Update June 2, 2020

Blessed Hope Advent Christian Church

PO Box 473

Waterville, ME 04903

June 2, 2020

Dear Church Family,

We are in a very strange and difficult season. When the stay-at-home worship came out in March and we suspended all in-person services, I did not know what to expect. There were many unknowns for me and there still are many unknowns. But one thing I do know is that Jesus is still on His throne and is building His Church (Matthew 16:16-19). You my brothers and sisters are part of that Church not by going to a building but by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and by following Him and Loving Him with all of your heart, mind, body and strength (Matthew 22:37). You have not been forgotten by Jesus or by your church family. You are loved deeply by both and we long to be together.

Although “going to church” is not something that saves you it is imperative for the health of the Christian and the health of God’s assembled people (Hebrews 10:25, Ephesians 5:19) We have tried to mitigate not being able to worship and meet in person through live stream, phone calls, notes and service. I firmly believe we still accomplished Hebrews 10:25 as we are able to spur one another on to love and good works even at a distance, but there is something missing through digital, phone, or paper contact.  We were created first and foremost to have relationship with God and exemplify that relationship with each other. Our hearts long for in person community, even for those of us who are introverted. Have we done things perfectly these last two months? Absolutely not, but I am confident the Lord has been meeting us, leading us, and giving us wisdom each and every step of the way.

I know that as time has progressed, we are feeling more and more isolated and unsure with the unrest of our nation due to viruses and injustice. But again, I want to stress, Jesus is still in authority and none of this is coming as a surprise to Him. With that I (along with church leadership) believe it is time for us to resume some in-person worship on Sunday mornings.

My mind has been in many places in many areas on when it would be right to reassemble. In discussing with Church Leadership, the decision has been made to resume this coming Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 9:30am. Below you will find a list of safety measures we are taking, but also encouragement in what to do if you are unsure about attending. All these decisions have been made with consideration of the guidelines put out by the Maine CDC in relation to religious worship gatherings.

Please read them carefully, reach out with questions, and pray for our worship together and whether you are ready to join us. I cannot emphasis enough that if you are unsure, then please stay home and know that we love you and are praying for you. You do not need to feel guilt in not attending due to concern for health and safety.

In Person Worship Safety Measures

  • We will be starting our Summer Worship Time for June – August at 9:30am.
  • It is OK to stay home for a while longer.
    • If you are not feeling well, especially with a fever, flu, or cold symptoms, please stay home.
      • Ask yourself: Have I had a fever (100.4 or above) or been sick recently, Have I been around someone who is sick, have I traveled to a place with an outbreak? If yes, please consider staying home.
    • If you’re in a high-risk category, please stay home.
    • If you are not feeling confident about being in public, for whatever reason, please stay home.
    • Feel free to let us know if you are going to attend as it will help, but this one be a reservation.
  • June 7, Parking.
    • It looks like only the dumpster side lot will be open for parking. We have an individual who will help park and guide parking (we are looking for another volunteer for this). We are looking at other options, but most of us will need to park on the street (we recommend out back by the FLC)
  • We will only be allowing 50 people in our Sanctuary and Family Life Center Auditorium (50 people in each room).
    • This includes any volunteers.
    • We will be continuing the Live Stream so people will be able to watch from home.
    • The FLC will be a Live Stream of the Service.
    • We are not limiting a certain age or group of people to either building, but parents with children may feel a bit more comfortable in the FLC where things will be a bit more spaced out.
    • All ventilation options will be used in both buildings (i.e. AC, Fans, Windows Open, etc.)
    • There will be no refreshments or fellowship times. All classrooms and kitchens are unavailable for general use.
    • Bathrooms will be available for emergency use. Please try and use the bathroom before leaving home to avoid too much traffic and close contact in bathrooms on campus.
    • Please avoid bringing food or drink and sharing food and drink.
  • Social Distancing measures will be observed at all times.
    • Every other pew will be blocked off in the sanctuary and Rows in the FLC will be separated by 6ft in front and behind.
    • Family households may sit together.
    • We are strongly encouraging people to wear masks into the buildings, when moving about and when singing.
  • Hand Sanitizer will be available along with a very limited amount of disposable masks.
    • If anyone is making cloth masks and would like to make some to handout on Sundays for people to keep, that would be wonderful.
  • There will be no Bulletins, Communion Plates or Offering Plates passed out or around.
    • There are giving boxes available and you can also continue online giving or mailing in your offering.
    • We have prepackaged communion available at the entrance of the sanctuary and FLC auditorium
  • We will not be offering any open Children’s Ministry at this time (i.e. Nursery, Children’s Church)
  • The Facilities will be cleaned well after each Sunday (please stay tuned if we need a team to help our cleaning person avoid being overburdened by two buildings to clean)
  • As things change so will our plans. Thank you for your patience and gracious spirit during this very unusual season.

