<<< IMPORTANT >>> HCC's current plan in response to Covid-19.

 

Phase II beginning MAY 17th, 2020    

 

VIDEO: What to expect for In-person worship at Heartland during Phase II

 

Previous information: Phase I

 

We will have Sunday Worship Service  both ON-Site and via Live Stream at 10:30 AM starting May 17th, 2020.

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Sunday Worship 10:30am On-Site and via Live Stream

Covid-19 Response Team

Dear Heartland,

As you have heard by now Heartland’s leadership has formed a Covid-19 Response Team. This commission was formed by the session and diaconate to work behind the scenes to make sure that Heartland is able to quickly and successfully adjust to the rapidly changing situations brought on by Covid-19. This team is comprised of Chris Jackson (deacon), Tom Paine (deacon), Dr. Phil Challans (deacon), David Alexander (elder), Dr. John McConeghey (elder) and Rev. Richard Brueck (elder). God has used each individual on the team and their life experiences to help guide Heartland through this difficult season. As a team we have overseen the work on LiveStream, we have made decisions concerning office procedures, have coordinated our response with the Classical School of Wichita, we have been working with different committees of the church to coordinate care and put plans in place for the continued operation of Heartland and the team has helped spearhead some of the changes needed in community groups, shepherding, mercy and education brought on by Covid-19. Our Response Team is now transitioning into answering the question, “How do we safely reopen the physical doors of Heartland?” and then implementing those steps needed to make it happen. 

 Heartland’s plan will closely mirror the official plan put out by our Kansas government in the document, “A Plan to Reopen Kansas” (https://covid.ks.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Reopen-Kansas-Framework-043020.pdf). As we have wrestled with this plan we understand that there are multiple interpretative issues at hand as we try to apply this document to Heartland: Do we seek to reopen to the maximal extent (what is legally permissible according to the law)? How do we follow the spirit of the law (how do we keep our congregation, families, children, friends and neighbors safe)? After prayerful consideration of the options before us we feel that our duty as shepherds of Christ’s sheep is to both feed and care for the sheep while simultaneously protecting the sheep during Covid-19. At this time we feel that Heartland is able to feed and care for the congregation via digital resources (although not perfectly) so our emphasis in the reopening of Heartland will be to seek the safety and well-being of our members in each of the phases going forward.

 At this time Heartland is moving into Phase I of our reopening: 

1. We will continue to have worship via LiveStream (as we work on solving the logistical challenges of maintaining compliance with the government’s plan)

2. We will continue to have Sunday school online

3. Community groups may begin to meet in person only if they are able to meet the following social distancing guidelines. This is at the discretion of each community group and its members:

·     maintaining 6 feet social distancing (includes before and after meetings) and practice proper public safety hygiene (cover coughs, wash/disinfect hands, etc.) 

·     if using the church building please coordinate building usage with John Wegener and the staff so that proper cleaning and disinfecting of those areas may take place. 

·     offer a mixed medium approach to your meetings so those who are unable or uncomfortable with in-person meetings may still participate

·     if anyone is sick, has been sick within 72 hours or has been around someone who has been sick please stay home for the health and safety of others  

 4. Small committees (under 10) may begin to meet in person if they feel it crucial to their success (this is left up to the discretion of each committee). However, online meetings are still preferable if possible. The committees may meet in person only if they are able to meet the following guidelines:

·     maintaining 6 feet social distancing (includes before and after meetings) and practice proper public safety hygiene (cover coughs, wash/disinfect hands, etc.) 

·     if using the church building please coordinate building usage with John Wegener and the staff so that proper cleaning and disinfecting of those areas may take place. 

·     offer a mixed medium approach to your meetings so those who are unable or uncomfortable with in-person meetings may still participate

·     if anyone is sick, has been sick within 72 hours or has been around someone who has been sick please stay home for the health and safety of others

5. The church office will continue to operate but will not be open for in-person visits. If you have questions or need help please call the office. 

6. The staff may begin to meet in person or for meetings if they are able to maintain 6 feet social distancing and practice proper public safety hygiene (cover coughs, wash/disinfect hands, etc.). Online communication is still the preferable method if possible.

Phase II will move Heartland into the first, but limited phase of in person worship. The implementation of Phase II will be contingent upon Heartland being able to maintain a high standard for the health and wellbeing of our flock. Please pray to this end. More details about Heartland’s Phase II will be released in the coming days.

Although each of these stages deals with the corporate nature of Heartland we want to stress that individuals and families must do what is best for their safety and wellbeing. For some that might mean putting more emphasis on social interaction while others might put more emphasis on health and safety. Each of us is different and has different needs at this time. Please do what is best for you and your family. During any of these phases if you need to stay home for your wellbeing or you need to keep your children home a little longer to ensure their safety please do so. These phases are given to guide you, not to make you feel obligated or shamed into participating. Please use wisdom and judgement as you follow each of these phases.

Pastorally, we understand that this situation is not ideal and we all long for a time when we can see each other in person (the Lord made us social and we all need personal interaction for our wellbeing). With that in mind we want to encourage you as individuals, families and community groups to think creatively and safely about social isolation. Here are some ideas:

1.  Get other individuals or families with the same risk level and exposure level to do social isolation together. Make a plan with those individuals/families to isolate together allowing safety while still allowing social interaction.

2.  Plan outings to a park or large back yard with other people while maintaining 6 foot social distancing. Take your own lawn chair, your own food and drinks, and stay 6 feet away from each other. This will allow you to talk in person while maintaining social distancing.

3.  You can always do a porch visit or a visit in the front yard if both parties are comfortable with the safety and you are able to maintain social distancing of 6 feet. 

4.  Continue to minister to other people: send notes and cards of encouragement, call, take a lawn chair and visit through the glass front door (with prior permission), help local small business out by buying gift cards, call and see how those small business owners in our church are doing or those who have been furloughed or laid off because of the economy (offer to help if you are able). Start thinking about how Covid-19 has affected other people and begin to minister to those needs.

Ultimately, our goal is to worship together in person, fellowship with our community groups and have our kids participate with one another in children’s ministry. However, how we get there is important. We want to make sure we do it in a way that is wise and safe, that honors God while also honoring the sanctity of life, that loves God while also loving our neighbor, that upholds the importance of worship and biblical community while also upholding the need to protect and care for the church. These are not easy times and these are not easy decisions. We would cherish your prayers as we continue to make difficult decisions. We need your grace as some of these decisions might be frustrating. We ask for your understanding as we try to make decisions not for individuals but for the church body made up of diverse needs. We thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

Your Brothers in Christ,

Chris, Tom, Phil, David, John and Richard