Saturday, May 15 / Masks Now Optional!
It’s been too long since we’ve been able to see each other smile, but the day has come! In light of the CDC recommendations and the guidance issued by our Governor, Hope will no longer ask that congregants wear a mask to worship or other church gatherings. Please extend grace to one another as each person/family decides what is best in their given situation and comfort level. We expect that some will go maskless right away and that others will wear theirs for quite a while. We do still ask that those who feel sick to worship at home out of an abundance of love for others. Thank you so much for the patience and love you have shown in the last year as we worked together to slow the spread. I’ve been impressed by the attitude our congregation has embodied on a tough controversial issue. Praise God for the progress that is being made!
Tuesday, April 6 / Returning to Two Services!
Greetings Hope Family, It was fantastic to see and worship with so many of you on Easter morning. For those worshipping from home, know that we miss you and are excited to see you when you feel safe to return. We have seen such an increase in attendance these past few weeks, that is has become necessary for us to make some schedule changes to better serve our church family. What a great problem to have. God is at work!
Effective immediately, we are moving back to two services on Sunday mornings at 9:00 AM & 10:30 AM.
Kids’ Church for kids in Pre-K through 5th grade will be replacing our family worship service and be offered exclusively during the 10:30 AM service. Families will begin worship together and children will be dismissed mid-service for teaching geared specifically for them. There are two age groups to allow us to distance well and engage kids at their developmental levels:
- Preschool (pottytrained) through Grade 1: Kids Large Group Room (Room 150)
- Grades 2-5: Youth Room
Coming Soon: We hope to be able to reopen our nursery during the 10:30 AM service in the weeks ahead. This means we need your help! We are currently seeking and training volunteers who are willing to invest in our littlest disciples. Email Pastor Katie, if you would be willing to join the team. Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Praise God that these ministries are returning. May God continue to bring glory to himself and make disciples through Hope Church.
Thursday, July 23. 2020 / Mask Up, Hope Church!
On Wednesday, July 22 Governor Walz issued a statewide mandate requiring masks be worn in all public places starting Saturday. Do we need to wear masks at Hope? Yes, masks are required at worship services beginning this Sunday, July 26. What about the leaders and worship team on the stage? According to the mandate, “speakers and performers may remove their masks, provided that social distancing is observed.”
Hope’s Reopening, Sunday, June 21
We are excited to announce that Hope will be reopening Sunday, June 21 for one service at 10:00 AM.
It will be so nice to see everyone again and worship together as a body united in Christ. To ensure we remain safe, please review the attached documents outlining our reopening plan as well as some frequently asked questions.
If you are at higher risk, or are not comfortable joining, we encourage you to join us online via our livestream service.
We look forward to being together again and desire to provide a safe and meaningful worship experience.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 / Worship Service Update
It’s encouraging to see our governor working with our churches to create a structure that allows for in person gatherings to resume. In conjunction with the MN Department of Health a structure has been developed to ensure that worship services are conducted as safely as possible given the current knowledge of the virus and its spread. You can find the entire document here, but I’ll share a few of the more impactful guidelines.
Gatherings can take place at 25% capacity with a cap of 250 people. Family units are to be distanced 6 feet away from each other. Face masks should be worn at all times. Congregational singing should not take place. People should leave the gathering immediately upon completion of the service.
I know that some may disagree, but after processing what a service like the one above would look like, we think we can worship more fully and effectively in a house church format. Thus, our plan continues to be what was laid out in the last update. We encourage those who are comfortable to gather with another household or two and worship from their homes. This way you can fellowship together, sing together, pray together, process together, and perhaps even share a meal. We will continue to reevaluate our plans as new guidelines and information become available. Expect to receive a survey in the next week or so asking for your input and preferences. Please keep us in your prayers as we seek to make difficult decisions with wisdom and discernment.
With an abundance of love,
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 / Taking Some Steps Forward
What a blessing it has been to connect and worship together these last two months through the gift of technology. I’m excited to see more of you as we take steps to restart some in-person aspects of Hope’s ministry.
Please continue to give us grace as we discuss, pray, and decide on the best strategies for Hope Church during this time. Based on conversations with many of you, some may see our next steps as too cautious and others may see them as too aggressive. My primary prayer for Hope is that a spirit of unity and understanding permeates our church family during this challenging time. If you are in a vulnerable category, feeling sick, or are just uncomfortable about gathering, we are happy to continue to connect with you through technology.
Livestream Worship Services Continue: Our plan is to indefinitely livestream our services, even after we start to gather in person again (which sadly is not yet). We would encourage you to consider gathering with another Hope family or individuals to watch the livestream service and worship together. I know this means you might have to change out of your jammies, but it’ll be worth it!
