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URGENT: Coronavirus Updates and Changes 3/17/20

Date: 3/17/20

Dear Living Grace Family,
 
As you are likely aware at this point, the recommendations and requirements for dealing with the coronavirus are changing daily, sometimes even changing by the hour. As of yesterday, President Trump announced a nationwide stoppage on any groups of 10 or more people gathering together for the next 15 days (at least). In light of that announcement, and in an effort to honor the temporary wishes of the government’s efforts to protect the health of our community, we are going to make the following changes:

  • Sunday Services – Our Sunday morning services are going to look a lot different in the short term. For at least the next several Sundays, we will not gather at the school, nor anywhere else, to physically worship together. Instead, we will worship together via a pre-recorded worship service which will include music (from Justin or one of our other leaders) and a sermon from me (Brian) as we continue to preach our way through the book of John. The video will be posted at 10:00 am on Sunday mornings to both our website (www.livinggracebakersfield.com/messages) and our free Living Grace App (it is titled “Living Grace Bakersfield” in app stores. Click links to download for Apple | Android). We strongly encourage you to watch these videos and worship alongside us, even if we are all doing so from the isolation of our own homes. At this point, it is the best we can do to not forsake meeting together while we are unable to do so in person.

    *Note on Giving - Even though much of what we are doing is temporarily being altered, the majority of the church’s expenses will continue as normal. So, although you will not be able to give via an offering bag each week, we would ask that you send your offerings to our P.O. Box instead (P.O. Box 21690, 93390). If you are interested, check out your bank’s bill-pay system as many of them will allow you to setup recurring payments where they will automatically cut the checks and mail them for you. If you have any questions on how to give to LG, feel free to contact Billy or Julie at the church office (661-665-0968).
     
  • Home Groups – Due to the request that not even small groups gather together at this time, we have decided to cancel our scheduled home group meetings for the next two weeks (this week - March 17th-19th and next week - March 22nd-26th).  After those two weeks, home groups are already scheduled to have a three-week break for Easter (the weeks of 3/29, 4/5, and 4/12). So, we will not have home group meetings for the next five weeks. Our hope, plan, and prayer is that we will be able to resume our meetings again on the week of April 19th. If for some reason we are not allowed to meet even by that time, we will be sure to communicate with you about what the plan is going to be.
     
  •  Youth Group – For the same reasons, youth group will not be meeting during the same time span as our home groups.  
     
  • All Other Church Events – We have decided to postpone our church picnic that was scheduled for March 22nd as well as the Serve-Southwest event (which is our door hanger distribution) that was scheduled for March 28th. We will let you know about any of the events in April (like Good Friday and Easter) as the time approaches. 

None of these changes are our first choice, and we are certain you feel the same. To reiterate, we are not doing any of these things out of fear or panic, we are simply doing these things in an effort to honor what our government has asked of us for a relatively short window of time.
 
Lastly, we understand that it might be easy during this time to grow apart from one another at Living Grace, or to possibly even grow apart from the Lord by neglecting to feed our souls through the reading and preaching of God’s Word. We implore and urge you to not allow either of those things to happen. Let’s use the amazing communication tools we have available to us to stay in touch with one another regularly (things like phone calls, e-mail, facetime, skype, etc.), and let’s use our website and app to feed on the Word together and to worship Him together.
 
Our staff will still be working away at the church office and will be available should anybody need anything.
 
We love you all,
 
Brian Murphy and the Living Grace Elders