June 22, 2020

Letter & Survey from Session


Dear Grace First Family and Friends:
 
Over the past three months the Session of Grace First Presbyterian Church has continued to meet weekly to discuss the life of our community and how we can continue to best serve each member in the name of Jesus Christ.  Our time together has been filled with care, compassion, grace, and challenge.  Each week conversation is entered about how much longer we have to stay apart from one another to ensure the health of our most vulnerable members.  No conversation has been entered into lightly. There have been tears, and frustration, there has been hope and some joy.  None of it has been easy and we lament that we are still in the midst of this virus and physical separation three months after it seemed to so suddenly begin.

Over this period of time the Session has wanted to meet weekly and make decisions on in-person worship and

in-person church activities on a two- to three-week timeline. This has been intentional with the hopes that by not setting an arbitrary date two or three months out the congregation would feel a sense of reassurance around the diligence and concern of the leadership.  However, it seems that in some ways this has left the congregation feeling as though decisions are not being made or the leadership is not moving forward. Please accept our apologies for any pain that this approach or the lack of communication around it has caused. 

At this point, the ministry teams are preparing plans for what would need to be in place to return to in person worship as it relates to their particular area of ministry.  This work includes protocols around how to best care for children, preparing for livestreaming the service to ensure those at home are still able to worship with the body, and how to modify worship for those gathered in-person to keep people as safe as possible from the virus. 

In the process of this work the following items were identified that would need to be addressed for returning to in-person worship. They include the following: 

  • Line up outside the front door (only door open) 6 ft between each person. 

  • Clean your hands with hand sanitizer (provided). 

  • Receive a mask to wear if you don’t have one. 

  • Put your tithe in a plate in the Narthex as you go in. 

  • Be ushered to your seat. Bulletin will already be on your seat. Every other pew will be roped off. 

  • During the service, no singing of hymns and no choir. The organ will be played. There is the possibility of a handbell quartet.

  • Leave the sanctuary one row at a time starting at the back at the direction of ushers. 

  • Be ushered out the door. 

  • Only the Sanctuary will be open. The rest of the church will be closed except for the restrooms (details yet to be determined).

  • There will be no coffee time and no food. Sunday school will not restart. 

  • There may not be room for everyone that comes to sit in the Sanctuary. We could put a few chairs in the Narthex but not many to stay 6 feet apart. Are we going to turn members away? 

  • How much time will it take to get people seated before the Service begins and stay 6 feet apart? 

These items and many others have been part of the discussion around returning to worship in-person.  While we all want to return to in-person worship, based on current guidelines for physical distancing, and restriction of singing, we know that worship would look very different from what we are accustomed.  Thankfully, at this time, we are able to have recorded worship, and while this is not ideal, it does allow for singing, something we are not sure will happen in the sanctuary for some time.

In order for the Session to make decisions on how to best move forward at this point we would like your feedback! You will see a link for a survey at the bottom of this letter. Please complete the survey by Monday, June 29.  The Session is moving to meetings every two weeks and will next convene on Thursday, July 2 where the feedback from the surveys will be taken into consideration as we determine the next steps.

The survey contains questions in the follow areas:

  1. General Pastoral Care

  2. Regathering in the building for worship

  3. Regathering in other locations (backyards of members, or other designated areas) in small groups for worship and/or other activities

  4. Open feedback

We ask that you prayerfully consider your answers to the questions in the survey.  We understand you must answer the questions based on your needs and situation and that while you may wish to participate in some of the suggested ways of gathering it may not be possible for you, at this time.

In the meantime, continue in prayer for the leadership of GFPC, and continue being the church by checking in on one another. We look forward to hearing from you in the survey.
 
Link to survey: https://forms.gle/BjfinBqDdvbgDnZ9A

Blessings,
The Session of Grace First Presbyterian Church:
Sue Coody
Dave Deison
Stephanie Eidson
Leslie Goeldner
Marion Harris
Deb Kaiser
Randy Riall
Ed Moss, Clerk
Gary Snow
 
Rev. Ashley Drake Mertz, Pastor & Moderator
Rev. David Slyter, Pastor

June 29, 2020

Happy Monday!

 

Check out GFPC news via Steepleton Mail by clicking on the link below.  Also, don’t forget to join us for coffee hour at 4:00 on Wednesday. That link is also below.

We hope you have a great week ahead!

Click here for the Sermon Manuscript from June 28. 


Steepleton Mail: https://vimeo.com/433662253
 

Announcements:

  • Today is the last day to complete the congregational survey. Please complete it now: https://forms.gle/EZ2ZvT3EvTyfKg6U8

  • Session has asked Ruling Elder and CE Moderator Leslie Goeldner to chair a Social Justice Task Force focused on identifying areas of social justice that are important for intentional conversation in our church. The task force will explore various topics and ways that we can learn more about applying our faith in the world through Christian Education, Music and Worship, and Mission, among other areas of ministry. You will hear more about this in the coming weeks and months.

  • Presbyterian Women contributed $1500 to 4 organizations at the end of their fiscal year. Thank you PW for your continued witness to the love of Jesus Christ for the world! Below are the organizations they supported!

