Hillcrest Church COVID-19 Information
Communication from Hillcrest Church
Update 6: November 19th, 2020
Hi Hillcrest Church –
As we move into the winter time we will continue to offer both online Sunday Worship as well as in-person Sunday Worship at the building. The online Sunday worship will be at 9 and 11am. The in-person Sunday worship will be at 9am. This fall we have mainly watched the online service in-person at the Hillcrest building but will soon be adding more live elements on Sunday mornings. For the time being we won’t be able to have congregational singing in person but will be worshipping in other creative ways.
For our most recent discussion about there things check out this video.
Grace and peace,
Christian and Time
Update 5: March 14, 2020
Hi Hillcrest Church –
We are following up with you all this afternoon as we said we were going to. We have three things we want you to know about (for all other details see our Covid-19 page):
- 1 – Starting tomorrow we will NOT be meeting in the building but online and in small groups throughout the week.
- 2 – The online stream will be on Facebook at 9 and 11 and Youtube at only 11. Watch with your family or get together with your small group!
- 3 – Christian and I (on behalf of the pastoral team) would like to share some thoughts about following Jesus in a time of Covid-19. See “Following Jesus in a time of Covid-19” section.
Tim and Christian
Update 4: March 13, 2020
Good afternoon Hillcrest Church,
With today’s announcement from Governor Inslee our church is entering into an unprecedented season in which we get to choose to live faithfully. That is why, firmly established in our trust in Jesus, we intend to lean into this time as an opportunity to creatively build new passages into Jesus community and look for ways to meaningfully serve our community.
For now, this means we will be temporarily moving our Sunday Gatherings into creative new online and small groups meetings. As for the timing, we will continue to follow all state directives about the expansion or reduction of these meeting mandates.
We are also glad to be developing new community connections to help bring food and care to our neighbors in this season. Look for more information on our COVID-19 Page.
This Hillcrest COVID-19 page will updated regularly and includes all of the details and ways to stay engaged and healthy.
Tomorrow, Tim and I will be sending out some more thoughts about Jesus life in this season.
PLEASE plan to join us at 9AM and 11AM online at https://www.facebook.com/HCBellingham/
On the live stream you will find a digital bulletin, links to fill out an online Community Card, and lots of content for kids, youth, and small groups.
We are also working on some more streaming platforms that do not require a Facebook account.
In Jesus, with Jesus, and because of Jesus,
Update 3: March 11th, 2020
Good afternoon Hillcrest Church, As you may have heard by now there have been some rapid changes in the COVID-19 outbreak in Western Washington. As we have already stated, we are not reacting in fear or escalating hysteria. We are however trying to be sensibly cautious and responsible partners in our community to help flatten the curve of infection while we can. Our eyes are on the health of the most vulnerable and the protection of the health care system. China, Italy, and Iran have clearly taught us that one of the greatest risks of this outbreak is simply not being able to manage the caseload of infected patients, and thereby putting people with all kinds of health issues at risk. This morning Governor Jay Inslee has banned gathering over 250 people to include “spiritual events” in three counties. They expect this restriction to expand. Likewise Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu has issues new recommendation for the county to cancel or postpones gatherings of more than 50 people. Accordingly, at this time* Hillcrest Church is taking the following next steps:
- We will still have live gatherings this Sunday with enhanced safety protocols. However, we would strongly encourage anybody to stay home who:
- Are in a high risk community:
- Over 60 years of age.
- With underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.
- With weakened immune systems.
- Who are pregnant.
- Work in critical fields and may need to be extra careful about exposure. We value your protection. This is at your discretion.
- First Responders.
- Has any caution or concerns
- Are in a high risk community:
- We will have online full service stream available on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/HCBellingham/
- In the weeks to come we will roll out more and more online resources for continued community and health. We will engage this season as an opportunity to get better and creating new doorways into authentic community at Hillcrest and new opportunities to include neighbors and friends in the good content we create.
- Look for messages from 412 regarding the postponement of the Sunday Missions Banquet.
