This is a significant moment in the life of our church, but the hand of the Lord is very visible to us. Thank you for your patience, encouragement, and prayers! In the midst of this transition, God is working mightily in and through our church. We have much to celebrate and give thanks. We look forward to keeping you updated each step of the way during this transitional season.
Here are the ways we will keep you updated regularly:
Transitional Pastor Update
The Session has established a Transitional Pastor Search Team, co-chaired by elders Gindi Vincent and Dath Collins, which is exploring all options for a transitional pastor. They are searching for someone who will provide leadership and inspiration, while preaching on a regular basis to our congregation. The team has met several times this month and has begun the process of evaluating candidates and hopes to have a recommendation for Session this fall.
If you have questions that are not answered on our transition webpage, you may always email us HERE.
Kitchen Table Talks over Zoom
- Thursday, October 22, 12 p.m.
- Thursday, October 29, 7 p.m.
- Thursday, November 5, 7 p.m.
- Thursday, November 12, 7 p.m.
Join us for a Grace Family “Kitchen Table Talk” to discuss important matters during this time of Transition. Much like in our own families and homes, some of the best and most important conversations are held around the kitchen table. Pull up a chair to join one of our virtual table talks. You can be a part of the conversation by clicking HERE. (Meeting ID: 823 7766 6004, Passcode: H^8$n&Mq)
Grace Weekly Videos
Each week, via a video message, Chris or other members of the Leadership Team will share timely, updated information about the life and ministry of Grace Church. Click HERE to read a summary of Rev. Chris French’s video update from August 6.
There are plans in the works to prepare for regathering as a Grace family for worship. These plans were designed in May, and are on hold until public health reports indicate that it’s safe to gather. What metrics are we watching to determine a date?
- The Texas Medical Center compiles city and county health data and updates the dashboard at tmc.edu. You can view daily statistics and trends.
- Public health officials have issued guidance cautions against gathering large groups until the positivity rate of COVID-19 tests is less than 10 % and there is a 14 day trend decrease in the new daily case rate in the greater Houston area.
- Positivity rates were 22.3% in July, 16.8% last week and are 14% as of publication.
- On a rolling average of 7 days, there is a 4 day decrease in the trend of positive cases. Grace is also a part of the group of TMC executives, business executives, religious leaders and local officials that meet weekly to gauge the health of the Houston area. The entire Grace family is anxious to worship together again. We are ready for the day that can happen, as soon as it’s safe.
Grace is also a part of the group of TMC executives, business executives, religious leaders and local officials that meet weekly to gauge the health of the Houston area. The entire Grace family is anxious to worship together again. We are ready for the day that can happen, as soon as it’s safe.
Mike brings the message of the healing Word of God and calls you to Worship during this time of change/transition, and be vulnerable to our needs and come to Him in confidence and faith.
A Letter from the Session of Grace
Dear Grace Presbyterian Church family,
For the past six years as Senior Pastor, Trey Little has made Grace Presbyterian Church better as our leader, preacher, and friend. When he shared with us his decision to step down, it was an emotional night. With hearts full of gratitude for him, we listened to his news, and then prayed together for God’s blessing on him and on this church.
This decision was Trey’s decision, and though we feel sadness, we also greatly respect Trey’s example of faith. He is trusting God’s leadership in his life and seeking to honor the long-term interests of Grace. We are grateful for his model of courageous servant leadership–and the way it emboldens each of us to consider the call to do the same in our own lives.
Since learning of Trey’s decision, we have sought to move quickly to ensure a smooth transition for Trey and to position Grace wisely for its next season. We are working closely with the staff Leadership Team (Chris French, Heather Kaemingk, Hardie Morgan, and Angela Wade Simpson) in these plans. You can learn about decisions made, and stay updated as we make further progress, on our dedicated transition webpage: gpch.org/transition. We are committed to proactive and transparent communication at every step. We also welcome any questions you have at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though this transition is unfolding quickly, we see Trey’s wisdom and graciousness in this timing, too. As he shared in his letter, he has been in prayerful reflection for the past 18 months–and now that God has led him to a decision, he does not want to deny or delay God’s calling. Trey also knows that the late summer and fall are pivotal times of near-term and long-term planning for Grace, especially during COVOD-19, and he does not want a prolonged transition period to divert focus or curtail the momentum of decision-making for the staff.
