COVID-19 Church Response & Changes
Effective March 15, 2020, the church building is closed to all persons but essential personnel. This means we are now doing things differently. We can stay in touch in the following ways:
- Each Sunday morning on the Grace Facebook page [include the link: https://www.facebook.com/CheyenneGraceUMC/ there will be a video for worship and a time of devotion. You can see previous videos on the Facebook page as well.
- Small Groups: Church leaders will offer small group discussions and pray time via Zoom. Zoom can be accessed on a computer, tablet or phone via the Zoom app. You can also call in on a regular phone line. Announcements for these groups will be on the “What’s Going On” tab on the website [include the link, please] and on the Grace Facebook page.
- Membership directors were emailed (and copies mailed to those who don’t have an email address in our system) earlier this week. Please keep in touch with one another.
- A new Phone Tree will be sent out soon so we can take care of our phone tree neighbors.
This is a challenging time. But we are united in the body of Christ no matter where we are physically.
We are a church with a BIG heart!
Our hope is to be a congregation that will Gather, Respond, Accept, Care and Engage. Grace United Methodist Church embraces Jesus’ message of love and acceptance, and so our welcome knows no boundaries. We celebrate our diversity and recognize the sacred worth and dignity of all persons, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental capacity, faith history, education or economic status, into full participation in the life and leadership of our congregation. We recognize that there are differences among us, but believe that we can love alike, even though we may not be alike.
Click Here for our Welcome Brochure
From the Pastor's Office
This email contains 2 important announcements.
1. I am pleased to let you know we are preparing to return to in-person worship, very soon. Our plan as of today, is to have a “soft opening” for people who are 65+ this Sunday, February 14th. I want to give our worship team, ushers, and volunteers a chance to ease into the routine of having people in the church.
On February 21, the first Sunday of Lent, we will open the doors to all ages.
I will finalize this plan on Thursday, as we keep an eye on our active cases and percentage of positive tests in Laramie County.
In-Person Worship Guidelines.
* Masks are required at all times within Grace UMC
* Please respect a 6ft Social Distance
* Hand sanitizer, extra masks, and gloves are available
You will notice a few changes as you enter the church. The Sanctuary has been rearranged into 4 rows of 2 pews each. You are welcome to sit with those you are comfortable sitting with. We do ask to spread out the best you can and to be respectful of others. There is plenty of room for everyone.
We have removed the hymnals from the pews, for now, and we will provide a simple bulletin with an order of worship, announcements, and lyrics for the service. We will continue to utilize the screens in the sanctuary.
Even as we return to in-person worship, we will always offer a digital service live on Facebook and Youtube here at Grace.
2. One of the opportunities I have as a pastor when I arrive at a new church with a fresh set of eyes and ears. Often arriving to a new church is a crash course in learning names, the identity of the church, and relearning how to swim in the deep end. When I arrived in July, I started taking an inventory and assessing the resources Grace has and what we could improve in regards to providing a meaningful and welcoming worship service for all people. Over the last few months we have upgraded audio and video equipment and the overall technology to allow us to safely provide a quality digital service.
Now we turn our attention to the physical space of Grace and our needs for in-person worship. My goal as your pastor is to help everyone feel welcome here at Grace, no matter how you join us. We have been decluttering, rearranging, and painting a few places in the church. In doing so, it has become clear we have two major items needing to be replaced in the sanctuary and one safety addition.
In replacing and upgrading sound equipment it became immediately clear the speakers in the Sanctuary were simply wore out. I found a spectacular deal on a set of high quality speakers that normally cost $500+ each. I was able to purchase a pair, brand new, for $630 total and installed them this last weekend.
As we prepared for the Christmas Eve service, Niemann & Sons saved our bacon with an emergency repair on our faithful Sanctuary Piano. Dave Niemann commended the faith-fullness of our piano but also encouraged us to keep an eye out for a possible replacement, as more frequent emergency fixes would soon be our reality. DeAnn, our Worship Leader, patiently kept her ears open for pianos to come up for sale in our area. She found a beautiful Steinway Piano for $1500 which, for any piano worth playing, is a phenomenal deal.
Finally, the last precaution we need in place for in-person worship to resume, is a plexiglass shield in front of our praise team. To be able to sing in person we need either 25 ft in-between an unmasked singer and the congregation or a barrier. A 25 ft space would eliminate half of the seating in the sanctuary, which is not ideal. As you can imagine the demand for plexiglass is at an all time high, and will cost us around $300 to build a barrier.
