will allow unlimited 1:1 meetings plus group meetings up to a 40-minute duration. Licenses can be purchased which enable meetings of up to 100 people up to a 24-hour duration. If you lead a Grace group, class, or ministry, and you would like to host virtual meetings of your group, contact Pastor Greg via email or at 309-589-6413. We would like to purchase hosting licenses for Grace groups and ministries that would benefit from meeting together virtually during this period. Several community groups along with staff, elder, and deacon groups are using this technology with great benefit.

Receiving delivery of groceries and supplies
We have lots of volunteers standing by to pick up and deliver groceries or supplies if it is medically advisable for you to remain at home. If we can bring these things to you so that you can stay home, contact Pastor Greg via email or at 309-589-6413. We can also help you order these items online or order them for you if you lack computer capability.

Pastoral phone prayer
Pastor John Hopwood would love to pray with you over the phone about your physical and spiritual needs. You can call him at 309-589-6414. Also call Pastor John if you have physical symptoms resembling the coronavirus and would like to receive advice from a retired doctor at Grace about how to proceed.

Pastoral phone counseling
If you would like to receive telephone counseling from a pastor, contact Pastor Kerry via email or at 309-255-0618.

Financial needs
The Grace Diaconate has a Compassion and Concern Committee which helps those with financial need within Grace. If you have a financial need, contact Pastor Kerry via email or at 309-255-0618. After talking with you, he will connect you to the committee.

Prayer requests
Several groups at Grace want to pray for you. Submit a prayer request or praise report by filling out this form. Our Staff, Elders, Deacons, and Prayer Team would love to lift up your request to God. Requests marked “Confidential” will go only to the Pastors.

Prayer Requests

Helping those in need
We are going to have people within the Grace family whose finances suffer due to job lay-offs or reduction in hours because of the virus. If you would like to give to help those in financial need, above and beyond your regular financial giving to Grace, you can give to the Deacons Fund at this link:

Give Now

The Deacons Fund is used to fund our Compassion and Care Ministry which helps those within the church family who have temporary financial needs during times of crisis. After you open the link, scroll down to “Deacons Fund” on the “Designation” line. You may give directly to this fund. You may also mail a check, with “Deacons Fund” in the memo line, to Grace Presbyterian Church, 8607 State Route 91, Peoria, IL 61615.

The link and address shown above can also be used for regular financial giving to Grace.

Serve Illinois
One of our members has shared the Governor’s encouragement for healthy citizens of our state to serve their communities during the coronavirus outbreak. Here are two links that will take you to opportunities to serve:

Serve Illinois

American Red Cross

Additionally, blood is in short supply. Learn how to donate here: https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html

Streams of Grace
Don’t forget you can watch our live-stream worship service on Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m. It can be viewed on our website, on our Facebook page, and on our YouTube channel. We also broadcast the worship service on a one-week delay at 9 a.m. on WEEK-TV 25 and WBNH-FM 88.5.

We have a new daily devotional called “Encouragement for the Family of Grace.” You can sign up by visiting www.gracepres.org/enewsletter and entering your e-mail address. If you’re already receiving the e-news on Fridays, there’s no need to sign up again. These short devotionals from Pastor Bryan are meant to encourage us during this time and include a prayer as well.

Prayer
Let’s continue to pray for world, national, state, and local leaders; leaders of Grace and all churches in the Peoria area; those who have contracted the virus; medical workers; scientists developing vaccines and cures; elderly; those with compromised immune systems and underlying health problems; companies manufacturing critical supplies; volunteers; families and children; the lonely; those working in critical jobs; those laid off or with reduced hours; news media; educators; transportation and supply workers; economists; law enforcement; disaster response teams; blood collection volunteers; employers; and anyone else you can think of to pray for at this time. Let’s pray that God will eradicate this disease, save many souls, and glorify his name in this trial as he turns hearts to him.

In Christ,
Grace Leadership Team

 

March 18, 2020

 

Dear Grace family,

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39

As we have sought to show love to our congregation and community by closing our building to gatherings for at least two weeks, we want to continue to demonstrate the same love to those who are negatively impacted by the Coronavirus.

Giving of Time
We have two natural groups within our church family for which help might be welcome.

Widows, Homebound, Elderly, and Disabled: When we combine the names on our widows' list and Friends Visiting list (for the homebound), we have around 150 individuals within our church family for whom it might be necessary or wise to minimize travel away from the home. We also have elderly and disabled adults for whom it is advisable not to leave home.

Families: We have families, including special needs families, that are navigating new waters of education management at home, child care complexities, and health concerns that prohibit venturing into public spaces.

We would like to collect a list of individuals who would be willing to deliver groceries or supplies or run errands for those who might need our help. The form also includes options to help families who need it. You can add your name to this list by completing this form:

https://gracepres.ccbchurch.com/goto/forms/463/responses/new

We will then match volunteers with those needing help.

