COVID-19 (Coronavirus) status
Check this webpage for daily updates.
Click here for a video by the Bible Project on the biblical view of "justice."
Julia Parker, LPC, has gathered some resources for mental health self-care. Situations like the one we're in now can cause all kinds of stress and anxiety in ways that may surprise us. It's normal, and it's nothing that we need to feel shame about. It doesn't mean someone's faith is weak if stressful times cause stressed reactions. Please take advantage of the following resources - not only now, but in the months ahead. Stress reactions can occur well over a year after stressful events.
Video from Julia: click here
Self-care brochure: click here
Christian therapists in the area that we've worked with before: click here
Video messages from our pastor and guests
- Click here for a video message from Pastor Colby about the prayer for righteousness and justice in our land during a time of heightened racial tensions.
- Click here for the latest video from Pastor Colby - a story of how you are being the Church in a wonderful way.
- Click here to see an update from Elder Cliff Coss and Pastor Colby Kinser.
- Click here for Pastor Colby's 7th video message.
- Watch a special video message to all kids 5th grade and younger by clicking here.
- Click here for Pastor Colby's 5th video message.
- Click here for Pastor Colby's 4th video message.
- Click here for Pastor Colby's 3rd video message, with a special guest.
- Click here for Pastor Colby's 2nd video message.
- Click here for Pastor Colby's 1st video message.
Worship service will be online only
See our "Disciples at Home" for getting connected:
Please remember to continue supporting Grace with your offerings. We will not receive cash at this time. Checks mailed in are OK, but we prefer online giving during this time. You can switch to online giving here: give.fellowshipofgrace.org
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the church office M-F 8 am - 2 pm, or Pastor Colby directly during off-hours if you need an immediate response.
- 6/1: We are grieved over two infectious diseases harming our country today: COVID-19 and racial discord. We pray for healing for our bodies and our hearts.
- 5/29: The new flooring will be installed next week (first week of June), so the office will be closed all week.
- 5/28: The rules have changed. The county has now changed to recommended rather than required phases. (See https://www.kansascity.com/
news/coronavirus/ article243044401.html.) Our plans remain the same for now, but we have more options to consider. Our building remodel makes it impossible for us to return to open doors at for the new few weeks regardless. Stay tuned.
- 5/27: You can keep up to date and even sign up for daily email updates from Johnson County at the following website: https://www.jocogov.org/coronavirus-covid-19-update.
- 5/26: There have been some articles in the news about an increase in suicides with COVID-19 as a likely contributor. Stress and anxiety are normal responses, but they are also insidious. If you have not checked out the "Counseling resources" on this page, please do. The best way to manage this is to develop good habits before stress becomes a problem. If stress and anxiety have already started to cause you difficulty in daily life, please reach out to Pastor Colby or a mental healthcare professional. We're in this together!
- 5/25: Now that we're in Phase 2, we're working on getting all the tech in place we need for Phase 3 (we continue to wrestle with some automated tools on our audio that make our balance and volumes difficult to maintain). Phase 3 has been modified to a limit of 45 people (down from the original plan of 90). We are still having only worship team, tech, and the pastor in the building on Sunday mornings. Furthermore, remodeling continues in the building, so we can't physically hold more than a few dozen at a time even without any COVID restrictions.
- 5/21: Johnson County entered Phase 2 today, which means we can now gather up to 15 people in the church building. The plan is still for most of our congregation to join us online, so for this phase, family members of the worship team, tech team, and pastor are welcome to join us in the building on Sunday mornings. For others, please check with Pastor Colby before joining us in person so that we can maintain the 30 person limit. Furthermore, the building is undergoing major projects of remodeling, so the building itself is not ready for many people.
- 5/20: How are you doing? No, really ... how are you doing? If you want to talk some things out, please contact your shepherding elder, Pastor Colby, or some other mature believer you trust. Not talking is one way we multiply our problems. Catch things before they become deeply problematic. Preventing anxiety is easier than recovering from it.
- 5/19: We look forward to adding more musicians to the worship team this Sunday as we test out the capacities of our online services. Also, we are looking into options to provide us a clean "Plan B" if our service provider experiences another outage on a Sunday morning. Also note that work continues on the interior of the church building while it remains at minimal usage. The office will experience truncated hours during that time.
- 5/18: Our first service with the worship team and pastor leading from the church building while the rest were on Zoom worked well. Even with the last-minute change to which video platform we needed to use, we had our first "hybrid" worship service with people onsite and others online. As the county opens up, we will add more people onsite.
