COVID-19 Update

September 3, 2021 — Ministry updates

As you have heard in the news, all counties in Illinois are experiencing what has been called high transmission levels and increased cases, especially for those who are at risk and children. We have seen more cases of individuals and families from our own Grace family struggle with the Delta variant. As we’ve seen these numbers increase, we want to make prudent decisions to care for the welfare of our congregation and guests of all ages.

  • Taking into account our state’s current health status, masks are optional, but we strongly encourage you to wear a mask in public indoor spaces. We ask you to be wise about how you interact where possible, just as we have all been accustomed in past months.
  • Masks are required for those who are 3-years old or older—children, parents, and volunteers—while in the indoor children’s ministry areas only, regardless of vaccinations. We will review this protocol in the next weeks.
  • We continue to offer both on-campus and online worship on Sunday morning.
  • In a continued effort to minimize risk and balance worship opportunities, we will seat congregants in every other row in the entire worship center to improve social distancing.
  • The facility remains open for all classes and groups throughout the week.
  • The church office remains open at regular office hours for all administrative, pastoral, and ministry services.

We will continue to monitor and review this season. We are all saddened that the cases of COVID continue to increase, even within our church family, but we trust that this wave of health concern will pass. We want all of us to be able to strongly model God’s unlimited grace for all generations and all peoples to follow Christ. This is an opportunity to continue to demonstrate our discipleship and public testimony about how Christ would conduct himself to one another and the community. Thank you for your involvement in our vision.

Previous updates:

August 19, 2021 — Ministry updates

Because of the rise of transmissibility and cases in our region due to the Delta variant, we want to provide a caring, yet open, environment for our church family. Our approach respects each person's choice about seating in worship. Some people cannot get vaccinated yet, namely our children and individuals in high-risk groups. Others have chosen not to get vaccinated, for a variety of reasons, and others are concerned about the rise of cases in our area. We want to ensure that each person has the opportunity to worship with us.

Effective this Sunday, August 22, you may choose the seating option that fits you. Seating in the back main floor sections of the sanctuary will be available on every other row during the worship services. Seating in the front main floor sections, as well as all side sections and all the balcony, will be available on every row during the worship services.

We strongly encourage social distancing and masks to ensure that all those who wish to gather with us for worship may do so with joy and as safely as possible at this time. The other current protocols, as determined in an earlier meeting and described in the Protocol document dated August 16, remain in place except for this new step concerning seating in the rows of the sanctuary. We have attached a new draft (dated August 19) that incorporates this new step.

We will continue to reevaluate our protocols in the coming weeks and look forward to returning to every row in each section as soon as possible.

CLICK HERE for the updated COVID Ministry Guide

August 13, 2021 — Ministry updates

The COVID Protocol Team recently met as our state and surrounding regions continue to watch COVID infections due to the Delta variant. We are not seeing the types of increases as other parts of the United States, but our state is experiencing the need for precaution.

We will not add more stringent measures at Grace Presbyterian Church at this time, but we still wish to take temporary precautions to ensure that we are loving the most vulnerable among us and protecting our children who do not yet have access to vaccines.

Our new protocols respect each person’s conscience. Some people cannot get vaccinated yet, namely our children. Others have chosen not to get vaccinated. For all these reasons, our new protocols ensure that all those who wish to gather with us for worship may do so as safely as possible at this time. Worship is truly our supreme priority.

Effective this Sunday, August 15, our new, temporary approach, established by the COVID Protocol Team is:

  • We welcome everyone to worship in the sanctuary. We will continue to provide a Designated “Mask Only” Section on the east side of the balcony for individuals or families who wish to distance from other areas of the sanctuary.
  • Masks are required in the indoors Children’s Ministry areas for children through sixth grade, parents, and volunteers, just as the school systems have done.
  • Masks are recommended in other areas of the facility, but are still optional.
  • Practice social distancing as much as possible in the sanctuary and classrooms. We encourage increased caution in the spirit of caring for others, especially for those who are in high-risk groups. Our greatest desire is to live gospel-centered lives that put others’ needs and interests ahead of ourselves.
  • In order to practice social distancing, we will temporarily stop serving coffee in the atrium, which is the area where most close traffic occurs.

Please note that this policy is for a limited time and subject to continued review in the coming weeks.

