COVID - 19

Gainesville SDA Church is open for in-person services!

The Gainesville SDA Church reopened to in-person services on September 12, 2020.   We are still  committed to online offerings.

What will is the church service like now?

  • We are planning to reopen the church in steps; the September 12 reopening was the first step in the process.
  • We are planning for one in-person worship service, at 12:15.  
    - This service will be the same service that is live-streamed online. 
    - This service will be streamlined to maximize safety (by minimizing close contact), while preserving the essential and important aspects of praising God together.
  • Right now, there are no plans for further in-person meetings, Sabbath school classes, vespers, children's programs, or other meetings.   These meetings will continue virtually (via Zoom, or online).

How are worship services different now?

In essence, a church service is foundationally built on individuals worshiping together.   Praising God, gaining strength through God's Word, and gathering to encourage each other will continue.   Differences will be evident in the flow and presentation due to safety considerations of worshiping together.

Our church family will need to work together to make the reopening successful.  
There are opportunities for you to help serve your fellow church members during this time.

When will Sabbath School, Vespers, or other church programs restart?

We are all excited and anxious for all church programs to restart live and in-person.   Reopening the church and focusing on the main worship service is the first step in the reopening process.   Once we can get this regular routine down and in order, we will figure out how to restart other church programs.   

Rest assured, we will restart Sabbath School, Vespers, Children's Programs, Weekly Bible Studies, and other programs as soon as we feasibly can!   The fastest way to get these programs up and running is to cooperate, follow the plans/rules, and encourage others to work with each step of the reopening process.

Can a particular group meet at the church?

Currently no additional in-person church events or meetings should happen in the church buildings, school buildings, or on the church campus.

Will there still be Community Food Distribution?

Yes.   This is a vital and essential ministry to the community.   Distribution happens every third Thursday of the month, and needs more volunteers.   Specific measures are taken to minimize contact between individuals, and to keep all attendees and volunteers safe.  Contact Byron Sutherland for more information.

How can I start a virtual or on-line meeting or group?

That's wonderful that you want to connect with others!   In accordance with social distancing rules, the best way to meet now is through using technology to connect us.   There are several ways to do this for free:

  • FreeConferenceCall.com offers free conference calling.   In a nutshell, you can get a phone conference line and access code which you can distribute via email or text to others along with a specific meeting date and time.
  • Zoom.us offers free video-conferencing.   While folks can meet using Zoom via the web, this works best when people download the Zoom app, or use a conference call-in line.   Free Zoom conferences are limited to 40 minutes.
  • Google Meet offers free video-conferencing.  No special application is needed; however, all participants will need a Gmail address.

Is there news from the Florida Conference relating to COVID-19?

For COVID-19 updates from the Florida Conference: floridaconference.com/news/


Previous COVID-19 related communications

UPDATE: 9/12/2020

Gainesville SDA Church Reopening Plan

 

With the current guidance from the CDC, The State of Florida, and Alachua County, the GVSDA Church has established a plan to gradually open our church for in-person worship services. 

Please note that this is subject to change if conditions change.

It is important for our church family to closely read, understand, and follow the guidance and restrictions listed here.

 

Your Health

  • Your health is our highest concern. Wearing a face covering and keeping apart may feel uncomfortable; however, following these guidelines helps us have church together.   Please follow this guidance.   

  • People will be on heightened alert for signs of sickness.   It is hard to determine allergies or seasonal illnesses from coronavirus infection.   We may ask you to view the service from home if you show signs of sickness such as: excessive sneezing or coughing, have a runny nose, or have a fever.

  • Please enjoy the service from home if you are sick.   We are working hard to put the Sabbath message online so that you can worship in health and safety from your home as you recuperate.

 

Services

  • In Person Services begin September 12, 2020

  • There will be only one in-person service, at 12:15 PM

  • Doors to the church will open at 12:00 PM 

  • This service will be live-streamed

 

Face Coverings

  • Face coverings should cover your nose and mouth, and fit snugly against the sides of your face.   Additionally, you should be able to breathe easily while wearing a face covering.