Sharing of Resources
We are going to have people within the Grace family whose finances suffer due to job lay-offs or reduction in hours because of the virus. If you would like to give to help those in financial need, above and beyond your regular financial giving to Grace, you can give to the Deacons Fund at this link:

https://gracepres.ccbchurch.com/goto/giving

The Deacons Fund is used to fund our “Compassion and Care” Ministry which helps those within the church family who have temporary financial needs during times of crisis. After you open the link, scroll down to “Deacons Fund” on the “Designation” line. You may give directly to this fund. You may also mail a check, with “Deacons Fund” in the memo line, to Grace Presbyterian Church, 8607 State Route 91, Peoria, IL 61615.

Medical Advice
Some retired doctors of Grace have offered to provide phone consultation for those who might be wondering if their symptoms indicate a need to pursue medical care. If you become sick and think you might have the Coronavirus but are unsure how to proceed, or if you have another need, call Pastor John Hopwood’s office number, (309) 589-6414. Leave a message, and he will call you back and help you obtain the advice or help you need.

Prayer
We want to pray for you. Submit a prayer request or praise report by filling out this form. Our Staff, Elders, Deacons, and Prayer Team would love to lift up your request to God. Requests marked “Confidential” will go only to the Pastors.

https://gracepres.ccbchurch.com/goto/forms/462/responses/new

Virtual Meetings
Small groups and other ministries should not meet in-person but may consider meeting virtually. Some services cost money, but you can download and use Skype for free at https://www.skype.com/en/free-conference-call/. Since some people have more technological experience than others, we included a box on the volunteer form (link provided above) to indicate that you would like to use your technical skills to help others set up their virtual meetings.

Worship Services
We will continue to stream the Sunday worship service. Join us this Sunday at 11 a.m. at https://media.gracepres.org. You can also catch the previous week’s service at 9 a.m. Sunday on WEEK-TV 25 or WBNH-FM 88.5. We know there were technical issues with last week's broadcast. You all overwhelmed our servers, and our hearts, with your desire to continue worshipping with the Grace family. Please know we have increased our capacity for viewership, so those issues should not be a problem this next week. To help disburse the additional traffic, we will also be streaming to Grace's YouTube channel as well as Facebook Live.

Let us continue to pray for our church and community, for medical and governmental leaders, for the containment of the virus, and for God to be glorified in our trials as we turn to him.

In Christ,
Grace Pastoral Team

 

March 16, 2020

While the church office will remain open during regular weekly hours 8:30–4 (with minimal staff), the entire building will be locked. If you need to drop something off or pick something up, please call the office and make arrangements; otherwise, you won’t be able to get in the building. The office number is (309) 693-3641. Thank you!

March 13, 2020

It has been quite a week of uncertainty, but we are thankful that Christ is still on the throne!

On Thursday afternoon, March 12, Governor Pritzker presented a state-wide ban on gatherings of over 1,000 people, and strongly discouraged gatherings of 250 people or more. This obviously affects Grace. Because of this, the following church schedule changes are in effect immediately:

  • For at least the next 2 weeks (March 15 and 22), ALL SUNDAY SERVICES WILL BE LIVE-STREAM ONLY. THE CHURCH BUILDING WILL BE LOCKED.
  • We will still live-stream a time of worship and the message at 11:00am. You can watch the service (as well as past messages) at media.gracepres.org.
  • Other outlets for watching the live-stream include Grace's YouTube channel and our Facebook group.
  • Last week's message will still air on WEEK-TV 25 at 9:00 a.m.
  • CDs and DVDs of past sermons can still be ordered through this online form.
  • All weekly activities and meetings are suspended until further notice. This includes MidWeek Grace, MOPS, CBS, TBS, Classical Conversations, and all other activities and meetings.
  • We would encourage small groups, bible studies, etc. to take advantage of technology and meet virtually (Facetime, Skype, etc.) rather than in-person.
  • Current plan is for the church office to remain open throughout the week during their regular office hours, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
  • We know there will be continued prayer needs. Our staff will continue to pray for requests that come in. You can submit a prayer request online here.
  • Tithes and offerings may be mailed to: Finance Manager, Grace Presbyterian Church, 8607 State Route 91, Peoria, IL 61615. You may also give online at gracepres.ccbchurch.com/goto/giving.

For more information on preventative measures and how to handle illnesses in your home, you can visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.

We will be taking advantage of this temporary closing of the building to allow our custodial service to do a deep cleaning of the building. We are also looking at ways we can serve the needs of the community during this time.

While the full impact of the coronavirus cannot be predicted, planning for ministry under such conditions will always be beneficial. The health and safety of our congregation remain a top priority. If the situation changes, we’ll be communicating through the website, Facebook, all-church texting, and e-news. If you’ve not subscribed to the all-church text, you can subscribe by texting the word GRACEPRES to the number 41411.

Throughout this situation, we all still desire to be a beacon of hope in this community. No matter what is going on in the world, Christ is still the answer! Through social media and online services, the Good News of Jesus Christ will continue to be proclaimed not only to central Illinois but to the world! We encourage you to join us on the live-stream and invite your family and friends to log on as well. Even though we won't be physically together, our spirits will still be united in adoration of our ever-faithful God. Finally, please join us in prayer for all those impacted by the virus, for those serving the ill, and for God’s protection and provision. Most importantly, let us not forget our true source of protection. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1.

Trusting in Christ alone,
Grace Presbyterian Church Leadership