   1. Guatemalan PCUSA missionaries - $500  Education Consultant for Indigenous People 
   2. Team Brownville - $500 Humanitarian assistance of asylum seekers
   3. Evergreen Life Services of North Central Texas (in covenant with Synod of the Sun) - $250 Provides services for individuals with disabilities.
    4. Children's Advocacy Center of Parker County - $250  Provides services that help end the cycle of child abuse.

  • Office will be closed Friday, July 3.

  • David is out on vacation through Sunday, July 5

  • On Friday you will receive a link for communion on Sunday. This will either be for a Facebook Live event (you DO NOT need a Facebook account to view the video) or Zoom depending on our ability to workout all the kinks this week.

  • The Racial Equity discussion is continuing even though the 21 day challenge is complete. If you would like to be part of that conversation please email Pastor Ashley to receive the zoom link.

  • Coffee hour will be Wednesday at 4:00pm. Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83392622307?pwd=R1BuL1JWcEpUc3hRa09jTWxHeXZOUT09

DEACON SHEPHERD GROUPS


We are putting together our Shepherd groups for the new year.  The primary purpose for these groups is for the Shepherd to be a source of contact for any joys, concerns, pastoral care requests, and information on activities regarding the life of the church.
 

If you prefer to not be in a group, please contact Kelly Baggett at kbaggett63@yahoo.com

June 26, 2020

Greetings. I pray this finds you well in body, mind, and spirit. Please join us for worship on Sunday morning using the resources below. You will find the video of worship, the bulletin, and children’s worship material. 
 
Worship can be found here: https://vimeo.com/432688779 (or in the video embedded below)
 
Bulletin: Click Here

Sermon Manuscript: 
 
Children’s Worship: Click Here

 

June 22, 2020

Steepleton Mail: https://vimeo.com/431491004

Please see the above Letter and survey from you Session of GFPC. 

June 19, 2020

Sunday Worship Materials

Greetings. I pray this finds you well in body, mind, and spirit. Please join us for worship on Sunday morning using the resources below. You will find the video of worship, the bulletin, the sermon manuscript, and children’s worship material. 
 
Worship can be found here: https://vimeo.com/430532016 
 
Bulletin: Click Here

Sermon Manuscript: Click Here
 
Children’s Worship: Click Here

 

 

A Note from Session

At the Session’s meeting on Thursday, June 18 it was decided that on Monday, June 22 a letter will be sent to the congregation explaining the work of the Session to this point and asking for feedback from the members to help us know how to best move forward at this point. On Monday, in Church Matters, you will receive the letter and the link to a survey. You are asked to complete the survey by the following Monday, June 29. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as the Session discerns how to respond to this pandemic. Please continue to pray for the leadership of GFPC, your fellow church members, and the world. We are looking forward to hearing back from you next week!

 

 

Sunday School Information
For those who are interested in Feasting on the Word Sunday School, please email Debbie Kaiser at debbielynnkaiser@gmail.com so the leaders can send you the lesson and zoom link each week.

 

 

A Message from Linda Young
Linda Young is still collecting cans for the "Kans For Kids" program, which assists kiddos in our local schools to purchase books from the Book Fair. You may bring your cans to the church office or you can drop them off by Linda's front porch. If you need her address, please contact the church office. 

 

 

June 15, 2020

Weekly Announcements:

 

Steepleton Mail: https://vimeo.com/429335547

  • 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge Discussion: The first challenge discussion will take place this Tuesday at 10am. All are welcome to join in the conversation. If you are interested please contact Pastor Ashley for the Zoom information.
     

  • Linda Young is continuing to collecting cans to help support local schools. You are welcome to bring them to the church or drop them on her front door at 1310 Tory.
     

  • If you would like to join the Feasting on the Word Sunday School discussion please contact Deb Kaiser for the lesson and zoom information.
     

  • You will receive a letter from Session this Friday via Church Matters outlining the plans for returning to in-person gatherings, at this point.
     

  • We will have coffee hour this Wednesday at 4:00. To join follow this link:

June 12, 2020

Greetings. I pray this finds you well in body, mind, and spirit. Please join us for worship on Sunday morning using the resources below. You will find the video of worship, the bulletin, and children’s worship material. Please note, we had sound difficulties this week. You may find it necessary to increase or decrease the volume during various sections of the service.

Sunday Worship Material:  
 
Worship can be found here: https://vimeo.com/428360451
Bulletin can be found here: June 14, 2020
Sermon Manuscript: Trinity Sunday
Children’s Worship can be found here: 6-14-20

 

Weatherford High School Baccalaureate Service:  The WHS 2020 Baccalaureate service was recorded, in part, at GFPC in May. Pastor Ashley delivered the sermon for the graduating seniors. You are invited to worship and celebrate the 2020 graduates of WHS. The following link takes you to the service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSSsGvXVkho&t=654s

Note from Session: Session met on Thursday, June 11 and extended the use of online platforms for worship and church activities through Sunday, June 28.  Next Friday you will receive a letter detailing the discernment process that Session has undertaken during this period of time and the plan of action for moving forward, at this point. Additionally, we are working on a survey to be sent out in the near future to get some more direct feedback from you all.  Please know that while it may seem the Session is moving slowly in making final decisions and plans regarding in-person worship and church activities it is only because the process continues to be thorough: full of various considerations and intentional discernment.  Within every conversation the physical, mental, and spiritual welfare of every member has been the highest priority.

