Reopening Guidelines and Phases

    Nov 10, 2020 |


    Preparing to reopen our buildings for in-person ministry events and Sunday worship services is a joint effort on the part of our Reopening Task Force, Elders, and staff. We are taking a phased approach that is driven by a number of factors:

    • The health and safety of our congregation and guests;
    • Love for our neighbors and our witness to the broader community;
    • Our capacity to provide authentic and meaningful services, gatherings, and ministries while fully respecting state and federal guidelines.

    We are working with experts in the area of public health and medicine within the Grace Chapel community to determine key milestones that mark the transition from one phase to another. Our goal is to emerge from COVID-19 pandemic with a greater capacity to serve our congregation and community both in-person and online.


    These phases/dates describe our latest and best efforts to reopen, but may change as new information, guidelines, and protocols are provided by the CDC or state and local government agencies. Please keep in mind that some churches and civic organizations will move through these or similar phases more quickly than Grace Chapel, while others may lag behind.

    PLANNING PHASE:  completed as of July 5th
    • All ministries continue operating online-only
    • All buildings remain closed to staff and public
    • Supplies and protocols in place on-site for essential staff
    START PHASE:  completed as of September 30
    • Limited groups (Care/Support) begin gathering on campuses, in numbers that meet approved guidelines
    • Other groups will begin to meet outside or in neutral spaces off Grace Chapel property
    • Limited staff will be allowed to work on campus
    CAUTIOUS PHASE: current status
    • Some groups meeting on campuses in numbers that meet approved guidelines
    • We will begin trialing an increased number of Sunday services and potentially rotating small group gatherings at each campus using our largest event spaces.
    • Grace Chapel full staff to have the option of returning to the offices with a daily rotation basis, physical distancing, face masks, and cleaning protocols. 
    • Campus gatherings for larger but limited numbers of participants, within approved guidelines, as well as Sunday services on campuses with potentially live elements.
    • Additional processes for limiting gatherings to maximum allowable numbers of people will be added as necessary. These may include advance registration for attending formerly open events.
    • Fully-open buildings on all campuses, services, ministries
    • Online services continue



    Updated 11/10/20

    We are currently in the Cautious Phase. Questions being asked and their corresponding answers may change as we move through each phase of our reopening plan and additional information becomes available. Please continue to check this page for the latest updates. 

    • Can we have drive-through events in our campus parking lots?
      • Yes, but understand that there will not be access to the buildings including no access to the restrooms.
      • Please reach out to your Campus Pastor for specific guidance.

    • Can my small group meet in the parking lot? 
      • During this phase, we recommend that small groups remain online, if possible. 

    • When will you reopen the sanctuaries at our campuses? 
      • We look forward to reopening our five sanctuaries and will do so when we have appropriate measures in place and can safely meet the state guidelines.
      • As new guidelines emerge and we are able to meet safe gathering requirements, we will update our phases. We’ll make information available on our website, in our app, and include it in each campus’ weekly e-newsletter.

    • Will the playgrounds at the Lexington and/or Watertown campuses reopen? 
      • They remain closed as we are currently unable to provide ongoing cleaning services to help guarantee safety to all who come onto our properties.
      • We look forward to reopening our campus playgrounds during a later phase.

    • When will Celebrate Recovery groups start to meet? 
      • We have begun hosting CR step studies of 10 people or fewer during our current phase. We encourage all other CR groups to continue meeting online.
      • Please reach out to Chris Haydon ( ) for specific guidance.

    • When will the campus buildings be reopened? 
      • Assuming we have met our phase milestones and can provide adequate cleaning supplies, we will gradually begin reopening our buildings to a limited number of pre-approved groups during our current phase. We hope to continue trialing indoor gatherings at each of our campuses in the new year.

    • Why can’t smaller campuses reopen their buildings sooner? 
      • Since we are one church with five campuses, we need to make decisions that are safe and consistent for the whole church body and move together as one community. 

    • When will the Lexington Campus Food Bank be reopened? 
      • Recognizing the need for and importance of the Food Bank to the community, Food Bank leaders in conjunction with Grace Chapel’s Director of Community Care have redesigned the Lexington campus food bank as a drive through service. 
      • Please reach out to Sunny Toews ( ) for specific guidance; more information will be provided as soon as it is available.

    • How are we handling weddings and funerals during our current phase? 
      • During our current phase, rentals would be considered on a case-by-case basis following the State guidelines and church restrictions. Small weddings, and funerals (currently 10 people or fewer) could be considered in our buildings, with limitations.
      • Future phases may allow for larger events and gatherings; more information will be provided as soon as it is available.

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