This has certainly been a unique time in our world, country and church. Addressing how best to move forward has been a challenging dilemma in all facets of life. Attending church in-person is vital to our spiritual and mental well-being. In that regard, the Elders have thoughtfully developed a policy for how best to move our Sunday worship services indoors, which will begin this Sunday, September 20. It is important that we show Christian love to every church member and hope that our policy properly reflects that intent. The simplified version of the policy is that masks must be worn whenever you are moving within the church, but you have options once you are seated. Please work hard to respect this policy and thereby respect each person attending Hillcrest.
This policy is designed to create the most options for the most people. It is as follows:
Everyone will be required to wear masks and remain socially distanced in all entryways, hallways, restrooms and the narthex.
Masks will be required in the very back of the sanctuary as well as 2-3 designated tables in The Hill.
Everyone will be required to wear masks while walking to or from their seats in the sanctuary and The Hill, much like the policies of restaurants where masks are required except while in your own personal dining space.
Once worshipers are seated in “mask optional” zones in the front half of the sanctuary and the majority of The Hill, masks may be removed.
Limited seating will be provided in the narthex for those who prefer worship space where everyone is required to wear a mask.
We will have a “normal” order of worship, with singing throughout the service.
Children’s Ministries will begin meeting on September 20 and will meet under the new guidelines drafted by our Children’s Ministries Directors, which follow local school guidelines.
Youth Ministries will begin meeting but with extra precautions (social distancing, masks, food preparation and distribution, etc), also following local school guidelines.
Adult ministries will begin meeting but with whatever extra precautions (social distancing, masks, etc) are deemed necessary by each group.
A new TV has been installed in the Fellowship Hall and it will become a socially-distanced worship space for families with nursery-age children. Children’s Ministry guidelines for mask-wearing will be enforced in this space.
We will continue to broadcast our morning worship service via Facebook Livestream for those who can’t or shouldn’t attend in-person worship at church.
Our 5 pm worship service will continue to be temporarily suspended and the video podcast by our pastor will continue each week.
We request your cooperation in abiding by and helping enforce these guidelines as a way for us to love each other and do what we can to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These guidelines will be evaluated by the Elders every month in order to adapt to changing circumstances.
In Christian love,
The Elders of Hillcrest CRC
Hillcrest Update - June 5, 2020 - Re-Opening Plan
June 5, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ at Hillcrest CRC,
It is with great joy and anticipation that we share with you our plans to re-open our church for public worship services! The last few months have been difficult and we are eager to gather together again as a church family, but with the covid-19 virus still active in our area, we need to do so with some precautions.
While we seek to honor federal, state, and local guidelines, it’s important to note that churches are not legally bound by the current restrictions. So we present the following plans after much prayer, thought and discussion, to do our best to make wise and prudent decisions, given the current knowledge that we have about the covid-19 virus and how it is spread.
Given that the virus spreads much more easily in an enclosed space, our preferred option is to worship outside. When weather does not permit outside worship, we will worship indoors with specific guidelines listed below. Please check the hillcrestcrc.org website Saturday evening or Sunday morning to see whether we will worship inside or outside. All of our services will continue to be live streamed via Facebook Live.
We will begin in-person worship on Sunday, June 14
For outdoor worship, we will gather in the upper parking lot facing the church building. The sound will be projected north toward the sod farm in order to be sensitive to our neighbors. You will need to remember to:
Bring your own chair to sit in.
Make sure that you and your family stay 6 feet apart from others.
Wear appropriate clothing for the weather.
Wear a mask if you want to (masks will be optional).
Bring your own coffee or cookies, as none will be served at church.
Bring an offering which will be collected at the end of the service in bushel baskets marked “offerings.”
Stay in your vehicle in special designated parking spots, if you prefer to worship from your vehicle with your windows down.
Stay home if you are in a high-risk category for the covid-19 virus or if you are sick and join us via our Facebook LiveStream.
We will have volunteers and staff who will direct parking and seating.
Since we will have limited parking, please try to carpool or park at Hudsonville Christian School and walk over. Please be respectful of our neighbors when parking and walking.
For indoor worship. If the forecast predicts rain or hot and humid weather, we will worship indoors. Check our website Saturday evening or Sunday morning to find out where we will be worshiping. For indoor worship, the following guidelines will apply:
The main entry doors will be propped open so that no one will have to touch the door handles and plenty of hand sanitizer will be available.
Please come early to allow time for our ushers to seat people right away. Please have conversations outside, as we will need to seat you right away when you come indoors.
