Dear Church Family & Friends,
I wanted to give you a quick update on where we stand right now, as the COVID situation continues to unfold around us.
For several weeks now, we’ve been back to holding live, in-person services (at both 9:00 AM and 10:45 AM) in addition to offering our livestream (at 10:45 AM, from both our website and our Facebook page) for those who still cannot be with us in person. We’ve been SO excited to be all back together, even if yes, it looks a little different! As Psalm 122 says, “It made me glad when they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of the Lord!'”
Firstly, I wanted to let you know that effective this coming Sunday, July 19th, we are no longer requiring masks or facial coverings to enter our facilities. Let me say right here that we would still encourage you to wear a mask – especially if you fall into an at-risk category, due to either age or underlying medical conditions – but we leave that to your discretion and choosing.
Our pastors and elders have discussed, prayed, and considered this subject at length together, and we feel that we have moved past the sudden rise in exposures and cases that we saw amongst our church family members a few weeks ago now. As we’ve explained before a couple of times previously, we felt that that imminent situation required us to respond out of concern for everyone’s well-being and safety in that moment, in wearing masks for two weeks and allowing this to blow over. As we continue to monitor the situation, our sincere hope and desire is that we will not have to require masks again. Out of a heart of love for you and your family, we simply felt it was better to err on the side of caution in that (gratefully!) short season.
And I’m so happy (and grateful!) to report to you now that each one of those members who were either exposed to someone with COVID or were feeling slight symptoms weeks ago have all recovered well, finished self-quarantining, etc. and most are back to normal schedules and day-to-day life. Praise God!! I firmly believe we should keep praying (and fasting) for His hand of protection over this church, this city, this county, and ultimately our State and our nation as we continue to move forward together. This is not the time to be lax in these matters of spiritual discipline!
Secondly, without a doubt, one of the things in the midst of this situation that has been the most difficult for me personally (and quite literally every person I talk to, as well) is social distancing. I know we’ve all seen how necessary this practice has been/is now, and the positive effects of it – but it’s still so completely opposite of who we are here at Grace! There have been many times that I have walked through our church foyer during the week, and stopped and remember what Sunday mornings were like not all that many months ago. People hugging, handshakes being given at the door, groups of people talking excitedly together, handing out bulletins… a lot has changed. And we look forward with eager anticipation when the day comes that we can return to some form of regular expression and contact! For the time being, however, social distancing is still very much in effect when we gather – we will continue to strictly observe and enforce this, especially now due to making masks optional when you enter, and also due to the current COVID situation at-large. We continue to watch and monitor all of that as your church leadership. So please, again, we ask of you: no hugging, no handshakes, etc. This is the time to continue be very careful and respectful of others. Remember, everyone’s personal and family situation is unique, and others may be fighting a different battle than you or I are, or are perhaps having to take more precautions than you or I are!
Lastly, I want to say a tremendous “Thank You” to each of you for your patience, your understanding, and your support for your pastors, elders, and church leadership here at Grace during this time. I want you to know that we have felt it, we have heard it, and we are so grateful for that! We have also felt your powerful prayers for us, and again, we are so incredibly grateful for them!! Know that we cherish and value that support from you in unprecedented times like these! We recognize that we are but “mere men”, as we are striving to make the best godly choices and decisions for the body.
I want you to know that there’s not a day that goes by right now where I do not spend at least 5-10 minutes reflecting on and thanking God for the richness, beauty, and steadfast character of this church family, and what a blessing it is to serve and be a part of it together with you.
Love & blessings,
Hello, Church Family!
Today, as you are probably already aware, Governor Abbott has issued a statewide mask mandate, due to the spike in COVID cases across the State. This order goes into effect at noon tomorrow (Friday). All Texans will be required to wear a face covering/mask over the nose and mouth while inside a business or other building open to the public, as well as in outdoor public spaces whenever social distancing is not possible.
