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Hey <<First Name>>, I'm sure, if you're like me, that subject line is a phrase you have heard too much of recently.  I wanted to reach out to each of you here as we enter a weekend and let you know a few things that pertain to the COVID19 virus and HMCC.  First and foremost, HMCC is a fellowship of believers (believing and trusting God and His way). Period.  That will never change.  Second, we are deeply concerned about each person's overall health and well-being and take strides to provide safe, CLEAN, and positive environments for your family. 

From time to time, however, certain circumstances necessitate that we change the way we handle ourselves to accommodate and just be wise.  So, this email is to inform you of some of those necessities that you will see in place starting this Sunday.  Moving forward, there are no plans to cancel any planned ONSITE activities for the foreseeable future.  This obviously is a fluid process that the leadership and I will continue to monitor and make changes accordingly.  Those changes will be communicated promptly via email should the need arise.  Here are some things you need to know as we consider appropriate best practices for our church family:
  1. Before there was even a need for this email, our Facility Steward has been taking extra steps to to keep our facilities clean and germ-free (as much as humanly possible).  Earlier this week, in preparation for this communication with you, I spoke with our Facility Steward and we discussed additional procedures and cleaning regimens that we can implement now to further these healthy and clean efforts.  Part of that was higher levels of cleaning for high-touch surfaces.  In addition, highly used doors will be propped open as to reduce the number of surfaces that congregants need to touch to access our facilities (our security team will still secure the premises as usual).
  2. You will see an increase of hand sanitizer "stations" around the facility.  But to go a step further, let's have a little fun with this (you know me)....Starting this Sunday, every Sunday till Easter will be a B.Y.O.H.S. TO CHURCH SUNDAY!!! Never heard of that?  It's: BRING YOUR OWN HAND SANITIZER to church Sunday!! Quick, someone get the hashtag going #BYOHS.  Seriously folks, bring your best cleanliness HABITS (eh Hmm shameless plug for our sermon series) and hand sanitizer to use frequently and let's stay healthy.
  3. While number 3 is nothing new, it's good to remind parents with Kids in our kids ministry, there is a STRICTLY-enforced health and wellness policy that the HMCC Kids Minstry has put into place.  If you need a refresher on that policy, please click here (scroll to the bottom).  Starting this Sunday, all children entering the kids ministry will be given hand sanitizer and at other points during their time in the kids min.
  4. There will be new signs in our bathrooms to aid in the proper washing of hands that reduces the germs that are spread in those situations.  Please take a minute your first few trips to the restroom to familiarize yourself with these.
  5. Starting this Sunday we will utilize a modified method of taking communion and receiving the offering.  This will be explained during the announcement time and re-articulated in the future for clarity.  This will insure little to no person-to-person contact while preserving the sacredness of this act.  Additional steps will be taken in the preparation of the elements as well.
  6. In an effort to be clean and not contribute to the spreading of germs, I encourage you to refrain from handshakes and hugs and instead try the elbows and tows method you have seen in recent weeks in the news.  I know this is a departure from the warm welcome that HMCC is known for, but look at it as an opportunity to find more creative ways to express this warmth.
  7. Regarding our be-the-one-to-eat-with-one fellowships, these are still on at this moment but obviously be safe and smart about it. This is one area the leadership and I are watching closely.  The health of our HMCC family is the utmost priority, and if the need arises to delay this to suit individual health, then we will explore that option. 
  8. Just be smart folks.  Be wise.  Be hopeful. Do not be fearful.  Currently, fear is spreading faster than the virus.  Wash your hands.  Cough in your elbow. Wash your hands. If you're sick, stay home. Wash your hands. Don't touch your face. WASH YOUR HANDS.  But know this, there is a varying amounts of opinion out there (might be helpful to read up on the CDC website and the definition of outbreak and pandemic for starters) and you need to do what's best for you and your family's health without judgement.  But DO NOT fear.  I am certain: God is still on His throne. God IS still Good. God IS still sovereign. God is NOT surprised by this.  YES, we should be praying about this....and pray hard.  And lastly, I implore you: show some kindness out there, amid the panic your surety in Christ can lead to a calm resolve that helps others and thus shows the precious love of Jesus.
  9. Lastly, should you choose to stay at home, just know you can still participate with us online (and we do encourage you to participate WITH us....as in, at 10:30...not the recorded version).  You can watch our services online via Facebook Live (just tune in about 10:25am), you can sing with us online, you can learn with us online (there will even be something special for just you folks online), you can give online (by clicking here) and you can even take communion with us online.  You can use your own bread and grape juice, but if you would like for a few "portable" communion kits be delivered to your house (after 3/15), please reach out to the church office and that can be arranged (but be patient as we are not as proficient as FedEx).  If your small group is able to utilize technology to meet together (like google hangouts ) I would encourage you to do so.
HMCC Family, I love you and I am praying for you, your families, your extended families around the globe, our economy as a result of this virus, and all those affected by this in our community.  I invite you to join me in that effort.
 
In H^m,
Nathan Holmes                      P.S.  #BYOHS
Sr. Minister
Hamilton Mill Christian Church
Office: 678-714-7200
Cell: 770-500-4337
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