HL COVID-19 Update (5/23/20)
Welcome to Harbor Light Community Chapel. My name is Gary Mindel, I serve as
the pastor here. We are excited to be reopening public church services after 10 weeks! Thank you Jesus! May 31stwill be our first public service. Whether this is your home church, or you are coming for the very first time, things are going to look and feel a little different than a normal Sunday morning experience. We want to prepare you so you can enjoy worshiping God, hearing His Word and connecting with people in a safe, friendly atmosphere. It is always our desire for you to know God more deeply, find lasting freedom, discover your destiny and make an eternal difference. We are asking that you do your best to help HL put new practices in place. HL is following the same guidelines that other public organizations and businesses are following as well. We have a scripture to think about as we move forward together. Please listen closely to the words of Paul as he encouraged this church to be just like Jesus.
Philippians 2 "Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort
from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and
compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Our attitudes and actions as we come back together are of the utmost importance. We want to be just like Jesus and think of others better than ourselves. We want to be a shining example of putting others before ourselves. Before getting into the details, I want you to know, that if you are feeling nervous about being in public, I totally get it. The message from our authorities wasstrong and isolation was long, so just being in the same room with others can be a little scary for some. Believe me, I still get nervous being in front of people after all these years. If you are hesitant at all, even a little tiny bit... and not ready to return to public services, please stay at home and watch online. No condemnation here. It is best for you to enjoy the comfort of your home and connect with God from there. Our online ministry has been in place for years and it is an amazing resource. The team does a topnotch job of creating a well-connected experience. Kudos to them! Everyone is so proud of them. If you are not nervous and ready to jump right back into normal church life, well normal isn’t going to happen for a while. We ask that you be understanding and not push too hard. We are following the guidelines that restaurants are required to have in place. Remember the scriptures that say, “the strong bend for the weak. “ Okay, so what you are going to experience?
First off, we will be meeting in different locations around the campus. Thank the
Lord we have lots of space, more than 45,000 square feet of it. If you are directed
to a venue not in the main auditorium, please be gracious. We are not serving
favorites, we are just keeping things spaced out for a while. We will provide the best possible worship service experience in each location. A leader will be in each venue. Believe me when I say, Our team has worked super
hard to prepare for your return. We have set conservative seating capacitiesfor each room,so we can provide social distancing. That means we will have to use different locations.
When you choose your seating please feel free to sit with your family in a
group. You’ve been living in the same house for months, so snuggling in service is
okay. Just give each family group some social distance, or a few chairs between. We have already spread out the rows giving 6’ between them to help maintain social distancing as well.
We know that it will be exciting to see one another and the tendency is to hug or
give a handshake. We will avoid this for a while. Harbor Light has been known as
one of the friendliest, huggingiest, hand-shakingiest churches in the north. For a
while, we are going to smile and wave a lot.
We will not be passing the giving buckets during our giving time. We ask that you
continue to give online, or drop your gift in the bucket at the doors after the
service. Harbor Lighters have been super faithful during the crisis in their giving
and that has been a super blessing, especially to those organizations that rely upon
When you come to church, please be aware of the health of your family
members and yourself. If you are not feeling well please stay home and watch
online. Feel free to ask for prayer and we will have the prayer team being praying
for you by name. The staff and elders have discussed all levels of safe entry from full HAZMAT decontamination stations, temperature readers, to full lab work ups. We feel you
know your health best, so please only bring your healthiest you to services. There
is no need to be sprayed down with Clorox or have your temperature scanned.
We have decided during this time to NOT have our Children’s Ministry programs.
Instead, we will have family services where families will be sitting together. We will
provide little goodie bags each service with activitiesfor children to keep and follow
along with the message. We have shortened our services too. Our Nursery room
will be open, but only to mothers/fathers who need to feed and change their baby.
We are not sure when our children’s ministry programs will be up and running, but
know that we are constantly evaluating the situation and will take the necessary
precautions to ensure the safety of your kids. Our online Children’s Ministry
services will continue on Sunday mornings for those who wish to view our services
at home. We look forward to serving your children again soon.
We will continue to offer prayer at the end of services. Each place of worship will
have somewhere to go for prayer at the end. We may ask that you keep your
distance, but God can still heal even at six feet away.
“To wear or not to wear a mask”, that is the question. We know this may be one
of the most sensitive areas for people. Please reflect back to our opening passage
of scripture. It said, work to be in unity and put others before yourself. There are some who feel they need to wear a mask and others do not. Some can’t wear a mask without feeling like they are suffocating and young children should not wear a mask. So there are lots of people and circumstances to take into consideration. We are asking that while atthe public services, you please wear a mask. Thisfollows the governor’s public guidelines. If you can’t wear a mask or are unwilling to wear one, we are not judging, but we will have a special location for non-mask wearers. They will be on the west campus in the youth chapel with overflow to the Club 567 rooms. The service will be lived streamed to these locations. If you are nervous about others not wearing a mask, please stay home and watch online. Again, no judgment here. We do not what this to become an issue. If you feel like it could be and issue for you, please enjoy the service online. Pastor Garyand the worship team will not wear a mask during the services because of
microphones and such. If you show up and forgot your mask, no problem. We have extras to let you have. We can state this enough, lets work together and keep a great attitude and not make little things into big ones. UNITY is our Goal.
