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*May 14, 2020*
As we prepare to open our doors this Sunday for worship services (9:00 and 11:00 AM), we recognize that you may have questions about what re-gathering may look like. Here is what you should expect if you choose to attend in-person:
1. Will I have to shake hands or hug during greeting time?
We will not be asking or expecting physical contact like hugs, handshakes, or elbow bumps during the service. We are asking everyone to respect the precautions that others are taking. While some are longing for and will welcome physical contact, others are reluctant to take that step yet.
2. Will children’s classes and nurseries be open?
As we work to remobilize our ministry volunteers, children’s classes and nurseries will not be open during the month of May. We will have activity sheets available, and as always children are welcome to sit in the worship area with parents/guardians.
3. Will we be passing communal objects?
Communal objects (such as bulletins, offering baskets, and attendance registers) will not be passed for at least the next few weeks.
- We will continue to offer our weekly bulletin online and via email; if you need a printed copy of the bulletin, you may pick one up at the information desk.
- Prayer request cards will be available at the information desk, or you can submit prayer requests via the Harvest app or email.
- An usher will be stationed at the main doors in the rear of the worship center to collect the offering after each service. Offering envelopes will be available at the information desk. You can also give online or mail your offering to the church office: 6420 N. Newburgh Road, Westland, MI 48185.
- We will be partaking in communion this Sunday. Individual servings of bread and juice will be set out, having been prepared with sanitary precautions.
4. What about physical distancing and masks?
Again, we ask that you respect the precautions that others are taking for their health and peace of mind. We will have plenty of seating available in the worship center for people to spread out. You may space yourselves out as desired; we will not be monitoring how people distance themselves in the chairs. If you wish to wear a mask that will be fine, but we are not requiring masks.
5. Is the building being carefully cleaned?
In addition to our regular cleaning of the building we will be concentrating on high-touch items like doorknobs, light switches, and door jambs. Weather permitting, we will prop open the exterior doors of the building to eliminate the need to touch the doors. Due to the limited availability of hand sanitizers, we will be unable to provide a hand sanitizing station initially. Feel free to bring your own sanitizer or hand wipes until we are able to secure touchless sanitizer dispensers.
If you are in any way uncomfortable with these expectations, we encourage you to stay home and take advantage of the service livestream. These are initial steps to begin re-assembly for those who are ready to be with others. When you feel comfortable returning to in-person services, please join us! In an abundance of caution, we are asking those who have a compromised immune system, or are exhibiting symptoms of any illness, to continue to worship at home through our service livestream.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. (Psalm 95:6-7)
*May 9, 2020*
As most of you are aware, the state of Michigan has updated guidelines through May 28. We are thankful that these guidelines continue to include an exemption for places of worship, with clear language regarding worshipers: “No individual is subject to penalty...for engaging in or traveling to engage in religious worship at a place of religious worship.”
While we do not believe that churches need government’s permission to worship, we are thankful that those who choose to gather for worship will be able to do so without fear of government harassment or prosecution.
We look forward to seeing many of you next Sunday, May 17, at 9:00 or 11:00 AM! Additional details regarding our gathering will be communicated next week.
*May 1, 2020*
Since mid-March we have encouraged our congregation to worship from home on Sunday mornings. We made this decision out of an abundance of caution regarding the COVID-19 virus, and with a desire to love our neighbors according to the information that was available. All along, our earnest desire has been to open our services for in-person gathering as soon as God would lead, through the wisdom He provides us. The Harvest elders, unanimously and enthusiastically, and with support from the deacon board, believe the time to re-open is near.
We are very grateful that the Michigan stay-at-home orders have included exceptions for houses of worship, respecting the First Amendment and recognizing the unique role of worship gatherings for the spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being of people. We are also grateful for the many positive signs indicating the abatement of the virus’s severity.
On Sunday, May 17th, at 9am and 11am, our doors will be open to worshipers. We will continue to livestream the services for those who choose to worship from home.
We are very excited to welcome back in-person those who are willing and able to come, and to lift up our voices together in praise to our Lord! We have no intention of monitoring your behavior while in the building, but we would ask each attender to respect the precautions that others choose to take. Chairs will be set up through the entire worship area, with plenty of space to spread out. There will be no children’s classes or nursery that day, but as always children are welcome to sit with their family in the worship area.
If you are sick or symptomatic with any illness, please remain home. We recognize that there will be some who are healthy but choose to remain at home as a health precaution. We trust that you will seek the Lord’s guidance to make a wise choice for your family. "Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5).
We are praying for continued unity within our congregation, and trust that each member will show understanding and grace toward your brothers and sisters as each arrive at various decisions. Thank you for the love and mutual care that is so evident within our congregation during this time. “Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” (1 Thess. 5:13b-14)
Throughout the week, we will continue to minister to each of you as well as we can, by God’s grace. We are not yet able to provide specific reopening dates for in-person children’s ministries, youth ministries, small groups, classes, and other on-site events, but will keep you posted as these decisions are made. Thank you for your prayers as we continue to seek the Lord’s wisdom in leading our congregation through this time.
