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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