COVID-19
March 28, 2020

Happy Saturday! I hope this message finds all of you in good health!

I'm starting out today's "UPDATE" with an expression of thanks. "Thank you!" for your support of Sandwiches for the Homeless earlier today. Thank you for your persistence to still carry out this outreach ministry despite the COVID-19 situation. Thank you for your prayers asking God to provide provisions and volunteers to enable this community service to still take place. Thank you for your financial support of Sandwiches for the Homeless to make it possible for supplies to be purchased. Thank you to the full slate of volunteers who were on site at Grace to make the sandwiches. The organization to which the sandwiches were delivered, Martha's Table, seeks to provide over 4,000 meals per day to the hungry in DC. Today Grace Lutheran was one of only two organizations that stepped up to support that cause. Thank you!!!

The live stream of tomorrow's services (Traditional @ 9:30 a.m. & Contemporary @ 11:00 a.m.) can be found at gracefallschurch.org/stream. The worship guides for these services will be uploaded later today. And thanks for sharing the live stream services with your friends! It's a relatively easy kind of outreach and evangelism!

Planning for Holy Week and Easter is currently underway. The hope is to have plans to communicate to you in Tuesday's UPDATE.

Please continue to pray for Andy Baxter and his family. As I noted in Tuesday's UPDATE, last Sunday Grace called Andy to serve as principal of Grace Christian Academy. If you'll please allow me a personal opinion here, along with some frankness..... I can't imagine what it must be like to try to consider a call to another ministry given everything brought about by COVID-19. We (Grace) placed an extra item on the Baxter family's agenda during an already challenging time. Let's pray that God bless the Baxters with sufficient time and energy to consider Grace's call--and peace throughout the process.

I encourage you to continue viewing Vicar Tim's excellent daily devotions on the Psalms! A new devotion is usually posted by 11:00 a.m., Monday-Saturday. These can be found at gracefallschurch.org/stream. Please share these with your friends! That's a relatively easy way to do some outreach and evangelism!

"Thank you" to those who have continued to support Grace financially via online giving (available at the website: gracefallschurch.org, click on Resources and scroll down to Electronic Giving) and by mailing in financial gifts (Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3233 Annandale Road, Falls Church, Virginia, 22042). Your Christian generosity is very important for sustaining and furthering Grace's ministries.

Finally, I invite you to click on the link below. It's said that "a picture is worth a thousand words." Perhaps this picture expresses "a thousand words" of what many are feeling at this time.

https://mcusercontent.com/d221c5c9c3a96d2f8b34f905d/images/2a4ff662-a610-45d2-9455-03a953ec9e05.jpg

May God bless you with good health and hope in Jesus!

Pastor Wattles

March 25, 2020

The live stream of tonight's Lenten service starts at 7:00 p.m.
 You can find the live stream and tonight's worship guide (available later today) at gracefallschurch.org/stream. And thanks for sharing the live stream services with your friends!

At the Principal Call Meeting on Sunday night, Grace called Andrew Baxter to serve as Grace's new principal. Mr. Baxter currently serves as principal of St. Lucas Lutheran School, Milwaukee. As the Baxter family (wife, child + a baby due in May!) considers Grace's call, let's pray for them...asking God to bless the family with good health, discernment and peace through the deliberation process--and lead them to accept Grace's call!

Grace is still planning on doing Sandwiches for the Homeless this Saturday. The organization through which the sandwiches get distributed to the hungry in D.C., Martha's Table, has invited Grace to still do this, if possible (The hungry still need to be fed!). On account of the COVID-19 situation, a challenge has been to find adequate supplies (bread, bologna, cheese) to prepare the hundreds of sandwiches that need to be made. Kudos to Tricia Visscher who is "gettin' it done," though! So far Tricia has acquired provisions to prepare 800 sandwiches. We'll still aim for the 1,000+ sandwiches, if enough supplies can be found. AND WE NEED YOU TO HELP MAKE THE SANDWICHES! Well, we need 16 of you! In order to abide by COVID-19 guidelines, we'll be preparing the sandwiches in two separate locations at Grace with no more than 10 participants in each location: the Fellowship Room and Classroom 6. Those who work in Classroom 6 will enter through the GCA doors; those who work in the Fellowship Room will enter through the glass entrance doors. Both locations offer enough space for sandwich-makers to maintain social distancing. Sandwich-makers will be required to wear food-preparation gloves. Please note, participants must be at least 10 years-old to participate in this sandwich-making event.