June 8, 2020

Steepleton Mail: https://vimeo.com/427047949

  • Lacey will be out Friday, June 12 and Monday, June 15 on vacation. The office will be closed on Friday.

  • A group of people who have committed to the 21 day racial equity challenge through Myers Park Presbyterian Church will be gathering on zoom in the next week to discuss what we are learning through the challenge. Please let pastor Ashley know if you’d like to join the conversation. 

 

Coffee Hour this Wednesday at 4pm. Link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83392622307?pwd=R1BuL1JWcEpUc3hRa09jTWxHeXZOUT09

 

June 5, 2020

 

Greetings. I pray this finds you well in body, mind, and spirit. We will join together via zoom this Sunday for communion and the ordination/installation of new Ruling Elders and Deacons. That time together will begin at promptly 10:30am. All the information for

zoom can be found below.
 
Following the lectionary calendar would have us celebrating Trinity Sunday this week but given the amount of grief we have been carrying around for the last 2.5 months due to physical separation and the civil unrest we are giving witness to across the United States it seemed more appropriate to move the celebration of Trinity Sunday to next week, June 14 and take time this week for a service of repentance, lament, and commitment.  My prayer for each of you is that you are able to find space within the service to process all that you have carried in these days and can find hope in God’s promises to us across generations.
 
I look forward to celebrating communion and our new officers with you this Sunday! Until then, may the peace of Christ be with you. 
 
Pastor Ashley
 
Worship: https://vimeo.com/426210280
 
Bulletin: A Service of Lament
 
Transcript of Service: 6-7-20
 
 
Zoom Information for Sunday, June 7 @ 10:30am:
Ashley Mertz is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
 
Topic: Communion & Ordination/Installation of Officers
Time: Jun 7, 2020 10:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
 
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83190187526?pwd=eDQ5cGhTWjVDNlU5Z01ZRUd4TjZrQT09
 
For Meeting ID and Password, please see the Church Matters Email sent on Friday, June 5
.

June 1, 2020



- A Call to Action
- Weekly Announcements
- A Link to Wednesday Coffee Hour
- This Week's Birthdays
- Prayers and Concerns

 

 

This week instead of Steepleton Mail you will find a video Call to Action from Pastor Ashley. This Call to Action is for the internal and

communal work we, as people of faith, need to engage in around racial injustice.  It outlines immediate opportunities for response.

Please take a few moments to watch the video and commit to engaging in these difficult conversations: https://vimeo.com/424826359
 
Resources mentioned in the Call to Action video:
21 Day Racial Equity Challenge: https://myersparkpres.org/project/better-when-were-back-together/
Podcast: https://www.sceneonradio.org/seeing-white/

Other resources will be sent via Church Matters as they are identified.

If you have resource suggestions you are invited to send those to Pastor Ashley.

 

 

Weekly Announcements:
 

  • The Session voted on Thursday to extend the continuation of remote worship and church activities through Sunday, June 14.                     They will assess the a further extension at the next called meeting on Thursday, June 11. Various ministry teams are in the midst of planning for our return to in-person worship. This involves ensuring that people who will continue to worship at home are able to join         the service via livestream, ensuring people who enter the building do so safely and with reduced risk to themselves and others, and addressing the form of worship that will reduce harm as much as possible based on current information about COVID-19 and how it spreads.

  • Coffee Hour will meet this Wednesday at 4:00. You are invited to join us for conversation and prayer over Zoom.                                            The link to that gathering is here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83392622307?pwd=R1BuL1JWcEpUc3hRa09jTWxHeXZOUT09
    For the Meeting Id & Password, please check your

  • The office is open Monday-Thursday 9:00am-2:00pm and Friday 9:00am-12:00pm.

 

 

May 29, 2020

Worship Service: https://vimeo.com/424058289

 

Bulletin: https://3493e143-113e-4e54-82c5-02db6bf8a426.filesusr.com/ugd/6b249c_05d92d3f59584d5aaa53d3427a732c46.pdf

 

Sermon Manuscript: https://3493e143-113e-4e54-82c5-02db6bf8a426.filesusr.com/ugd/6b249c_38fd7971314140feb89f16e71d3bb22f.pdf

Children’s Moment: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IG22D4NJ9qQ

Parents, this is not included in the full order of worship due to technical difficulties but the hope is for you to be able to use it with your children so they can hear the Pentecost story through the voices of a mother and daughter.

 

Children’s Worship: https://3493e143-113e-4e54-82c5-02db6bf8a426.filesusr.com/ugd/6b249c_a9223eca64b5442e97c3738a8f9784cb.pdf

Celebrating Pentecost Sunday: Wear your reds and oranges this Sunday for Pentecost and send photos of you worshipping to info@gracefirstpc.org. Also, we want to see what all you’ve been up to during the quarantine so send us photos you have from fun @ home activities or outings or projects you’ve started (they don’t even have to be finished)! We will be using the photos in an upcoming video.