- 5/15: We are set for the worship team and pastor to lead the worship service from the church building this Sunday, while the rest of the congregation joins us by Zoom as we have been over the last several weeks.
- 5/14: We will have an all-church open discussion Sunday morning about our plans to reopen, plus a chance to pray for Grace Fellowship.
- 5/12: We will soon call a meeting of all the elected leaders of the congregation to start laying out specific plans for re-opening the facility. Stay tuned for that announcement.
- 5/11: Johnson County opened Phase 1 today, with a maximum of 10 people in a location. That will allow us to attempt to bring worship music and the message from the worship center, while the rest of the congregation still gathers online until the next phase opens.
- 5/7: Remember to vet all the information you read about COVID-19. There is false information being spread on both ends of the spectrum of what's the best approach. We wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Read the views that challenge yours, too.
- 5/6: No announcements just yet, but progress is being made on slowly bringing everyone back into the same building. The first phase is likely to start within the next few weeks.
- 5/5: Please check out the new section called "Counseling Resources" for some excellent advice from one of our own.
- 5/4: It's clear people are starting to show wear and tear from the duration of social distancing. It appears that we will need to practice social distancing in various forms for many months. If you are experiencing sheltering fatigue, don't ignore it! Let someone close to you know what you're feeling and think about creative ways counteract what you're feeling. And if you're really experiencing distress, now is the time to contact someone trained to help you walk through these concerns. If you need a referral to a Christian counselor, please contact the church office. We have a list of recommended counselors.
- 5/2: The state and county officials have laid out their plans for re-opening. We're still restricted to only small gatherings at least through the middle of the month. Stay tuned! We do not yet have a start date for being able to meet in person. When we are allowed to have 50 people, we may start meeting soon after that - but we'll have to stay within the 50 person limit. We will continue to have an online worship service as long as we're restricted to fewer people that we normally have.
- 4/30: All regular attenders should have received an email from the chairman of the Elder Board, Cliff, about our plans to start gathering in person over the next several weeks and months, phasing in our onsite activities deliberately and patiently. If you did not receive it, please contact the church office.
- 4/28: Watch Grace Notes this Friday for an update on the plans to phase back into meeting in person.
- 4/27: The state will be lifting some restrictions in early May. We continue to monitor official statements and data. We don't anticipate making any decisions this week.
- 4/23: Various governments in our area are discussing when to open things back up again. We have members in cities, counties, and even states. We are considering all the statements we can, not just those for Overland Park and Johnson County. It is premature for us to make any speculations at this time.
- 4/21: Lord, may our change in circumstances reveal to us any idols that we've had unknowingly and may You remove the hold they've had on our hearts. While we are trying to keep our bodies clean from a virus, work on our hearts to clean them from any sin or misplaced loyalty. We trust that even in the midst of a pandemic You can do great things, including in the hearts of those who love you.
- 4/20: We are monitoring the local and state declarations for sheltering. You may have read that some declarations affecting churches have met legal challenges and been rescinded. However, our decision to reconvene in person is not related to the soonest possible day we're allowed to meet, but when we believe it is the best societal decision for the safety of our members and our community, as well as best representation of Jesus. Pray for the church leaders to be wise. Note that when we do start meeting again in person, we are planning on having online options for those who are not yet ready to mingle in public.
4/18: Put politics aside and pray for our leaders in every sector of society. They need God's wisdom even if they don't acknowledge Him.
4/17: We look forward to "seeing" our church family on Sunday morning as we switch our technology a little so that we can have more interaction. COVID-19 will not prevail against the church!
4/14: Our elders have been praying and discussing how to look forward to when we meet in person again - under what conditions, with what adaptations, with what technology, etc. We don't know when that will be, but we want to be ready when it's the right time.
4/13: We pray for the defeat of this disease and for wisdom for all decisionmakers in our faith communities, business, and government. We pray for God to lead the researchers to find a vaccine and cure. We pray for the Church to lovingly and boldly proclaim the Good News available in Christ as the world is seeing how fragile "life as normal" is. We pray that the followers of Christ would treat sin like a pandemic, changing every aspect of life in order to avoid it.
4/10: Today is Good Friday. May your heart be drawn to the depth of the love and sacrifice Jesus displayed for us on the Cross. He is now resurrected and on the throne, and so all is well. Jesus says in John 16:33, “In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.”