- Join us in PRAYING and looking for opportunities to serve in a time of heightened need. We are building a medical advisory team, a neighborhood visitation team, and keeping our eyes and ears open for Jesus calling us into places of need. The church has a long history of shining Jesus’ love in these kinds of circumstances. Let’s lean into that opening.
*Things could change quickly. We may make changes as they come, and will make a final call about Sunday by 12:30PM on Saturday. Updates can always be found on our website at: https://www.hcbellingham.com/covid19/ With Faith and Hope, and Trust in the LORD Jesus, Christian Lindbeck
Update 2: March 7th, 2020
Good Saturday afternoon Hillcrest Church,
I just finished reading the Whatcom County daily update for COVID-191. So far, there are still no confirmed cases in Whatcom County and no suggestion to shutter church gatherings. You may have noticed in the Bellingham Public School announcement a mention of a possible directive to avoid crowds of 50 or more. I want to be clear, that directive is thus far only for Snohomish and King Counties.
Let me also say that I desire for each person and family to be safe, in particular if you are immunocompromised or belong to an at-risk community2 such as 60 years or older.
We are still meeting tomorrow with all of our safety protocols in place. We will video the message and post ASAP. We have also ordered all the hardware we need to begin live streaming services.
It seems that within reason, now is a really good time for us to be gathered as a community to pray, to encourage, and to enjoy this great freedom while it stands at some temporary risk.
Your in faithfulness, trust and the peace that comes from knowing the Sovereign King of History,
- Healthcare workers
- Patients in other public safety occupations (e.g., law enforcement, fire fighter, EMS)
- Patients involved in an illness cluster in a facility or institution (e.g., healthcare, school, corrections, shelters)
- Patients with severe lower respiratory illness (hospitalized or fatal)
- Patients older than 60 years
- Patients with underlying medical conditions
- Pregnant women
- Patients with worsening symptoms
Update 1: March 4th, 2020
Greetings Hillcrest church,
In light of the growing concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 CoronaVirus, it is time for us to communicate with you about the precautions we are taking to protect this congregation.
The staff met this week and began developing a staged response plan for COVID-19. At point along the way where we may need to escalate stages, we will be in communication with you, with our community partners, and following the direction of government officials at the CDC and Whatcom County.
In all cases, we are seeking to take reasonable precautions with special attention to protecting the most vulnerable in our community.
At this stage, Hillcrest Church is committed to doing at least these 7 things:
All staff and volunteers will wash hands and cover coughs with special attention to public spaces, gatherings, and food preparation.
Daily disinfecting all hard surfaces, as well as door knobs, crash bars, drinking fountains, light switches and any other frequently touched places.
Daily sanitizing the toys in all kids’ spaces.
Greeters and ushers will give smiles and waves instead of hugs and handshakes, as well as opening the front door for arriving guests.
Changing communion service procedures to avoid points of contact with single serving cups and bread handed out by clean tongs by one person.
Quickly clearing garbage and cleaning trash receptacle surfaces.
Staying in communication with you by email, phone, and Sunday announcements.
Here are 7 Things things you can do to help:
Cover coughs and frequently wash hands.
Offer smiles and waves instead of hugs and handshakes.
Stay home if you are feeling unwell. We will miss you, but ask for your cooperation. We are working on live streaming options for the services.
Keep your child home when ill or you suspect illness. Follow our normal rules of green snot, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, etc within 48 hours. In this case, extra vigilance is called for, so look for signs or irritability associated with illness, rashes, or a cough.
Wash your hands and your child’s hands when you arrive at Treasureland on Sunday. There is a sink behind the sign in and bathrooms on every level.
412 families, Hannah and Dan have developed a complete plan for youth services in alignment with the procedures outlined above. To that directive they would highlight plans for some middle school groups to volunteer at the Lighthouse mission are still going ahead. This may change. For now, they understand if you do not wish for your student to participate in this activity.
Stay flexible and be ready to help. Things may change quickly. We will respond and communicate as quickly as we can. If you notice areas where we are not meeting these goals, feel free to speak up and help out. And in the case this virus continues to spread and people in our community need help, the church has a long and glorious history of being the ones who move toward suffering to bring hope. There may be excellent opportunities for us to show Jesus’ love in this season.