May 26, 2020

Happy Tuesday!
 

Steepleton Mail: https://vimeo.com/422903823 

Things you will hear more about in Steepleton Mail today:
 
In Friday’s Church Matters there was a Pastoral Letter outlining Sessions current strategy for moving forward. You can also find that letter here: https://www.gracefirstpc.org/covid-19-updates. You may have also noticed in Friday’s Church Matters that we are starting to include our sermon texts for those of you having trouble with the audio. These are not meant to be published documents and are being sent for personal use only. 
 
We received a wonderful thank you video from the Children’s Advocacy Center of Parker County.  That video can be found in Steepleton Mail at the 4:37 minute mark.
 
The church office will begin operating with normal office hours on June 1 (Monday-Thursday 9:00-2:00 and Friday 9:00-12:00).
 
Grace First will sponsor the food for the Dinner meal on Sunday, May 31st at the Presbyterian Night Shelter in Fort Worth, though the food will be prepared and served by the staff at the Night Shelter.  We assist in feeding an estimated 500 meals to residents and those served who are in tents in the surrounding street areas.  This Ministry is a long standing effort by our church family to help those in need.  
 
Thank you for your continued commitment to your tithes and offerings to the ministries of Grace First and the ministries we support in the community. We know many of you are continuing to serve the wider community through your time, talents and treasure. We love seeing and hearing about the ways you are being church in the world! 
 
Ordination and Installation of new officers will be on Sunday, June 7 during our live communion gathering. 

Coffee hour this Wednesday at 4:00. Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83392622307?pwd=R1BuL1JWcEpUc3hRa09jTWxHeXZOUT09

 

May 22, 2020
 
Friends,
 
I pray this letter finds you well in mind, body, and spirit. I know for most of us this season has been difficult and doesn’t seem to be letting up. This pandemic and the required response is beyond anything any of us imagined for ourselves and is lasting much longer than is comfortable. We wish nothing more than to see you face-to-face without fear of harming you or someone else in our congregation. Unfortunately, the Session does not yet feel that is possible. 
 
The Session continues to meet weekly, taking off only one week of meeting since March 14. In the past two weeks a team appointed by the Session has been culling information from the CDC, Presbytery, other churches, and various other resources to get a sense of what needs to be in place for us to safely return to in-person worship and in-person church activities.  They submitted their report to the Session and it was reviewed at our Stated Session meeting yesterday, May 21, 2020. 
 
The Session did not take action on the report but did decide on two priorities moving forward:

        1. To have ministry teams begin putting together an action plan that can be implemented when it is decided to reopen.  We know without these action plans we cannot begin to consider opening the building again.  The plans will include what worship looks like, safe physical distancing practices that will be necessary, being able to live stream the worship service while having in-person worship, cleaning protocol, and many other items. 

       2. To continue assessing the available information related to COVID-19 on a weekly basis to determine the length of closure of in-person worship and in-person activities.  This means Session will continue to meet weekly and will not make a blanket decision on closure length. 
 
Once all the plans are in place and the Session feels the risk is low enough to invite people back into the building they will make that decision. We know this is not ideal and many of you long to be back in the building now. Our main concern is the health and safety of each and every member of our congregation.
 
Now, for a more personal note: In normal circumstances you would get a moment to check in with me and David as you enter or exit the sanctuary.  If you have something going on that you wish for us to know I implore you to please reach out: to me, to David, to your Shepherd, to let us know what is going on.  Let us know if you want to talk. Pastoral care is difficult and not ideal in this season. And, it is never our intention that anyone feel they are being forgotten or left behind by the church. 
 
We have heard from some of you that you are having trouble accessing worship and/or understanding the audio.  If that is the case and you would like a bulletin and manuscript of the sermon sent to you via U.S. Mail please contact Lacey VanPay with the request. 
 
The Session and your staff are praying for you all. We love you and look forward to the day we can enter the church building again without fear. In the meantime, keep being the church in the world! Psalm 96 tells us to sing, praise, declare, ascribe, and worship God and all God does in the world. Let us continue to do each of those, even when we cannot do them in our sanctuary. 
 
May the peace of Christ be in and with each of you, 
 
Pastor Ashley

Please join us for worship on Sunday morning using the resources below. You will find the video of worship, the bulletin, and children’s worship material. 

Sunday Worship Material:

 

Worship can be found here: https://vimeo.com/421358234
 

Bulletin can be found here: May 24, 2020

Sermon Manuscript: Sermon May 24, 2020

 

Children’s Worship can be found here: May 24, 2020

Monday May 18, 2020

Happy Monday!

 

Check out GFPC news via Steepleton Mail by clicking on the link below. Also, don’t forget to join us for coffee hour at 4:00 on Wednesday. That link is also below.

We hope you have a great week ahead!