Given our situation, and our desire not only to worship together but our desire to grow together in healthy and joyful ways, please continue to pray for the Lord’s blessing, unity, and joy of our church family. Please encourage one another in thoughtful and reassuring ways. May the Lord Jesus Christ continue to bless our church.

June 21, 2021 — Ministry updates

With our entry into Illinois' Phase 5, here are some highlights from Grace's COVID Protocol Team updates.

  • Masks remain optional in the sanctuary per CDC guidelines
  • A section in the balcony will remain designated for masks and social distancing for those who wish to continue the precautions.
  • Worship center, gymnasium, and classrooms may seat full capacity.

May 18, 2021 — Ministry updates

Click this link to read the revised Covid Protocol Plan, effective immediately.

Highlights of the updates:

  • Masks are now optional in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • For those immuno-compromised or who wish to continue wearing masks, we'll have a special reserved section in the worship center with social distancing to provide more space.
  • Seating in the worship center in every row (except for the above-designated section which will remain every other row.).
  • Masks still required for children, parents, and volunteers in the children's hallway and classrooms through 6th grade. This will extend through June 30 and includes VBS.

April 30, 2021 — Ministry updates

Click the link for the revised Covid Ministry Plan. Minor updates have been made, including contact information for some teachers and some revised info about class offerings.

April 13, 2021 — Ministry updates

We will continue to hold 2 services (8:30 and 11:00). No signups are necessary to attend either service. There is also overflow available in the chapel.

Children's Ministries

Children's Church is available at both services for ages infant through pre-K. Children's Sunday School is available for ages infant through 6th grade. 

Registration is required for both children’s church and Sunday school classes. This helps us with our volunteer scheduling and room capacities. You'll need to register each child each week.

To register your child(ren), please visit Registration will be open by Wednesday each week for the following Sunday.

Click here for the updated booklet on ministry happenings.

Beginning April 11

  • 2 services (8:30 and 11:00)
  • *Due to the rise of cases in our area, we will continue with seating in every other pew

Children's Ministries

We have decided to postpone the start of Children’s Sunday School to Sunday the 18th instead of this coming Sunday. This also includes moving back the expansion of Children’s Church age range to include kids up to Pre-K 5’s to the 18th. For this Sunday, April 11th, Children's Church for both services will be infant to 2s only.  

This change is in light of some of our main Children's Ministry leaders being exposed to Covid. To protect families as well as making sure we have adequate leadership for Sunday School and Children's Church, we feel that delaying the start is our most appropriate course of action. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes you and are thankful for your continued flexibility as we balance caution and desiring to minister in person to our families at Grace!

Registration for Children's Church and Children's Sunday School will be available next week!

Click here for the updated booklet on ministry happenings.

March 31, 2021 — Ministry updates

Holy Week Schedule:

Good Friday - 4/2/2021 7:00pm

Easter Sunday  - 4/4/2021

  • 8:00 and 11:00 services inside (signups required)
  • 11:00 will also be livestreamed
  • 9:30 service outside in the church parking log (no signups needed)

Beginning April 11

  • 2 services (8:30 and 11:00)
  • increased capacity (seating every row instead of every other row)
  • children's Sunday School (9:45) and children's church resumes

Click here for the updated booklet on ministry happenings.

February 25, 2021 — Ministry updates

Because of the increased seating capacity in the sanctuary, as well as lower numbers in our area, signups are no longer required for either the 8:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. worship services. The Family Sunday School will still require sign-ups. Nursery is available at 8:30, but pre-registration is necessary so that we have sufficient staffing. Click here for the updated booklet.

February 16, 2021 — Ministry updates

Because of the increased seating capacity in the sanctuary, as well as lower numbers in our area, signups are no longer required for either the 8:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. worship services. The Family Sunday School will still require sign-ups. Click here for the updated booklet.

January 28, 2021 — Currently available ministry opportunities

We are now in Phase 4 (no tier). These transitions continue to open up many in-person opportunities at the church building. Click here for the updated booklet.

January 21, 2021 — Currently available ministry opportunities

We are now in Phase 4, Tier 1. This change opens up many in-person opportunities at the church building. Click here for the updated booklet.

January 15, 2021 — Currently available ministry opportunities

With the movement of our regional mitigations from Phase 4, Tier 3 to Tier 2, we have updated the currently offered ministry opportunities based on Grace's COVID protocols. Click here for the updated booklet.

December 12, 2020 — Currently available ministry opportunities

Check out this booklet for all the ministry opportunities that are available during our current church COVID protocols.  