As we comply with our Governor and officials and their orders for our health and well-being, I personally believe it is of the utmost importance that we continue to demonstrate honor, respect, and obedience towards all of our governmental authorities. It’s a matter of the heart, truthfully. I firmly believe it is not a time to be divisive, bitter, or upset about new mandates that come down the pipeline (such as this one). Speaking for all of your Pastors and Elders here at Grace, we continue to stand in solidarity with our governmental and civil leaders. We bless them, we honor them, and we praise them for all of the good things they are doing for us all! I hope you’ll agree with me that each of us should, regardless of how we feel about a particular order or mandate, always keep our focus on how these orders are being given to help prevent another economic shut-down. No one wants that to happen. So, let’s rally behind our Governor, our leaders, and all of our authorities.
As the weekend approaches, I wanted to fill you in on a few important bullet points and updates in relation to how we’ll be approaching our services for the foreseeable future:
1. Masks will be required to enter.
Please bring your mask, and keep it on at all times per our Governor’s mandate today.
2. Social distancing is being strictly observed.
Please, no hugging, handshakes, congregating together in the foyer, etc. Also, please remember that we are still looking for there to be at least two seats between each family unit, on any given row in the sanctuary (per guidelines from the AG’s Office).
3. We will be livestreaming during the 10:45 AM service, from both our website and our Facebook page.
For all of those who cannot make it out due to this increased COVID activity, we are bringing back the availability of our livestream during the second service. If that’s you, please know that we don’t want anyone to miss out during this season, so we hope that you’ll tune in and join us from the safety of your home! The last thing we want to do is have immune-compromised folks (or folks with any underlying health condition) venture out, when it’s not safe for them to do so! That’s why we want to bring back this option during this time. Livestreaming will never, ever replace “church”, or who we are — but we are grateful for the link that technology like this can provide in difficult times such as this! To sum up your options, you can: A) attend our 9:45 AM service in-person, B) attend our 10:45 AM service in-person, C) watch our livestream at 10:45 AM, or D) watch the recorded service online using our app or our website on Sunday afternoon (after our team processes the recording and posts it).
4. This coming Sunday (July 5th) is Communion Sunday, and we encourage you to take communion together as a family before coming to service that day.
Husbands, I encourage you to lead your family in taking communion together! Grab some bread and some juice from the refrigerator, and enjoy that special, wonderful time together remembering what Jesus has done for us.
Lastly, and I cannot stress this enough (or often enough), our primary concern will always be for YOU! Our whole goal over these past few months has been to serve you, minister to you, and show how much we love and care for you (and your whole family). Once again, my desire is to be extremely clear on this: if you are not comfortable coming to church at this time, please stay home and continue to watch the service online! If you are immune-compromised or have anyone in your home that this, please stay home and continue to watch the service online! If you are 70 and over, please stay home and continue to watch the service online! If you are in your 60’s, we encourage you to prayerfully consider staying home and watching the service online! We don’t want any of our members to feel pressured in any way. There is absolutely no condemnation or judgement, or perceived lack of faith in the Lord and His protection over you because of that, etc. We want you to do what you need to do, and we recognize that that looks a little different for each family unit right now.
I continue to be so proud of this wonderful, amazing church family! I’m so grateful to the Lord as I watch this church continue to love, serve, give, encourage, and grow. We’re in this together.
And together, we are Grace.
Much love and blessings,
GCF Brenham has resumed two regular services on Sunday mornings, at 9:00 AM and 10:45 AM. Social distancing is still in effect when we gather together.
Our full 10:45 service will be recorded and made available online (both through our website and our mobile app) for watching on Sunday afternoon.
We are maintaining all sanitization and deep-cleaning processes to keep all of our facilities ready for you and your family.
We look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
Good Morning, Church Family & Friends!
I’m so excited and grateful to announce that we will be moving back to holding two regular services, beginning this Sunday!
We will be holding our services at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM (I know, we’re used to 10:45 AM as our second service time – but we’re giving an extra 15 minutes of time in-between services to make sure we can clean and sanitize everything for you before you come in). And we’ll continue to provide nursery for ages 0-5 for those that need it (you can specify this when you register on our website).
