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UPDATE: July 28, 2021
Greetings HCFC Members,
This coming Sunday, August 1, our church doors will be open for in-person worship to all members and visitors. We will have only one worship service, beginning at 9:30 AM. As we previously stated, we will not ask members or visitors about their vaccination status. While we encourage all who are eligible to get vaccinated, we respect the right of individuals to make this choice. There will also be no physical distancing requirements. Although there will be no vaccination or physical distancing requirements, after reviewing the guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and working in close collaboration with the officials from the Frederick County Health Department (FCHD), we strongly encourage the wearing of masks when inside the church building.
In Frederick County, the contraction rate and percentage remain relatively low in comparison to other counties in Maryland. In comparison to many other states across the US, we remain extremely low. Additionally, the percentage of Frederick County residents who have been vaccinated are good in comparison to other counties and states, with approximately 80% of the elderly population, 70% of residents 18 years of age or older, and just under 50% of children 12-17 years of age vaccinated, respectively. While Frederick County is doing overall well against the spread of COVID 19 and with vaccinations of residents, we have definitely seen an increase in the number of contractions. It is for this reason that we strongly encourage the wearing of masks while inside the church building. If you desire a mask and do not have one with you, a mask can be provided. Other mitigating strategies we ask for your support with are the following:
• If you enter the church building, you affirm and attest that: o You have not in the last 14 days had any close, prolonged contact with anyone who is either confirmed or suspected of being infected with COVID-19, including anyone who was experiencing or displaying any of the known symptoms of COVID-19 (which are listed below); AND o You do not currently experience or display, and you have not in the last 7 days experienced or displayed, any of the following symptoms:
Elevated temperature (100.5 or higher) or fever,
Cough or sore throat,
Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing,
Loss of smell and/or taste,
Fatigue, muscle aches, chills, shaking, or
Any other flu-like symptoms.
• We ask that you leave the sanctuary and church building as soon as possible after the church service ends. Understanding you may wish to greet or fellowship with those whom you have not seen, we ask that you do so outdoors. Our trustees immediately sanitize the sanctuary after the worship service.
• Make it known, in some respectable way, your preference regarding physical contact with others. If you are uncomfortable with hugs, handshakes, or touches in any degree or of any sort, please respectfully make your wishes known to the other person. Please respect the wishes of others if they indicate to you their desire which is different than yours.
• The Fellowship Hall will be available to view the worship service for overflow or for additional physical distance with others, if possible.
During our worship service, you will notice the following mitigation strategies:
• Minimal movement in the sanctuary. There will be no “Meet and Greet” time and no formal offering time. We encourage your continued giving online, by mail or bank transfer, or by placing your offering in one of the offering boxes located at both doors of the sanctuary.
• Minimal leaders directly engaged in the worship service. Primarily, the worship leader will facilitate the entire service, other than the preacher for the day. • Minimal Praise Team engagement. You will notice a combination of individual or pairs of praise team members singing in person and continued video production of new Praise Team selections. You will not initially see a full praise team or the regular use of musicians. There will be a gradual process to full engagement.
The situation with the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. We will continue to monitor health metrics and data in our local community to make decisions that support keeping our members safe while we worship. We will provide updates as necessary through email and on our website.
We ask for your continued prayers as we continue through this pandemic season. If you have any questions, please email the church at email@example.com.
In His Service,
Pastors Ronnie Henry and Keith Harris
UPDATE: July 21, 2021
Beginning the first Sunday in August (August 1st), in-person worship services will open to all members and visitors (virtual worship will continue as well). We will have only the one worship service at 9:30 AM. CDC and Maryland Health Department Guidelines in place at that time will be followed. With current guidance, there will be no mask requirements or distancing restrictions. We highly recommend that people who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask to protect themselves and others.Upon return, we will not ask members and visitors whether or not they are vaccinated. We respect the right of individuals to make their own choice regarding this decision. We will, however, continue to make resources and information available about COVID-19 and vaccination opportunities. A great deal of information can be found on our church’s website.Understanding that there will be no physical distancing or mask requirements when in person worship begins, we also respect members’ right and personal choice to attend in person services or to remain virtual.We ask for your continued prayers for those directly involved in the transition and for members and families as they contemplate their personal choice of in-person or virtual worship. If you have any questions, please send an email to the church at firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will respond to you.
