Let’s keep wearing our masks
People are increasingly divided on the wearing of masks. It’s true that masks are uncomfortable and inconvenient, but we are dismayed at the politicizing of mask wearing. With nearly 10.5 million confirmed infections and over 500,000 deaths globally from COVID-19, we believe the wearing of masks is an important measure we can take to prevent the spreading of infection. If you had any doubt about the effectiveness of wearing masks, check out this article by the American Institute of Physics. An uncovered cough can travel up to 8 feet, but a homemade stitched mask keeps the spread to 2.5 inches. Let’s remember that the primary reason we wear masks is to protect others more than ourselves. This is a goal totally consistent with Christ’s call to love our neighbor.
FIND OUT THE LATEST ON MEDICAL ADVANCES
Reuters has put together a page entitled The Lifeline Pipeline that is updated regularly and provides the latest updates on drug, vaccine, testing, and non-drug therapy development.
HARVEST IN PHASE 4
Illinois entered Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, and with that we have greater freedom to meet in person. We are encouraging those who are able and comfortable to meet in smaller groups in person. Please remember to continue observing good social distancing practices and restrict your gatherings to 10 people or fewer. If possible, meet outdoors. If you meet indoors, masks should be worn and group singing avoided.
Although Phase 4 allows for larger gatherings of up to 50 people, we are not planning to resume in-person services until at least August. We have been in close consultation with the medical professionals at Harvest and have been formulating a solid plan for when we are able to resume limited in-person services. The aim of those services will not be to regather the whole congregation, but to provide a live option for those who will benefit from that experience. Even if we resume live services, children’s ministry is not permitted by the state. We will continue to broadcast video services even after limited in-person services resume.
RESTORE ILLINOIS PLAN
You can view Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan to safely reopen our state here. Of the 5 phases described in the plan, our region (Northeast) is still in the earliest and most critical stage, so it does not appear we will be able to resume in-person meetings in the very near future.
COPING WITH COVID-19
A professional therapist who is part of our congregation shared a helpful resource for those who need help coping with COVID-19 related anxiety. If you find that you are struggling emotionally or mentally, you can download this helpful 1-page resource here. If things feel serious please reach out to one of the church staff or a professional counselor.
may 21, 2020 – Kenya Mission Trip Postponed
In a recent conversation it seemed the there may be some confusion regarding our planned Thrive summer mission trip to Kapsowar, Kenya this summer. We would like to confirm that due to the COVID pandemic, the trip has been postponed until next summer. Exact dates are TBD but we will send out announcements once planning resumes. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the trip, please contact Pastor Stan.
April 8, 2020 – SUMMER RETREAT CANCELED
In light of the uncertainty that COVID-19 presents, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our summer congregational retreat. As things return to normal, we invite our Community Groups to consider doing a CG retreat.
April 2, 2020 – homemade no-sew masks
One practical way you can help your family and others slow down the spread of infection is to wear a mask when you’ll be out and about. Manufactured masks are sold out everywhere, but here is a way you can make homemade no-sew masks with simple materials (video, blog). We have a limited supply of hair ties and coffee filters for Harvest members who would like to make masks at home. You will need to obtain your own handkerchiefs or fabric. You can request materials here.
April 3, 2020 – changing to zoom
In order to improve our live video experience we are switching over to Zoom as our online gathering place for Sunday worship. You’ll need to download the Zoom app (computer, iOS, android) and create a free account to participate. We will send out invitations to Harvesters each Friday or Saturday. There will be a fellowship time for you to see faces and say hello to one another at 9:45 AM before the start of service.
march 29 – Sunday video
MARCH 26, 2020 – IMPORTANT CORONAVIRUS MILESTONES REACHED
According to a New York Times story, the US now has more cases of the coronavirus than any other country. At leases 81,321 people nationwide are confirmed to be infected with the virus. More than 1,000 deaths have now been linked to the virus as well. Last week 3.3 million people filed for unemployment.
These milestones ought to reinforce for each of us the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in. I know it is not easy being on self-quarantine in our homes, but let’s bear down and do our part to stop the spread of this infection.
MARCH 25, 2020 – GIVING DURING ISOLATION
It’s never easy to talk about money but we want to be straight up with you and let you know that your continued faithful giving during this period of isolation will make a difference in our ability to maintain our ministry and resume normal operations when things return to normal.
If you are not already set up to send funds via Zelle, this may be a good time to contact your bank and set that up. You can learn more about giving online to Harvest here. If you prefer to send a check you can mail them to: Harvest Community Church, 2060 Stonington Ave. Ste 200, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169. Thank you Harvesters for your many years of faithful stewardship!
MARCH 23, 2020 – USING ZOOM TO MEET ONLINE
Whether you need to meet with your Community Group or your Ministry Team, we encourage you not to cancel your regularly scheduled gatherings, but simply move them online. We have found Zoom to be an excellent resource for videoconferencing. Each participant will need to download the Zoom client app first on their device, and someone will need to host the meeting and sent out an invitation link to the other participants. You can learn more here. Please note that the free Basic account limits meetings to 40 minutes. If you need to go longer you will need to host another meeting and send out invites when the 40 minutes are up. Video cannot compete with being together in person, but let’s use the means available to us to fight for community and stay connected.
March 22, 2020 – SUNDAY VIDEO
On Sunday March 22 we put out a video to help our folks worship at home. The previous Sunday was our first Sunday without gathering in person, and we issued written materials. You can check out that video below.
MARCH 21, 2020 – WORSHIP WITH US TOMORROW MORNING
Tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM, join us on the Harvest Facebook page (invitation required) to worship with us. Someone will lead children’s praise via livestream. We will then livestream the adult praise and sermon. We will also post the video to YouTube for those not on Facebook. Finally, we will provide resources via email that you can download for you to lead your children through some activities and a lesson.
MARCH 20, 2020 – SHELTER AT HOME
In light of Gov. Pritzker’s “Shelter at Home” order, we are strongly urging everyone to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave. If you are an “essential worker” or someone on the frontlines of healthcare taking care of others, please know we are covering you in prayer. Aside from your immediate family we encourage you not to get together in person with others. Our voluntary compliance in these early days of the crisis will go a long way towards reducing the spread of the infection and helping our nation return to normalcy.
MARCH 14, 2020 – HELPFUL COVID-19 RESOURCES
We’ve compiled some online resources. to help you learn more and stay informed about COVID-19.
- CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
- CDC Coronavirus Fact Sheet (PDF)
- City of Chicago Coronavirus Response Center
- Chicago Preparedness Checklist for Individuals and Households (PDF)
- Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 Information
- Stop the Spread of Germs Poster (PDF)
MARCH 12, 2020 – IN PERSON GATHERINGS SUSPENDED
After much prayer, research, and dialog, we decided to suspend all in-person gatherings at Harvest effective immediately and lasting at least until May 1 in order to comply with CDC and State of Illinois guidelines to minimize the spread of Coronavirus.
This decision will make it challenging for us to maintain a sense of togetherness as a church family, but we want to be responsible members of our society and do our part to help bring this pandemic under control. We will put out resources online to help you worship in your homes. We also encourage you to be more intentional about reaching out to others through phone calls, emails, texts, and social media. However, we strongly urge you to minimize gatherings with others.
Let’s not give in to fear or panic, but pray that God will be kind to our world and bring this crisis to a resolution soon. Let’s also pray that many will find their way to faith in him during this time. These are unusual times but our God is faithful and we are a resilient church. Let’s stand together in spirit if not in person. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our leaders.