June 22, 2020 Dear members, adherents and friends of Harriston United Church, What a spring this has been! When the decision was made the close the building and cease all in-person gatherings on March 14th we had no idea how long this pandemic would last. As we approach the middle of June, we are still in the midst of the virus and the various restrictions that were mandated by the government. Here are the latest updates on what is happening at the church.
In-person Worship Most of you will be aware of the announcement Monday June 8th that places of worship are now permitted to open in Ontario. Before church buildings open; however, there are many health and safety guidelines that must be met. The Official Board of Harriston United Church met June 14th to review these guidelines and after much discussion they decided that our building will be closed for all in-person gatherings, including worship, until at least September 13th, 2020.
A small committee was formed to meet this summer to review provincial and church health and safety guidelines for re-opening and to devise a plan for Harriston United to open. The Official Board will meet again at the end of August to hear from the committee and to decide on a date to resume in-person worship.
Worship Options While we may not be meeting in person, worship continues. I am thankful for the opportunity to lead in worship alongside my husband, the Rev. Micol Cottrell of Grace United Church in Hanover. We share worship leadership every week in a pre-recorded worship service that is broadcast on Sundays. You can find these services on the Wightmans local station at 8:00am and 3:00pm, on the Eastlink local station at 5:00pm, and on the You Tube channel for Grace United Hanover beginning at 10:00am.
As well as regular Sunday morning worship, I am also offering a mid-week devotional time every week on Facebook Live. I record this at 2:00pm on Thursday afternoons and then it is available to view after that if you’re unable to see it live. If you are not on Facebook, I have linked the videos on our church’s website – just go to the “Worship” page and look for the button that says “Click here for Facebook devotional”.
Vacation Bible School In the fall we had arranged to have Kintail on the Road back to Harriston to provide a Vacation Bible Camp for the children of our community. Unfortunately, this week has been cancelled due to COVID-19. We hope to have them back next summer.
Holidays I will be on holidays from Monday June 29th until Sunday July 26th (inclusive). During this time if you have a pastoral emergency please contact the Rev. Kathy Morden of Knox-Calvin Presbyterian Church.
Offering While our building is closed, the church still has expenses to meet. Many of you have mailed in your offering and we are grateful for your generosity. If you are able to support the church during this time, cheques can be mailed to the church at 57 Young Street West, Box 298, Harriston, Ontario N0G 1Z0. As well, there is a donate button on our website where you can make a donation through Canada Helps (note that Canada Helps does take a small admin fee). If you would like to set up your offering through PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance) then please connect with our treasurer, Sandy Winkler, and she can provide assistance.
We thank you for your thoughtful and prayerful support of our church and the ministry we provide
As we enter into the summer, into a season that may end up completely different than we imagined, I hope that you are well. I hope that you are connecting with friends and family in safe and physically distant ways. I hope that you are taking the time to feed your spirit and to nourish your soul. I hope that you are finding moments of laughter and joy.
While we not be together in person right now please remember this – the church remains open because the church is the people – it always has been and it always will be. The church is you. So thank you for being the church at this time. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ in our world. Thank you for being there for one another and for me – for reaching out and for sharing in fellowship. Thank you for being a reflection of God’s love in this unusual and uncertain time. Thank you.
Friends, enjoy your summer and may God hold you precious until we meet again.
Blessings, Rev. Jessica Cottrell Minister, Harriston United Church