UPDATE: March 24, 2021
Please click here to view local COVID-19 Resources.
UPDATE: March 21, 2021
Recently, the Governor of Maryland lifted capacity limitations for certain businesses, restaurants, religious establishments, and many other indoor and outdoor activities. While Maryland State has lifted restrictions, local counties still have the option to maintain restrictions in their areas of the state. Such is the case in Frederick County.The Frederick County Board of Health regulations that were enacted on November 27, 2020, remain in place for Frederick County. Those regulations limit social gatherings, both inside and outside, to 25 people. In addition to this limit, establishments, including religious institutions, must continue to comply with all distancing, at 6 feet, disinfecting, and mask requirements. This board will be meeting within the coming weeks to review these restrictions, but in spite of this, the reason why restrictions remain in place in Frederick County is due to the disproportionate contraction rate of COVID-19 within the county. Over a week’s time, the 7-day Positivity Rate jumped from 3.7% on March 11 to 5.1% on March 16, and as of yesterday grew to 5.2%. This percentage is disproportionately high when considering our population size and is currently higher than the positivity rate overall in Maryland. Confirmed cases continue to grow and deaths continue to occur. The percentage of Frederick County residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is only just over 12%. Members have asked, given the state reopening, when we might get back into the physical church building. Our Leadership Ministry Fellowship has determined that due to the continued high rate of contractions in Frederick County, and the slow rate of vaccinations, we will maintain our current status, holding all church worship, bible studies, and other activities virtually. We continually reassess this, however, we remain concerned about our members’ susceptibility to the virus. Several members have had, and have, coronavirus. Our priority is to continue to prioritize the safety of our members. When we are in a position to begin phasing back into the sanctuary, we will do so with all precautions necessary. Our plan for phasing back in is fully developed and ready for implementation as soon as that time comes, but now is not yet the time. You can find our complete reopening plan here on our church website. We encourage all of our members that, when you are eligible, please get vaccinated. Both Pastor Henry and myself have already begun our vaccination treatment, as have many of our other ministers and church leaders. While it was the case that Frederick County received a low number of doses of the vaccine to distribute, the county is expected to receive many more doses in the coming weeks. There are several ways you can get the vaccine. You may complete a Frederick County COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Form by going to health.frederickcountymd.gov, and there you will find a link for COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Information. There are also several other distributors in Frederick County and throughout Maryland where you can pre-register to get vaccinated, including CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, and mass vaccination sites. To find a provider near you, you can go to covidvax.maryland.gov, put in your zip code and pre-register for a location near you.We ask that you continue to maintain safety precautions by washing your hands frequently, maintaining your distance, and wearing a mask whenever you leave your home. And, in the proper time, we look forward to returning to the physical church building where we’ll continue to sow seeds of hope, transform lives, and reclaim the world for the Savior. In His Service,Pastors Ronnie Henry and Keith Harris
UPDATE: November 1, 2020
Greetings Hope Family! Grace and peace to you, from God the Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As we approach our ninth month of striving to navigate safely through the global health crisis known as the Coronavirus Pandemic, we’ve continued to closely and daily track the specifics of the virus’ impact, both locally and nationally. As you’re likely aware, Maryland’s positivity rate has exceeded 5% for the first time since June 2020 and health metrics are spiking locally and across the nation. In fact, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently stated, “Since last week, most of our key metrics have worsened considerably. More people are getting infected with the virus, more people are being hospitalized, more people are going into intensive care, and more Marylanders are dying.” Governor Hogan announced a series of actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. A few of the newer and more impactful elements of the directive are as follows: 1. All residents ages 5 and older must wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces; and in public outdoor spaces where the person is unable to consistently maintain at least six feet of distance from individuals who are not members of their household. 2. Event gathering sizes at indoor AND outdoor venues is limited to 25 people or 25% of venue capacity, whichever is less. 3. Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to any state with a positivity rate above 10% or any state with average case rates above 20 per 100K. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results. 4. Religious facilities, retail establishments and malls may not exceed 50% capacity.For detailed specifics of Gov. Hogan’s directives, click here.Frederick County guidance and COVID-19 resources may be found by clicking here. Our priority at HCFC during this pandemic is unchanged. The health and safety of every member of our congregation continues to be our chief aim. Therefore, we will continue to have our Sunday worship services online each Sunday at 9:30am, and Holy Communion on the first Wednesday of each month at 7pm. Our HCFC Bible Institute is fully operational with multiple opportunities to engage in Bible study and experience God together. And we encourage you to join us for one-hour of Corporate Prayer on the 4th Friday of each month at 7PM. Although our physical facility will remain closed (with the exception of utilizing it to develop and produce our virtual services), God’s Church remains open and has not gone into hiding. Our clergy, officers and ministry leaders and several members are continuing to find creative ways to connect all of us during this exceptional season, and we are continuing our attempts to enhance the virtual experience with our services and studies. We sincerely thank you for your continual sacrificial service and financial support. Your unwavering desire to cheerfully give and tithe affords us the means to process our internal fiduciary and membership care responsibilities and needs, as well as larger community and Kingdom initiatives, sowing external seeds to address and meet communal needs. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. So, if you are experiencing difficulty meeting basic needs and are in need of assistance and/or guidance, please reach out to your Diaconate representative. I am reminded of this blessing from Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “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 every situation, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)May His peace dwell richly in your homes and neighborhoods as we abide under the shadow of the Almighty.In His Service,Pastors Ronnie Henry and Keith Harris
UPDATE – 15 JULY 2020
Greetings HCFC Family! Grace and peace to you, from God the Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The COVID-19 pandemic crisis continues to impact the worship and ministry services of our church. Many geographic regions within the country began reopening several weeks ago. Based on the rising number of positive cases in those regions and the steady increase in the affected rate, it appears that as a nation, we are far from successfully tackling this pandemic and bringing the effect of the coronavirus under some level of manageable control. As a church body, we must continue to be careful and diligent in providing high quality worship services, while at the same time ensuring, to the greatest extent possible, the safety and well-being of our members and the community we serve. We will continue to have our Sunday worship services online each Sunday at 9:30am, as well as our Wednesday Word of Encouragement each Wednesday at 12 noon (re-broadcast at 7pm), and Holy Communion on the first Wednesday of each month at 7pm. While we are committed to not reopen our church building for services until we can all attend safely, we are making preparations for the reopening with the development of the HCFC Reopening Plan. In order to ensure that Hope Christian Fellowship Church (HCFC) prioritizes the health and safety of our members and visitors as we reopen our church building, it is essential that we have workgroups of key leaders develop reopening plans that align with the guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control. That guidance can be accessed through the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/index.htmlThe Executive Leadership Ministry Fellowship (ELMF) serves as the oversight committee for the reopening plan. Pastor Keith Harris, Executive Pastor, is responsible for the development of the consolidated HCFC Reopening Plan that will incorporate the information provided by each work group. There are four workgroups: Safety and Wellness Work Group, Christian Education Work Group, Worship Services and Ordinance Administration Work Group and Communications Work Group. These four work groups are charged with developing specific plans to guide our church as we reopen our building. Workgroup chairpersons have been encouraged to solicit and leverage feedback from members who may have extensive knowledge that is useful for their subplan. We are striving to develop a finalized HCFC Reopening Plan by the first part of August 2020. Again, we remain grateful of the Lord’s provisions to minister under these extreme circumstances. We would like to thank you for continuing to support what has become a miraculous global experience. Your heartfelt desire to tithe and give cheerfully has allowed us to continue to operate effectively as God’s Church and serve our members and community as needs arise. To God be the glory!
May the grace, love and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, continues to be with you as this global pandemic continues to impact us all. We solicit your continued prayers for one another and for the health and safety of our community at-large. We love you and we long to see you soon.
