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or where you are

on life's journey,

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Letters from Pastor and Council:



Dear Friends,


After many months, it is time to let you know that we are beginning the process of reopening for people to join us for weekly worship. Other churches have been opening for the past few weeks; but, at my recommendation, Council has decided to wait a bit to see if infection rates in our area would remain low once people start gathering for worship.  Honestly, things are working remotely, so we were more concerned with gathering safely than gathering quickly.


And so I am writing with good news and better news!  The good news: We are inviting people to join us for worship in person starting August 2nd.  The better news: Our live stream broadcasts of worship have been more successful than we imagined and they will continue to be a part of our ongoing worship experience.  So if you don't feel comfortable returning to worship in person yet, you can still join us every week as you have been! 


What to expect when you return? 

1. You will be warmly welcomed by someone who will take your name and contact information. Creating a contact list for each service means we will be able to reach everyone should one person end up getting sick at any point. 

2. You will have your temperature taken with our fancy new no-touch thermometer. 

3. You will be asked if you have a mask. If you do not have one with you, we will have one for you! (Masks must be worn at all times, no exceptions.)

4. Hand sanitizer will be available should you want it. 

5. The doors will be open so that there is no need to touch hardware.


What will look different?

1. Seating will be intentionally separated from each other.  Families of course will sit together, but we will seat in alternating rows every other row. (They will be clearly marked.) 

2. There will be no passing of the peace in the service.  We would ask you to greet each other with a heartfelt smile and wave instead!

3. There will be no offering during the service. (That doesn't mean we don't need your gifts. LOL)  We will have collection baskets at the doors when you enter and when you leave so you can drop off your tithe. 

4. There will be no Hymns, at least for now. The CDC and the National Council of Churches recommend no singing as that produces more vapor droplets which might spread germs in the sanctuary. A study is coming out in the fall which will have more definitive word on this, but until then, there will be lots of good music, just not vocally!

5. Fellowship hour will NOT resume for the near future. Once the weather cools, we might want to gather outside after church for donuts and coffee, where we can be outdoors and safer in a group. 


So, as you can see, we are doing all we can to make sure our reopening is as safe as it can be.  We hope you will join us as you feel able, either in person or on Youtube.  We are excited for this regathering and look forward to the day when we can all be together again soon!! 


Much love and know that you are missed!


Pastor Rob+





May 2020

Dear Friends,

I think we have just experienced the longest April in the history of all Aprils!  Wow, I swear it had 7 weeks. Well, thank you Lord, it is May and the news is looking more positive that this time of stay at home orders and social distancing may be beginning to end. We are not there yet, but even the talks of the end stages are hopeful.

I wanted to take a minute and update you on some things that are happening at Grace Church.  Worship has continued to be a blessing. We never thought 2 years ago, when we talked at council about an audio-visual project, that it would be needed for a time such as this.  Many of you have been worshipping weekly online and I thank you for your many positive responses.  I can’t thank our worship team enough for all their hard work to make this a relatively seamless process.  Mark on the AV board, Jonas on wonderful music, and Sarah for working behind the scenes making sure everything is available for our full participation.  And of course, those who have volunteered to help with reading and singing in Church.  There are several who have offered to come and read or play music in the service.  I so appreciate your gifts and your kindness, please don’t think we didn’t want your participation, but once we went to a stay at home orders, we made the decision to keep the worship team to a very bare minimum. First, that limits those who come in contact with each other, and second that demonstrates to the community that while we are leading worship, we are conscious of keeping it to essential people only.  

Weekly activities like the book club and the Bible Study book group are continuing via Zoom and we are getting nice groups!  I have also had several online meditation sessions which have been well received.  More to come!  I thank Missy, our council Chair for all her work as well as the entire Council for their leadership and help.

I do want to remember the church in your prayers as we navigate this time together. And please, remember your giving to the ministries of the Church.  It is so important. The bills are coming whether we are there in person or by internet.  Please, if you have not yet made your gifts to the church and can, please do give online so that our spending will not leave us in a dire situation.  Many thanks for your faithfulness.

Lastly, remember the "Frederick Gives Back" program that has started at church.  We are working with local health care facilities and local restaurants to provide meals for healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of this fight against Covid-19. There are many who are focusing on the hospital, but we are also looking at what we can do to help those who are being overwhelmed in our nursing homes and rehab centers.

Many thanks for all you are doing to support the ministries of the church at this time.  We need to stay together more now than ever. Your gifts, your generosity, your participation are greatly appreciated and needed. 