“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor. 15:57)
*April 15, 2020*
The elders of Harvest are meeting and praying regularly in order to discern God’s will for our church during this challenging season in our world. Along with most other churches in our state, we are choosing to follow the government recommendation not to gather in-person through the end of this month.
Though a live-stream service is just not the same as meeting in person, we are thankful for many staff members and volunteers who are working hard each week to present our Sunday services. We hope the songs, prayers, and sermons are a blessing to you, pointing your hearts to the steady Anchor during these stormy times.
We recognize that many in our congregation are eager to re-gather, and we share that eagerness. We are glad to see hopeful signs that indicate the possibility of re-assembling on Sundays very soon. Our goal and prayer is that we will meet again in early-to-mid May. Would you join us in prayer toward that end? We know that our God hears our prayers and powerfully works all things according to His perfect will.
We know this time apart from one another has been difficult for all, especially for those who live alone. Please continue to call and check on one another during this time. We have heard from many in our congregation who were overjoyed that someone was thinking of them. We are praying for you and, as always, we are available to you.
*APRIL 3, 2020*
Harvest family, we are faced with the difficult reality that our Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday services next weekend will be offered online but not in-person. We will greatly miss assembling together for what is truly the highlight of our year. However, we must celebrate the unchanging and life-changing gospel of our resurrected King! We will remember Him through song and Scripture Good Friday at noon and 7pm, and Easter Sunday at 9 and 11am. We encourage you to participate through our livestream: website, app, or Facebook page. Recognizing that many of our neighbors are seeking hope during this time, we encourage you to share these links with others and invite them to hear of Jesus.
Special song arrangements which had been planned for Easter will take place on a future Sunday after we are all re-gathered in person. We eagerly anticipate being reunited as an assembly once again. May we never again take for granted the blessing of togetherness: handshakes, hugs, the sound of congregational singing, a chorus of “amens,” the communal bread and cup.
While we mourn the temporary loss of certain blessings, we rejoice in other blessings which are evident during this time. We are amazed and grateful for the tremendous response to our “Harvest Helping Hands” appeal. If you are in need, please know that a large number of Harvest folks are willing and eager to help you with an encouraging phone call, grocery pickup, emergency supplies, and more. Simply fill out the online form linked above or email .
Let’s do everything we can to encourage each other using the means we have available: an email, a social media post, a phone or video call. Use our online church directory to reach out to folks you know and folks you don’t yet know. Let’s especially consider those who are living alone at this time and may be struggling with severe loneliness. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (I Thess. 5:11)
*MARCH 18, 2020*
On Monday, our state government issued a stay-at-home order for all non-essential work and activities. We are thankful that the mandate includes exceptions for communications and worship gatherings. The Harvest elders respect our government’s desire to protect our fellow citizens. We also desire to provide spiritual and practical care to our church, which is needed now more than ever.
We will continue to provide a Sunday service livestream for the next two weeks. Just like this past week, we ask you to tune in from home Sunday at 9am or 11am through our website, app, or Facebook page. We are limiting our on-site personnel to those who are necessary for the livestream production, and they will be maintaining safe protocols through hand-washing and physical distancing. If you live by yourself and do not have anyone else to assemble with, please reach out to Elder Kenneth Ertman: .
We are providing additional communication, content, and care.
- Pastor Dan is leading a Bible study Wednesdays at 7pm through our website livestream and Facebook page.
- Nick Stone and Bethany Moses will lead a worship sing-along this Thursday at 5:30pm through our Facebook page.
- Pastor Rob is providing content for our children and teens through our Family Ministries Facebook page and Student Ministries Facebook page.
- Pastor Mike is providing content for our young adults through our College & 20s Facebook page.
- Other online Bible study, prayer, and worship events will be announced. Stay “in the loop” with email and text message updates by texting LOOP to 734.732.4900.
- Diane Lauch and the Harvest Loves team are opening the food pantry to any who are in need (by appointment - see above).
- Andrew Schaad is connecting church members who need practical help with other church members who desire to help (see above).
We are available to you through email or phone. Church staff are working from home as much as possible, but we want to stay in contact with you during this season. The best way to reach us is through or the elder emails listed below. The church office voicemail will be checked frequently (734.895.3280). Please reach out to us!
*MARCH 18, 2020*
Harvest family, our nation and world find ourselves in a unique and challenging time. We are thankful for our Sovereign God who oversees every detail of history (Dan. 4:34-35) and cares for us intimately (Matt. 6:25-34).
The State of Michigan has recommended, as a preventative measure against the coronavirus pandemic, that no groups larger than 50 should assemble. While we do not believe government has the right to prohibit Christians from assembling, we elders have the obligation to discern if a government recommendation is wise and loving for us to follow. In this case, we are choosing to follow the recommendation.