 

Steepleton Mail: https://vimeo.com/420001005
 

Wednesday Coffee Hour Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83392622307?pwd=R1BuL1JWcEpUc3hRa09jTWxHeXZOUT09

You can find the password information in Monday's Church Matters

Friday, May 15, 2020

We pray this email finds you well in body, mind, and spirit. Please join us for worship on Sunday morning using the resources below.

You will find the video of worship, the bulletin, and children’s worship material. 

Sunday Worship Material:

Worship can be found here: https://vimeo.com/418910157

Bulletin can be found here: 5-17-2020

Children’s Worship can be found here: 5-17-2020

Monday, May 11, 2020

Happy Monday!

 

Check out GFPC news via Steepleton Mail by clicking on the link below. Also, don’t forget to join us for coffee hour at 4:00 on Wednesday. That link is also below. We hope you have a great week ahead!

 

Steepleton Mail: https://vimeo.com/416950842

 

Wednesday Coffee Hour Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81997902921?pwd=MXNWeUtvS252LzlZVE5XMmhnWHZHQT09

 

Friday, May 8, 2020

Worship Service can be found here: https://vimeo.com/416132547

Bulletin can be found here: May 10, 2020 Bulletin

Children's Worship can be found here: May 10, 2020 Children's Worship

Monday, May 4, 2020

Happy Monday!

Find Steepleton Mail here: https://vimeo.com/414784857

Friday, May 1, 2020

Worship can be found here: https://vimeo.com/413961680

Bulletin can be found here: May 3, 2020 Bulletin

Children’s Worship can be found here: May 3, 2020 Children's Worship

Monday, April 27, 2020

Happy Monday!

 

Find Steepleton Mail here: https://vimeo.com/412372234

 

Please note the following information about the called congregational meeting is time sensitive.

 

How to join the Communion and Called Congregational Meeting on Sunday, May 3:

 

The most important thing about this gathering is YOU MUST register your attendance before the event. Please do that TODAY so you have the information you need to join the meeting on Sunday. Anyone is welcome to attend communion and the congregational meeting but ONLY GFPC members can vote during the meeting.

 

To register: Please find the link in today's Church Matters email.

 

You will be asked to register for yourself and up to one other person in your household. This means if there are more than 2 voting members of the congregation in your household they must register separately and attend the meeting on a separate device. If you are the only person in your household attending the meeting please answer the question related to a second member with N/A. 

 

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  The title of the email will be this:

                 Communion and Called Congregational Meeting Confirmation

 

 

That email will contain the link and login information for you to use on Sunday, May 3 at 10:30 am to join the gathering for communion and the congregational meeting.

 

Please note we will go straight from communion into the congregational meeting so being late to the gathering may mean you miss one or both.

 

Bring elements you have at home for communion. This can be milk and cookies, bread and juice, or water and crackers, to name a few options.

 

The meeting will begin with us being called to order with prayer. A member of the nominating committee will present the slates of officers they have called to serve in the class of 2023 for Deacon and Ruling Elder.  They will also present two nominees to serve on the scholarship committee. The slates are as follows.

 

For Deacon:

Susie Bossert

Seth Goeldner

Shantee Seibuhr

 

For Ruling Elder:

Sue Coody

Randy Riall (Trustee)

Gary Snow

 

For Scholarship Committee:

Janet Douglass

Claire Varnon

 

Hearing each slate we will proceed with one position at a time calling for nominations from the floor.  If you have a nomination from the floor you will need to use the chat function on zoom to ask the moderator (Pastor Ashley) to address the floor (the congregation/zoom participants). She will call on you to address the floor. 

 

When it is time to vote, a poll will appear on your screen giving the first registrant of the household the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the slate of nominees for that position. There will also be a second question on the poll offering the second registrant the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  if there is not a second registrant please select ‘N/A’ before submitting your poll.  Once the polls are all submitted the Moderator will share the results on the screen for that position and we will move forward to the next slate of nominees with the same process until complete.

 

If you are calling in on the phone you will need to vote with your voice. Therefore, the moderator will call for all phone attendees to vote ‘no’ if they so choose. All phone attendees who do not vote ‘no’ at the requested time will be considered a ‘yes’ vote.

 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Sunday Worship Material:

 

Worship can be found here: https://vimeo.com/411237674

Bulletin can be found here: April 26, 2020 Bulletin

Children’s Worship can be found here: Children's Worship April 26, 2020

 

Please note that although the hymn text is in the video this week it can also be found in the bulletin.

 

A note from Pastor Ashley:

You may not recognize one or two of today’s hymns. The text of the hymns theologically enhances the service so I would encourage you to read along with the text even if you don’t know the hymn.

 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Check out this weeks Steepleton Mail here: https://vimeo.com/409894952

 

We look forward to seeing you Wednesday for coffee hour at 4pm. Please check your Church Matters email for details on how to join us!

 

 

Blessings,

Pastor Ashley

 

Sunday April 19, 2020

Hello Grace First Members and Friends:

 

We pray this email finds you well in mind, body, and spirit. We enjoyed seeing so many of you on Easter Sunday on the Zoom gathering. Thank you for taking the time to join in on the fun.

