Thankfully, the rates of covid-19 have been dropping in our area again and vaccines are now widely available, so the Covid Task Force has decided to make the following policy changes starting Sunday, May 16.
1. The social distance barriers will be removed from the 9 rows on both sides of the front of the sanctuary and no social distancing will be required when sitting in that section. The "masks required" section in the back and the socially distanced section in the middle will remain in place. This will free up 8 pews of much needed seating. Please tell the ushers where you are most comfortable sitting.
2. The back half of the Hill will also "go back to normal," pre-covid seating, with rows of chairs in the back and the tables placed closer to together. The front half of the Hill will remain socially distanced.
We thank the Lord that these changes can be made and pray that they meet the needs of everyone who joins us for in-person worship on Sunday mornings.
Hillcrest Update - December 11, 2020
Starting Sunday, December 13, we will return to in-person worship and will continue with the Livestream on Facebook. Our 5:00 PM evening podcasts will also continue. Please continue to follow social distancing and other safe guidelines when coming to in-person worship. We look forward to seeing you in-person or online!
Hillcrest Update - December 4, 2020
Dear Hillcrest Family,
The Covid Task Force met this week to determine whether or not to have in-person worship for the next two Sundays, December 6 and 13. We reviewed health statistics in our area as well as what other churches are doing. We are thankful that many from Hillcrest who have tested positive of covid-19 have recovered. We are also thankful the trends in Ottawa County are going down. But we're still concerned that local hospitals continue to be overwhelmed with covid-19 patients.
So we've decided to continue worshiping via Facebook Livestream for December 6, but plan to open back up for in-person worship starting December 13 (barring any changes in circumstances). This gives the hospitals one more week to recover from the number of patients they're treating, and it also allows us to see if the gatherings over Thanksgiving Day will increase the number of cases in our area.
We are hoping to have the following in-person events in addition to our Sunday morning worship services. We will have an outdoor Live Nativity Walk-Through on Sunday evening, December 13, from 4:00PM-6:00PM. We will also have an outdoor Candlelight worship experience on Sunday, December 20, at 6:00PM. Our Christmas Day worship service will be on Christmas at 9:30AM. Please watch for more details about these upcoming worship events.
Please continue to pray for a spirit of unity, patience and understanding among our church family as we continue to make our way through this challenging time.
Serving Him together,
The Hillcrest Leadership
Hillcrest Update - November 19, 2020
Dear Hillcrest Family,
As the COVID cases continue to rise in our area, we feel it is wise to continue with online/livestream worship only for the next two Sundays (November 22 and 29), and also for our Thanksgiving Day worship. While this is very disappointing news, and is a hard decision to make, we feel it is important for us to choose this action with concern for our members and our community. We also want to support our healthcare community and hospitals by trying to limit the spread of the virus. We know this is a difficult time for everyone, and we want to continue to show love and concern for our community.
For all of our other Hillcrest ministries, you will hear from the leaders about the decisions regarding the ministry. Some ministries will meet via Zoom, some may meet in-person with guidelines/restrictions, and some may be cancelled. If you have any questions regarding a certain ministry, please contact the leader or contact the church office at email@example.com or 669-6556.
We pray that the virus will stop spreading, and that we can return to normal activities soon! By God’s grace we hope we will be able to return to in-person worship on December 6. We will continue to monitor the situation in our Hillcrest family and in our community.
Grace and Peace in Christ Jesus,
The Hillcrest Leadership
Hillcrest Update - November 7, 2020
Dear Hillcrest family,
As we put our hope and trust in the Lord during the very unusual year of 2020, we continue to seek His guidance in discerning best worship practices as it pertains to both safety and community. In light of the increasing number of positive COVID tests in our community, the Hillcrest leadership team has prayerfully decided that we'll be moving to livestream-only for the next two weeks (November 8 and 15), which also applies to children's, youth and adult ministries. While we're thankful that no one at Hillcrest has been hospitalized with COVID, the multiple positive tests (a few of which are staff members who play key roles in the execution of these ministries) seem to indicate that worshipping online for a short period of time would be the wisest choice. We're planning to return to in-person worship on November 22, and the situation will be evaluated every week by the COVID task force and others in the leadership of our church community.
The single most important part of this message is this: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). We know that Christ is always our sure foundation, and we know that He calls for unity and understanding, no matter our opinion on the matter. So, let us all pray that we maintain our unity and respect as a congregation as these difficult decisions are made.
We can't wait to worship online together tomorrow, and pray that God will be glorified in and through our actions, words, thoughts, and deeds!
The Leadership of Hillcrest CRC
Hillcrest Update - September 18, 2020
Worship At Hillcrest Is Moving Indoors!
Dear Hillcrest CRC Family,
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
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