Update Regarding The Coronavirus
February 24, 2021 Update
Due to the increasing number of worshipers returning to church on Sundays, the Governing Council has decided to reduce social distancing in the center two sections of our lower seating area. We will be using every pew, and decreasing the distance required between families. If you would like to continue to have more space around your family, the left and right sections will continue to use every-other-row seating with 6 feet of space between families. Please let the usher know your preference when being seated. The balcony will continue to be reserved for people wearing masks the entire service, and the ARC will still still be available for overflow seating. All other protocols will remain in place.
January 10, 2021 Update
After a second shut-down of church activities due to the early winter surge of COVID cases, we are once again meeting in person for worship and our regularly-scheduled church activities. The following protocols apply:
- For all church activities: facial coverings are required when you enter the building and throughout the hallways, bathrooms, and all public areas.
- On Sunday, everyone will enter the sanctuary through the side doors and will be ushered in by a deacon or elder. Please do not seat yourself.
- Sanctuary (lower level) seating with social distancing (every other row and 6’ between families/individuals) will be followed. Face coverings may be removed once seated.
- Balcony seating is only for those with face coverings being worn the entire service.
- Overflow/informal seating is offered in the ARC for the morning service where it will be streamed live on large television monitors. You are welcome to bring your own coffee and quiet crafts for your children. Face coverings may be removed once seated.
- At the conclusion of the service, wear face coverings again as you exit outside.
- The morning and evening service will be streamed live at 9:30am and 5:00pm for those who wish to worship from home. The link to live streaming will continue to be available in Friday’s Preparing for Sunday email and on the website. Any past services or sermons can be accessed through our website or on our YouTube channel.
September 10, 2020 Update
Dear Friendship Family:
We have had a wonderful summer of outdoor worship on Sunday, but the weather is turning cooler–particularly in the mornings–so it is time to prepare to move inside for worship. We are planning to stay outside for worship through September 27 (weather permitting), and will move back indoors on October 4.
So dress warm for Sunday morning at 9:30am, bring a blanket if the temps are cool, pick a sunny spot to sit in, and prepare your heart to worship our God in the beauty of his creation!
In case the service does need to be moved indoors, we will notify regular attenders via email of the change. Just a reminder that when we move indoors for worship and ministry activities, the following protocols are to be followed:
1. Maintain 6-foot spacing between families and individuals.
2. Facial coverings are required when you enter the building. In regards to worship, this would mean a face covering is required when you enter the outside doors until you are seated. Once seated you may remove your face covering if you desire since we will be seated at a distance from one another.
3. At the conclusion of the service, wear face coverings again as you exit outside. You may pause to pick up items from your mailbox, but please head outside to socialize.
May 15, 2020 Update
Dear Friendship Family:
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” Psalm 122:1
We are excited to inform you that it is our intention to open soon for in-person worship. We do
this while seeking to honor and respect the civil authorities, and in a way that takes into account the recommended safety precautions to keep those attending safe.
We realize that we all have different comfort levels with this decision, and we want you to know
we respect those differences (and ask that you respect others for their decision as well). Our
members’ safety is our biggest concern in providing an option for in-person worship. We want
to assure you that we are taking the proper steps to clean and disinfect our facility between uses.
We request that you refrain from coming if:
● You are elderly
● You are a high-risk person (e.g. those with diabetes, heart disease or compromised
immune system, etc.)
● You or anyone in your household is not healthy (e.g. cold symptoms, fever, nausea, etc.)
Proposed Beginning Date – Sunday, June 7
● This gives us time to plan proper spacing for seating, schedule and train the necessary
volunteers, and obtain needed supplies (hand sanitizer, masks, etc.)
● Online services will continue to be offered throughout the phased implementation of
in-person worship. They will continue to be similar to what you have been experiencing
the past number of weeks.
● In-person worship will be basic to begin with: piano or organ only and no praise team.
While the message will be the same for both the online and live service, the music will
● Facemasks will be optional; we believe this is a personal decision and we respect your
● You will be asked to arrive at least 20 minutes before worship is scheduled to begin. Time
will be needed to seat everyone with the appropriate spacing.
● Doors at the main entrance will either be propped open or volunteers will be stationed at
each door to open them so that you will not be touching handles.
● Ushers will seat you in designated seating areas at appropriate distances (for example,
every third row and family groups together)
● There will be no worship bulletins.
● There will be NO nursery, Wee Worship or Children’s Worship at this time.
● We will not be passing the offering baskets. They will be stationed at the exits of the
sanctuary for you to contribute as you leave.
● After the service ushers will dismiss you row by row so there is no congregating in the
aisles or narthex . You will be asked to exit the building immediately. You are welcome to
stay and converse with each other in the parking lot. However, we ask that you practice
social distancing, remembering that we need to set an example to others in our
community who are watching us.
● While restrooms will be available, we urge limiting their use as much as possible while
practicing social distancing.
● The evening service will be a duplicate of the morning service for now to accommodate all
who would like to attend a live service.
Thank you for your understanding as we plan for something none of us have experienced before.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact the office or your district deacon or elder.
Additional details will be provided in the weeks between now and when we open, including
further service details, office hours, and other building uses for ministry.