With affection for this community and we hope what is a safe and sane response to a unique challenge. Yours faithfully and under the grace of Jesus,
Shelley Knebel – Treasureland Kids
Melanie Zehnder – Treasureland Kids
Dan Pursley – 412
Youth Hannah Dreblow – 412 Youth
And the rest of the staff
Following Jesus in a Time of COVID-19
Dear Hillcrest Family –
Christian and I (Tim) wanted to write on behalf of the entire pastoral team to say that we are thinking of you, praying for you, and praying for Whatcom County in this challenging time. We are writing to say we care about you, Jesus is with us, and that together we will love one another and our community well in this time.
For all of us this has evoked a variety of responses from panic, dismissal, anxiety, renewed trust, prayer, and more. No matter what your experience is with it so far you we’ve all had strong feelings and it is occupying space in our minds.
As we think about pastoring Hillcrest in this time we keep coming back to the question as followers of Jesus, ‘What does it mean to faithfully follow Jesus in a time of Covid-19?’ Together we stand on a firm foundation: Jesus is not surprised by this. Jesus is not anxious. Jesus is present with us by his Spirit right in the middle of this whether we are aware of it or not. Jesus leads us in what it means to walk with him as he is with us.
Let’s unpack what this means.
First, it means we look to Jesus. We are reminded during this time of the early church in so many ways. One of the times that we have been thinking about is the time of the writing of the book of Revelation, a time of chaos and persecution for the church. Into that moment Jesus gave John a vision for the church to live centered on Him. In chapter 5 verse 6 we see the center of the vision,
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by four living creatures and the elders.
In this time of chaos and fear Jesus reminded his church, reality has a center. What is most real is that Jesus, the lamb who was slain, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are at the center of all things. Chaos is not what is most real. Jesus’ holy and compassionate love is what is most real. Chaos is just the temporary thing on the surface. At the center of reality is a divine community of love, three-in-one, demonstrated in my death on a cross for you.
The two most common commands in the book of Revelation are “Look!” and “Don’t be afraid.” Friends, in a time of worldwide pandemic, look to the lamb who was slain standing at the center of the throne, and don’t be afraid, he will never leave us not forsake us. Let us be a church that says to one another, look to Jesus, look to Jesus, look to Jesus.
Second, we have the opportunity to live as people of peace. Let’s be blunt. When people get anxious and fearful – we don’t treat each other well. We get selfish. We hoard. We blame and point fingers. In our hyper political age we have all seen that already much of the news and social media about this pandemic is not just about how we can pull together and get through this as a community, but about the politics of blame. As Christians, we must refuse the temptation to participate in this. Now is the time to be peacemakers.
This is of course, is not just at a national level, but starts right at home. Most likely you have already had your first Covid-19 fight: about traveling, childcare, finances, or what to do next. People are tense, they are anxious, they are on edge. We are not our best selves when life is like this. As followers of Jesus, have mercy on yourself and others. Seek to be peacemakers. And pray. Because when we are anxious Jesus is the one who can handle it all. Pray. Pray for the sick. Pray for the elderly. Pray for the immune compromised. Pray for single parents and those worried about their jobs. Pray for our doctors, nurses, public health workers, and emergency response workers. Pray for our community leaders, the school board, and mayors, governors, congress, and the President. Pray for our brothers and sisters in other countries around the world. Pray for our kids that they would see what faith in Jesus looks like. Pray for our pastors. Pray for our missionaries. Pray for Jesus’ church all around the world. Let us be a church of prayerful peacemakers.
Third, we are provided an opportunity to live with courageous love. We have found ourselves thinking about Jesus’ interaction with diseases that were feared in his day. Watch this exchange:
A man with leprosy came to him and begged on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
… Jesus reached out to him and touched the man.
