Resuming Church Public Gathering

June 3, 2020
Dear Grace Bible Church,

The Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed the legal ordinances that Governor Newsom of California put into place allowing churches to meet pursuant to specific State mandates. Grace Bible Church plans to meet this Sunday, June 7th, while obeying these State and Public Health Department directives. Here are the procedures we must follow in order to comply with the law:

All individuals more vulnerable to COVID 19, [older adults and those with other serious health issues] are to consider how soon they wish to attend in person. Livestreaming of our Sunday service will continue or you can ask Bo Shelly [588-3674] for a CD of the service. Whatever decision you make will be highly respected.

Anyone experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, chills or anyone who has a fever, loss of smell and/or taste, and those with gastro-intestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps or just not felling well should protect others by staying home.

All attendees must wear face coverings both inside and outside the church buildings and while fellowshipping outside the Church. A limited number of masks will be available so please bring your own mask if you have one. Parents are responsible for their own child’s face covering.

Family groups will be seated together by an usher, but with physical distancing from other people. At least 6 foot distancing is to be maintained at all times both inside and outside the buildings. When exiting, please wait for guidance from your usher.

No nursery, junior church or playground will be provided. Children will sit with their family. Parents should accompany their children to the restroom if their child is not mature enough to disinfect the bathroom for the next occupant.

The service will begin at 10:30 AM and will be shortened to minimize possible exposure to the virus. We will have less singing and we will not pass offering plates. There will offering baskets at each entrance.

Please plan to arrive early to be seated. Only approximately 80 persons total may attend due to the new temporary state guidelines - approximately 37 people in the sanctuary; 30 in the fellowship hall; and 13 in the nursery/classroom. Those in the latter two rooms will watch the service on TV monitors. Early arrivals may be seated when the doors open at 10:00 AM for quiet prayer and meditation. To limit the size of any possible quarantine due to a worshipper getting COVID, photos of our seating arrangements will be taken prior to the beginning of the service, kept confidential, and then deleted after three weeks.

To maintain fresh air flow during the service, all doors will remain open and fans will be on. Please dress according to the outside temperature. Since no refreshments or supplies can be provided, please bring your own pens, Bibles, and water bottles.

Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available at all entrances. Please use these before and after the service. All surfaces and chairs will be cleaned with proper anti-viral agents prior to the service. It is important that we restrain ourselves from shaking hands or other physical contacts even though we all have missed one another greatly.

Please contact David Watts [805-245-4610] or Bill Shelly [805-686-0115] with any specific questions you may have. We continue to seek to satisfy the public health guidelines in caring for each other, but our deepest purpose is to honor our God in love and reverence, to worship His holy name.
David Watts
On behalf of the leadership and reentry teams

May 11, 2020
1693 Laurel Ave.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-8750

Dear Grace Bible Church,

Some of you have spoken and/or written to us sharing questions and concerns about the decision of the GBC leadership team to abide by Governor Newsom’s regulations not to assemble.  This email and a letter that we will send this afternoon, encourages you to write back to us with your thoughts.  We have scheduled a church-wide zoom service for this Thurs from 7 to 8:30 PM so that we can hear more fully from each of you on this issue.
Here is a summary of what we as a leadership team discussed regarding these regulations:

We are instructed in Romans Chapter 13:1-7 to render honor to our leaders because God controls who leads us.  We are also watchful for those leaders who lead us against the will of God.

President Trump has delegated the precautions for safely resuming our activities to the various state governors who are more intimately familiar with the local circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor G. Newsom has recently outlined a four-stage “Resilience Roadmap” for modifying his March 19th statewide order to stay at home.

Friday marked the beginning of Stage 2 Lower Risk workplaces gradually reopening of some retail for curbside pickup only.  Stage 2 includes manufacturing and logistics and later relaxing of retail restrictions, adapt and reopen schools, childcare, offices, and limited hospitality and personal services.

Stage 3 will adapt and reopen higher risk places such as movie theaters, church services, and more personal care and hospitality services.

State 4 ends the stay at home order and allows the highest rick activities:  concerts, conventions, and sports arenas.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has stated that, “If a state or local ordinance crosses the line from the appropriate exercise of authority to stop the spread of COVID-19 into an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections, the Department of Justice may have to address that overreach in federal court.”

In other words, if and when California discriminates against Christian gatherings in favor of similar gatherings, the full weight and force of President Trump’s Justice Dept. will correct it.  If it does not, God’s people must seek justice through other means.

Grace Bible Church is carefully following these developments and prayerfully seeks God’s wisdom in how to carry out the great commission during the pandemic, minister to our brothers and sisters and still exhibit loving, cautious caring for our neighbors.

Programs that have been started:  Zoom corporate prayer, Zoom Life Group, Zoom ladies’ gatherings, Livestream service, Banner advertising services, shepherding groups, and prayer box.

We are always open to correction, encouragement, or input.  Please take the time to send us your thoughts.

The Leadership of Grace Bible Church