  • Face coverings can be respirators or masks, or be made out of a scarf, bandana, hand towel, or t-shirt.   

  • Face shields can also be used as long as they wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin.

 

Entry/Greeting/Social Distancing

  • Entrance to the church will only be through the double glass doors of the church. (All other exterior doors will be locked.)

  • Doors will not be opened until 15 minutes before each service.   We encourage you to wait in your car until the doors are opened.

  • There will be a specific entry process for all individuals or family groups.

  • We will encourage folks to maintain distance from each other while you enter church.

  • No handshakes or hugs.

  • Greeters will be counting individuals and family groups to ensure that we keep within county mandated guidance for church capacity.   Folks will be directed to the overflow area in the gym after the church has reached capacity.

  • Individuals and families will be directed to specific seating locations within the sanctuary.   Seating will fill from the front of the sanctuary to the back on a “first-come first-served” basis.   Seating requests may not be honored.

  • Attendees may only sit in open spaces as directed by the ushers; ushers will be seating individuals appropriately to maintain physical distancing.

 

Worship Services

  • We will not collect tithe and offerings during the service. Tithes and Offerings can be deposited in the Tithes and Offerings box in the foyer.   Additionally, we encourage online giving.

  • Individuals and families entering the church will be strictly counted.   Entry to the church is limited and available on a first-come first-served basis.

  • Families will be able to sit together, but there must be a minimum of 6 feet between other individuals and families.

  • Attendees will follow social distancing between families when sitting in the sanctuary.

  • The balcony will be used for assigned seating.

  • The Youth Chapel, Sabbath School rooms and other church rooms will be closed/locked.

  • We will have overflow seating in the gym to view the services if the sanctuary and balcony reach capacity. Gym seating will follow social distancing guidance. Seating in the gym will be limited.

  • Hymnals will be removed from the pews.   Lyrics for songs will be displayed on the screens.

  • Electronic bulletins will be emailed out during the week.

  • The church sanctuary will be disinfected and cleaned following the service.   

 

  Dismissal

  • Ushers will dismiss the congregation and ensure physical distancing while exiting the building.

  • People will be guided out of the building.

  • There will be no stopping to talk or visit as you leave the church building.

  • The church building will be locked after all congregants have left the building.

 

  Sabbath Schools

  • Currently no in-person Sabbath school classes at the church
    (all classes will continue online).

  • Sabbath School materials will be available.   Please ask a Greeter about this before you are seated.

 

  Facilities

  • Drinking fountains will not be available to be used.
    Please bring bottled water.

  • Do not leave any trash in the sanctuary. Please take any paper, tissues, wipes, bottles, or other items with you.

  • We will have hand sanitizer stations throughout the church.

  • Restrooms will remain open. We encourage people to use the restrooms two at a time; parents and caregivers can accompany children or folks who need assistance.   Please wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before leaving the bathroom. 

  • The nursery will remain open to allow parents or caregivers to change and nurse their children only.

 

  Meetings

  • Meetings such as prayer meetings, bible studies, and church board will continue to be hosted through Zoom.

 

We appreciate your patience as we enter this next phase of worship. Please direct any questions or concerns to Pastor Angelo Grasso.

 

We love each of you.


UPDATE: 7/24/2020

Dear Church Family, 

During this week's GVSDA board meeting, the topic discussed was the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the recommendations brought by the church's reintegration team as to in-person gatherings.

The board voted unanimously to accept the reintegration team's recommendations which are as follows:

"Considering that: 

  1. Positivity rates of COVID-19 continue to rise in Alachua county and the state of Florida 
  2. The Florida Conference has recommended its churches pause their reopening plans
  3. Social distancing, mask wearing and Sabbath school gathering restrictions would highly diminish the experience of worshiping together in our facilities

We recommend that the church remain closed to in person, Sabbath gatherings until September 12, 2020. We further recommend that in the weeks between now and September, the church initiate a process to re-evaluate its ministry and financial priorities, and further enhance and modify its online presence, community service, member database and evangelistic strategy to meet the new reality our community faces in light of the pandemic and its effects on society. 