Lastly, be assured of two things: 1st: your pastor misses you more than you know.  And 2nd: when this is over… there is gonna be some serious hugging going on!

Much love,    






as of April 1, 2020

From Council President, Missy Moxley:


Dear Church Family,


Do you ever get a revelation, or at least clarification, in the oddest places? I do. When I was in the bathroom today, I was reminded of our church family. Knowing that I am partial to whimsical bathroom signage, I received a simple wooden sign from my youngest son for Christmas that reads, "You never know what you have until it's gone.   Toilet paper for instance".   That message really hits home on many levels, and not just because toilet paper is currently a scarce commodity! The closure of our church doors due to the Coronavirus has made me realize how much I miss our church community. Luckily for Grace Church, Mark Edwards and his technological wizardry have enabled us to live stream services via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/gracelivefrederick so it's the next best thing to actually being in church. Thank you to Pastor Rob and our Music Director, Jonas Dawson, for their commitment to providing Grace with a meaningful and much needed worship experience. Technology is also connecting the Church Council via emails and Zoom conferences to address the business of the church. In addition, Zoom chats are allowing Pastor Rob to conduct Lenten studies with parishioners. A newly formed book club will also be using these Zoom capabilities. This pandemic is forcing us to adapt to new technologies as we continue to worship, learn and commune with each other as a community. I am proud to be a part of a congregation that is embracing these changes and growing as a result of them.


"This too shall pass", as my mom always said. When it (the pandemic) does pass and we can once again congregate together at church, I challenge our church family to fully celebrate each Sunday together. Let's greet each other with warm smiles and friendly banter. Who knows? Maybe we can even welcome each other with a handshake and a hug in the near future! Let's conclude Sunday service by sharing in some refreshments and conversation in the Good Shepherd Room. It is my hope that we can fully appreciate the gift we have in one another and the ability to worship God together in an atmosphere of love, friendship and acceptance. In order to make this a reality, we need volunteers to sign up to be greeters and fellowship hosts.   Please contact me (missymoxley@yahoo.com), or Pastor Rob (pastorrob@grucc.com), or Tony Hemler (tonyhemler0@gmail.com) (fellowship hosts), or Jerry Princler (jerryprin@comcast.net) (greeters) or Ricki Schmitz, volunteer coordinator extraordinaire, (swimmer5153@comcast.net) if you would like to volunteer for these duties.


Please contact Pastor Rob if you are in need of financial, spiritual, or any other type of help. Remember, you are not alone, and your church family is here to help.


Also, please remember the church by fulfilling your pledged offering and our mission projects. Although we may not be meeting in the building, the various bills still need to be paid. If you mail payment to the church, please remember to designate if it is for regular offering giving or for special mission giving.


I will close with the wisdom that is on another placard that graces my kitchen sink windowsill, "Wash your hands and say your prayers 'cuz Jesus and germs are everywhere."


God's Peace and Blessings,


Missy Moxley

Council President

as of March 17, 2020


Dear Friends,


As you are aware, we are experiencing an unusual time as the coronavirus seriously impacts our daily lives.  I want to take a moment to address a few things we at Grace Church are doing to face this time head on.  First, I want to thank Pastor Jessica and Church Council for their prompt and effective leadership last week while we were in New Orleans on the mission trip. If you wondered, you elected a very capable church council who just stepped up and led with grace. I am grateful for their leadership!


As you know, the CDC is recommending we practice “social distancing”, which means we do not meet for the foreseeable future. They are saying the next two weeks, but common wisdom is saying this may be significantly longer!  So how does that impact us at Grace Church?  Here is what we are doing:


1)  All worship services are moving online effective immediately!  Please Note: services are NOT cancelled. We will worship each week at 11, just via the internet. There will be readings and a sermon and the regular things you expect in a service, we just won’t be in physical community. As you know, Mark and the AV team have been working very hard to get ready for this and we had intended on live streaming on Easter Sunday. We are just starting it a bit earlier! 




2)  All activities at Church are cancelled!!  All outside groups have been notified as well. This means that there will be no in-person bible studies!  If you are in Disciple, we will resume after the craziness is done. 


3)  We WILL be having an online Lenten Book Study starting THIS Thursday at 7 PM via Zoom.  Zoom is an interactive platform that you can access via computer or cell phone and can participate with video and audio or audio only. (The computer option also has a mute camera function in case you are having a bad hair day!)  How do you join us? 




