Sunday 8:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite I
nave & online: Zoom
Sunday 10:45 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II
nave & online: Facebook/website
Tuesday 8:00 p.m. Compline
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. Eucharist
The Grace Church nave is located at the corner of Washington Street and Boulevard in Gainesville, Georgia.
The parish office, open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, is located at 422 Brenau Avenue. Come to the red door that faces Brenau Avenue and ring the bell for access.
Mailing Address: 422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
For a while now, we have been watching the increasing number of cases of the Delta variant of the Covid virus, and uncertainty has been rising. We hoped we had reached the supposed end of our struggle with this virus, but that appears not to be the case. We do believe there is a reasonable and faithful way to respond.
On Tuesday, the CDC sent out new guidelines calling for everyone to wear masks indoors in counties where the real-time risk of infection is high or substantial. Hall County has been identified as an area of high risk, and the caseload at the medical center is steadily rising. Because of this, we now ask that everyone wear masks indoors until the rate and risk of infection decreases. This includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, due to the risk of transmission.
We recognize that the need to wear masks again will perhaps displease every single soul in the parish, and we recognize that all of us are tired and frustrated. The clergy, vestry, and medical advisory team always remember the Gospel’s call to care for the most vulnerable in our midst. Our Baptismal Covenant calls us to “respect the dignity of every human being.” We believe this particular time calls us to remember our responsibility toward one another as Christians. The practice of our faith takes place here and now.
Of course in any time of challenge, we all look to the church, with our liturgy and customs and pastoral presence, to offer us comfort. “Comfort, oh comfort my people,” the prophet Isaiah prayed long ago (Isaiah 40:1). While comfort is vital, we don’t believe the desire for comfort precludes a reasonable response to the situation based on medical advice and the Gospel’s call to care for the most vulnerable in our midst.
How can we respond to our current context based on the reality of the situation and our responsibility as followers of Jesus? Speaking for our own identity as Christians, we are called to care for one another, paying particular attention to the vulnerable in our midst. As St. Paul says, we are called to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). We are also called to empty ourselves so that we can be filled with “the mind of Christ” (Philippians 2). Our Christian ethic is never about asserting our own wants; rather, we are called to have regard for the good of the entire community.
While some may be angry and all may be tired, we can only call us all as a community to pay attention to our need to “lay down our lives for our friends,” (John 15:13). The grounding point of our life is our call to share in the love of Jesus Christ and care for one another, and we say that sincerely without any intent to shame or guilt. This situation will not last forever, but it is here before us now. We are called to respond to the challenges we face in the most compassionate and faithful way we can as a Christian community. This is a time that calls for responsible, spiritual engagement.
In each and every particular situation that might warrant anxiety or even anger, we want us to always begin with this question: “What is the most compassionate thing I can do for the others in this community that would protect their health, and my own, from being harmed in this time of challenge.” This is the benchmark we all want to hold.
We will continue to give updates to the entire community based on local case information and/or updates from the diocese, and please feel free to reach out to any of us, as the rector and vestry of the parish, with questions you may have.
Thanks be to God for each of you.
The Rev. Dr. Stuart Higginbotham, Rector
Dan Scott, Senior Warden
Dr. Chaudron Gille, Junior Warden
Dr. Daniel Grizzle
Dr. Christy Wagner
Dr. Tom Rossi