To register to be one of the 16 folks privileged to make sandwiches this Saturday, please go to the link below to sign up:

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0C44A4A829A1F49-sandwiches

I encourage you to continue viewing Vicar Tim's excellent daily devotions on the Psalm! A new devotion is usually posted by 11:00 a.m., Monday-Saturday. These can be found at gracefallschurch.org/stream. Please share these with your friends!

Holy Week and Easter are just a few weeks away. While I know that all of us would much rather be together in person for the special events of those days, the reality is that this year we may not be able to on account of COVID-19. Grace's leadership is aware of that and has begun to develop alternate plans for Grace's Holy Week and Easter observances. Stay tuned....

Lastly, I again share a word of thanks with you. THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING, PATIENCE, AND WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT AS WE AS A CHURCH FAMILY NAVIGATE THE COVID-19 SITUATION PHYSICALLY APART FROM ONE ANOTHER, BUT YET TOGETHER IN THE FAITH.

I also want to say "thank you" to those who have continued to support Grace financially via online giving (available at the website: gracefallschurch.org, click on Resources and scroll down to Electronic Giving) and by mailing in financial gifts (Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3233 Annandale Road, Falls Church, Virginia, 22042). Your Christian generosity is very important for sustaining and furthering Grace's ministries.

May God bless you with good health and hope in Jesus!

Pastor Wattles


March 22, 2020

Our next live-streamed worship service will take place Wednesday, March 24th at 7:00 pm.

March 21, 2020

Sunday's live streamed services can be accessed at gracefallschurch.org/stream. Both the 9:30 traditional service and the 11:00 contemporary service will be live streamed. The services will also be available at Grace's Facebook page to watch anytime you'd like. At gracefallschurch.org/stream you will also find worship folders for tomorrow's services.

Sunday's Call Meeting to fill the Grace Christian Academy principal position will take place virtually. All the information you need to know about how to participate in that meeting will be available by the meeting's start time--7:00 p.m. You can find the meeting information and meeting access at gracefallschurch.org/call. Some information has been uploaded to the site already. The rest of the information will be uploaded tonight and tomorrow.

Until the COVID-19 situation passes, Grace will be sending email communications on Tuesdays and Fridays. These communications will contain live streaming information for the Wednesday Lenten services and the Sunday services. They will also serve as Grace's "Announcement Pages" while we are in pause from gathering together for public worship.

At the time of the writing of this email, Grace is still planning to hold Sandwiches for the Homeless next Saturday, March 27. Please watch for information in Tuesday's email regarding how to participate in that community aid effort.

Thank you to those who have continued to support Grace financially via online giving and by mailing in financial gifts (Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3233 Annandale Road, Falls Church, Virginia, 22042). Your Christian generosity is very important for sustaining and furthering Grace's ministries.



March 19, 2020

Vicar Walsh is offering daily devotions via Facebook Live.  You do not need to be a Facebook user to watch the videos. These devotions are based on the Psalms, and will air between 10-11 am, Monday through Saturday.


March 18, 2020

Please tune in to our Facebook live stream of this evening's Lenten worship at 7:00 pm.  You do not need to be a Facebook user to see the video. Videos will be saved to the page if you need to watch at a later time. 