4)  If you are at risk due to age or suppressed immune system, do NOT go out in public please!!  If you do not have anyone to help get you groceries or other things, PLEASE let the church know. We have a cadre of volunteers who have offered to help as needed.


5)  AND… At the risk of being indelicate, I’m going to talk money.  Last year we did significant work at closing the budget gap. PLEASE remember your giving to the church during this time!  While we are not legally or safely allowed to be together during this time, the bills are still needing to be paid.  And the crashing markets of recent are going to hit our endowments very hard as well.  I’m just being honest.  PLEASE try to be a faithful to your tithe as you can be.  There will be a letter mailed to every home with a stamped envelope to help make your tithe easier!  You can also use the GIVING tab on the menu above and use VANCO Giving Plus or PayPal.


Also: There are people at Church who work in the service industry and as of yesterday, have absolutely NO income until this is over! I personally know one person who has enough savings for 2 months and will then lose their apartment!  I anticipate needing to increase the Good Samaritan fund to help church folk during this time. If you are able to make a donation to that fund, please do. I do feel we will use it.  Remember that closing public places is necessary, but it means servers, bartenders, personal trainers and gym personnel are all without employment!


I think that’s about all, PLEASE be safe, stay home and let people who love you help you if you need it. And know that if you need it, the Church is here to help. Groceries, medications, whatever. There is NO being proud or stubborn about this. We love you and we want you all to be healthy!


Lastly: We have the ZOOM number. It is ours. If you have an idea of a group activity to keep people connected, please let us know!  Why not a book club? One church is offering a craft group that is meeting by internet each week and leaning how to do a craft together! The number is paid for so let’s use it!


We will make it through this. Grace Church is a resilient, vibrant faith community. Please do reach out if you need anything. It grieves my heart that we will not be together in person for the time being. Check in on each other, care for each other.


With much love,


Rob +


AS OF MARCH 16, 2020


Dear Grace Church Community,


The Church Council continues to monitor the news cycles and the responses of state, local, and community officials and leaders. Following our decision to cancel worship services this past Sunday (March 15th), the Church Council has discussed Grace Church's continued response to COVID-19.


At this time, the Church Council has opted to cancel in-person church activities for the foreseeable future. As information and government and community responses are evolving rapidly, a decision regarding reinstating in-person worship services will be made.  The Church Office remains open according to schedule.


The Emergency Family Shelter currently scheduled for March 28, 2020 to April 4, 2020 will proceed forward as planned and scheduled. The Church Council asks all volunteers to be mindful that our guests are vulnerable and to practice rigorous hygiene while working with the Shelter. If you sign up to volunteer with the Shelter and become sick, we ask that you stay home.


The Church Council is aware of the anxiety and the isolation that members of our Grace Church family may be feeling during this time and amidst these unprecedented precautions. We urge our community to look out for one another and our neighbors, and to remember Pastor Jessica's sermon:

 "We may not be able to visit our neighbors, but this is not the time to stop loving our neighbors. We may be told to stay home and hunker down, but this is not a time to let fear win. It is not a time for hoarding and every person for themselves.  

As Jesus shows us, when someone is in need—whatever that may be—we are called to help however we can. We are called to love our neighbors."


Please check in on one another. Please remember the vulnerable among us, both church and broader c

 ommunity, and consider ways that you can help and support them. Remember that each and every one of us matters, and that we are all in this together.

 As Pastor Jessica urged, don't forget to be the church.



The Church Council of Grace United Church of Christ


as of March 13, 2020

Sunday, March 15th



To the Grace UCC Church Community,


The Church Council is aware of the significant concern regarding the COVID-19 novel coronavirus and has been closely monitoring today's developments. As the executive and administrative body of Grace Church, the safety and well-being of our community is one of our utmost concerns.


As you may know, earlier today Governor Larry Hogan held a press conference in which he outlined the multitude of responses the State of Maryland is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These responses include specific executive orders and decisions aimed at decreasing the risk of community transmission.


In light of Governor Hogan's press conference, and considering the health and safety risks that COVID-19 poses to our church family, the Church Council has, by majority vote, elected to CANCEL this Sunday's worship service. As such, there will be no worship service held at Grace Church this Sunday, March 15, 2020.


In addition, the Church Council is currently planning on holding an emergency meeting next week to discuss continuity of operations and the Church's ongoing response to COVID-19. Those who wish to share their opinions and suggestions can e-mail the Church Council directly at council@grucc.com


Thank you for your assistance and understanding as the Council works to ensure the well-being of our community.



The Church Council of Grace United Church of Christ

No matter who you are,

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