We are grateful for the blessing of technology which enables us to communicate remotely as a church family. We are not cancelling our Sunday services, and we are working hard to prepare songs, a sermon from Genesis, and more. However, for this Sunday we are asking you to gather in homes with your family or with a small assembly of friends to watch the service over livestream at 9am or 11am: http://harvestdetroitwest.org/resources/live-stream/.
- We will miss our large gathering, but we are glad that we can obey God’s command to gather while doing so in much smaller assemblies.
- If you live by yourself and do not have anyone else to assemble with, please let us know so we can help. Email Kenneth Ertman: . Also, please email Kenneth if you are willing to host any single adults who are looking for community this Sunday morning.
- If you do not have the technology to livestream the service, please let us know so we can help. Email Mike Moses: .
- Please know that we have made this decision not based on fear or panic but out of consideration for the vulnerable, wishing to be glorify God by being good neighbors.
As a church, we recognize that these days are a providential opportunity to be salt and light to our world, and to care for one another in significant ways. Our society is “socially distancing,” but we believe that even if physical distance is necessary, social connection should be maintained.
- We do not want any of you to feel isolated at this time. As your elders, we are working hard to equip you and care for you using every resource available to us. Please know that we are available to you.
- We continue to labor by faith, trusting God to provide financially for our church operations. You can participate in this by giving online or mailing a check: http://harvestdetroitwest.org/connect/giving/.
We are thankful for harmony of mind and unity of spirit among the elders as we have discussed these matters. We will continue to prayerfully evaluate the situation, deliberate as a leadership team, and communicate with you from week to week. We are praying for continued protection and unity within our body and among the Body of Christ at large.
Pastor Dan will be at the church building this evening leading a time of corporate prayer at 7:00pm. Please connect through Facebook Live to join this special time and to submit your prayer requests online. Let’s (virtually) come together as a church to call upon our gracious Lord: https://www.facebook.com/harvestbiblechurch.detroitwest/.
*MARCH 14, 2020*
After prayerful discussion this morning, the church elders have confirmed our decision to open the doors for worship services at 9am and 11am tomorrow, March 15th. Considering the unique significance of the Sunday worship gathering, we have discerned that it is important for us to provide the opportunity for God’s people to gather if they wish. Because of our two-service format, each gathering will be well under the 250-person limit recommended by the State of Michigan.
- Please do not feel any pressure to attend if you are concerned for your health or the health of your loved ones. Please stay home if you feel any symptoms at all.
- We are grateful for the technology which allows people to join us remotely if they are not able or eager to attend in person. We encourage you to tune in to our livestream at 9am or 11am: http://harvestdetroitwest.org/resources/live-stream/.
- If you do attend in person, in love for others please take wise precautions with your personal cleanliness and contact with others.
- Child care will be provided for kids age 5 and under. Those classrooms are being thoroughly sanitized today.
Other large gatherings, including Sunday evening youth group and AWANA clubs, are cancelled through the end of March.
Small groups, small classes, small meetings, etc., may or may not be cancelled/postponed. The decision will be made and communicated by each teacher or facilitator.
During this uniquely challenging season, let us consider the elderly and vulnerable in our congregation, proactively reaching out to offer practical support where needed.
Let us move forward in faith, hope, and love, rejoicing in the sovereign care of our God. If you find yourself in a situation with extra time at home, we encourage you not to drift into anxiety or idleness but to lean into your relationship with Christ through Scripture and prayer.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:1–4)
*MARCH 12, 2020*
The church elders have been in advised and prayerful discussion about upcoming gatherings in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Out of an abundance of caution, non-core gatherings are being cancelled or postponed. This Saturday’s AWANA Grand Prix will be postponed indefinitely; Lord willing, it will take place later this Spring.
At this point, we are planning to have our 9am and 11am Sunday morning worship services as normally scheduled.
- If you are showing symptoms or are concerned for your health, please stay home and join a service via livestream: http://harvestdetroitwest.org/resources/live-stream/.
- If you are scheduled to serve but feel that you should stay home, please communicate with your ministry director and know that you will not be pressured to attend.
- We anticipate that these worship services will be lightly attended, keeping the gatherings within the guidelines recommended by the State of Michigan.
Because this is a rapidly developing situation in our nation and state, the Harvest elders will be meeting again this Saturday morning to reassess and to make decisions regarding Sunday evening activities and other March events. You can anticipate further communication on Saturday. Please be sure you are able to receive up-to-the-minute information from Harvest by:
- Texting LOOP to 734.732.4900 (email and text alerts)
- Checking our website: http://harvestdetroitwest.org/resources/stories-articles/coronavirus-updates/
- Following our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/harvestbiblechurch.detroitwest/
This situation gives us believers a tremendous opportunity to be salt and light for Jesus.
- Let us be examples of faith as we obey Philippians 4:5b-6: “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
- Let us be examples of love as we consider the well-being of others and actively seek ways to assist those who are most vulnerable, such as our elderly neighbors.
- Let us be examples of hope as we remember God’s promise: “Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).