In case you missed it, the State of Texas got a great overall progress report yesterday from Governor Abbott in his press conference regarding the ongoing fight against COVID-19. The Governor announced that more Texas businesses will be allowed to either reopen, or open at larger capacity (for example, restaurants are now able to operate at 50% capacity beginning this Friday, May 22nd). Some counties in Texas are still fighting hard against the virus, and we should be keeping our fellow Texans in our thoughts & prayers right now!
There’s a couple of things that I’d like to mention here, as we continue to move onward and upward together.
Firstly, it’s important to note that as a church/religious organization, we are not (and have not been, to-date) held to the same types of restrictions that many other businesses are. You can see this in Governor Abbott’s official press release document, where it clearly states that houses of worship are “covered services… not subject to the conditions and limitations, including occupancy or operating limits, set forth below for other covered services.” What this means for us, in plain English, is that it’s not a matter of 25% capacity, 50% capacity, etc. – it’s not how many people we are allowed to put into a building. Rather, it is a matter of us being able to observe proper social distancing guidelines – with however many people we can put into a building. So for some churches, that means they can have a lot of people attend services, if they have a large space to work with! Others, not so much. We are very fortunate and blessed to have the wonderful facilities and spaces we have here at Grace, as I hope you’ll agree! We have determined that we can safely hold up to 150 people per service (per building) at this time, while following social distancing guidelines. So, you’ll see that when you go online to register to attend an upcoming Sunday, there will be an increased number of seats available (and of course, the two services to pick from!) We know that the Sanctuary is the “first pick” for everyone, for obvious reasons! But our newly-equipped Fellowship Hall will continue to be operational in the event of overflow needs, or for folks that may simply prefer to be in that building. And as the official Minimum Standard Health Protocols Checklist for churches from the Attorney General’s office explains, we will have two seats in between each family/household unit on a row, while still blocking off every other row at this time like we’ve been doing.
Secondly, I want to ask that when we come together for services, we continue to remember, abide by, and respect the social distancing guidelines that are still in place. This includes things like handshakes, hugging, grouping up together in common areas, etc. If you will remember, we started out down this path together a little over two months ago making it absolutely clear that we will honor and respect our governmental authorities (as the Word of God very clearly tells us to do!) As your Lead Pastor, I want you to know that we have not wavered in that commitment, and that we do not desire to be flippant or careless when it comes to these matters. My first priority in this time (and our first priority, as your church leadership) is your personal safety and well-being when you come to church, as well as the safety and well-being of every other member in this church. That’s why we are taking all of the extra measures and precautions we have in place to ensure that when you come in, you’re coming in to a safe, clean space. Yes, I know it’s an extremely difficult thing to do to not give a hug or a handshake to people that you know and love and want to hang out with – trust me! It goes against every fiber in my being. It goes against the very DNA of who we are as a loving, interactive, engaging church family. However, in this time, we need to still be careful, courteous, and respectful of others. Some folks today may not be worried about this virus at all, and others are still very much worried about it – either for themselves, or for perhaps a family member or friend who is considered high-risk, etc. This is why we need to continue to be courteous and careful. I think we’ve all seen by now that it’s not just a matter of being worried about contracting the virus personally, it’s also a matter of accidentally/unintentionally passing it on to someone else, and never even knowing it. We’re not out of the woods just yet. We thank God and we praise Him for the wonderful progress we’re making, but we need to not forget what’s being asked of us by our leaders in this time.
As long as “social distancing” remains with us I ask that you please help us, as your church leadership, in this endeavor to provide a safe, yet welcoming and loving environment for everyone that walks through our doors.
We can’t wait to see you this Sunday – I hope you’ll be there!
Love and blessings,
Hello, Church Family!
Let me say first, I’m so incredibly grateful for all of the texts, calls, and emails I’ve received this week with prayers and thoughts for myself and my family, as I’m continuing to recover from my appendectomy surgery. God is good! My healing process continues, and I hope to be up and moving around again soon. I have felt the prayers, and we are so grateful for a loving church family like you!!