Thank you for all your prayer, support and encouragement during these days. My prayer that the Lord has drawn close to you these days and that you have drawn closer to Him. He is the only truly reliable sources of comfort, joy, truth and wisdom.

As we continue to pray for you, please continue to pray for us as we move forward to starting some things back up, even in a smaller and more limited manner.

I love you all and look forward to seeing you in the days ahead.

In Christ,

Pastor Mike

Dear Church Family,

I have been working all week to get ready to Live Stream the teaching portion of our service tomorrow. We will also be recording it for CDs. I am testing things in hopes that nothing arises to make things go poorly tomorrow, but you never know, especially when it comes to me and not being an expert in these things, so please be patient. I will be doing the scripture reading and prayer time we usually do (minus names as this will be viewable to the public) and then the sermon.

Please pray the technology cooperates and that my testing was adequate. I will be trying to do it from the pulpit to bring some sense of normalcy during these days.

Here are some links for you:

We will be Live Streaming through YouTube rather than Facebook as YouTube tends to be easier to navigate, especially if you don’t have a Facebook account.

You can find Blessed Hope Church’s YouTube Channel Here

Music Playlist – Here you can find a set of songs on YouTube to prepare you and your family for worship and the teaching.

Blessings,

Pastor Mike

Updated March 18, 2020

Dear Church Family,

I hope you are doing well as we journey through uncharted waters these days. I am reminded of Jesus’ words not be anxious for what does that add to our life (Matthew 6:24-34). He will bring us through this time even though it is difficult and even if things aren’t completely the same afterward. I want you to know you are loved by me and our church and most of all by our gracious and kind Savior.

The leadership of the church has had to make some tough decisions and I want to let you know. However, with these tough decisions also come opportunities to grow, love, and trust in ways we may not have done in the past.

  1. We will be evaluating things every two weeks. Things are changing daily so we don’t want to plan out too far in advance.
    1. We will be communicating updates and information in a few ways:
      1. Email
      1. The Church Facebook Page
      1. The Church Website
      1. Please don’t hesitate to call or email the church office or Pastor Mike with any questions
  2. Sunday Morning Worship:
    1. In trying to honor what our government is recommending. We will not be worship together as a church family for the remainder of the month of March.
    2. I (Pastor Mike) have invested time and resources in getting us set up with the technology to live stream our sermon and even post-update videos to YouTube and Facebook.
      1. Once all these things are set up, we will email out a link and time for you to toon into Pastor Mike preaching on Sunday morning (most likely at our normal 10:45 am time slot)
      1. Pastor Mike is also making a YouTube Playlist that will be shared that you can use as a family to aid in worship.
  3. Ministries
    1. All on-campus ministries are canceled for the rest of March
      1. This includes small groups, youth group, Sunday school, etc.
  4. All food-related ministries are canceled until further notice.
    1. This includes Communion, Potlucks, 50+, Easter breakfast, fellowship snack, etc.
  1. The Special Business Meeting on March 29, 2020, is canceled until further notice.
  2. All Building Use Requests will be denied until further notice
  3. Small Groups as of right now may meet in homes, however, use great caution and wisdom. If you have any questions about this, please reach out to Pastor Josh.
  4. Meetings
    1. Elder and Diaconate meetings will still be held as scheduled, but may need to be video conferenced through Zoom.
  5. What Are we doing?
    1. Praying
      1. Please pray for one another during these lonely and difficult times.
      1. Pray for the Lord’s provision for our church and church family as many will be affected in so many ways through all of this.
  6. Reach out
    1. Reach out to Church Family
  7. Call, write, email, etc. to check in on each other and see if there is any way we can help each other.
    1. Reach out to the Community
  1. Pastor Mike is meeting with and is in contact with other churches and people in the community to see ways we can serve if we as we are able. So stay tuned for possibilities.
  2. Right now the Waterville Food Bank is in need of Volunteers and Plastic/Paper bags
  3. Stay in Touch and Grow
    1. We will be sharing resources occasionally on our Facebook page (see link above) and via email.
    1. We are also brainstorming some ways to use video and the resources here at the church to encourage, teach and disciple one another.
    1. Joann and the Sunday school teachers are working to provide “Sunday school at home” bags so we can continue to learn together and share. More details will be available tomorrow.

Blessings,

Pastor Mike