 

This week you will find the following items for Sunday worship:

 

  1. The video worship service on Vimeo can be found here: https://vimeo.com/408615158

  2. The Bulletin to accompany the video can be found here: April 19, 2020 The Second Week of Easter

  3.  The Hymn Music and Lyrics:      Hymn 238         Hymn 245        Hymn 263 

  4. The children’s worship (with activities to reinforce the lesson all week) can be found here: Children's Lesson April 19, 2020

 

Additionally, the Session has called the congregation to meet via Zoom on Sunday, May 3 immediately following our live Zoom communion service to elect the new class of officers. The zoom gathering will begin at 10:30 am with communion and will then move directly into the called meeting. Directions on how you can actively participate in the meeting will be given at the beginning of the meeting and information will be sent via church matters beforehand to ensure as many people as possible can participate.

 

The Nominating Committee will bring before you the following nominations. As always, we will call for nominations from the floor.

For Deacon:

Susie Bossert

Seth Goeldner

Shantee Seibuhr

 

For Ruling Elder:

Sue Coody

Randy Riall (Trustee)

Gary Snow

 

For Scholarship Committee:

Janet Douglass

Claire Varnon

 

We continue to pray for and with you all for quick relief from this virus so that all people can be well and we can be together. 

 

We will see you all Monday for Steepleton Mail. Have a blessed weekend.

 

Pastor Ashley

 

 

 

 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Greetings! In preparation for Easter morning you are encouraged to familiarize yourself with the following items:

 

  1. Here you will find a liturgy for at-home Easter sunrise worship.

 

  1. Join us at 10:30am on zoom: https://zoom.us/j/898776690?pwd=YmtnUko3bmVCMmE2RVJOM2VWSFU3UT09. Make sure to include your name when you log-in to zoom so you will be admitted to the group. We are trying to avoid any internet trolls from disrupting the gathering.

 

Meeting ID: 898 776 690

 

Call in: +1 346 248 7799

 

  1. Enjoy Easter worship at any time by following this link: https://vimeo.com/406576417. You can find the bulletin here.

You will find that there is a full service including music from the 2009 Easter celebration at GFPC. A special thanks is owed to Kirk Pendleton for searching the archives for this music.  

 

We look forward to seeing on social media all the ways you will choose to worship tomorrow. We pray you have a joyous Easter and hope to see you on the Zoom gathering at 10:30am tomorrow.

 

Blessings to each of you,

 

Pastor Ashley

Friday, April 10, 2020

Enjoy the service.

 

I hope it provides for you a meaningful time to reflect and reconsider all Christ has done, does, and will continue to do in our journey of life.

May God’s peace cover you this evening and give you strength and hope.

 

 

Associate Pastor David Slyter

 

You can find the bulletin here.

 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

You are welcome to use the liturgy with those gathered at your home or you can meet me on Zoom for a shared meal and conversation at 6:30pm on Thursday. We will go through the liturgy together beginning with the scripture reading (click here to see liturgy for more info). You are encouraged to complete the liturgy that precedes the Scripture reading before the Zoom call.

https://zoom.us/j/106035251?pwd=R0hXMGJrM3lQWVZqNmFGU0dUSVFWUT09

Meeting ID: 106 035 251

Password: GFPC

Call in using this number (best if you don’t have audio capability on a device): 1 (346) 248-7799

 

Click here for the weekly Family Activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Steepleton Mail Video: https://vimeo.com/404662321

 

Holy Week Schedule:

 

Maundy Thursday: An at-home liturgy for worship on Thursday will be emailed tomorrow. You are welcome to use the liturgy with those gathered at your home or you can meet me on Zoom for a shared meal and conversation at 6:30pm on Thursday. We will go through the liturgy together beginning with the scripture reading (see liturgy for more info). You are encouraged to complete the liturgy that precedes the Scripture reading before the Zoom call.

https://zoom.us/j/106035251?pwd=R0hXMGJrM3lQWVZqNmFGU0dUSVFWUT09

Meeting ID: 106 035 251

Call in using this number (best if you don’t have audio capability on a device): 1 (346) 248-7799

 

Good Friday worship will include a video link and will be sent via church matters on Friday morning. 

 

Easter Sunday information will be sent via church matters on Saturday. You can expect to have a sunrise service, a video link to a full Easter service, and a link to a zoom gathering at 10:30am for a 30 min family gathering to wish everyone a happy Easter!

 

 

Virtual Coffee Hour: We will have virtual coffee hour on Wednesday at 4:00. We hope you’ll join us for fellowship and prayer. 

https://zoom.us/j/189512728?pwd=aUdDVzluYll6c0VPaTQ4VnRVcnR5QT09

Meeting ID: 189 512 728

Call in using this number (best if you don’t have audio capability on a device): 1 (346) 248-7799

 

Click here for the weekly Family Activities

As always, all this information can be found on our website under weekly updates.

 

Blessings on this holiest of weeks,

Pastor Ashley

 

 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Happy Friday, Everyone!

 

We have Palms that can be picked up outside the Great Hall Door. Please take as many as you like and bring them to communion with you Sunday morning. The These Days quarterly is also available to be picked up outside the Great Hall Door. Both items are in plastic bins. Please make sure to re-seal the lids when you open them. And, make sure to sanitize before and after touching the bin.

