Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
We are closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and will be posting frequent updates here.
update: march 15 services | march 14, 2020
After prayerful consideration today, Roland Orr, representing our elders and staff, recommended Highland move to one online, blended service tomorrow at 10:00am.
To access the livestream go to highlandchurch.org/live. You can also search YouTube for “Highland Abilene” or visit our Facebook page. Tomorrow’s bulletin is posted on the website.
This decision was not made out of fear, but out of a desire to actively love and protect the most vulnerable people in our church family and throughout our city. This decision, prompted by the Holy Spirit, communicates that not gathering in our building tomorrow is the best way to be the church in our city, the best way to love our neighbors.
We invite all of our faith community to remember that the church is not our building at 425 Highland Avenue, the church is us. Worshipping in our homes tomorrow will bring us into the presence of God as surely as if we were sitting in the auditorium together.
Sharing communion is an important part of our Sunday morning gatherings. If you need communion supplies, they will be available for you to pick up before the 10:00am service begins. For your convenience, drive up to the covered driveway near the church office, and someone will be waiting there to assist you beginning at 8:30am. Of course you may also pick up your own grape juice and bread at the grocery store.
Your generosity helps us partner in the restoration of all things. You may securely give online through our website by visiting highlandchurch.org/give or by mailing a check to 425 Highland Ave, 79605.
The elders and staff will continue planning how we will gather for the next few weeks. Watch for details via the website, Realm email, the Avenue online newsletter, and social media posts.
As we begin a new week under different circumstances, may we be people who fully trust in God’s faithfulness, always remembering that God is our hope and salvation. Peace be with you.
Highland's response to covid-19 | march 13, 2020
Last Sunday I spoke about precautions Highland is taking to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus in Abilene. If you missed that announcement, you can watch by clicking here.
As our city responds to concerns about keeping Abilene safe and healthy, the Highland staff has been diligently preparing new guidelines to create the healthiest church for everyone. Because we are Christians, we do not give into fear. Throughout Scripture God tells His people “do not be afraid.” Instead of reacting in fear, we are moved to love.
We are a church who cares for every generation, whether old or young. This virus seems to target older people and those with compromised immune systems, so we encourage you to take any precautions you deem necessary.
- This Sunday, March 15, we will meet for worship at 8:30am and 11:00am. Bible classes will not meet this week.
State officials recommend that our older population and those with underlying medical conditions use caution when gathering in large groups. If you feel it best to worship with us from home on the livestream, we support your decision.
To access the livestream, go to highlandchurch.org/live and press play. You can also search YouTube for HighlandAbilene and watch there.
- If you are not sick, we welcome you to our services. Gathering in times of fear and anxiety is an important Christian practice.
- During communion, we will use prepackaged individual communion cups. Each package contains a wafer of unleavened bread and a small amount of juice. We will have communion stations in the auditorium, and the offering tray will also be located at stations.
If you desire to worship from home either this Sunday or in the coming weeks, there will be communion packets available at the Info Center in the Atrium.
- Please remember that you can give online at www.highlandchurch.org/give
- We will continue to seek out the best ways to effectively disinfect the gathering spaces in our building.
- The best precaution is frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds and ‘social distancing,’ which is a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people.
- Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the building.
- Children’s check-in stations are stocked with hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and gloves.
- We will forgo our greeting time. Instead of handshakes and hugs, consider elbow-bumps, waves and big smiles.
Circumstances are rapidly changing, and when new information is available, we will let you know. Please watch for updates via www.highlandchurch.org/coronavirus, Realm emails, the Avenue online newsletter, and social media posts as we do our best to help “flatten the curve,” reducing the speed and spread of this virus.
As this situation continues to unfold in our city and around the world, let us be people who trust God’s faithfulness, seek the grace and mercy of God, and choose acts of hospitality rather than fear and anxiety.
congregational update | march 8, 2020
Because we are Christians, we do not give in to fear. God calls us to not be afraid over and over in Scripture. Amidst the tumult of voices that call for panic or alarm, we center ourselves in the abiding truth of God. Because of the way God cares for creation, including humanity, we also create spaces and opportunities for us to join God in the safekeeping of God’s people.
We do not give in to fear, but instead we act in love.
We are a church that cares about all the generations, especially those who are at the greatest risk from this virus. The data coming from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control says this particular virus hits our older generations harder than younger ones, and is even more serious to people who have already compromised immune systems. One way to honor one another is to strive to protect one another from harm. Therefore we encourage you to take all the precautions you deem necessary. If that means that you would like to worship with us from home on the livestream, we welcome your decision.
We are paying close attention to updates from the Texas Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and we will keep you updated.
If you are not sick, we eagerly welcome you to the assembly. Gathering as church in times of fear and anxiety is important.
As always, the best way to prevent the spread of this sort of disease is to wash your hands.
We also want you to know about the precautions we will be taking in our assembly. In the next few weeks you will notice as many doors as we can prop open, we will do so. Our greeters will ready with a warm smile and a cheerful ‘hello,’ but they may not shake your hand. There will be some additions to the children’s check kiosks. There will be wipes, gloves and antibacterial gel available for you to use. We will be cleaning surfaces that at frequently touched on a regular basis.
As we did this morning, we will suspend our greeting time for this season. We encourage you to consider elbow bumps or waving hands to handshakes and hugs. Our communion service may look a little different in the next few weeks, we are investigating the best way forward.
If you do choose to join us for worship from home, I want to remind you of our online giving options. Your generosity helps us partner in the restoration of all things. You can text-to-give, or give online safely and securely from our website.
Finally, We will continue to work with extra diligence to sanitize our children’s classrooms and adult classroom and bathroom doorknobs. There will continue to be sanitizing gel at the entrances to our auditorium, and we encourage you to use them.
There may be more ways, in the next few months that we as a body can share in providing God’s comfort to our city. One of the ways you can engage right now is to pray. Around the world Christians from Iran to China, South Korea to California are praying for their communities- and so will we. We will keep you updated on opportunities as they unfold.