We submit that Jesus followers are by calling and commitment outcast touching kind of people. This means in practice that we move towards those who are ill and hurting and not away. Christians have been famous for this for millennia. During the epidemic of 260 AD in the Roman Empire, Dionysius Bishop of Corinth writing about the followers of Jesus said…
Most of our fellow Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves, and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead…
Jesus followers move towards those who are ill or in need in courageous love. So friends, stay in touch with those who you know who are most at risk, physically, relationally, economically. Ironically, this is a wonderful opportunity to knock down some of our usual social barriers! Call your elderly neighbor. Ask them what they need. Check in on the single parents you know. If you are stuck at home, exercise a ministry of calling people. The loneliness epidemic in our country will only be worsened by this. Don’t draw inward – reach outward. We bet there will be an openness to receiving love, friendship, and spiritual care in this season unlike any time in our recent history.
Now, this is certainly not an excuse for foolishness or endangering others. The early Christians weren’t famous for insisting on meeting in large groups even if it harms people or ignoring the common good. No, the early Christians were famous for risking their own well being for the sake of the sick and the vulnerable. May we live in wise and courageous love in this season.
Hillcrest family, we will get through this together. This time will pass. We will thrive again. The lasting question and impression we want to focus on is, “How did the church of Jesus respond in a time of Covid-19?” This is the story we are still writing. We believe it looks like a family of Jesus followers passionately keeping their eyes on Jesus. We believe it looks like men and women, friends and neighbors praying and bringing peace to all their relationships in this time. We believe it is a church living generous and brave, compassionate and kind lives in a difficult time.
We care about you all! We are so thankful for you all and that Jesus is walking with us through this. May his peace and strength be with us all.
In the strong name of Jesus,
Tim Knipp and Christian Lindbeck
Sunday Gatherings and Online Services
We meet in our building for our 9am and 11am service.
We are leaning into this unexpected season committed to building new platforms and passages into Jesus community and ways to meaningfully serve our community.
- Live stream available:
- 9am and 11am Online Church:
- 9am and 11am on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HCBellingham/
- 9am and 11am on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHz1Q4Uq9tbii6styTWUSRg?
- 9am and 11am Online Church:
- Please fill out an Online Community Card
- Join a Small Group.
Treasureland Kids will be joining the whole church for a temporary new season of creative and fun online and small group community. Please stay home and enjoy your kiddos or your family can join us for our 9am Sunday Worship Service. We have lessons available online at this link here. We also bring curriculum to each family at the beginning of a new series. Please email if you are not receiving curriculum and would like some.
Now more than ever its clear why Jesus-centered community is so important in our lives! Small groups are great way to be plugged in with others in a time like this, to support one another, pray together, and care for the larger community. We’d strongly encourage you to join one of our small groups if you’re not in one already!
- Currently you can find more information about our small groups and all of our available in person groups by following this link.
- We are also developing some online small groups for those who need to be at home right now. If you are interested in either being part of an online small group or facilitating one please email: email@example.com.
- For those looking to take an existing group online, download this PDF for some suggestions on how to do that.
Growth Opportunities When Stuck at Home
There could be any number of reasons you need to be at home for a time this season. You might have a cold, you have a co-worker who had covid, or perhaps you are in a vulnerable situation and its better to stay home.
Whatever the case we want to provide a few thoughts to stay well during a self-quarantine. This is not medical advice but thoughts on caring for your soul well in a time like this.
- First, take care of your body. Its going to be important you maintain regular habits for your physical well being. Maintain a normal bedtime and wake up routine. Eat 3 meals a days. Drink plenty of water. Get dressed each day. Do the things that help you physically feel normal in this unusual time.
- Second, even though you are physically isolated don’t get relationally isolated. Get in touch with a few people locally who you know you can reach out to if you need anything brought to you. Then, make a list of friends and family that you would love to be in better touch with and don’t always have the time and start calling. Being alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone.
- Third, join an online small group at Hillcrest as a participant or facilitator! If you’re interested simply email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fourth, set up some spiritual practices that you would like to shape your time at home. At a basic level, set time each day to pray and read Scripture. To go further here are some suggestions.
In short, we believe this is a unique time that God can use to do important things in your life. Take care of yourself and stay connected to God and others during these days.
Fun Things for Kids at Home!
