November 2020 UPDATE


We are distant now so that all can gather together once again.

So here we are... it's been quite a few months since we have gathered together within the walls of Grace Lutheran Church.  But we are still the church, and we have been making the most of this time to revision, rethink and renew our lives together.  

It hasn't been easy. But it has been good.  There have been many sacred and holy times along the way, although in new and different formats.  

This short update is a highlight of what is happening in our world today, and as we look into the near future.  

Currently, cases of COVID-19 are erupting and increasing around us. 

Because of these increases, our ultimate goal is to keep everyone we love and care for safe and healthy.  Our NW Washington Synod continues to monitor and issue guidance for us, and our staff and leadership team are vigilant in their careful planning for when and how we will reopen our building when the time comes. 

Our Health and Safety Ministry Team is working on upgrades and new procedures that are inline with state and federal health and safety guidelines, and we are confident that we will be ready when we have the go ahead.  At this time, our Synod staff has targeted the next possible window of reopening for local churches as early February and we will watch this timing closely.

And we know that it is hard to be apart, especially at this time of the year when we celebrate with so many wonderful traditions, worship services and friendly gatherings. 

We do have many exciting opportunities planned for you and your family, and we hope you will watch for and participate in all that you can.

These include:
-- Thanksgiving Eve service, Wednesday November 25 @ 7 pm online
-- Advent begins on Sunday November 29 with worship online @ 10 am
-- Coffee and Conversation hours continue on Sundays right after the worship service
-- Reverse Advent Calendar:  Begin the first day of Advent by collecting  food for the Des Moines Food Bank
-- Advent Open House will be on Wednesdays throughout the season of Advent, from 1-5 pm in the sanctuary -- a time to enter into the quiet beauty of the season for inspiration, prayer, and reflection (pick up your candle for lighting on Christmas Eve and write a prayer to add to our prayer tree)
-- Angel Tree gift cards - we're going online this year with this great ministry 
-- Live Nativity Drive-Thru Fundraiser for our Summer Mission Team on Saturday December 19 from 5-7 pm
-- Christmas Eve service on Thursday December 24 @ 4 pm online


Watch here for regular updates.  GLC Staff, Board and Leadership Team will determine when GLC building will safely open while continuing to stay in the government guidelines for the health and safety of everyone.

The following document is based on Gov. Insleeā€™s Phase 1, 2 and 3 Religious and Faith-Based Organization COVID-19 Requirements

Groups of 162 or fewer for indoor sanctuary worship services, choirs not allowed (Phase 2) Groups of 325 or fewer for indoor sanctuary worship services, choirs not allowed (Phase 3)

Groups of 10 or fewer for events/meetings, based on room size and distancing requirements (Phase 2 and 3) 

Each group will be expected to have a playbook with best practices/procedures outlined

High risk people should continue stay at home policy (High risk is 65+ in age or with underlying health conditions)

Online worship will continue

The following Phase One state guidelines continue in practice:

No one goes into any office including front office other than staff
Knock on the door and go out into the hall to talk, staying 6 feet apart
Wear masks whenever in the building
Use a clean mask each day
Use hand sanitizer or 20 second wash frequently
Kitchens in the Fellowship Hall/Upper Room closed to everyone except staff
Point person for each group/event/meeting to sanitize the Fellowship Hall/rooms before and after any group meeting
Room layouts/cleaning protocol for use and number of participants allowed in each room will be posted
No communal coffee or food
Limited number per family unit / caregiver at a time in the restroom
Signage to indicate no more than 2 people using the restroom at a time
Signage to request people wipe down countertop/faucet when done washing; signage with proper handwashing technique

Contact Tracing/Incident Reporting

Keep a log of attendees including name, email and phone number
For each worship service/event/meeting of 50 or fewer people, as well as larger worship services 
Log will be maintained by group, day and event, as well as reported to office for daily log binder
Immediately upon notification of known or presumed infection of an attendee provide logs to county for contact tracing
Encourage exposed to self-isolate for 14 days


All employees, members and guests in attendance must wear face coverings, before, during and after the service/event/meeting
Limited singing is permitted but individuals must not remove their face coverings to sing

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing of at least 6 feet must be maintained which will be indicated by wall and floor signage throughout the building
Sanctuary distancing system to be determined (blocking off pews, signage, etc)
Members of the same household may be seated together as a single unit
Access should be through the upper east front door.  All other doors are to remain closed and locked.  Staff may enter through north doors.
No physical contact between staff, servers, members and guests, including hugs, handshakes, etc
No communal containers or plates
Choirs cannot perform


Bathrooms open for handwashing; hand sanitizer stations located throughout the building
All services may provide access to restrooms, if access is controlled and limited to no more than two people, family unit/caregiver at a time
Maintain 6 feet distance and wear masks
Each group/event will designate a point person to clean and disinfect all touch surfaces after each service/event/meeting
Tissues and trash cans with liners are placed throughout the building, emptied regularly and disinfected
Refer to the separate sanitization document referring to CDC and Health Department Guidelines (TBD)

Symptom Monitoring

All employees, members and guests must self-screen for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving at GLC including taking temperature.  This information will be posted by entry doors, restrooms and throughout the building.
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle pain
Sore throat
New loss of taste or smell
Individuals with a temperature of 100.4o shall not attend a meeting, event or service
Any person with a household member who has been diagnosed or has symptoms of COVID-19 including a temperature of 100.4o shall not attend a meeting, event or service

Special Considerations for Grace Lutheran Church, Des Moines WA

Members/guests must preregister for a service (online or by phone if not able to access online registration) in the sanctuary to cap attendance at 162 people (this is 25% of sanctuary capacity in Phase 2). Adjustment made to this number, capping attendance to 325 in Phase 3.  Several places should be reserved for guests and others not preregistered.

Attendees shall maintain 6-foot distancing while waiting to be seated by ushers/hospitality who are trained
Ushers/hospitality must seat and release to ensure 6 feet distancing
Attendees are to exit the building promptly maintaining 6 feet distancing
No food or beverage served
No hugging or touching of any kind
Attendees will be requested to record name, email and phone number upon entering
All books, Bibles, pamphlets and writing utensils are to be removed from pews
An order of worship/bulletin/weekly announcement sheet will not be printed. All service portions and announcements shall be viewed on the screens or on a mobile device.
6-foot distances shall be marked on the sidewalk outside the front door and down the sidewalk; if chalk is used it will be rechalked at least weekly 

Offering/Connection Cards

Online offering will be encouraged
A box with a slot top (current pledge box) will be available for in person offering
Connection cards will not be used. People with prayer requests may call the church or submit their prayer requests through the GLC website 

Anything to be consumed may not be presented to the members or guests in a communal container or plate

Safety Training

Safety training for staff/volunteers/group leaders shall occur before the church building is open

Safety training shall include:

Proper use and handling of masks, gloves and other personal protection equipment
Proper sanitation/cleaning protocol of personal workspace
Proper sanitation/cleaning protocol of shared equipment, workspace and common areas, including sanctuary and lobby before, between and after use
Proper procedures/protocol for entering the building, seating, emergency situations




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