4/9: We are looking forward to Resurrection Day online on Sunday, but also when we will be able to have a re-scheduled Easter weekend in person sometime soon, with our own Good Friday, Easter brunch, and Easter worship service together.
4/8: New video from Pastor Colby! Click here: https://www.wevideo.com/view/1642189037
4/7: Resurrection Day is coming! The church building being empty reminds us of the tomb that was empty. The space is empty, but the church still exists! Wherever our members are, there our church is. COVID-19 will not stop the Church from being the Church. Be encouraged!
4/6: We're grateful to God that our church family has remained safe through this pandemic, and we pray for our neighbors and our city for God to stay this disease. We grieve for the loss that has occurred, especially mindful of the predictions that the next couple of weeks are likely to be the most devastating.
4/4: All systems are "go" for meeting online tomorrow at 10:15 AM. But don't forget Monday through Friday. If you need help connecting up with a small group, let us know. They are moving online!
4/3: Our elders are continuing to check on our flock, especially the more susceptible members of our family, to make sure we're all doing well. If you have a particular need, please let us know. So far, our members are safe, although there are some job impacts as there are in every church. Remember to pray for your church family.
4/2: The latest data suggests that we are going to be in this mode for several more weeks. So, pace yourselves for the long haul, keep yourself spiritually and physically healthy, rest, and maintain a pace that you can keep for the weeks ahead. If you are starting to get anxious or lonely, but all means contact us! We're here for you in all circumstances.
4/1: We have a plan for Easter! We will not be able to meet in person on the traditional Easter weekend April 10-12. But we're still going to celebrate Easter together. As soon as we can meet in person again, we'll take a couple of weeks to get settled, and then we'll have our Easter weekend! Whenever that is. We'll do Good Friday on that Friday, our Easter brunch on that Sunday morning, and then our Easter worship service after that. Stay tuned!
Counseling resources: see above
Johnson County COVID-19 Status page: See local status and updates: https://www.jocogov.org/coronavirus-covid-19-update
CDC on COVID-19: The US Center for Disease Control’s up-to-date resources on coronavirus.• https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
CDC Resources for Community and Faith-Based Organizations: The CDC has also created resources specifically for faith-based organizations to respond to an influenza pandemic, which are applicable in this situation.• https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/archived/community-planning.html
Managing Anxiety Around Coronavirus Coverage: The American Psychological Association created this resource to help manage anxiety around coverage of COVID-19.• https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/pandemics
Addressing Mental Health Issues: This resource from the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Network provides guidelines for addressing mental health issues that may arise and offers advice for messaging, including among children, older adults, people with disabilities, and those in quarantine. https://app.mhpss.net/?get=354/mhpss-covid19-briefing-note-final_26-february-2020.pdf
Ideas for talking with your kids: https://www.wdsu.com/article/a-guide-to-keeping-your-child-safe-and-reassured-as-coronavirus-spreads/31242886#
Coloring book for kids to talk about coping: https://www.cdc.gov/cpr/readywrigley/documents/RW_Coping_After_a_Disaster_508.pdf
Living in Plague Times by Philip Yancey: https://philipyancey.com/living-in-plague-times
Article on child abuse reporting concerns: http://kmbc.com/article/decrease-in-child-abuse-reporting-concerns-advocates/31960828?src=app
Impact on children related to abuse, food insecurity, lack of school support: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/coronavirus-impact-potentially-catastrophic-for-millions-of-children-un-report-says/
Potential mental health issues for patients on extended ventilator/ ICU stays: https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/15/us/coronavirus-icu-delirium/index.html
Coronavirus and depression/ anxiety: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-depression-anxiety.amp.html
Impact of Coronavirus on health care workers: https://www.vox.com/2020/4/2/21204402/coronavirus-covid-19-doctors-nurses-health-care-workers
Impact of finances and loneliness, https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/2020/apr/24/mental-health-coronavirus-lockdown-helplines
A great resource for reputable news sources on mental health related to coronavirus: https://www.bu.edu/sph/tag/mental-health/
Addiction resource list online: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/health/coronavirus-sobriety-online-help.html?campaign_id=154&emc=edit_cb_20200430&instance_id=18083&nl=coronavirus-briefing®i_id=101421390&segment_id=26257&te=1&user_id=81df6c06a3e5b9660d43071e739e9982
Resources for Parents: https://childmind.org/coping-during-covid-19-resources-for-parents/
Family Resources: https://www.seattlechildrens.org/health-safety/keeping-kids-healthy/development/supporting-mental-wellness-and-family-life-during-covid-19/