March 17, 2020

Dear Grace Family,
 
I am writing to update you on COVID-19's impact upon Grace's ministries. Earlier today Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recommended limiting all gatherings to 10 people or less, in accordance with President Donald Trump's most recent coronavirus guidelines. On account of this directive, Grace's Church Council has decided that Grace will take a pause on gathering at Grace for public worship, Bible studies, Sunday School, refreshments, snacks, Grace Choir rehearsal, meetings, etc. This pause will last through the duration of the government's directive, which is currently 14 days (counting today). However, during this time Grace will live steam worship services, starting tomorrow night with the 7:00 p.m. Lenten service. Tomorrow, via a separate email, you will be provided information on how to view tomorrow night's live stream Lenten service.

Also to note:
  • The audio from Sunday's sermon has been posted at gracefallschurch.org.
  • Grace Christian Academy has cancelled the fundraiser at Anthony's Restaurant, scheduled for this Thursday, March 19.
  • Grace Christian Academy has postponed the Grace Christian Academy Annual Gala from May 3 to September 20.
  • Grace is still considering holding Sandwiches for the Homeless on Saturday, March 27. Martha's Table--the organization that distributes the sandwiches to the hungry in Washington--has asked us to consider still providing this community service. Their reasoning? "The hungry still need to eat." We believe that we have come up with a plan that will allow us to efficiently make the 1,200 sandwiches for Martha's Table, while still complying with Governor Northam's directive. Watch for more information on this in another email.
  • Grace has cancelled the Grace Grace Open Forum scheduled for this Sunday, March 22. However, Grace is still planning to hold the GCA Principal & K4-K5 Teacher Call Meeting that evening at 7:00 p.m. The Call Meeting will be held virtually. Please watch for more information on how to participate in that meeting.
  • Please continue to wash your hands often.
  • Please continue to stay home if you are not feeling well.
  • Pastoral visits and personal assistance are available. If you or someone you know would like a pastoral visit or needs help with something (e.g., someone has chosen to self-quarantine and needs groceries or medicine, etc.), please reach out to the church. We'll visit and help.
  • Please continue to remember Grace with your financial gifts. You can give electronically at gracefallschurch.org, or by mailing your contribution to Grace (3233 Annandale Road, Falls Church, Virginia, 22042).
As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us with many rapidly changing situations. What I've shared with you is what Grace is doing at the present time. This approach may change--and may change quickly as the Church Council monitors the COVID-19 situation in our area and makes appropriate modifications. Please watch your email for further updates.

Thank you for giving this important email your time and attention. I close this email with the Prayer of the Church that was offered at Grace this past Sunday and Monday.

Lord Jesus, you tell us that you are with us “at all times and in every situation” (2 Thessalonians 3:16). Before you left this earth to reign on your heavenly throne, you said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” (John 14:17).

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is upon us, we have a fresh opportunity to trust the presence of your peace in our hearts.

We also have a grand grace-opportunity to see how you will use this situation to heighten a sense of our mortality, and bring many to a saving knowledge of yourself.

Through Paul’s words, you promise your presence “at all times and in every situation.” Thank you, Jesus. To know you are with us and for us—to know you love us and are in control of all things (including the coronavirus), that is what we need more than anything else in life.

Be with those who are infected—their families, circles of friends, and those who realize they’ve had exposure to them. May faith, not fear, win the day; wisdom exceed worry; safeguards be exercised, and over-reactions be minimized.

There’s nothing like a health crisis to fill our hearts with gratitude for all with which you’ve blessed us, and fuel our prayers for those you’ve called into medical vocations. Grant research scientists success as they labor 24/7 to create an effective vaccine.

Grant health departments, hospitals, urgent care clinics—physicians and nurses alike, protection, wisdom, and grace to serve as an expression of your heart and hands in this crisis.

We pray for the most vulnerable and the weakest, as this virus runs its course—the elderly and those with compromised health conditions. We pray for our President, Congress, governors, local officials, school superintendents, as important decisions are made. Jesus, thank you for peace before, in, and after this health challenge.

May God bless you with good health and hope in Jesus,

Pastor Wattles