Community Group Meetings: As group leaders know their group’s numbers and unique situations better than we do, we have empowered them to make the best gathering decisions for their groups. We ask that you honor the needs of the vulnerable in your group and use the current guidance from the government as you meet going forward.
Hope Students – Small Groups: When summer programs start up in a few weeks, Hope students will resume in a small group format only; at church and online options. Pastor Zach and his team will communicate more details with students and parents in the weeks ahead.
Hope Kids – Online and Summer Plans: Hope Kids will remain online and will continue to provide weekly video lessons and periodic Zoom calls – for now. Traditional VBS is canceled, but the Hope Kids Team is in the process of exploring creative alternatives for kids later in the summer. Please watch for more information.
Church Office Hours: Beginning Tuesday, May 26 the church office will be open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. The pastors and the staff are available for in-person meetings at your, and their, discretion. We want to let the more cautious person determine the constraints of these meetings. Know that we are willing to wear face masks and will practice social distancing if we meet in person. Please call or email to set up an appointment in advance if you would like to meet with someone.
With an abundance of love,
March 23: Hope Church Update
It is our desire to love and support those of you that are affected by the COVID-19 quarantine. Per the Governor’s executive order “Faith Leaders and Workers” are considered critical services. So, as an essential service the Hope Church office will continue to be open Monday – Thursday from 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM. If you find that you are in need of food, please stop by and pick up a bag of groceries from our food shelf. Also, for those of you that are vulnerable and those 65+, please let us know if we can do a grocery run for you. We are happy to help so you don’t need to leave your home!
As of today, the following is a list of opportunities to connect and invest at Hope:
Sunday Worship – Livestream at 10:00 AM: Sunday morning worship at 10:00 AM will continue to be available online. The livestream link is accessible at HopeChurchOakdale.com.
Realm—our online communication tool designed to lead Hope into deeper community and build connections…is important during this time. If you are on Realm, please check daily for updates and to connect. How do I join Realm? To receive an invitation, please contact Raeann at Raeann.Linn@HopeChurchOakdale.com.
Giving: Continued giving during this time is crucial to the financial well-being of Hope and our community. Your gifts help us support our community, maintain our daily operations, and maintain our missionary contributions. Ways to give?
- Online at HopeChurchOakdale.com
- Text hopechurch to 73256
- Mail gifts to 7910 15th St N, Oakdale, MN 55128
Hope Kids: To help kids stay connected at Hope, on Wednesdays and Sundays Katie will post a fun video lesson and discussion questions on Realm, for you to watch and discuss as a family. On Sundays Katie will also share a kid’s moment during the worship service. Questions? Contact Katie Bliss at Katie.Bliss@HopeChurchoakdale.com
Hope Students: There are three opportunities for students in Grades 6-12 to connect throughout the week.
- Sunday Online Groups from 7:30-8:30 PM These meetings include large group teaching, announcements, and small group time. Links and details are posted at “Events” on Realm.
- Each week Pastor Zach will post a 5-minute video on Realm that includes prayer, scripture, and an encouragement/challenge.
- A “Zoom” meeting will be open every day from 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM. This gives students a place to gather virtually and interact with others from youth group. Use meeting ID link to join the meeting:https://zoom.us/j/6668174351
Community Group leaders are communicating with their groups and many are connecting/gathering digitally via Zoom and Realm. Questions? Contact Pastor Dave at David.Downey@HopeChurchOakdale.com.
Book Discussion: Pastor Dave will host a digital book discussion on Realm, “A Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” by John Mark Comer. Stay tuned to Realm for more information. Questions? Contact Pastor Dave at David.Downey@HopeChurchOakdale.com.
Good Friday – Livestream Service – Friday, April 10 at 7:00 PM: Join us on-line as we meet together for this reflective service. We invite each household to gather communion elements (crackers/juice) to use as we take communion together during the service.
Easter – Livestream Worship – Sunday, April 12 at 10:00 AM: You’re invited to celebrate Easter with Hope Church! Join us as we unite in worship online through scripture, music, a kid’s story, and a message about the hope that only Jesus brings. This livestream worship gathering is for everyone! Please invite your family, friends, and neighbors to join us online at 10:00 AM on HopeChurchOakdale.com
Check On Your Neighbors! Don’t let a day go by without reaching out, via phone or text, to your neighbors and the vulnerable people in your life. Like Pastor Clay said, “this is a time to live out of an abundance of love” and see if there is anything you can do to help during this difficult time.
-The Hope Church Staff
March 17: All In-Person Gatherings Suspended
It was such a blessing to be able to worship together on Sunday through the power of the Spirit and the gift of modern technology. It was a boost to my own spirit to see your comments and know that we are still united as a family of God. Thank you to all of our tech geniuses who set everything up and kept it running.