In the weeks approaching September 12, 2020, we recommend a re-evaluation of the facts on the ground and if it is concluded that a further delay is warranted, we should do so."

Thank you for your prayers and patience as we navigate this unprecedented time in our world and church's history. We want you to know that the leadership of the GVSDA church has the well-being of its members and community foremost in mind and are looking forward eagerly to meeting again.


UPDATE: 7/1/2020

After much consideration and consultation with our church reintegration team and the FL Conference, the GVSDA church board voted last night to postpone reopening for in-person gatherings until further notice. We had, up until yesterday been looking at July 11th as our restart date, but because of the latest surge in cases in our state and county and increase in the infection rate, we made the decision to continue to meet online for the sake of the wellbeing of all our members and community.

We know this has been a difficult time for many of you and that not being able to physically meet together in fellowship and worship has been particularly challenging for some. Please know that these decisions, while difficult, have been made prayerfully, and with much counsel. We believe that God is still at the center of His church and is working out His purposes for our community of faith even now. Please continue to join us in prayer for the outpouring of God’s spirit and the healing of our land.

Prayerfully,

Pastor Angelo


UPDATE: 4/4/2020

Greetings Church Family, 

Our GVSDA Ministry Council and Admin Board continue to meet via conference call during this time of social distancing and we would like to share the following updates with you: 

  1. Per guidance from the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, we have cancelled all in-person church events for the next three weeks. We will keep you updated if we cancel beyond the next two weeks as circumstances develop. 
  2. Sung Adventist Academy has fully transitioned to online learning and currently plans to continue to do so until May 1st per County, State and Conference recommendation.
  3. Ministries are working together to offer Sabbath School, Sermons, Health Seminars and Prayer Meetings virtually. Such information will be posted on our website and via email and social media. 
  4. The prayer ministry team is offering an opportunity for church members to come together to pray.  Meeting times daily: 6am, 12noon, 6pm, 9pm. Call this number, 605-313-6302 to pray with other members (Enter code 663355)
  5. Our Community service team will continue food distribution but will do so while maintaining social distancing and following community health guidelines. 
  6. Florida Conference Camp Meeting, among other major events have been Cancelled. Visit www.floridaconference.com for more information. 
  7. Tithe and Offerings. You can continue to contribute your tithe and offerings online via this website. Click on www.gvsda.org/give to be directed to our Adventist Giving page. You may also mail in your tithe and offering to the following address: 2115 NW 39th Ave Gainesville, FL 32605 
  8. We will continue to post resources and announcements on our website, so check back with us often and please share this information with fellow church members. 
  9. Now more than ever is a time for us to reach out to one another and keep each other in prayer. We especially encourage you to reach out to any church member who may be sick or alone. 

    May God be with each one of you. 


UPDATE: 3/18/2020

Greetings Church Family, 

Our GVSDA Ministry Council and Admin Board met via conference call last night. We would like to share the following updates with you: 