Trey Little is a gift to our church. We expect his final sermon on July 26–and the car parade we host for him on August 9–will be marking moments in the life of this community. It is a joy to celebrate a pastor who has loved us wholeheartedly. Day in and day out, including in the decision he’s making now, Trey keeps showing us what living to make Jesus visible is all about.
We move forward with confidence in God’s great plans for Grace Church–and with gratitude for a Senior Pastor who has also faithfully taught us what it means to be READY to say “yes” to God’s invitations.
Chris French – Acting Moderator
Candy Aldridge – Clerk
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Every ECO congregation is governed by its Session at all times and that will remain the case during the transitional period. Chris French, Associate Pastor for Missional Living, will serve as the acting moderator of the Grace Session.
The Grace staff is led by a leadership team composed of Chris French, Heather Kaemingk, Hardie Morgan, and Angela Simpson. The leadership team will be coordinated by Hardie Morgan, Executive Director for Ministry Support, who will serve as transitional head of staff.
Grace bylaws provide that the session of Grace selects any needed pastor nominating committee and makes the final decision on who to call as a pastor. Given, the critical nature of selecting who will next lead Grace, the session, through its Leadership Development Team is working to discern what Grace needs in its next lead pastor and what process to follow to ensure that we call the right person for the position. One conclusion that has been reached is that it is in the best interest of Grace for us to call a transitional (sometimes referred to as an interim) pastor to lead Grace during the time of transition between lead pastors.
Given this, the session has established a Transitional Pastor Search Team, co-chaired by elders Gindi Vincent and Dath Collins, which is exploring all options for a transitional pastor. They are searching for someone who will provide leadership and inspiration, while preaching on a regular basis to our congregation. The Team has met several times this month and has begun the process of evaluating candidates and hopes to have a recommendation for Session this fall.
The Grace bylaws place the responsibility for establishing a pastor nominating committee with the Session. This can include the Session acting as the nominating committee.
Most importantly, you can pray for Trey and his family and for Grace. We will be creating opportunities for the congregation to pray together in the coming weeks.
We began regathering for in-person worship on September 13. We are constantly evaluating the status of COVID-19 in the Houston community and at Grace and based on these evaluations we will continue evolve the Sunday morning experience in one-month increments. We have received many favorable comments about the structure of worship and the breakout discussion groups and we will continue this format into October with the following important additions:
- The introduction of some congregational signing into the service.
- Availability of childcare (by advance registration) for children pre-k and under
- Addition of a breakout groups led by children’s ministries that is specifically geared toward families with preschool and elementary aged children
- The return of Sunday morning student ministry activities.
- The return of our on campus adult education classes to the extent our facilities can accommodate them within social distancing requirements.
The social distancing and mask requirements will remain in effect.
Assuming the continuation of the current positive trends of the COVID-19 virus in our community, we are looking forward to further additions the Sunday morning offering for the month of November.
There are no hard and fast metrics for determining whether to regather. But , we do feel that a 14-day decline in the seven-day average of new cases and a seven-day average test positivity rate of less than 10% is a minimum requirement. You can track these statistics at tmc.edu.
Time for Transition…
Lord, help us now to unclutter our lives, to organize ourselves in the direction of simplicity.
Lord, teach us to listen to our hearts; teach us to welcome change, instead of fearing it. Lord, we give you these stirrings inside of us.
We give you our discontent.
We give you our restlessness.
We give you our doubt.
We give you our despair.
We give you all the longings we hold inside.
Help us to listen to these signs of change, of growth; help us to listen seriously and follow where they lead through the breath taking empty space of an open door.