December 3, 2020 — In-person worship services resume December 6

The leadership of Grace Presbyterian Church is pleased to welcome our church family and friends back to worshiping together in the church facility beginning this Sunday, December 6. Our COVID Protocol Team, elders, deacons, and staff are working tirelessly and with great care to welcome you back to the building this Sunday for the 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services. The 11:00 service will continue to be live-streamed.

RSVP for the service you would like to attend. We continue to promise good health practices in this season, like cleansing the building, wearing masks, and social distancing. You can choose either service at our RSVP.

While we are thrilled to be back worshiping on-site, we recognize that this virus has not gone away and is still a very real threat, especially to those in high-risk categories. Gathering together does carry an increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 despite all our efforts to be as safe as possible. If you are at a higher risk, or if you have recently traveled to gather with family and friends outside your own household, we ask that you would prayerfully consider continuing to worship with us online with the hopes and prayers that you can join us in person soon.

Our ushers, worship team, and staff look forward to welcoming you when you enter our three open entry points: the main doors, the north canopy doors, and southwest doors. We'll greet you with a smile in our eyes and under our masks!

The building is not yet open for group meetings or recreation. We hope to do so in January and will keep you updated as we take those steps in future weeks.

As always, our leadership teams at Grace highly value your prayers as they pray about and seek counsel in making these decisions. 

Here are the updated COVID-19 protocols:

November 19, 2020 — Nov. 22 & 29 services will be livestream-only

We continue to value the re-entry to ministry opportunities for all generations and all peoples. We love gathering in-person for worship on Sunday mornings. Yet in light of the rise of COVID-19 cases across our community, hospitals, and region, it is important to love one another with a special care for the other person. The wisest decision is to avoid large gatherings, especially when many families are deciding how to enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday without their regular families, friends, and travel.

We have decided to cancel onsite services on November 22 and November 29. Yet we will still celebrate Christ’s faithfulness and glory in worship together as we all gather virtually online at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday morning.

The decision to have only online worship again for two weeks was not an impetuous or hasty decision. We are so grateful to the advisors who have guided us through this health season from its beginning. As the season continues, we have added more individuals to our team who provide wise understanding, thoughtful reflection on our values, and discerning recommendations for every new step. It’s an advisory team of church members who will regularly provide direction for this season. We are, in fact, still adding one or two more individuals as we fill the roster for this team—and we are grateful for all of them.

Pastor Sandy has prepared this personal message:

Live Stream Service

Updated Coronavirus Protocols (11/19/2020)

The latest COVID-19 protocols are available here.

November 2, 2020 — Peoria region moves back a tier

Due to the higher number of positive cases in our region, the following changes in regard to building usage and the worship services are in effect immediately: COVID-19 Protocols.

August 6, 2020 — Communion this Sunday at both services

The church building has been thoroughly cleaned, and we are excited to once again gather indoors for the 11:00 a.m. service on August 9! You can sign up to attend by clicking here

August 9 and 16 will be the final two Sundays that Pastor Bryan and Kathy will be worshiping with us before Pastor Bryan becomes the new Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). We are so thankful for their ministry here the past 7 years and are looking forward to the opportunity to say goodbye over the next two Sundays. Because attendance is still limited at the 11:00 a.m. services, please consider attending the 8:30 a.m. outdoor service.

This Sunday, August 9th, we look forward to celebrating communion with you at both services! All those wishing to participate will receive a pre-packaged individual serving cup/wafer when entering the parking lot for the outdoor service and when entering the sanctuary for the inside service.

July 31, 2020 — Important Update

Friday, July 31, we were made aware of a church staff member and their family that just tested positive for COVID-19. We are of course praying for them as they isolate and take care of themselves. After discovering this, we began implementing our church protocols (in accordance with CDC guidelines) and will be closing the church office and building until further notice. Any previously scheduled activities in the building for at least this next week will need to be rescheduled at a later date, or moved to a different location. Call the church office if you would like to reschedule an alternate date. This Sunday's 8:30 a.m. outdoor service will continue as normal. The 11 a.m. worship service will still be live-streamed, but with no congregation present in the sanctuary. We look forward to hopefully seeing you on August 9!

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.

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 ( 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:

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 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.

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:

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:

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.

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.

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 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 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:

  • 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
  • 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

For more information on preventative measures and how to handle illnesses in your home, you can visit

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