Dear Grace Hill Family, 

I want to share with you a decision that our staff and elders have made in regard to our Sunday morning worship services for the remainder of 2020.

Our staff has been hard at work trying to execute a strategy for our church to begin gathering together again for worship in a safe and wise manner. Several weeks ago, we had our first gathering outside at Frying Pan Park and it was great – over a 100 people attended and we received great feedback from you. Over the last two Sundays, we have been gathering at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The attendance at the Crowne Plaza has confirmed the data we received from a recent poll we sent to all of you. Over 70% of our congregation is not comfortable gathering at the Crowne Plaza or any other indoor venue at this point. It costs our church about $250/week to rent Frying Pan Park and about $1500/week to rent the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Also, it takes many volunteers to not only setup for the Crowne Plaza but also to make sure everything is sanitary. As far as Herndon Middle School, we have not received any indication from FCPS that we will be able to return to the school anytime soon and we do not expect that will be an option for us this year. Even if it did become an option, we believe we would have the same level of attendance (and weekly cost) as we are seeing at the Crowne Plaza.

Our desire as your church leadership is to lead Grace Hill in its mission to reach our neighbors and make disciples of Christ. At this point, we do not think gathering at the Crowne Plaza Hotel is a good use of our resources nor does it help us accomplish our mission. Therefore, we have decided that for the remainder of 2020, all of our worship services will be online and we will gather together on the FIRST and LAST Sunday of the month outside at Frying Pan Park during August, September, and October. Here is what the schedule will look like:

  • August 2 – Online and Frying Pan Park
  • August 9, 16, & 23 – Online Only
  • August 30 – Online and Frying Pan Park
  • September 6 – Online and Frying Pan Park
  • September 13 – Online Only
  • September 20 & 27 – Online and Frying Pan Park
  • October 4 & 11 – Online and Frying Pan Park
  • October 18 – Online Only
  • October 25 – Online and Frying Pan Park (temperature permitting)
  • November 1  – Online and Frying Pan Park (temperature permitting)
  • November 8-December 27 – Online Only

If we have inclement weather, we will livestream the service from our offices and push our outdoor gathering to the next Sunday, if the park is available. 

In making this decision, it will allow our staff team to redirect much our time and energy from Sunday morning logistics to the spiritual care and leadership of our congregation. We want to get to work forming a plan for discipleship and outreach for the Fall, utilizing digital and online means. The uncertainty of COVID-19 has made it difficult to put our attention in the right place. This plan will give us the clarity and direction we need for the Fall. 

I want you to mark your calendars for Sunday, August 30 at 7:30pm where we will be having a member meeting via Zoom. Everyone, both Grace Hill Church members and non-members, are invited to this meeting. At this meeting, we will be doing two important things. First, we will be approving our budget for the next fiscal year (which begins in September). Secondly, we will be discussing our plan for discipleship and outreach for the Fall. Our desire is to present to you how we will be making disciples and reaching our neighbors given the continued pandemic. So, please, make it a priority to attend that meeting. Zoom details will be sent out as we get closer to August 30. 

But for right now, the most important thing you need to know is that THIS SUNDAY, August 2, we will NOT be meeting at the Crowne Plaza but we will be meeting OUTSIDE at Frying Pan Park. The service will be at 9am and no RSVP will be required. We will be sending more information out about parking and other details this week. And, of course, we will be livestreaming the service for those who still would like to attend the service from home. 

I love all of you and miss worshiping with you every week. However, God has a plan and a purpose for His church during these days. Our mission and vision as a church is not on hold. Let’s stick together, pray boldly, and expect great things from God.

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

In love,

Allan McCullough
Lead Pastor
Grace Hill Church