Governor Abbott has opened the door for churches to begin having in-person services again, while at the same time encouraging churches to conduct services remotely when possible. The State is, of course, reserving the right to reverse course if there are negative results from this in the weeks ahead. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation here locally, and keep abreast of the guidelines that are being issued for everyone’s safety and well-being. As our very own Washington County Judge John Durrenberger has recently said, “People need to be aware of how well we’ve done as a community in preventing the spread.” Our hearts are broken for those families that have experienced losses here in our community, but we know that God is still on the throne. I hope you continue to join your pastors and elders and church leadership in praying daily for the end of this pandemic across our great nation.
We know that many of you are eager to resume church. And we praise God for that – so are we! But, we want to do so wisely and carefully, as you are not just the most important element of the church, you are the church! And each one of you are the apple of God’s eye!
So, here’s our reopening plan for GCF Brenham. Please read through these bullet point items below carefully, so you’ll understand what’s happening and how we’re phasing back in.
Let me be very clear on this: if you are not comfortable coming to church at this time, please stay home and continue to watch the service online! If you are immune-compromised or have anyone in your home that is, please stay home and continue to watch the service online! If you are 70 and over, please stay home and continue to watch the service online! If you are in your 60’s, we encourage you to prayerfully consider staying home and watching the service online! We don’t want any of our members to feel pressured in any way to attend services. We are simply offering the option to do so.
I hope this is good news to all of you. No, it’s certainly not where any of us want it to be. But at least this is the first step in the right direction. And I have to say, I don’t know when I’ve been more proud of our church family! You’ve continued to love and give and serve and encourage and grow. Our wonderful buildings we are blessed with certainly help facilitate the flow of ministry. And they help the growth – both spiritual & numeric. But they aren’t the ministry or the growth. And they don’t define us.
Thank you for being YOU!
Honored to serve you,
Hello Church Family,
I hope each of you and your families are celebrating this joyous Easter weekend, and preparing for Easter Sunday! This Sunday, we celebrate a Risen King – a Mighty Savior, the Author and Perfecter of Our Faith (Heb. 12:2)!
We have a pretty incredible lineup of special events that will be taking place throughout our Easter service that we’ve been preparing for you, and we don’t want you to miss out on any of them! Please be sure to join in on the livestream by 9:00 AM for the official start (the stream begins about 8:45 AM), either from our website or from our Facebook page.
The Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard once wrote, “Christ has not only spoken to us by his life, but has also spoken for us by his death.” Whoa! Go back and read that powerful quote once more! Because of what Jesus did for you and I on the cross at Calvary, we are spoken for. The cycle of sin and death has finally been broken, and you and I are now free to live the kind of life that He intends for us to live by the power of His Spirit. How does it make you feel, knowing that you are “spoken for” by the King of Kings? That’s reason for celebration and joy unspeakable right there!
This Sunday, we’ll be taking communion together during our live service. I want to ask each of us to prepare for this special time by making sure that you have some bread and some juice (just grab whatever you have available from your refrigerator!) Can I tell you something that you (hopefully) already know? We do not need a pastor, an elder, or a leader to serve communion. And we certainly don’t need to be in our physical church building, either! The “church” is not a building; it’s the people (that’s you and I!) These communion elements are taken to stir our minds and hearts. The physical acts of eating and drinking are designed to remind us that we spiritually “ingest” and take part in the saving benefits of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It reminds us of our complete and utter dependence on Jesus. Perhaps now, more than any other time in history, we need this reminder in our homes.
So let’s get prepared for Easter Sunday, as we celebrate what He has done for us, and the victory He has achieved for us all!
Dear Church Family & Friends,
We’ve simplified and streamlined our Wednesday Night plan, to make it as easy as possible for you (and your whole family) to get in on the available resources each week!
Simply go to www.gcfbrenham.org/wednesday, where you’ll find all available content for Children, Youth, and Adults.
You’ll see that Children and Youth will have pre-recorded teachings available to them to watch, along with some ideas and encouragements for them to participate. And all Adults will have access to a short recap video from the previous Sunday, along with some expanded discussion questions, that will help you get refocused on the teaching and then apply it to your life.
