GCC-Sterling Update: covid-19

Dear Congregation,

We are in the middle of one of the most significant moments in the history of our church and our community. The impact of the COVID-19 epidemic is far-reaching and the challenges before us are great.
Because of the nature of this crisis, we have decided to move our Sunday morning service to live-stream for the foreseeable future.  We also want to follow the guidance of the federal government to avoid gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.  We are moving all small group meetings, from in-person, to a virtual format.  Your small group leaders will be reaching out to you to explain how we will all continue to fellowship, through video and group chat, while adhering to the above guidelines.

In this time, we all have a unique opportunity to express Christ-like love, care, and sacrificial giving to a world that has been freshly sensitized to its need.  Here are three ways that we can respond, as this crisis continues to develop:

1. Pray. The writer of Hebrews reminds us in chapter 4 that Jesus is our high priest, and we can confidently approach God’s throne, from which grace and mercy flows.  Pray for mercy on our community, on our country, on our world.  Pray for saving grace to bring unbelievers to faith in Christ.  Pray for grace to strengthen us to stand under the pressures surrounding this crisis.  Pray for providential grace to meet the needs of those in our church and our surrounding community.  Now is the time to pray and believe the promises of God.

2. Love your neighbor.  There are a multitude of ways to love your neighbor in this crisis.  We can love our neighbors by being mindful of proper hygiene.  We can love our neighbors by being well-informed and practicing measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  And we can love our neighbors by reaching out in other ways while we cannot assemble in groups.  We can connect over the phone, text, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Stay connected with others in our church body, and with others in your community!

3. Give sacrificially.  Fear and panic are driving many in our community toward fearful behaviors, like hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer.  But our God is a sacrificially giving God.  And God’s people are called to reflect His nature.  Like the church in Philippi, who gave to the needs of others beyond their means (2 Corinthians 8:3), I want to encourage you to consider, in this moment, in what ways you can give for the benefit of others, and then to give.  One way you can give is to donate to Loudoun Hunger Relief (https://www.loudounhunger.org), an organization that seeks to provide groceries and to meet other needs for those in Loudoun County.

These are not the only steps that must be taken, but they are some of the first.

God is in control and He will sustain us! Grace Covenant Church has been placed in this place and time to make disciples and to love the lost. Though our circumstances shift, our mission has not changed. Our vision remains— win the city by reaching the route 7 corridor for Christ. God will continue to meet each of us, as we hold fast to his promises.

Standing with you in faith,
Eddy Barnes
Lead Pastor | Grace Covenant Church - Sterling