We will expect social distancing of 6 feet between families and individuals from different households in both the sanctuary and the Hill. In the sanctuary we will be sitting in every other pew.
Masks will be strongly encouraged. If you don’t have a mask, we will provide one for you.
Windows will be open if possible.
Singing will be restricted to the end of the service, and people will be allowed to leave if they like before we sing, since singing appears to potentially cause the virus spores to spread much like coughing.
The offerings will be taken at the end of the service at the exits. Look for bushel baskets marked “Offerings.”
Everyone will be ushered out of the sanctuary after the worship service row by row to either visit outdoors (preferred) or in the Hill. Socializing in the narthex will be prohibited. Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing while socializing will be encouraged.
Those who are high risk, aren’t comfortable or who aren’t feeling well will be strongly encouraged to stay home and tune in via our Facebook LiveStream.
Hand sanitizer will be placed strategically at the exits to our building.
Whether we worship indoors or outdoors,
We will not be able to distribute worship folders or pass the friendship folders. Instead, we will provide online worship documents that can be used during the worship services.
We will continue to send out all church communications online and in the mail (to those who do not have computer access).
We will offer activity packets for children each week since we cannot offer nursery or Children's Ministries at this time.
We will not be able to serve coffee or cookies.
We regret that all of these guidelines are necessary, but we want to do all that we can to prevent the spread of the virus at our church. We are doing what we can to provide a safe place to worship and we ask that you do your part, as well. Should our church be identified as the source of an outbreak, everyone will be notified immediately and in-person worship will be cancelled, both indoors and outdoors, for the next 2 weeks and guidelines will be reviewed and revised as necessary. As more government restrictions are lifted, the Task Force will re-evaluate these guidelines.
As we gather together, please be gracious and respectful of each other’s opinions, preferences and convictions.
You might not think a mask is necessary, while others won’t want to worship near people who are not wearing one.
You might be ready to shake hands, while others are not.
You might feel some of these restrictions are unnecessary while others believe they aren’t strong enough.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had...” (Philippians 2:3–5)
We look forward to worshiping together soon! Please continue to pray for God’s wisdom and guidance for all of us!
The Re-Opening Task Force, Staff, Elders, Deacons and Ministry Council of Hillcrest CRC
Hillcrest Update - March 21, 2020
We want to care for our congregation in all respects, including the physical well-being of our church family and our community. To that end, we are asking you, our congregants, to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe, especially in light of recent developments with the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Elders have decided to suspend all “in person” church worship, and activities through Sunday, April 5. Worship will take place via Facebook live at 9:30 AM on Sunday, March 22, March 29 and April 5 at facebook.com/hillcrestcrc. Note that a Facebook account is not required for access.
Hillcrest Response to COVID-19 - March 13, 2020
To our Hillcrest Family,
Let us praise our Heavenly Father that our Lord is the God of day and night, of our waking and our sleeping, and of sickness and health. His mercy is everlasting, His faithfulness unfathomable, and His grace unending.
While we trust in His plan, we seek to care for our church family in all respects, particularly regarding the well-being of all our members. The Hillcrest leadership team has been meeting regularly to make informed decisions regarding the various ministries at our church. We’ve looked closely at the Governor’s order for the State of Michigan and the recommendations from the CDC. Included in these measures was a ban on gatherings of 250 or more people. We’ve also prayerfully considered the impact COVID-19 might have on various populations that are involved at Hillcrest.
In that regard, we are planning that all corporate worship and ministries will be suspended through March 22. We will be continuing to monitor the situation and keep you updated. We encourage our entire church family to join us on Facebook Live this Sunday morning at 9:30 AM when Pastor Curt will be giving a special message entitled “We Will Not Fear”, based on Psalm 46. To participate in this, click here.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact the office. Hillcrest will have open office hours next week and be available face-to-face, by phone 669-6556), or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are ready for your questions and will communicate further information to you as it becomes available.
Since these are unpredictable times, we remain vigilant about remaining informed as information changes. The Hillcrest staff and leadership are actively seeking out ways to see this as a time to further the Gospel, including ways to meet the needs of both the church family and the needs of our surrounding community.
Throughout the next several weeks, we are reminded that God is sovereign; we have no need to panic since God is in control (Phil. 4:6-7). While we know this, it is a wonderful opportunity to remind each other of this good news, and to share it with everyone around us, even if that platform is online.
Be present with your families, check on your neighbors, and dive into God’s Word. Hillcrest is here to support this community!
“Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again, rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all; the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:4-7
The Leadership of Hillcrest CRC
All website content and logos copyright of Hillcrest CRC 2020