Dear Church Family & Friends,
In our continuing efforts to provide you (and your whole family!) with some great resources and tools for spiritual application & growth in this time of being apart from one another, here’s our current plan for Wednesday nights.
We’ve got something planned for Children, Youth, and Adults!
Our Kingdom Kids will be able to tune into a livestream tomorrow night at 7:00 PM, featuring our Children’s Pastor, Mandy Wood, and members of the Children’s Leadership Team! They’ll be providing some worship, fun games, and a great teaching. Your child will need your help, Mom & Dad, in order to get them “online” so they can watch this stream and participate.
Here’s what to do:
1) Go to our Children’s Ministry page on our website, and you’ll see the video player appearing there near the top of the page.
2) Or, we will also be streaming live on our Facebook page, if you want to allow your child to participate that way.
3) Parents, we encourage you to help your child connect and engage with this event as best as they can, given their age, etc.! Our team is preparing to bring their very best for your child and to overcome the barrier of the technology gap (a blessing, to be sure, but still a difficult barrier!) in order to minister to your child.
Your youth will be able to sit down and watch a pre-recorded teaching tomorrow night from our Youth Pastor, Johnny Andrade! Johnny will be bringing a great, applicable truth for your teenager(s) in a message about how God answers prayers.
Here’s what to do:
1) Go to our Youth Ministry page on our website, and you’ll see the video player appearing there near the top of the page. The video will be available there from about 6:00 PM forward tomorrow night.
2) Parents, we encourage you to encourage your youth to find a space, get comfortable, sit down, and dedicate themselves to this time! Just like as if they were going to be there in-person on Wednesday night, for a regular service. Encourage them to take notes on a notepad, have their Bible with them, etc.
Last, but certainly not least, we’ll be providing some expanded weekly discussion questions for all adult men and women, for you to use as a tool to help apply Sunday’s teaching into your life.
Here’s what we would encourage you to do:
1) Sit down with your spouse (if married), and dedicate some time to this, just like if you were going to be attending your Life Group this Wednesday night in-person.
2) Re-listen or re-watch Sunday’s message (Pastor Matt talked about “Everything Happens for A Reason” from the “Six Dumb Things Smart People Believe” series we’re in right now). If you choose to re-watch by video, the message part begins at about the 30:00 mark.
3) Using our free mobile app, you can type in your answers to each of the questions, save them, and even email them to yourself if you want!
4) Or, go to the Life Group Questions page on our website, and download the questions in either Microsoft Word or PDF format. You can print these out and write in your answers.
It’s our privilege to help create content like this, and serve you in this time when we cannot do things “like normal” around here! Praying for a great Wednesday for each of you.
Dear Church Family & Friends,
We’ve put together a list of tips & tricks for you, based on some of the feedback and questions we’ve received over the past two weeks. We want to help you get the most out of this season of our livestream services on Sundays!
How can I hear it better?
We’ve identified and fixed some issues in regards to the volume level you were able to hear, from yesterday’s livestream. So for this week, it should be much better! Please remember though, every smartphone, TV, computer, etc. is a little different, and you’ll want to become familiar with your device you’re using to watch our livestream. Make sure you’ve got the volume all the way up (or at the level you need it to be) and that you’re not overlooking any setting that may be specific to your device.
What should I do to make sure I get the highest-quality livestream?
First, we’d recommend that you be on wifi (not cellular signal, unless that’s all you have, or you are confident that your cellular signal is really good). Being on wifi will guarantee that you can get the best stream possible, up to the speed of your internet provider plan that you have. Also, try to use the best/fastest device that you have available to you!
Where can I watch it?
Right now, we have two ways you can watch: directly on our website, or from our Facebook page. We’re also working on adding a way to be able to reach the livestream from within our mobile app, too, but the best experience would be to use one of the two methods above.
What time does it start?
We will begin streaming at approximately 8:45 AM. This helps get our stream up and running before the official 9:00 AM start time, and gives everyone plenty of time to get online (using one of the two methods described above, and in greater detail below) and get ready!