 

Materials for Sunday:

 

     Link to Visio Divina Contemplative Reading for Sunday School from Sanctified Art. Enjoy this anytime as you prepare your heart and mind      for worship on Sunday: https://vimeo.com/402973500

Since we would have been celebrating communion together this Sunday (first Sunday of the month) we will do that virtually but LIVE! On      Sunday morning you are invited to get on Zoom promptly at 10:30am to participate in live communion. David and Ashley will be at the     

church hosting the Zoom call.  You should bring your elements with you to the gathering and have them prepared for taking during the zoom call. If you don’t have bread and juice you can use other elements (i.e. cookie, cracker, water, milk). We will do the Lord’s Supper liturgy live and invite everyone to take communion together. Following the prayer after communion you will be invited to go straight over to the vimeo page for our pre-recorded Palm Sunday worship. Remember, Communion is Live at 10:30 am THEN you can worship with the pre-recorded Palm Sunday service (there will NOT be a place within the service for communion).

There are 3 ways to get on the Sunday morning communion call:

Option 1: You can enter this link into the browser on your computer, tablet, or smartphone: https://zoom.us/j/369408381     

Password: GFPC

Option 2: If you have the Zoom app on your computer, tablet or phone then click to "join a meeting" and enter the meeting ID: 369 408 381

Password: GFPC

Option 3: For audio only (NO VIDEO): From your cell phone dial 1-346-248-7799, when prompted enter 369408381#

Password:GFPC

Blessings and Peace upon each of you. David and I look forward to seeing your faces on Sunday morning as we enter Holy Week together. As a reminder all the Holy Week information will come to you in Steepleton Mail on Monday.

Pastor Ashley

 
 
Monday, March 30

Grace First Members and Friends,

 

Check out the video link below to hear what we have going on this week at GFPC. We hope you’ve continued to find worship meaningful as we adapt from in-person to at-home worship. We have a lot coming up in the next two weeks with Holy Week services and that will not change. Expect to receive all the details for Holy Week at-home worship in next week’s Monday Morning Announcements (Steepleton Mail). In the meantime, there’s a lot going on this week and all those details are in the video below. We look forward to seeing you on Zoom this week!

 

Monday Morning Announcements: https://vimeo.com/402223373

 

Below are the links to our Zoom meetings this week including:

Meeting ID: 207 666 748

Meeting ID: 733 447 108

 

Office Hours (Monday, March 30 – Friday, April 3):

Monday: 9:00-2:00

Tuesday: 9:00-12:00

Wednesday and Thursday: Closed

Friday: 9:00-12:00

 

You’ll notice on our website homepage that the link you had been clicking for church updates has been renamed from COVID-19 Response to GFPC Weekly Updates. We continue to pray for your well-being in body, mind, and spirit! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to either of your pastors with prayer requests or concerns.  

 

Blessings on your week ahead,

Pastor Ashley

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Below you will find all the material you need to have a full worship experience at home. The items are listed below with links which will take you directly to the document. Also, if you click on the bulletin you will find embedded links the hymns. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Note from the Trustees:

Dear Grace First Family,
While it is sadly necessary to keep the church doors closed for worship services and for our usual gatherings at this time, we still want to stay connected with each other and with those whom we have been serving through outreach and ministry. Please know that Ashley, David, and Marialice are continuing to offer support for our spiritual well-being and that Lacey and Alycia are working to take care of the business of the church.
We know, too, that this is a challenging time financially for our community and for families within the church. We want to be of service now, as always, in as many ways as possible, so we encourage you to continue to mail your pledges to the church office, giving as you are able. If you have questions or want to share a concern, please contact either Ashley or David.
We are grateful for your prayers as we navigate these uncharted waters of Covid-19. We are learning together to find new ways to worship God and to serve as Christ in the world.

Blessings,
The Trustees: Dave Deison, Ed Moss, and Linda Crownover

 

Note from your Pastors:

See our video announcement for today: https://vimeo.com/399916503

 

  • On Tuesday we will post on the website and our FB page a recorded Tuesday Lenten gathering service (including scripture reading, prayer, and 20 minutes of organ music). You can listen to it in the morning and then join on Zoom at 12:00 to discuss the service and check-in with one another.

Tuesday Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/207666748, Meeting ID: 207 666 748

 

  • On Thursday we will have a virtual coffee hour at 10:00am to check-in with one another and have a time of prayer.

Thursday Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/733447108, Meeting ID: 733 447 108

 

  • Sunday: we are also working on worship materials for you to use at home on Sunday. Unfortunately until the internet at the church is working properly we will not be able to do a live stream service.

 

  • Church Matters Communication: You will hear from David tomorrow with an activity for children and families for the week. And, you will hear from us again on Friday with worship materials for Sunday.

 

 

Office Hours Monday, March 23 – Friday, March 27:

Monday: 9am-2pm

Tuesday: 9am-12 noon

Wednesday and Thursday office closed

Friday: 9am-12 noon

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Below you will find all the material you need to have a full worship experience at home. The items are listed below with information on where each item can be found. Also, if you click on the bulletin you will find embedded links to both the hymns and the scripture reading/message video.

