January 17, 2021
It’s remarkable to realize our country has been directly dealing with the reality of COVID-19 for ten months. As we creep up on a year since our church made significant, ministry-wide adjustments, the Staff and Elders are grateful for the compassion and grace of our community. Mostly, we are filled with gratitude to our God, who has done marvelous things and reminded us of his steadfast love and faithfulness [Psalm 98] during this unpredictable season.
Making decisions during this season has not been easy. However, the ELT[Executive Leadership Team] and Elders have agreed to consider the restrictions and gathering guidelines recommended by both the CDC and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Out of an abundance of caution and compassion for the most vulnerable among us, we have sought to implement the strictest of the guidelines proposed by these two organizations.
We have decided to continue with online, livestream-only Gatherings for the duration of this current Executive Order. We know this has been a long and exhausting season. We look forward to resuming in-person Gatherings as soon as possible. For the time being, please continue to join us on Sunday mornings, with Kids programming starting at 9:30am EST, followed by a Gathering from the Shed at 10am EST.
During this period, these realities will remain in place:
November 17, 2020
The past 35 weeks have proven to be filled with great transition for our city, our country and our world. They've also proven to be the same for our church community as we've navigated the reality of COVID-19, leadership changes, and more. However, they've also presented opportunities for deep formation together. The truth remains that the steadfast love of the Lord never fails [Lamentations 3:22], and we'll continue to proclaim His love and faithfulness.
This past Sunday night, Governor Whitmer instated an Executive Order in response to the rising COVID-19 cases within our state. On Monday, November 16, our leadership here at Mars Hill was included in an online meeting with Kent County officials and other local church leaders to receive the latest updates. According to the MDHHS, the positivity rate is now above 15% in Kent County [compared to 2-3% over the summer], equating to over 5 deaths per day. This new reality is disproportionately impacting individuals aged 70+.
In adherence to this Executive Order, and out of great compassion for our community and in partnership with local healthcare professionals, it is the conviction of our leadership team to transition to online, livestream-only services for the next three weeks, starting November 22. This transition will impact all Mars Hill Grandville and Mars Hill Grand Rapids ministries, and will be reevaluated on or before Wednesday, December 9.
During this three-week period:
We get it. It’s hard to reach out for help. Most people prefer to be on the giving end rather than the receiving end. But we all need a village, and we want to be part of yours. This is part of what it means to be the Church. If you have needs - from finances to transportation, someone to run errands or provide a listening ear - please let us know. Email our Congregational Care Pastor, Brian Catlett, or fill out the form below and we will be in touch asap.
You can help financially support others by giving to either the Joy Box [general fund] or the White Bucket Project. A generous portion of your Joy Box giving goes into our Outreach fund and is thoughtfully shared with local and global organizations to help with both relief and development efforts.
You can also choose to designate your giving toward The White Bucket Project - a benevolence fund based on the reality that within our community, one person may have more than enough, while somebody else has so much need they can’t see their way out. As people continue to be impacted by COVID-19, White Bucket funds will be used not only to help those within our Mars Hill community, but also under resourced individuals and families involved with our Outreach partners.
Click the Give button below, sign in or give anonymously, and select Joy Box or “The White Bucket Project” as your designated fund.
Ready to roll up your sleeves, to give of your time and energy? Simply complete the I Can Help form to help us understand more about your interest and skills, and we will email you pertinent opportunities as they arise. From running errands, providing transportation, tech or construction help, or a listening ear or a word of prayer, you are needed in someone’s village. To get started, click the link below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional updates about the ways Mars Hill is engaging locally and globally, visit marshill.org/outreach, join our Mars Hill Outreach group on Facebook, or follow Mars Hill Bible Church on social media.
Friends and family of Mars Hill,
So much has happened since our first Livestream-only Gathering on Sunday March 15. We celebrated Easter from our homes, have seen incredibly faithful giving to our Clean Hands initiative, had a Lead Pastor departure and a recent announcement of our Interim Plan. Through it all, the health and safety of our community, volunteers, and staff have remained a top priority as COVID-19 has waxed and waned.
Also during this season, our building has been under construction since the sale of a portion of our property to Grandville Public Schools. New Babies Ministry areas have been constructed, along with new Facilities storage and staff offices.
As we get closer to that construction being completed, we have been prayerfully considering in-person worship gathering options, in addition to our high quality Livestream offering.
Our Ministry Lead Team and Elders have agreed on a target date of October 4 to offer a limited-in-size in-person gathering for Sunday morning worship. More details will be communicated over the next few weeks about attending for those who are healthy and comfortable doing so. The Livestream service will remain available on Sundays at 10am and throughout the week through our website, marshill.org/live and Facebook Live.
Thank you for your continued patience, generosity and prayerful support during this unique season.
"May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." [Col 3:15]
Ashlee, Troy, and Ken [ELT]