July 22nd Update
July 17th Update
The church has never been a building: it has always been the people! We hope you are staying safe, healthy, and continue to stay connected to your Harrison Church family. No matter how frustrating, confusing, or scary this crisis gets, remember...
1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." Our hope is built on the perfect love of Jesus Christ, so we've been called to share that love with the world.
And that has been our goal since beginning this work, and that's exactly what we'll be doing in the coming weeks and months as we continue to worship online and find creative ways to connect, grow, and serve as a church family during this pandemic.
Your COVID Response team is working through plans that continue to change based on CDC and NC state guidelines. We understand that there are many questions, and we want to keep you up to date. We are currently revising our Four-Step Plan for Reopening based on the new guidance from the governor. Our goal is to share this plan with you by the end of next week. This plan will lead us toward a date to gather together again.
In the meantime, we encourage you to join us in praying fervently for God's divine healing, protection, and peace over our families, communities, nation, and the world. God is bigger than COVID-19, and we know He is always with us!
Click below to view a video message from Pastor Elizabeth and Homer
June 26th Update
Over the past few weeks, your COVID Response Team members have prayed, listened, and had many conversations around our church's next steps. Here is an overview of where we currently stand:
First, we want to thank you for participating in our church-wide survey. We recognize that it represents a snapshot in time as the pandemic changes circumstances rapidly, but your feedback is very helpful as we make plans. We want to share some of the highlights from the survey.
• In total, we had over 166 individuals take the survey.
• The primary concerns are fear of yourself or a loved one catching the virus and of ongoing social isolation (miss people, loneliness).
• The majority of you will be ready to come back to in-person Worship when you feel that it is safe.
• While 71% of you indicate your relationship with God has been sustained, many of you are feeling disconnected from your church family. There seems to be a correlation in that feeling of disconnection and participation in online church activities. So we encourage you to JOIN in!
A summary report can be found here: Survey Results.
Based on your survey responses, and recent COVID information received from our Governor and the Western North Carolina Conference, the COVID Response team and our staff will continue to focus on keeping you connected while remaining socially distant. Preparations for a safe return to campus are underway.
Here are a few current and upcoming Worship, Service, & Connection Opportunities:
- Online Worship will continue.
- Coming Soon - Live Stream Worship with the ability to engage with your church family by chatting in the comments.
- Two new online Small Group opportunities in July
- Pastor Elizabeth's ongoing Wednesday Sermon Discussion Class
- Continued "Harrison at Home" postings, including our Daily Scripture Reflection and Kidz Time Lessons and Activities.
- NEW Socially Distant Connection Opportunities. Your church staff is putting their "creative ministry hats on," so stay tuned!
- Missions – Buying School Supplies, Summer Lunch for Sterling Elementary Students, and Loaves and Fishes
- Ongoing Administrative Work – Harrison NEXT Vision Task force has almost completed our Vision Statement. Harrison NEXT Financial Planning is underway. The Finance Committee is making sure that we are continuing to financially support the ministry to which God has called us. Staff Parish has been busy making sure we have the staff support for current ministry.
In all we do, we remain committed to our biblical mandate to "love our neighbors as ourselves" and our Wesleyan call to "Do no harm. Do all the good we can. Follow the ordinances (stay in love) with God." In doing so, we seek ways to engage faithfully in Worship, study, and ministry while ensuring the health and safety of our members and community.
Thank you all for continued patience, faithfulness, and support as we work through the many challenges involved with ministry in a time of pandemic. We are so ready to be back together for in-person Worship and ongoing, in-person ministry opportunities, and are praying fervently for that day. In the meantime, no matter how you stay connected—whether online worship, in small groups, or our other opportunities—know that we value you and care about your spiritual journey and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can help you with a specific need. And, remember that even though we cannot meet in-person, Harrison Church is open, we continue to serve God and neighbor, and the Lord, our God, is with us all!
June 12th Update
Your Harrison Church COVID Response Team has already hit the ground running. As mentioned in the letter from Pastor Elizabeth, we want to keep you updated on the steps we are taking to reopen our campus. Our updates will give you a glance at what we have been working on as we move towards finalizing dates, policies, and procedures. We would love your help in covering this project in your prayers as we seek to be a church that loves our neighbor's responsibly.
What we have been working on
- A phased reopen communication plan.
- Processes and procedures for our church staff to return to the church safely.
- A plan to begin live-streaming to create a more engaging Sunday worship experience.
How you can help
Please watch the video below from Pastor Elizabeth and consider participating in a survey that includes questions concerning your feelings about returning to in-person worship, on-campus church activities, and our current online ministries. Each person in your family may take the survey. We will be sharing the results with you, so please fill it out by Friday, June 19th.
Survey Link - https://harrisonchurch.wufoo.com/forms/z17dpqrt1u7unlm/
The first virtual worship service we had was focused on being church together in Spirit if not in body. At the time it was a hope and a prayer. Now, it has proven to be a reality. Harrison Church, I am inspired by the creativity of faith witnessed in the staff and in you. During the national and state shut down Harrison successfully found creative new ways to worship, study, reach out to the community, serve and grow in faith. Thank you for your commitment to Christ and for your flexibility as we share the journey together.
We are looking forward to the time when we can be back together at the church campus. As our country begins to reopen, we have both hope and concern for what reopening may mean for Harrison. While shutting down in-person church activities was relatively quick, restarting these activities will take time, so that we may ensure compliance with county, state, federal and CDC guidelines. It is a complex process that will take time, money and people resources.
Harrison Church leadership has created a COVID Response Team comprised of lay leaders and church staff to develop plans, actions and processes that will carefully guide us in reopening segments of our Sunday worship and campus-based activities. To start, the team will concentrate their efforts on a relaunch of a limited, in-person Sunday worship experience. We will also continue on-line Sunday worship to ensure everyone has the opportunity to worship. We will be intentional in the steps we take to ensure the health and safety of those who gather here.
Communication will be key. We will provide timely updates to keep you informed as your COVID Response Team prayerfully and diligently works through this process. All updates will be posted on Realm, our church community engagement tool. Please take the time to sign in to Realm and download the App (www.harrisonchurch.org/realm). Realm is the best way to communicate with our church family as it allows us to notify anyone that has an email address in our church database. Please let us know if you have any questions about Realm or if you know someone that is not receiving our church communications. We want to make sure our entire church family stays connected. Karen Perry (firstname.lastname@example.org) is our Realm expert on staff and Jenn Harris (email@example.com) is over communications for our church. Please feel free to contact them with any questions.
I, as well as all our church staff, deeply appreciate your understanding and patience as we embark on this journey. Clearly, there will be many opinions and feelings regarding this process. We are so grateful to all of you for your sustained prayers and giving that supports our ministries. Our Response Team is encouraged by their trust in the Lord knowing, “God’s Got This” and will guide them through all the complexity of a restart.
There is much for all of us to be thankful for in these challenging times. God has long been faithful to the mission and ministry of His church in the world and the community we serve. By the power of his Spirit, we will continue to be faithful in response. We, indeed, are all in it together!
and Your Harrison Church Council