A LETTER FROM PASTOR CHARLIE (9/14/2020)
Dear Members and Friends:
 
I share with you again my favorite verses from Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Probably at no time in my life have I been unsure of what tomorrow may bring than during the first few months of my ministry at Grace Church. The Covid-19 situation has brought challenges that few us would have ever dreamed were possible. And yet in the midst of it all, God has continued to lead us through these challenges.
 
I first want to thank the staff and the lay leadership of Grace Church for their yeoman effort to help continue in ministry. They have had to be creative in new ways, adaptive in new directions, and trusting that God would provide even when we were trying some things for the first time. I give thanks for those who have stepped forward to provide for online worship, Christian education opportunities online for children, youth and adults, mission and outreach ministries to the local community in need, “Morning Grace” on Facebook, music ministry in new ways, and the Sunday evening outdoor worship. We continue to be busy albeit in new ways.
 
I also want to thank you on behalf of the Finance Committee for continuing to be generous in your financial gifts throughout this trying time. You have provided stability in a very unstable time. As your new pastor, I cannot begin to thank you enough for your faithfulness. Yet I know there is a yearning in many of our hearts to gather together in the Sanctuary to worship God and fellowship with other believers. I also know that you have seen many other congregations re-enter their church buildings and wonder why Grace Church has not done the same. My answer is that we have taken this time to thoroughly study the question of re-entry so that when we do re-enter, it would be with safety and confidence.
 
I am pleased to inform you that on Sunday, October 4, 2020, we will resume worship in the Sanctuary. However, it is important for everyone to realize that it will be with necessary precautions and procedures. Masks will be required during worship for all those in attendance. In addition, the ushers will try to conduct you through worship in a way that makes social distancing a priority. Please know your cooperation will be essential to help us make this resumed worship work in the way that is helpful to everyone.
 
We will resume our normal worship service times of 8:15, 9:35 and 10:45am, I will attempt to make sure each service lasts around 45 minutes, so that we can adequately clean the sanctuary and the bathroom after each service. We would ask that if you would like additional time to visit with friends, you would do this outside the building. This will help us create a smooth and safe flow of people gathering for worship. We feel that due to the anticipated attendance at the first two services, no type of reservation is needed for us to safely space ourselves in the Sanctuary. However, the 10:45 service will require an advanced registration so that we can remain within safe numbers to confidently hold worship. We will provide a computer link and well as receive messages on the church phone during the week prior to worship. We would ask that you make your reservation by the Thursday preceding Sunday worship.
 
It is my prayer and obligation as your pastor, to make sure worship is available to everyone. So, in addition to the morning services, I will initially be having a 30-minute worship service at 5pm on Sundays. This will function as a type of overflow service but also will be a relaxed worship style in keeping with the existing outdoor service although shorter in length. Even though we are in the sanctuary, I would invite you to keep your dress casual.
 
It is also important to know that online worship will continue for the foreseeable future. I totally understand that many of you do not want to return to worship on premises until there is a reliable vaccine. Please be assured, we will have online worship for you as well as the ability to bring you pastoral care in times of need. Your comfort and confidence are always a priority for me.
 
As far as additional ministries, I have made the decision to not have children’s Sunday School onsite until at least Advent. This delay will help us continue to study the situation as well as learn from the ongoing challenges being experienced by our Public Schools. By the way, please also continue to keep them in prayer. Other ministries will be mostly online but there will be some gradual re-entry in the future. A general rule to follow is that on Sunday mornings, we will not be using the educational wings of the Church.
 
In the coming months, we will seek to have some new ministry events that will try to keep us connected as well as possible. We also might re-work other events like Trunk or Treat and Santa Breakfast to keep them as safe as possible. Your patience and support will be invaluable in this effort.
 
As I close, please know Vicky and I thank you for the loving welcome we have received in spite of Covid. Your love is stronger than any disease. I ask for your patience in the coming weeks. We may have to change direction suddenly if circumstances change. Please know every moment we move forward it is with Jesus, your safety and your comfort in mind. Let us all pray together during this time. There is no more powerful force on earth.
 
In Him,
Rev. Dr. Charlie Salisbury
Pastor, Grace Church
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Looking for ways to help the community while “social-distancing”? 
 
As a community of faith, we want to encourage you to support your neighbors!  Offer a prayer, a note of encouragement or a simple phone call to check in!  If you want to reach out to a member of your church family that may need a little ‘pick-me-up’, please contact us! 
 
Also, in this time of COVID-19, our local organizations that support families in need are operating differently to continue their services.  Please click below for details on how to support our local community through donating to the Hummelstown food bank, donating blood to the Central PA Blood Bank, or sewing face masks for community groups in need (to name a few).
 
Want more information on volunteer opportunities at this time? Please contact Tammy Houck (tammyhouck@gracehummelstown.org):
Community Needs