Friendship Church Governing Council
IMPORTANT: In order for us to know how many people will plan on worshiping if the doors
open on June 7 and the weeks following, please click on the link below and indicate how many
people will be coming. Depending on the response we receive, we may need to make alternate
plans for accommodating all who wish to worship in person. If you have not reserved a seat for
a specific service we may not be able to accommodate you if we are at capacity.
Form link: Click here
April 24, 2020 Update
We miss you! It’s important you know you’re not alone. If you need someone to talk to, or you need support—whether that’s a grocery run, financial support, or other needs—please contact your District Elder or call the church office.
Friendship’s leadership and staff are actively working to find new, effective, ways to connect with you. We’re focused on staying connected and providing support. To find the latest tools, opportunities, and resources, visit our COVID-19 Resource page.
All ministries and worship services remain 100% online. Worship services are now scheduled for Sundays at 9:30am & 5pm, as well as Wednesday Worship at 7pm. All worship services are available on our Online Church page (friendshipcrc.org/live) as well as our YouTube channel.
We are also actively planning and creating plans for what coming back together may look like once we’re able to gather in-person. Our primary concern is your health and safety, and we will continue to follow the County, State, and Federal guidelines while seeking God for wisdom and discernment.
—Bryan Haley, Communication Director
April 9, 2020 Update
Like you, we miss gathering together each week. While we long for the days to see each other in person again, we also care for the health and safety of our community and congregation. We continue to meet 100% online until further notice. We’re also in the beginning stages of creating plans for what gathering at Friendship might look like once we’re able to open our building doors again.
One event that we look forward to each year—not just because it’s a fundraiser for our youth mission trips—is our annual auction. Originally scheduled for later this month, Pastor Eric Everhart, along with leadership from his youth team and the church, has rescheduled the auction for Saturday, September 26.
Even though we cannot meet in person, we do want to stay connected with you. We encourage you to join our Friendship Community Facebook group. In addition, if you or someone you know needs cared for please reach out to your District Elder or contact our office.
—Bryan Haley, Communication Director
March 23, 2020 Update
Per Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, all ministries and events at Friendship Church will be 100% online until at least Monday evening, April 13. Friendship’s office will be working remotely during this time as well. There will be no access to the church office or building.
We are working hard to provide you content throughout the week to remain engaged, encouraged, and connected with the church body. And, of course, we wait with great anticipation for the day we can gather together in person again.
Please contact us if you need anything throughout this closure. We will be checking the office voicemail regularly. We’re also monitoring email and social media daily.
—Bryan Haley, Communication Director
March 17, 2020 Update
The coronavirus pandemic is evolving at a rapid rate. We continue to ask God for wisdom and discernment, while also following the counsel of health care professionals. With the exception listed below, all events at Friendship Church are cancelled until further notice.
We will continue to gather online for Sunday Worship at friendshipcrc.org/live.
In the meantime, our office will remain open Monday-Thursday 9am-4pm, and on Fridays 9am-1pm. If we can serve your family in any way, please contact your elder or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday Morning Prayer group will still meet at Friendship each week at 6am.
March 13, 2020 Update
Dear Friendship Church,
It is after much discussion and prayerful deliberation that we have decided to hold Sunday’s worship services in an online-only format. We will worship this Sunday, March 15, at 9:30am and 5pm online at friendshipcrc.org/live. In addition, there will be no in-person services or events today through Saturday, March 21 at Friendship’s campus.Sunday’s worship services will be a shorter format but will include a message, a pastoral prayer, and some music. You can send prayer requests to email@example.com. You can also give online at friendshipcrc.org/give, text any dollar amount to (616)207-2190, or mail your regular giving to the church office. We encourage you to gather with family, a small group of friends, or with a few neighbors for worship and fellowship.Our motivation in choosing to hold services only online is not a decision made out of fear, but rather one made out of care and concern for our community. We are not experts in infectious disease, and instead choose to defer to County, State, and Federal health officials.
According to the Kent County Health Department, there are three confirmed positive cases in the county.People who are at higher risk for contracting the virus include people over age 60, people with chronic medical conditions, those who have compromised immune systems, and pregnant women.The State of Michiganhas encouraged the avoidance of large gatherings—greater than 100 people in a shared space—and also meetings of 10 or more people in high-risk communities.It is in everyone’s interest to slow the spread of the virus as much as we can. We probably won’t be able to prevent it entirely, but what we’d like to do is slow the spread of the disease, minimizing sudden stress on the healthcare system. That’s why the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is asking people to avoid large gatherings and to observe good hygiene. Now, not later, is the critical time to slow disease spread.
When we get a public health recommendation or request, Friendship Church should strive to be a good public citizen. Disregarding those recommendations is not wise, and it isn’t reflective of our commitment to our community.
In times of uncertainty, we continue to take solace in knowing that we do not need to be fearful but instead can trust in a Sovereign God who knows our every need. We see our decision for this Sunday as honoring those in authority, loving one another by sacrificially giving up our time together, and caring for the “least of these” who are at higher risk. But we see, too, how other churches might be led by God to different decisions.
This is a rapidly changing situation, and we will continue to rely on the wisdom of our healthcare authorities. While this decision currently applies only to events scheduled March 13-21, we will be diligent in keeping you informed about the status of upcoming services and events.
—Governing Council & Staff
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