COVID-19 Update

Friday, March 20, 2020

 

Grace First Members and Friends:

 

This week has brought changes to our lives that we did not expect. Yet, in the midst of it all the people of God are called to continue being the church. This will look different for some time but it does not change who we are. 

 

At its meeting on Thursday, March 19 the Session has decided:

  • to suspend in person worship through Sunday, April 5 (Palm Sunday).  That will include March 22, March 29, and April 5.

  • there will continue to be no in person gatherings at the church.  Groups that would like to meet are encouraged to use Zoom or another online platform to host the gathering. 

  • Office hours will be as needed. We desire to keep our staff and their families as safe as possible and will practice social distancing while in the office together. We will reduce the number of hours we are in the office. Those changes will be communicated via Church Matters. If you need to reach someone immediately you should call Pastor Ashley or Pastor David on their cell phones.

 

Your GFPC staff has been working diligently to get up to speed on all things technological so that we can best serve you during this period of quarantining and social distancing. We know not being together on Sunday mornings and all the other times throughout the week will be difficult. Our goal is to alleviate as much of the added stress as possible by providing multiple times and ways to connect throughout the week for as long as we need to.

 

For this Sunday, we will offer an opportunity for worship, Sunday School, and Children’s worship at home. Tomorrow you will receive an email from Lacey with the following items:

 

  • 3 links to Sound Cloud where you will find 3 hymns to use during worship. These were recorded this week at GFPC on our Organ played by Marialice Parish.

  • 1 pdf attachment with the hymns (please note these are hymns from our hymnal, Glory to God, and should be used only for at-home worship).

  • 1 Link to the GFPC Vimeo page where you will find a video including a welcome, prayer, scripture reading, and homily from me, to be used in your home worship.

  • 1 pdf attachment of the bulletin that includes all the liturgy that would normally be read by the lay leader.

  • 1 pdf attachment with a children’s lesson that accompanies the scripture reading.

  • 1 link to a Visio Divina lesson that would have been the model for our Intergenerational Sunday School time together.

 

I know this is a lot of material and information. Use it however it is most helpful for you.

 

On Monday, David and I will send out a video and note letting you all know of other opportunities to engage with us and one another throughout the week.

 

The Session is committed to meeting weekly with one another to assess our ministries and response. We will do this as long as it is needed.

 

Most importantly, know that your pastors, staff, and Session are praying for and with you as we navigate new ways of being in community together. This is a trying time, but we will continue to trust in God our Creator, Jesus Christ our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our Sustainer through it all.

 

 

Blessings,

 

Grace First Presbyterian Church Session Members

Ashley Drake Mertz, Moderator

 

 

COVID-19 Update

Saturday, March 14, 2020

 

Dear GFPC Members and Friends:

The Session of GFPC met this morning to determine the best course of action for us as a congregation moving into this next week as things continue to unfold around COVID-19. Our priority is twofold: ensuring those who are in sensitive health groups are supported and providing on-going spiritual support.

 

In light of those priorities we are moving forward with the following plan:

 

  • We will gather for Sunday School and Worship as normal tomorrow, Sunday, March 15, 2020. 

  • We will NOT have food served before worship and will NOT have the 3rd Sunday lunch (as previously announced).

  • Choir members are asked to contact Marialice directly letting her know if you WILL or WILL NOT be attending worship tomorrow.

 

Session members have spent this morning wiping down the building and ensuring as many surfaces as possible are cleaned. We will distribute hand sanitizer to each of you as you enter the building tomorrow. We will modify worship slightly so that we are not passing offering plates. The Pastors will not be formally greeting people after worship.

 

This week (Monday, March 16-Saturday, March 21):

  • The office will be open normal hours. We ask you to limit any unnecessary visits to the office/church building.

  • There will be no outside group meetings in the church this week or next (thru March 28)

  • Yoga will not meet this Tuesday (March 17) or next (March 24). 

  • PW Circle will meet but will NOT bring food to share.

  • The Midweek Lenten Gathering scheduled for this week (March 17) is canceled.

 

Other items:

  • LOGOS and Wednesday night Bible Study will follow the school schedule moving forward.

  • Session will meet Thursday for its regular stated meeting. If there are any changes at that point we will communicate those on Friday via Church Matters, the website, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

We ask that you make the best decision for you and your family in regard to attending Sunday School and Worship.  Given that we have many members who are part of the at-risk community for COVID-19 taking precautions to keep yourself healthy and preventing the spread of the virus is highly recommended. If you need assistance with grocery shopping or medication pick-up please contact the office (817-594-2744), Pastor Ashley, or Pastor David. We want to support you in the best possible ways. 

 

We pray that each of you is healthy and we continue to hold the world in prayer as we respond to this pandemic. We trust that even in times when we are encouraged to socially isolate, we can be in community through phone calls and prayer and we encourage you to do both. May God bless you and keep you.

 

 

Blessings,

Grace First Presbyterian Church Session Members

Ashley Drake Mertz, Moderator

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