  1. Per guidance from the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, we have cancelled all in-person church events for the next two weeks. We will keep you updated if we cancel beyond the next two weeks as circumstances develop. 
  2. Sung Adventist Academy has fully transitioned to online learning and currently plans to continue to do so until April 15 per County, State and Conference recommendation.
  3. Ministries are working together to offer Sabbath School, Sermons, Health Seminars and Prayer Meetings virtually. Such information will be posted on our website and via email and social media. 
  4. The prayer ministry team is offering an opportunity for church members to come together to pray from March 15 to March 21.  At 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm, 6pm, and 9 pm. Call this number, 605-313-6302 to pray with other members (Enter code 663355)
  5. Our Community service team will continue food distribution but will do so while maintaining social distancing and following community health guidelines. 
  6. Florida Conference Camp Meeting, among other major events have been Cancelled. Visit www.floridaconference.com for more information. 
  7. Tithe and Offerings. You can continue to contribute your tithe and offerings online via this website. Click on www.gvsda.org/give to be directed to our Adventist Giving page. You may also mail in your tithe and offering to the following address: 2115 NW 39th Ave Gainesville, FL 32605 
  8. We will continue to post resources and announcements on our website, so check back with us often and please share this information with fellow church members. 
  9. Now more than ever is a time for us to reach out to one another and keep each other in prayer. We especially encourage you to reach out to any church member who may be sick or alone. 

    May God be with each one of you. 


UPDATE: 3/14/2020

Dear church family,

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled our afternoon/evening programs and will be closing church following our morning service tomorrow, 3/14. This includes vespers. We have also decided to cancel our entire church service next Sabbath, March 21st. We will prepare to stream a message via our FB page next week and will keep you posted as circumstances continue to develop. We advise small groups to gather virtually or via phone conference for the next couple of weeks. 

We encourage all our members to follow guidance from official sources and consider your health and wellbeing when making decisions regarding social gatherings. 

Let us keep one another lifted in prayer that God will work out His purpose through GVSDA.


 

UPDATE: 3/12/2020

Dear Friends, 

We continue to monitor COVID-19 (coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2) and its effect on our church community. As many of you are aware, Alachua County has recorded its first confirmed case of the virus. To date there has been no spread of COVID-19 in the Gainesville community or nearby areas.  As of now, our plan and recommendations are as follows:

We begin by advising everyone to pay attention to the Alachua County health department and CDC alerts and recommendations. For any questions, the

Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center is available 24/7 at:1 (866) 779-6121

1. Worship Service:  We will continue with our worship service as planned. We ask that anyone who does not feel well please stay home, rest, and heal. Additionally, we urge folks with the following conditions to stay home: anyone who has a compromised immune system or individuals with chronic health conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease).  We are deeply concerned for our elderly population, as they have been most affected. We are recommending that anyone over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions stay home this Sabbath out of an abundance of caution;however, we leave the choice up to you. 

2. Wash your hands! Be intentional about keeping your hands clean. We will set out extra hand sanitizer on Sabbath. On the same token, if possible, try not to touch each other’s hands. Fist bump, bump your elbows, tap your shoes…do whatever you need in order to keep your hands clean!

3. Again, if you are sick or feel like you might be coming down with something…please stay home.  You can watch the service online via the Gainesville SDA Video YouTube channel. Here's the link: gvsda.org/sermons 

4. Sung Adventist Academy: Classes will continue as planned. We will follow Alachua County and FLCOE guidance pertaining to school operation.   School updates will be provided by the principal, Kania Paulas.

5. If there are any changes in the upcoming days, we will inform members via our website, Facebook page, and email. 

Pastor Angelo J. Grasso

Gainesville Seventh-day Adventist Church

www.gvsda.org


Old Questions

Responses to previous questions

When is the church projected to open again?

The Reintegration Team is comprised of members from our church community.  This team has been meeting continuously for months (almost every week) discussing and working through all the various aspects of safely reopening our church for worship services.   The Reintegration Team makes recommendations to the church board; the Church Board discusses and makes final decisions regarding reopening the church.   The Team has been closely following guidance from the Florida Conference, the CDC, the Florida Governor’s office, Alachua County, the city of Gainesville, and a variety of other sources.

The Reintegration Team recommended considering reopening the church on September 12, 2020.   This was discussed during the 7/21/2020 Church Board meeting, and approved.

What about Camp Kulaqua?

Currently Camp Kulaqua is closed.   
Florida Camp Meeting, other camp meetings and events, and summer camp have been cancelled.   
Visit CampKulaqua.com for more information.