In His Service,Pastors Ronnie Henry and Keith Harris
UPDATE – 30 MARCH 2020Good Evening HCFC Family! As we stated several weeks ago, desiring to place ourselves in the safest locations possible during a global pandemic may require daily shifts in our approach and guidance. As the COVID-19 crisis escalates in the National Capital Region, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a Stay at Home Order, effective 8PM, March 30. To see the full press release select this link, https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/03/30/as-covid-19-crisis-escalates-in-capital-region-governor-hogan-issues-stay-at-home-order-effective-tonight/. The order states that no Maryland resident should leave their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes.The drive-by pickup of Holy Communion elements that we announced via email in our previous Coronavirus Response Plan (and during our most recent online Sunday service) has been cancelled to adhere to the Governor’s Executive Order. At HCFC, when we gather to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, our communion elements are symbolic representations of Jesus’ broken body and shed blood. Prior to partaking, we ask God’s blessing upon those elements, such that through faith in the fullness of what they represent, we will be strengthened. As we celebrate and partake, there is the grace of forgiveness of sins as we remember the blood of Jesus. There is the grace of healing when we remember His broken body. There is the grace of knowing that God has chosen to covenant with us to provide all our needs, both spiritual and physical (2 Pet. 1:3, Phil. 4:19).There is the grace of all the blessings given through the divine exchange on the cross. And there is the grace of being part of a Body, no longer walking alone but a member of the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the Church of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:9). On Wednesday evening, April 1, we will have our Virtual Holy Communion Service via our church website at 7PM as planned. We are asking each baptized believer in Jesus Christ who desires to participate, to utilize symbolic substitutions (crackers or bread to represent Jesus’ broken body; juice to represent Jesus’ shed blood ) for your Holy Communion elements. During the service, we will ask God’s blessing upon the elements we each bring to His table, and then celebrate and dine together. We will continue to have our Sunday worship services online each Sunday at 9:30am. We have the capability to continue to minister without having to physically be at our HCFC facility.We remain grateful of the Lord’s provisions to minister under these extreme circumstances. We solicit your continued prayers for one another and for the health and safety of our community at-large.In His Service,Pastors Ronnie Henry and Keith Harris, and the HCFC Leadership Ministry Fellowship
UPDATE – 28 MARCH 2020As of tonight, March 28, 2020, the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States has topped 113,000 cases. As we continue to monitor developments of this global pandemic, we will state again that the health and safety of our members and community will remain a high priority as we watch and pray earnestly, together.On this past Friday, Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan said: “Over the last three days, the number of COVID-19 cases in Maryland has more than doubled. Cases in the National Capital Region have more than quadrupled over the last week alone. There is no timetable and no model that can tell us exactly how long this will last or how bad this is going to get.”Due to the continued seriousness of the situation, our physical church edifice will remain closed until further notice. We will continue to refrain from any public or group ministry gatherings. However, God’s Church is alive and well and continuing to minister to one another and to those in need. We are excited to share live again this coming Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 9:30am. We will stream our services via our website until we re-open. If you missed the worship and fellowship experience the last two Sundays, all you need to do to view the service is go to our website (www.hcfcmd.org) and go to "𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐬: 𝐖𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞" on the menu bar. Also, as a reminder, you still have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others by giving your tithes and offerings. To give, simply stay on our website and go to "𝐆𝐢𝐯𝐞" on the menu bar. Members may also mail their tithes and offerings to the church. As we approach dates for our Holy Communion Service, Palm Sunday and Resurrection (Easter) Sunday, plans are under development to continue to minister via our website stream as led by the Holy Spirit. In fact, on this Wednesday, April 1st at 7pm, we plan to have our Holy Communion Service virtually, just as we do on Sundays. We are inviting our members to drive-by and receive our symbolic communion elements on Tuesday, March 31st, during one of two time periods: 10am – 11:30am, or 5:30pm – 7pm. We will guide and direct you into our parking lot and you may receive your elements without exiting your car and while maintaining at least six feet of social distancing with anyone. Then, during our Holy Communion service on Wednesday, we will dine together as we do each month. As situations and circumstances seek to present anxious days upon us, know that HCFC is committed to representing the family of Christ that holds one another up in the midst of it all. Our Church body strives to be a safe haven for all people, and that includes times that are filled with stress, anxiety and sickness. We live together in the assurance of God’s grace among us. It’s the same grace that was with our ancestors for hundreds of years, all the way back to the original Church. Our ancestors found that comforting grace as they sang hymns and worshipped while not knowing what tomorrow would bring. Let us do the same as we continue to worship, fellowship, pray, and study as one Body in Christ, even virtually. Let us together stand on the promises of our God, who promised He would never leave us or forsake us. Your Servants, His Vessels,Pastors Ronnie Henry and Keith Harris, and the HCFC Leadership Ministry Fellowship
Date: March 18, 2020
Date: March 13, 2020