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Updates from Church Leaders

Find updates from HMC's leadership regarding our response to the COVID-19 Virus.

March 27, 2020

UPDATE: Hesston Mennonite Church Response to the COVID-19 Virus

The Hesston Mennonite Church Council met Thursday evening, March 26th, via a video link to discuss our response to the global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus. As you know, we had made an initial decision to move worship services for March 15, 22, and 29 to a strictly digital format. Our discussion in the meeting was more informed in that we now have a better idea of what actions will need to look like in the coming weeks.

The council decided on the following course of action as we move forward into the coming weeks.

  1. We will continue to worship together via the digital streaming option. This will be our way of worshiping until public health officials advise our community that it is safe to return to gathering together. We anticipate that this will last at least until May but might well extend into summer. We recognize that there are too many factors in play to set an end date to the need for physical distancing.
  2. All gatherings at Hesston Mennonite Church remain canceled until such time as we receive guidance indicating that it is safe to resume gathering together.

In this time of social solidarity through physical distancing, we want to remain spiritually connected. We encourage you to utilize the resources on our website throughout the week and not just on Sunday morning. If you go to hesstonc.org, click the livestream button, and then navigate to the different resources you find there. And don’t forget to reach out to one another, connect with the pastors if you want spiritual support, and to seek God’s presence in prayer.

You can access the live stream services and additional resources at hesstonmc.org/livestream

Worship services will begin at the usual time of 10:30 and will be adjusted to work in this digital format.

What else can we do?

Worshiping digitally is one step, based in what we know from a scientific perspective, to help navigate this threat. As a congregation, we can also help with these additional practices:

  • If you feel sick or are caring for sick persons in your home, stay home!
  • Wash your hands often and well. Warm water and a soap scrub for at least 20 seconds.
  • Commit to prayer. Not just the suggestion of prayer, but actually making time to prayfor those who are ill, those who are caring for the ill, and those who are negatively impacted by this event through financial hardship.
  • Give. Share your resources in a way that helps to alleviate the burden others are experiencing. Through time, money, knowledge, and action.

Stay well.

Jon E. Friesen
HMC Congregational Chair


March 13, 2020

Hesston Mennonite Church Response to the COVID-19 Virus

The Hesston Mennonite Church Council made a decision Thursday evening to move worship services for March 15, 22, and 29 to a strictly digital format. Instead of gathering together to worship, as we have done for the past 100 plus years, we will be live streaming the worship service via our YouTube channel. You can access the YouTube channel at this link: https://www.hesstonmc.org/livestream

The worship service will begin at the usual time of 10:30am and will be adjusted to work in this digital format. The live stream will begin with gathering music will begin by 10:25am.

Further, all Hesston Mennonite Church sponsored events are being cancelled for the next three weeks. This includes Shine, RAY, MYF, bible study and all other HMC sponsored events. Pastoral staff will be working with persons holding non-HMC events scheduled in our facility to either arrange for rescheduling once the risk is diminished if possible.

 

Why are we doing this?

As you are no doubt aware, both in our country and across the globe, there is a very real threat in from the COVID-19 (corona) virus. If you are watching the news, you know that there are many different actions being taken in the form of cancelled flights, schools are moving to online learning or simply closing down, and events with large numbers of people being cancelled. All of this is being done to slow the spread of the disease by providing for social distancing between people. Social distancing is a process of providing physical space between people to make it harder for the virus to spread. This particular virus spreads through contact to the nose and mouth in the form of contaminated hands and virus particles in the air.

The corona virus is different from the flu. We can project with some degree of success which strain of the flu will be present each given year. We vaccinate against the strains that we expect and increase the immunity to the disease within our population. In this case, the corona virus is a novel virus, meaning it is new to us and we do not have a vaccine. There is no “herd immunity” within the populace.

Persons over the age of 60, persons with underlying health issues, and persons with limited access to healthcare are at greater risk with this disease and the risk of death increases for them. In order to protect the vulnerable within our population, all of us need to do our part to slow the spread of the disease.

Thus, our plan to worship digitally, cancel events, and limit our social contact is our way of living out our Biblical mandate to follow Jesus and care for the least of these.

 

What else can we do?

Worshiping digitally is one step, based in what we know from a scientific perspective, to help navigate this. As a congregation, we can also help with these additional practices:

  • If you feel sick or are caring for sick persons in your home, stay home!
  • Wash your hands often and well. Warm water and a soap scrub for at least 20 seconds.
  • Commit to prayer. Not just the suggestion of prayer, but actually making time to pray for those who are ill, those who are caring for the ill, and those who are negatively impacted by this event through financial hardship.
  • Give. Share your resources in a way that helps to alleviate the burden others are experiencing. Through time, money, knowledge, and action.

Summary

We don’t know how long this will last. What we do know is that we have handled crisis before, and we can handle this as well. It will require a change in behavior and practice for all of us. The church will be present in the midst of this, just as God is present with us. If you need assistance let pastoral staff know (with a phone call or email!)

 

Jon E. Friesen

HMC Congregational Chair