Our staff gathered this morning to pray over our church, our country, and our world. In addition, we developed a plan of action for the time being. We will continue to adapt it as new information is shared and new direction is given by our national and local leaders. Unless otherwise communicated assume that we will continue to operate in the following manner. Remember that we are adopting these new routines out of an abundance of love for our neighbors and the vulnerable among us.
Sunday Morning Worship at 10:00 AM Will Continue to be Online Only: Use this link or the link on our website to join in livestream worship each week at 10:00 AM. We will evaluate this practice each week going forward, but this will be our default throughout the national emergency. Current government direction is to limit large gatherings for at least 8 weeks.
All In-Person Gatherings are Suspended: The latest recommendation from our government is to limit all gatherings to 10 people or less. We know that this makes being connected in community difficult, but it is not impossible. We encourage you to use the technology available to you to stay in contact with your groups and friends. One tool that is especially helpful for group digital meetings is Zoom video conferencing. Look forward to hearing more about remaining connected in community from the leaders of our various ministries.
Neighbor Love Encouraged: As I preached last week, this is a time to live out of an abundance of love. Reach out to the vulnerable people in your life to check in and see if they need anything. Brainstorm with your family ideas of how you might care for the people in your sphere of life. This is a chance to let the beauty of Jesus shine forth.
Let us Know Your Needs: If you find yourself or others in need of assistance during this emergency please let us know. We want to make sure that everyone can’t get the food and medicine they need. We can meet needs that we don’t know about. Click here to email a request.
Keep Praying: Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. Keep calling out to God day after day and know that he is listening. We serve a God who can raise the dead and he can guide us through this as well.
God Bless, Pastor Clay
March 13: Coronavirus Update
This afternoon our state government gave a strong recommendation to limit large gatherings to mitigate the spread of the virus. We are going to follow this advice and close our Sunday worship services to the public. We will livestream our worship service at 10:00 A.M. this coming Sunday. The livestream will be available online here.
I realize this isn’t the same experience and that something is lost when we aren’t physically present with each other. However, our God is present everywhere connecting us together. This is a sacrifice we are making to love the vulnerable among us in his name.
At present, smaller gatherings within Hope will continue to meet at the discretion of their leaders. Though, if you are sick or vulnerable we ask that you stay home from even these gatherings. We will have an update about Wednesday programming early next week.
Continue to pray for our community and our nation as we navigate this situation together. Remember that Jesus is King and that he is with us every step of the way.
God Bless, Clay Edens, Senior Pastor
March 12: COVID-19 Response
With COVID-19 being declared a pandemic I wanted to pass onto you some encouragement and information about the strategies we have in place at Hope. We want to minimize the impact of the virus in our community while still carrying out our mission of glorifying God and making disciples. These strategies are based on the wisdom that is currently available and will change as more information comes to light.
Greet People from a Distance: Six weeks ago, we eliminated the greeting time from our services to prevent the spread of germs. We will continue to do so going forward. Beyond that, we would encourage you not to use physical touch as you greet others before or after service.
Feeling Sick, Please Stay Home: If you feel sick at all, please stay home from church. If your child feels sick please stay home. We know it’s a hard thing to do especially if you are volunteering. We would rather have to work to find a replacement than take the chance of spreading sickness to the vulnerable.
In a Vulnerable Population, Please Stay Home: If you are in the identified groups that bear an increased risk of death please play it safe and stay home from large gatherings. [Identified groups include the elderly and those with respiratory conditions.]
Livestreaming is On Its Way: We are working on setting up livestreaming of our services for those who are unable to attend in person. We have acquired all the necessary technology and are in the process of getting it setup and tested. Don’t expect it this Sunday, but know that it is coming soon.
Communion is on Pause: Given that our current practice of celebrating the Lord’s Supper involves a shared plate, we are pausing the celebration for the time being. We are investigating safer ways to celebrate and hope to resume on Good Friday if possible.
We will Listen to our Leaders: If the Twin Cities follows the lead of other cities like Seattle and San Francisco and shuts down public gatherings, we will close our services to the public. Our plan is to continue to worship together via live streaming in the event that this happens.
Please Pray: This is a traumatic time for many in our community and around the world. Pray that lives may be preserved. Pray that sickness is contained. Pray for those who are being put in financial hardship. Pray that anxiety may be calmed. Pray that a vaccine may be developed quickly. Pray that people will turn to God in their distress.
Look to Love: As people are anxious and hurting, look for opportunities to live out the love of Jesus to your friends and neighbors. As life is slowed down, look for God to open doors to invest in relationships.
Remember that Jesus is King: In the midst of all the chaos of the world, remember that Jesus is King! Nothing happens without his knowledge. He hasn’t been caught off guard. As much as we care for our world, he cares more. He loves us and his plan is still coming to pass.
God Bless, Clay Edens