Dear Harvest Family,
We wanted to write this to update you all on where we are. We have been praying and discussing this as a staff the past few days and we have decided to cancel our gatherings this coming weekend. Federal, state, and county health officials have asked citizens everywhere to help combat the spread of this virus through various measures. At Harvest, our desire is to help our community fight coronavirus and to help our church family navigate this season with faith. The state of Indiana has requested the cancellation or postponement of gatherings of more than 250 people. While Harvest is close to that for a service, we felt like we wanted to ensure the safety of our volunteers, and do what we can to help curb the spread of the virus.
THIS WEEK: NO GATHERINGS (ONLINE ONLY)
Because of this, we will not hold physical church gatherings this week (March 14-20). This means Saturday, Sunday, Midweek Service (Wednesday), and all smaller ministry gatherings are canceled for this week. We will instead meet online. The smaller meetings are canceled for the week so our pastors, staff, volunteers, and leaders can learn & plan more before proceeding in smaller settings. **The Harvest Family Skating Party scheduled for March 15th will also be rescheduled – we will have more information about that soon! While we know it is possible this coronavirus could require cancellations beyond this week, we will wait to hear more from Allen County, the state of Indiana, and the federal government for their suggestions or guidelines. We are monitoring the situation and will update you next week about our gatherings for the rest of March. THIS WEEKEND: LIVE STREAM Though we cannot meet as one, we do plan on live streaming services to you at our regularly scheduled times on Saturday at 6pm, and Sunday at 9 and 11am. You can stream on the following platforms:
https://HarvestFellowship.com – Our website
https://www.facebook.com/LeoHarvestFellowship – Facebook
https://www.youtube.com/c/harvestfellowship – YouTube
Or on our mobile app on the Apple iOS store or Google Play.
** There will no doubt be lots of churches streaming this weekend. Our streaming providers have assured us that they have been spending this week preparing for the increased traffic, we really have no idea how well this may work with thousands of churches streaming for the first time this weekend, so be patient with us, and if a stream doesn’t work on a platform, try another one. YouTube may be the most reliable.
This service will also be available online after the stream so that you can view it any time after Sunday. Remember, while we are not meeting as one church this weekend, we have an amazing opportunity to meet in hundreds of homes and locations around Fort Wayne. This was sent to us from our church streaming provider and we thought it summarized the weekend well: “this weekend is likely to be an unprecedented event in the history of the American Church and a chance like no other to bring hope and courage to people right where they are.”
But, let us be clear, the church cannot be canceled. We aren’t an event or just some gathering, but a people redeemed by the blood of Christ. We meet outside the walls of our church facility all the time. We love one another. And, though we love having a public place from which to honor Christ together, we know He is still among us even when we cannot be in the same space together.
A live stream is not a replacement for a church gathering. You can’t really have church online. But we pray this is a help to your walk with Christ this week. We are thankful for the technology that allows us to be able to still worship and hear from the Lord on the weekend. As you gather with your family or friends, we pray the teaching and prayers streamed through the internet will be a source of strength for you during this season.
COMPASSION, COMMON SENSE, & FAITH
We borrowed this from another Calvary Chapel in California. We thought it was a fantastic summary of how a believer should act in this uncertain time.
This is a frightening time for many, so we must be compassionate with those who feel overwhelmed and scared by the prospects of this virus. If you are skeptical of the seriousness of this disease, you must be respectful and sincerely loving towards those who aren’t. If you aren’t in a demographic identified as in particular danger, you must love and serve those who are.
Second, it is also a crucial time, a window where we can join together to fight the potential spread of this virus, using common sense measures recommended and mandated to us by the governing authorities. The CDC prescribes personal guidelines you should follow. At our church facility, we are prudently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that our congregation is likely to touch, such as in our restrooms, doorknobs, and counters, and have hand sanitizer located throughout the building.
Third, this is a disorienting time, one where believers can recall how little control we have over our environment by turning to our sovereign God in faith. When the world is out of control, He is in control. In fact, we were never in control in the first place.
We love you, and we are praying that God blesses you in this interesting season. The Bible commands us in 1 Peter 5:7 to “cast all our anxieties on Him, because he cares for you.” If there is anything we can do for your family, or if you have an urgent prayer request, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Harvest Staff