Treasureland Kids teacher Mary Erickson has put together some fun lessons for her students during this time. You can find her videos on our Youtube channel here.
New Opportunities for Ministry
We have teams to both care for those within our church and reach out to our greater community during this time.
If you can physically visit people and bring supplies if needed, or are someone who can call people and provide ministry over the phone….we’d love to have you join us.
Handpicked Teachings for This Time
In this time of Covid there may be specific topics and issues that are particularly helpful to hear Scripture unpacked on right now. Below we have compiled some past sermons we hope you might find helpful in this time.
- Anxiety (2 Corinthians 1:3 – 11) – Tim and Kristi Knipp
- The Battle for Heart and Mind (Philippians 4:4 – 9) – Christian Lindbeck
Trials and Challenges
- Embrace Trials – Dan Pursley
- Times of Uncertainty (Acts 20 – 21) – Tim Knipp
- Jesus is Stronger than Chaos (Mark 4:35 – 40) – Tim Knipp
Transition and Change
Grief and Lament
- Jesus is Stronger than Death – Christian Lindbeck
- To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain (Philippians 1:19 – 26) – Tim Knipp
Giving During This Time
We know these are uncertain times. We trust God with our provision. And we hope to be a community of generosity in a season of need. So if you are able, we hope most of us stay committed to our common mission in heart, word, resources, and deeds.
If you typically give at Sunday services, we now encourage folks to use these alternative options (in order of preference):
- Give online through our website.
- Click “Give Now” to access the Hillcrest donor portal. Select the bank transfer as the payment method. While we do offer credit/debit, bank transfer method has the lowest transaction fees.
- Gifts can be allocated to multiple designations. Click on the designation drop-down menu, scroll down to the bottom of the list, and select “Multiple Designations”.
- If you have issues logging in to the online giving portal, try resetting the password. Direct any help requests to email@example.com with your contact information and we will follow-up as soon as possible.
- You can identify your bank routing and account number on a check or through your online banking.
- The online giving portal offers both one-time and recurring gift options. You can cancel your recurring giving at any time.
- Online giving helps the church process more gifts with less time and input from our staff.
- Leverage bill pay through your bank or give from a donor-advised fund.
- The bank or donor-advised fund will prepare and mail the check for you.
- Indicate whether it’s a one-time gift or recurring.
- Make payable to Hillcrest Church or Hillcrest Chapel.
- If your gift is designated for a purpose or mission(ary), request that they add this note to the memo. When there is no visible designation, it is treated as general giving.
- Mail your check payment to the church: Hillcrest Church, 1400 Larrabee Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225. Please ensure that any designated gifts include a separate note or indication in the memo field. Otherwise, it will be treated as general giving. We recommend that you do not mail cash.
Gifts to University Christian Ministries should be directed to:
- Online: Campus Christian Fellowship (CCF) website – https://www.ccfministry.com/support
- Mail: University Christian Ministries (UCM), 1400 Larrabee Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225
* If gift is supporting an intern or missionary, please include a note or memo on the check.
While Hillcrest Church does accept gifts on behalf of UCM, it results in less administrative processing by directing your gift to UCM.
- Q: Are you guys regularly cleaning the building?
A: You bet! We are following the CDC recommended guidelines and using the approved cleaners to provide the most safe environment we are able. There are three part-time maintenance staff dedicated to this work.
- Q: What about outside community groups in the facility?
A: For now, outside community groups are not allowed to use our building until Phase 4.
- Q: What about weddings and funerals?
A: For now, weddings and funerals may carry on if they very clearly remain under 30 people. Receptions are also not able to happen at this time.
- At the point we receive any further pertinent social distancing mandate, we will contact all parties and let them know the event has to be postponed or reduced.
- Q: Are there way I can help?
A: Yes! We are currently putting together teams to both care for those within our church and reach out to our greater community during this time. We’d love to have you help us! We have two teams we are currently putting together, those who can physically visit people and bring supplies if needed, and those who can call people and provide ministry over the phone. You are welcome to be on either or both as you are able. Sign-up HERE!