Grace, you have been unbelievable generous and faithful throughout the pandemic and certainly in your history as a Church. Many of the financial gifts given to help us upgrade the technology were given anonymously, as the need became apparent, to avoid using money from the budget and asking the church to stretch more than it already had. Thank you, to all who generously gave financially.
For our current needs, I am reaching out and asking anyone who feels called to give, over and beyond their normal giving, to these projects. You may do so by adding “Sanctuary” to the memo line of your check or online giving. You are welcome to mail it to the church, drop it by the office, OR put it in the offering plate as we return to in-person worship!
Main Speakers – $630
Steinway Piano – $1500
Plexiglass Safety Barrier- $300
I cannot wait to see you in the Sanctuary for the first time! I am truly excited there is light at the end of the tunnel. The leadership of Grace and our Worship Team have been working hard to make our space inviting, welcoming, and meaningful for all who walk through our physical and digital doors.
Letter From Brian Martin & the Safety Team
Dear Fellow Members of the Grace UMC family,
Peace and love to you and yours as we continue to care for one another amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I hope this letter finds you healthy and happy, despite the challenges and restrictions that we continue to face in our daily lives.
Unfortunately, as we rapidly approach the one-year mark since the pandemic’s impacts arrived in Wyoming, we must still remain apart until such time as positive tests decline and vaccine distribution is more widespread.
That is the purpose of this letter – to let you know that the GUMC Safety Team and Pastor Zach met recently to review current guidance from the Mountain Sky Conference, as well as data from the Wyoming Department of Health and the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department. Using that information, we have decided to keep worship in its current online-only format for the time being, but we continue to evaluate conditions on a regular basis, with the goal of returning to in-person worship as soon as we can safely do so.
At the same time, since the conference changed the metrics it uses for evaluating when it’s safe to meet in person, we thought we should explain that change and why it was made.
As you all know, we developed a 6-page document called “Property Use Rules for the COVID-19 Pandemic” back in the early days of the pandemic. These rules were based on the Mountain Sky Conference’s (re)Launch Church study and guidelines. They included “Red,” “Yellow” and “Green” statuses, as well as the circumstances that would need to occur so we could move from one status to another.
These are still in place, but instead of using the “14-day downward trend in active cases,” the conference, in November, moved to a new definition of when Yellow Status begins:
“Yellow Status begins when county, state and local officials have reported a consistent testing positivity rate less than or equal to 4%. … Additionally, other factors such as capacity for local hospitals, testing program, and county and/or state guidelines should be considered.”
Using this new guidance, and considering both Laramie County data and State of Wyoming health orders, we would be in Yellow Status were it not for the positivity rate As of this writing, that rate sits at 8.2%, which means that using a 14-day rolling average, 8.2% of the COVID-19 tests being administered in Laramie County are coming back positive. That percentage has been as high as 15.94% on Dec. 4, and as low as 5.2% on Jan. 1, but it hasn’t been at or below 4% – the level recommended by the CDC for safe public gatherings – since Oct. 6.
That said, I am checking the data daily and reporting it to Pastor Zach, with the sincere hope that we can get back together as soon as possible. We agree that this is a better way to measure the spread of the virus in the community, since active case numbers have fluctuated wildly throughout the pandemic.
Of course, we would feel a lot more comfortable bringing people back together if the vaccine were more widely administered and providing immunity to everyone. Unfortunately, it’s going to take time, and we are likely to be wearing masks and social distancing for months to come.
That said, we encourage all of you – especially those 70 and older – to get your COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you possibly can. Remember that you need a second shot 21 or 28 days after the first one (depending on which manufacturer made it), and it takes about two weeks after your second shot to develop peak immunity.
In the meantime, Pastor Zach, members of the Safety Team and members of the Facilities Team are continuing to prepare the church and our processes for a safe return to in-person worship.
We look forward to being back together soon, and we pray for your continued health and safety in the meantime.
Be well and God bless,
Brian Martin, Safety Team chair
A Time for Prayer
It is with a heavy and frustrated heart that I write you today. I’m sure you have seen by now, the events currently happening in Washington DC. Regardless of political beliefs, the actions of those who have stormed the Capital building, caused lockdown, and put many people in danger is not ok.
I invite you into a time of prayer. Prayers for peace, prayers for guidance.
I want to open the Sanctuary up for anyone who would like to spend some time in prayer. The Church will be open from now until 6:30 pm. Spend time in prayer, stay socially distanced if not alone, and please wear a mask at all times.
If you would like to talk please feel free to call or text me. 406-868-8695 or 307-316-2349.
