GFLC COVID UPDATES                             


Updated & Posted: April 12, 2021


February update from the Reopening Team:


The reopening team continues to meet every two weeks, and want to provide you with some insight into the work we are doing. The charts below are an example of the kind of tracking we are doing to help assess when we might safely begin to gather for in-person worship services. The recommendations below are from the Wisconsin Council of Churches extracted from a fairly extensive report. We’ve also added the County risk level per the Oregon Governor’s assessment which comes out every two weeks. Beginning March 11th,  Deschutes County is at Moderate Risk, and as we look at the other factors in the chart, we arrive at a “Make It Safer” level.

The most important thing each of us can do at this point is to get vaccinated when we’re eligible and to encourage family, friends and neighbors to do so as well. And remember to continue wearing masks, social distancing and washing your hands. If you have questions, please feel free to contact anyone on the Reopening Team: Bev Barnhart, Carolyn Clontz, Christine Jacobsen, Dana Topliff, Glenn Topliff, Pastor Andrew and Tom Francois.


                                                                                                                                    Deschutes County

Wisconsin Council of Churches Guidelines                                                            (pop. 197,692)


                                             Unsafe to Gather    Make it Safer    Safest                 As of: 4/12/2021

Vaccination Rates               <50%                       50-70%             70-85%+             25.7% (49,522 fully vaccinated)

Daily new cases per 100K   >10/100K                 5-10/100K        <1/100K                16/100K (past 2 weeks)

Positive Tests                     >10%                         <10%                 <3%                      5.20%

County Risk Level                                                                                                      High Risk

Safety Level                                                                                                                Unsafe to Gather


When begin

gathering           Unsafe                 Make it Safer                   Safest                       GFLC currently at the "make it safer" level

                                                                                                                                    with just the worship team on Sundays


                           All at once            Face masks mandatory  All of the "make it safer"

                                                                                                  plus no or minimized singing                                                        


                           Unmasked            Physical distancing         Hybrid, phased plan          


                           No distancing       Low-touch environment Wait 1 month+ between



                           Full capacity         Outdoors or increased   Fallback plan for         

                                                         air exchange                   outbreaks


                           Assembly              Shortened time              Communication plan

                           singing                  of service                    


                           Eating                    Singing by worship        Team responsibility                     

                           together                 leaders only       

                                                          Focus on sanitizing

                                                          high-touch surfaces                    


                                                          Sign-in/ attendance list

Updated and posted: January 17, 2021


GFLC COVID-19 Principles:


For Grace First Lutheran, we will be following guidance from the Centers for Disease

Control & Prevention (CDC), ELCA, Oregon Synod, our GFLC healthcare professionals, as well as coordinating our plans with other churches in Bend.


Here are the guiding principles we used as we prayerfully considered this process:


  1. We will always follow any guidelines put forth by the Governor, the Oregon Health Authority, the CDC and the ELCA Oregon Synod.

  2. We may choose to be more restrictive than what is currently allowed by these guidelines if we have reason to believe it would be in the best interest of our members, friends, and visitors, as well as our larger community.

  3. We will revisit these guidelines based on updated information and any changes to external guidelines.

  4. We will strive to remain as inclusive as possible by considering all those who could be affected by our decisions.


We have a transition team that is responsible for developing our plans for worship and other activities in the church building and communicating those plans to the entire congregation. Our future plans are a work in progress, and here’s what is currently in place at GFLC.


  1. We will follow current physical distancing protocols of maintaining 6-foot separation and wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth. Employees may remove their masks while in their offices.

  2. All persons visiting the building must sign in to facilitate contact tracing if needed.

  3. At this time, we have online worship services with only the worship team in the building on Sunday mornings.  Other church gatherings which may take place by advance scheduling with the church office:

    1. Approved funerals that comply with group size, distancing and sanitation requirements.

    2. HOPE Christian Academy which is operation under Oregon rules for Emergency Childcare Providers.

    3. Walk-thru events or other essential meetings or events led by church staff.

    4. Outdoor events led by church staff.

We are hopeful that in the coming months small meetings or Bible studies at the church will be possible while following all the COVID-19 safety guidelines.

  1. Secretary Lynn is keeping limited office hours (currently on Tuesdays & Thursdays), however people are discouraged from going into the church building other than for essential items.  If you do go, wear a mask, sign in, and maintain physical distancing from any other people in the building.

  2. Pastor Andrew will continue to livestream services on Facebook at 9:30 on Sunday mornings for the near future. Everyone is invited to participate by sharing videos of music or readings to add diversity to the services:

     Please let Pastor Andrew know if you’d like to participate.


           mobile:  541.771.0889

  1. We will continue to stay connected with each other through the calling teams, Zoom youth and children’s activities, youth meetings in the outdoor alcove or the park for small, masked groups, Zoom committee meetings, email, mailings to those without electronic connectivity, and other creative ideas we may discover as we learn new ways of remaining a strong worshiping community.


We realize that many people are anxious to return to our physical worship space. Our number one consideration is the health and safety of all persons.  We are hopeful and excited to be moving forward.


With God’s blessings to all,

Grace First Lutheran Church Council

Rev. Andrew Bansemer

Copyright © 2017 Grace First Lutheran Church, All rights reserved

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