Dear Church Family,
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10: 24-27)
I read these verses from Hebrews and realize that church attendance has always been a struggle. However, this year has been a tremendous “hit” to the Church in general. First, because of Covid-19, we shut down for a couple of months and did everything by “live-stream” and zoom. Actually, this technology was a gift that kept us connected and able to speak to you in your homes. However, since we have re-opened in June, it has been a struggle to get many of you back. The national average for church attendance in 2021 has dropped 30%. That means, 30% or our congregation has not come back to church.
The Hebrews writer admonishes his people not to neglect meeting together. During this period of history, Christians were being persecuted and threatened with death. These threats obviously affected their gatherings. However, the writer says don’t neglect congregating together. The church is a body, a gathering, a spiritual happening, that cannot be done alone.
And yet, the writer also says it can become a “habit” not to attend. We all know that anything worthwhile takes discipline. Exercise, diet, study. WE have to make our attendance a habit that we prepare for and willfully decide to do. If you have gotten out of that habit, please decide within your spirit to answer the call and begin to meet with us again.
We are here! Where are you? WE need you. The Body of Christ needs you. And I would venture to say, YOU need us.
Please pray about this, and I look forward to seeing you soon in worship!
Dear Hillsdale family:
I never could have imagined a year like 2020. When we shut down “in person” worship in March, I thought this won’t last long. I had no idea we would still be dealing with the covid-19 epidemic and social/political unrest in 2021. How quickly things can change. We should all take note of this. God is definitely trying to get our attention.
Therefore, the ministry year of 2020 was unique to itself. Thank you to those in our church who kept things running during our shut down. From March 2020 to June 2020, we had a worship team that met every Sunday and helped us virtually worship. They were fearless and so helpful. Thank you for those who helped me during that time. I am extremely happy we had the vision to install a video system before the pandemic and had everything in place for this emergency. It proved to be a life-saver for our church.
Also, thank you to all the congregants who continued to give to our church during this time. Even though you were not here, you continued to remember our church and keep us open. Thank you for your faithfulness.
We did lose some people this past year that I loved dearly. I thank God for Georgia DeVrieze, Mary Goetz, Don Johnston, Marie Duffield, and Cole Broockerd. They will never be forgotten.
We did continue to have Frontier Kids from October to December 2020. We practiced social distancing and masks with the children and staff and we pulled it off. We had up to 40 kids attending and helpers and volunteers. Thank you to Renee Avenaim for persevering and graduating our children in “The Greatest Journey” curriculum. It was truly a miracle we were able to do it.
I pray by Spring we will see more and more people return to “live” worship. We have been worshipping at half capacity, but I pray by Easter we will be on our way back. It is increasingly important to fellowship together and worship God on a consistent schedule. Our world has been turned upside down and has shown us that everything can change, except for God. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
I pray you will join us in worship in the next week. We look forward to seeing you.
Once again, it is a privilege to be your pastor. I pray that God will renew our strength in 2021 and bring us courage, faithfulness and love.
In His Ministry,
Pastor Laurie Johnston