Updated September 5, 2020

Dear GCCC Family,

We recently established four goals for the next six months for our church, and one of them is to provide a weekly in-person worship encounter. Our heart is to shepherd people well by providing this opportunity for those who need it, both within our church family and those on the outside who desperately need Jesus and are not yet part of the church. Our hope is that this will be an outdoor Sunday worship service at a consistent location and time every Sunday this Fall, so the plan below reflects that desire even though some of the ongoing details are yet to be finalized.

If you are planning to join us please check the Events page on the website weekly for updated details and to RSVP for each service. Thank you for your continued flexibility during this strange season, we are so grateful to be joined with you on this journey and we are anticipating that God will do significant things in and through our church this Fall.

Blessings,

Pastoral Staff

Sunday Service Regathering Plan

General Details:

  • Service Location and Time– TBD but hopefully a local park on Sunday afternoons.
  • Sunday Protocols– Upon arrival we will provide guidance regarding checking in, children, singing, communion, etc…
  • Seating– Bring your own chairs/blankets, and there may be picnic tables available as well on a first come first served basis. Please maintain social distancing.
  • Sanitizing and Masks– We will have a sanitizing station. Masks will be required at all times for adults and children over 3 years old while participating in our gathering. If we are meeting in a park, we will only enforce this protocol within our reserved meeting space.
  • Streaming– We will continue to livestream a service on Sundays at 11am via YouTube.

Sunday Service Regathering Phases

Phase 1: Begins Sept 13th

  • Attendance: RSVP to let us know you’re coming and for purposes of follow-up if needed
  • Kids: No God’s Garden. Kids are very welcome and must wear masks (over 3 years old) and stay with parents while participating in our gathering
  • Visitors: If possible we will have an assigned picnic table and a few sanitized chairs to accommodate walk-up visitors 
  • Risk Level: Services will be held as long as Arlington parks remain open.

Phase 2: Will begin as we monitor conditions and feel confident in implementing kids ministry

  • Attendance: RSVP
  • Kids: God’s Garden may tentatively begin with social distancing guidelines. Kids must wear masks the entire time
  • Visitors: If possible we will have an assigned picnic table and a few sanitized chairs to accommodate walk-up visitors

*Certain details of the phases are fluid and might be subject to change as we continue to discern and consult with our leadership and team of experts.

Sunday Service Regathering FAQ

  • Do I have to wear a mask? Yes, masks will be required while in our reserved gathering space for both adults and children over 3 years old. Please bring your own mask. We will have some masks available just in case.
  • Where do I go, and what will the check-in procedure be like? Please make your way to the gathering spot where you will be greeted and checked in. If you did not RSVP ahead of time we will fill out the form with you onsite at check-in.
  • Where do I sit? Please bring your own chairs/blankets and find a spot, maintaining social distancing. There may be a few picnic tables that are available on a first come first served basis.
  • How will communion elements be distributed? You will be asked to pick up a prepackaged Communion cup, which contains both wafer and juice, before the service.
  • Will we collect offering during the service? No, we encourage you to please continue giving online.
  • Will there be congregational singing? Yes, we anticipate singing together. However, you will be required to keep your mask on as you sing.
  • Will there be fellowship time afterwards? There will be no official fellowship time after service but if we are meeting in a public park you may choose to fellowship as you feel comfortable.
  • Can I bring my child(ren)? Yes! Children are welcome and kids over 3 years old must be able to keep their mask on and abide by social distancing guidelines while participating in our gathering. We will not provide God’s Garden for Phase 1. However, we will provide disposable supplies that will help your children interact with the service and Scripture in fun ways.
  • What steps are being made to clean the gathering space? Any equipment we provide will be sanitized.
  • Will restrooms be available? Most likely public restrooms will be available for use.
  • Will parking be available? Most likely there will be a free parking lot and/or street parking.
  • What if there is a significant spike in COVID-19 cases in the DMV after we have begun regathering for in-person services? We recognize that this may happen, so we will continue to monitor the situation and consult with our leadership in discerning if and when we would need to return to only livestream services in this situation.
  • What happens if there is a known case among our service attendees/volunteers/staff? We will suspend our in-person service for two weeks and initiate a communication plan based on the contact information collected from all attendees. We will inform all attendees of the positive case of COVID-19 while maintaining the anonymity of the person, and we will ask all attendees to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Updated August 19, 2020

Dear GCCC Family,

We are writing to give you an update on our regathering plans. As we have said before, our desire is to shepherd our church well. In an unprecedented and challenging season like this we recognize that we need to continually be listening to the Holy Spirit, to our church leadership, and to you as our broader church community. 

Within the past week we have had further opportunities to dialogue with our leadership and many of you. We have decided (in agreement with and approval from the Governance Board) to alter our regathering plans, especially as it relates to meeting at the Doubletree Hotel. However our desire to regather in person in some capacity has not changed. We see several benefits of regathering in person (the “pros”):

  • Increased opportunity for personal discipleship and fellowship
  • We can meet newcomers and visitors more easily and readily follow up
  • Allows opportunity for people to have interpersonal interaction needed for mental, emotional, and spiritual health
  • Theologically and experientially we place high value on in-person corporate worship and community life
  • Benefits children, families, and youth for better social and spiritual engagement in church life
  • Provides more immediate interpersonal care for people who are struggling with relational, emotional, and spiritual challenges
  • Increased opportunity for people to serve

But we also recognize that our decision to regather brings with it potential cost, and we wanted to share with you a list of some of those concerns (the “cons”):

  • Increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, potentially resulting in people getting sick or dying
  • Increased public health risk of spreading sickness beyond our church community
  • Potential for negative perception of church from broader community
  • Potential for increased expenses and staff and volunteer time utilized to benefit a relatively small group of people gathering in-person

Weighing these factors (and many more!) has not been easy, and we want to move forward with a plan for regathering this Fall with much wisdom and faith. We recognize that there will always be risks, but we also want to minimize any unnecessary risks if possible. Therefore, based on feedback from several people and our leadership regarding meeting in an indoor public space like a hotel, we will not be moving forward with plans to meet at Doubletree. Instead we will be pursuing alternate options for regathering this Fall, and will be working with church leadership to develop a plan including:

  • Continued prioritization of our virtual livestream on Sunday mornings, as well as other aspects of our virtual church life
  • Potential outdoor worship services and events
  • Other creative smaller gatherings in person
  • Potentially offering small groups for those who are comfortable meeting in person
  • Etc…

We believe it is valuable and important for us to provide these opportunities for those who desire it. However there is no pressure on anyone to participate in these regathering events. This is why our priority will continue to be our virtual church life together. We will provide further details on this updated plan in the coming days and weeks. Please continue to pray with us and for us as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

Grace and Peace,

Pastoral Staff

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