Dismissal By Section
At the end of the services, we will take just a few extra minutes to dismiss by
section. We will play some music videos to watch while you are waiting your
turn. When dismissed we ask that you make your way outside quickly. If you want
to visit, please do that outdoors as there are many other people who need to exit
the room as well. We will be cleaning and disinfecting between each service and
that takes time.
You will be leaving through a different door than you came in through. This helps
with flow of traffic and disinfecting touch points as well. Between Services
We will have all touch points disinfected between services. If you want to join the
team who do this, please let us know. We are looking for helpers. This is a big campus with people everywhere. Also, Hand sanitizing stations can be found throughout the campus and at each service location. Don’t be afraid to use them.
Room Capacities for COVID
These are conservative numbers with proper spacing. The low number would be if
only individuals were to show up, the high number would be if family groups of 4+
Main Sanctuary 55–150 Masked Members (live)
Bleachers 15–50 Overflow Masked (live)
Prayer Room 20–40 Overflow Masked (stream)
Summit 20–40 Overflow Masked (stream)
Youth Chapel 20–40 Unmasked Members (stream)
Club 567 #1 5–20Overflow Unmasked (stream)
Club 567 #2 5–20 Overflow Unmasked (stream)
7 Rooms 140-360
You know that protection has been our main goal for the past 10 weeks. The Elders
feel you have done a great job in helping northern Michigan achieve that goal. Because the Governor has loosened the executive orders and specifically for churches, we are comfortable in opening our doors to public services, especially because restaurants are also opening.
Is Harbor Light following the law?
We have observed every executive order and continue to go above and beyond the
guidelines. Here is an excerpt from the Executive Order 2020-77 that recognizes
churches being exempt and are free to gather issued on May 7, 2020 EO 2020-77 "Consistent with prior guidance, neither a place of religious worship nor its owner is subject to penalty under section 20 of this order for allowing religious worship at such place. No individual is subject to penalty under section 20 of this order for engaging in or traveling to engage in religious worship at a place of religious worship, or for violating section 15(a) of this order.” Incase you may be wondering what section 15(a) says, it says you must wear a face mask in public. So you DO NOT have to wear a face mask at church, but we are asking that if you can and would be willing to, that you please do.
Also, as of May 21, 2020, the governor has given the okay for groups of 10 to meet
as long as social distancing is observed. So small groups can meet as well. Remember Jesus is coming back soon.
With much love,
Pastor Gary Mindel
Please remember and take advantage of the incredible resource we have available through Right Now Media and Study Gateway. They are online study databases that Harbor Light has access to. There are hundreds of great videos for all ages. To access these resources just click the link below!
We genuinely care about you. Each week... we pray, plan, and work hard to make sure that coming to Harbor Light Community Chapel is of significant value for you. We love gathering together every weekend with you as you seek to know Jesus and His promises more fully in your life. And...we care deeply that, when you do choose to attend, you and your family are not just spiritually inspired and impacted... but SAFE.
With this in mind, we want to communicate with you about how we, at Harbor Light, are seeking to address the Coronavirus issue. As a church family, we want to be ready and help you to be confident and comfortable in attending. We're working hard to ensure our environments are clean and safe for you and your family. We are taking the following steps every week to prevent the spread of germs.
Staff and volunteers follow hand-washing procedures and children in our Children’s Ministry are instructed to wash their hands after using the bathroom.
Volunteers in our children's area follow the posted safe and sanitary diaper-changing procedures.
Staff remove children from the classroom if they appear to be sick, and parents are asked to pick them up immediately.
Staff disinfects each classroom in our children's ministry after each service.
Hand sanitizer is located throughout our building.
As well, for upcoming weekends, we're adding the following precautions:
We will not pass collection baskets and instead be placing them at the front of the sanctuary to be used for giving at any time after service.
We will be placing additional hand sanitizer locations throughout our buildings.
We encourage waving and smiling rather than handshakes and hugs.
Along with these steps, to prevent the unnecessary spread of germs in a large gathering of people, we also recommend familiarizing yourself with these CDC and World Health Organization recommendations:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Stay home when you are sick or if you have been exposed to sickness.
Finally, we remain confident in faith, and prayerful for you, our church, and the world during this and all challenging times. Don't forget, as 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind." We will continue to be a church that seeks to provide what the world needs most... a demonstration of the confidence and hope that comes with knowing Jesus.
As always, expecting God's best.