How does it work on the website?
Simply go to to our website, and scroll down a little bit until you reach the “Livestream” video section. You’ll see the live video player there, and it will show last week’s livestream service, until approximately 24 hours before the next Sunday livestream will begin. Please note that you may possibly need to refresh the page, if it’s getting close to 9:00 AM and you’re not seeing or hearing anything from that live video player on the page. For some users, we’re seeing that the live video player “kicks in” automatically, and for some, it does not (which requires you to refresh the page in order to be able to see/hear the livestream).
How does it work on Facebook?
Simply go to our Facebook page, and once the livestream begins, it should be the newest/most recent item in our page’s newsfeed. Please note that you may need to refresh the page, if it’s getting close to 9:00 AM and you’re not seeing anything pop up automatically. If you want to enable live video notifications on Facebook (so you’ll get an alert when our page goes live), follow the directions at this page (scroll down to “To change your live video notifications from a specific Page” and follow those steps).
How can I project it/mirror it onto my TV, or a larger screen?
Please note that this process requires that you be familiar with the equipment you have; it’s not possible for us to be able to give instructions for every single device/platform out there. Every situation will be different, and you’ll want to know the limitations of your device.
However, if you’re looking for a way to start doing this, we’d recommend that you get one of the following devices:
– Apple TV (best solution for iOS users – Amazon link)
– Roku (best for Android users, but can work with iOS – Amazon link)
– Fire TV Cube (can be used with iOS or Android – Amazon link)
These devices will connect to your home wifi, and allow you to “mirror” your screen to your connected TV (with both video and audio). You’ll want to refer to the setup instructions that come with these devices, and set them up that way. We cannot provide technical support for these devices, but in our experience, we’ve found these solutions to be very easy and also very non-technical to do! It’s a great way to enjoy the livestream on the big screen with family or friends!
Dear Church Family & Friends,
I know we just sent you a notification about the cancellation of this week’s Wednesday night activities (for Life Groups & ministries) — but upon further counsel and review with the GMI Board, we are going to extend our cancellation to now include the next two weeks, for all church events.
In Titus 3:1 the apostle Paul tells Titus, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good.” So unless it’s something that contradicts the word & will of God, then we should obey it. And we will.
With the new recommendation today to keep events at 10 people or less, here’s our revised gameplan for the next two weeks:
1) We will have a livestream service on both Sunday mornings (March 22 and 29) at 9:00 AM.
These livestream services will not be open to members or the public. And in order to keep our number below the 10 max, our worship team will be a smaller group, with a more acoustic-type feel to it. You will be able to watch the livestream by going directly to our website or by watching live on Facebook. Either way, you’ll be able to get the full service, so just pick what works best for you.
2) Our church office hours will change.
We will have limited staff hours at the church over these next two weeks, only coming in for necessary projects and items, etc. If you have any needs, concerns, or anything at all we can help you with, I ask that you please reach out directly to your Life Group Leader, your Elders, and your Pastors — we are all here for you, and will do anything that is in our power.
3) Here’s the church events that will be postponed:
Water Baptism Class (Saturday, March 21)
Visitor’s Luncheon (Sunday, March 22)
ManUp Monday (Monday, March 23)
Life Group Leader In-Service (Tuesday, March 24)
Discovery Seminar (Saturday, March 28)
Water Baptism Sunday (Sunday, March 29)
We will work on rescheduling these events as the situation permits.
4) We will continue to monitor the situation.
As your pastors and elders, we will continue to monitor the situation, and will keep you updated as our church family. In the meantime, hold onto the following verse, and pray it over yourself and your family. And please pray it over every member of this church family: Isaiah 41:10 – “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Love & blessings,
P.S. — again, please let our staff know if there is anyone who is sick, or anyone in need. We are here, and we always love the opportunity to serve you.
Grace Community Fellowship of Brenham, Texas is a warm, friendly, growing, and dynamic church. Read more here.
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107 South Saeger Street
Brenham, TX 77833