With a heavy heart,
Thank You for Your Faithfulness Letter
I hope and pray this letter finds you well. Traditionally in October and November, as we head into the end of the year, we take a moment to focus on stewardship as a church. This year is no different, as we have approached ministry and church in vastly different ways than we ever thought we would. We hope to finish out the year strong financially and budget appropriately for 2021.
Throughout this pandemic, I have been reminded of the vow we take as United Methodist. We vow a robust faith of action inside and outside of the church building. As John Wesley said, “The world is my perish” and through our vow as United Methodist, we fully embody this call.
I think it is important for us to remember our vows, not only as a means of stewardship, but as a faithful prayer for whom God is calling us to be as individuals and as Grace UMC.
“To renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of the world, and repent of their sin;
To accept the freedom and power God gives them to resist evil, injustice, and oppression;
To confess Jesus Christ as Savior, put their whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as their Lord;
To remain faithful members of Christ’s holy church and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world;
To be loyal to Christ through The United Methodist Church and do all in their power to strengthen its ministries;
To faithfully participate in its ministries by their prayers, their presence, their gifts, their service, and their witness;
To receive and profess the Christian faith as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.”
We are called to live out a faithful life in service, witness, and action. This faithful work is done as individuals and as a church through the active participation of our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Each and everyone of us brings different gifts to the table at different times in our lives. It is through the gifts of prayer that we hold one another close. You are faithful in our presence in person, online, through phone calls, cards and emails. Even in my short time here, I have seen the multitude of ways in which you serve this church and community. One of those most powerful and important vows we make, is our witness, to share our story. You will hear me over and again say “There are people out there dying to hear how God has shown up in your life, even if you feel its “insignificant”. So many people that surround us need to hear the hope you have found in God.
Supporting Grace with your gifts is incredibly important but is often lost in the “Oh no, pastor is about to ask for money” routine. It is no secret that “supporting your church” with “gifts” is often focused on financial gifts. Grace, in fact, needs your financial gifts to operate and I have been overwhelmed by your continued faithful giving as the pandemic continues. Your financial gifts help us operate Grace from top to bottom, day in and day out. Your financial contributions help keep the lights on, pay your staff, offer assistance to those in need, continues to provide space for Family Promise, and allow us to offer a high quality and faith worship service online and in-person when we are able to gather again.
Your gifts also range beyond financial. Many of you offer your gifts of music, leadership, passion, and support that make Grace the church that it is today.
It is the fullness of your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness that make a difference at Grace, in Cheyenne, and in places and people we may never know, all because of your continued faithfulness.
Attached is a pledge card for 2021 that asks for you to identify the ways in which you will serve Grace through your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. This card not only helps me know where and how you want to serve, but it helps us create a budget for 2021. Please fill out the Pledge Card and return to the office by email, mail, or simply drop it by the office.
As for the remainder of the 2020 financial year, Grace continues to faithfully share God’s love and grace in as many ways as possible. Thank you for your ongoing support. Financial giving has slowed a little in the last few weeks with the transition to online services. Continue to mail your checks, give online, or drop them by the office. I would love for you to stop in and say “Hello.”
As your pastor, I can’t say “Thank you” enough. I have been overwhelmed with your support, honesty, and faithfulness through this very difficult time. We will make it through this together. We will continue to take the love and grace of God to ALL people. The world is our parish!
Praise & Worship
Praise & Worship each Sunday at 10:15 am
Church Hours & Contact
Church Office Hours
Monday – Thursday
8:30 am – 12:30 pm
2950 Spruce Drive • Cheyenne, WY 82001
“New Year, Same Promise”
January 12: God’s Promise of New Life (Matthew 3:13-17)
January 19: God’s Promise of Faithfulness (Psalm 40:1-11)
January 26: God’s Promise of Ministry (Matthew 4:12-23)
February 2: God’s Promise of Blessing (Matthew 5:1-12)
February 9: God’s Promise of Guidance (Matthew 5:13-20)
February 16: God’s Promise of Freedom (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)
February 23: Transfiguration Sunday
February 26: Ash Wednesday (12:15 & 7 pm services)
March 1: “Not Today, Satan” (Matthew 4:1-11)
March 8: “Hush-Hush” (John 3:1-17)
March 15: “Well, Actually” (John 4:5-42)
March 22: “So Many Questions” (John 9:1-41)
March 29: “Too Little, Too Late?” (John 11:1-45)
April 5: Palm/Passion Sunday, “The Truth Hurts” (Matthew 26:14-35)
April 12: Easter Sunday (8 am & 10:15 am services), “Spread the Word” (John 20:1-8)
Grace United Methodist Church
Don't Be Shy
We’d love to hear from you! If you have a question or concern please don’t hesitate to reach out.