UPDATE: TUESDAY, JULY 21 AT 4:00 PM
Our executive team and elders have decided to push back our Littleton campus reopening to Aug 29 + 30. Though we’re all disappointed, we have no question that it’s the right thing to do to keep everyone safe and be able to reopen strong.
The driving factor in this decision is discovering that COVID-19 is present and spreading among the church staff. We have both confirmed cases and others who are showing the symptoms but haven’t gotten results from their tests back yet.
I’m almost certainly infected myself, as is Coletta. We don’t have the results back from the tests yet, but the symptoms and timeframe all match up. Don’t worry, everyone we know who has been infected is doing fine. We don’t feel great, but we’re not in any kind of dire condition.
Pushing back the reopening to Aug 29+30 accomplishes a few things:
- Most importantly, this gives us time to be confident that this thing cannot be spread from the staff to anyone else.
- Currently, many of our local schools are planning to resume operations on Aug. 24, raising the possibility that we might be able to reopen with Kids ministry in place (though our Kids team will determine whether this is feasible and safe).
- The anticipated opening date gives our community a bit of time to get past the current spike in cases. It’s even possible that Arapahoe county will be given the Protect Our Neighbor status which will give us a 500 person cap. This would allow us to accommodate everyone who’s ready to come back without having to do so many extra services each weekend that our staff won’t be able to keep it up for multiple weeks.
In the meantime, we encourage you to join together with other families or your Life Group to watch weekend services together. If you’re not part of a group and would like to find one, you can use our Group Finder.
UPDATE: WEDNESDAY, JULY 8 AT 4:30 PM
Great news, church! We will be reopening our Littleton campus August 1 + 2, provided, of course, that there have been no rollbacks of the Colorado state reopening phases. We are optimistic that, by August 1 + 2, Arapahoe County will be in the Protect Our Neighbors phase of reopening which allows for gatherings of up to 500. This would allow us to tick off all of our “safe, high-quality, and accessible for everyone who’s ready to come back” boxes.
Even if we’re still capped at a lower number come August, though, we will go ahead and reopen at whatever restrictions are in place at the time. We haven’t wanted to reopen with a cap that would force us to turn away thousands of people each weekend, but at a certain point, staying closed to everyone becomes worse than reopening even though we know we won’t be able to accommodate everyone in each weekend’s services. Our feeling is that, by August, we will have crossed that point and it will simply be time to reopen even if the circumstances still aren’t great.
Of course, if Arapahoe County moves into the Protect Our Neighbors phase earlier than August 1 + 2 we will reopen earlier as well. While we will continue to adjust to updates in the requirements, you can check our website to see what to expect when we welcome you back for in-person services.
Because of the smaller size of our Español congregation, we will be opening the Español campus for in-person services starting this coming weekend. Learn more about our Español services here. We will also be allowing on-campus events that fully comply with the active state restrictions to meet at our Littleton Campus starting the week prior to the August 1 + 2 weekend.
So I’ll see you online this weekend for the launch of our new summer series, Wait, What? but I’m looking forward to seeing you in person August 1 + 2 or, just maybe, even a little sooner!
UPDATE: FRIDAY, JUNE 12 AT 8:00 AM
As of Wednesday afternoon, June 10, The Arapahoe County Commissioners have submitted a variance request to the Colorado Health Department (CHPDE) which is much more favorable to churches and local businesses. If approved, it should allow us to reopen our campuses.
Please pray for a quick approval of this variance plan as submitted
Remember, as we’ve said all along, we’ll reopen our campuses the moment we can provide a safe, high-quality worship experience for everyone who’s ready to come back.
As we plan for reopening our campuses, there are two commands from God we are paying particular attention to and we ask all of our Mission Hills family to do the same:
- Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Rom. 13:1)
- Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph. 5:21)
These two verses have – and will continue to – guide our decision-making in regards to reopening and what safeguards we take for in-person services when we do reopen.
We hope to see many of you on-campus very soon. In the meantime, join us online this weekend for an important message from the life of Joseph and stay on mission to those around you!
UPDATE: FRIDAY, JUNE 5 AT 3:00 PM
We’re still working to be able to reopen our physical campuses. This week Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released new guidelines that raise the limits on public gatherings, but specify a maximum 50 people.
As we have said from the beginning, we will open our campuses the moment we’re able to provide a safe, high-quality worship experience for everyone that is ready to come back. Based on our own survey, as well as conversations with churches around the country that have been able to reopen, we believe we need to be able to accommodate 50% of our normal weekend attendance in the first few weeks of reopening. With a cap of 50, this means we would need to do 40+ services…which is obviously not feasible.
Prior to the release of the latest set of guidelines, we had already begun to work with the Board of County Commissioners to request a variance for Arapahoe County similar to the one granted to Douglas County. So in terms of the variance, please pray for two things:
- Favor with the Arapahoe Board of County Commissioners. So far they have been wonderful to work with.
- A supernaturally speedy process leading to the granting of the variance. The variance process is complex, as you might imagine, but nothing is impossible for God!
This weekend we’ll be digging in to the story of Joseph, a story which has challenged me personally to recognize how easy it is to slip into the trap of looking at everything through the lens of how it impacts me. And that leads me to say this:
As we pray, let’s remember that the state guidelines do not only affect churches. There are many businesses in our community that are equally affected by the restrictions and they don’t have the luxury of an online option. Many restaurants are able to seat far more than 50 people with social distancing and they cannot afford to reopen with such a low cap. Many others, especially event-based businesses like photographers, caterers, florists, etc. are equally stuck. Please pray for the granting of a reasonable variance for the sake of all of our community.
See you online this weekend!
UPDATE: MONDAY, MARCH 30 AT 12:00 PM
In following Federal social distancing guidelines, all events on campus will be cancelled through Thursday, April 30. Please join us online each weekend for services at missionhills.org/live.
Join us online for Easter week services, and invite your friends and family to join you online from their homes! For more information and ideas on how to SPREAD HOPE in our communities during this time, visit our Easter page.
We are continuing to care for and support our community through the Life Center Food Bank and Mission Hills Care Finder. If you know someone with a need, or can help meet a need in your area, view our Care Finder for more information.
UPDATE: THURSDAY, MARCH 19 AT 4:00 PM
We believe that the church is not a place we come to, but a mission we choose to be part of. We are continuing to care for people, and working diligently to comply with CDC guidelines in order to support our communities and do our part. As such, all gatherings larger than 10 people at our campuses are cancelled through Friday, April 17.
- Mission Hills Early Learning Center will be closed through Friday, April 17. ELC Director Shelley Gibson will be in contact with families with more details.
- Easter Services will be streamed online. We are praying for how to use this opportunity to reach more people, and invite you to pray along with us!
UPDATE: MONDAY, MARCH 16 AT 4:00 PM
The health and safety of our congregation and community are important so we are working to adhere to quickly changing CDC guidelines. As such, all activities on the Mission Hills campus are suspended through Sunday, March 29.
- Weekend Services will be on Church Online. For the next two weekends we will gather live online during our normal service times – Saturday at 5 PM and Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM. Join us online at missionhills.org/live and share this link with a friend.
- Kids Ministry is working on online options for Kids during our live stream, and will send out information later this week. Click here to sign up for Kids email updates.
- Life Groups can choose to meet on their own. Group leaders, please contact Neil Eukel with any questions.
- The Serve Team Appreciation event on April 2 has been cancelled. We are monitoring all other April events (including Unexpected with Lysa TerKeurst and Easter), and will keep you posted here.
- The Life Center has suspended all activities except the Food Bank. Read more here.
- Student Ministry will not have programming this week (previously cancelled due to Spring Break) but we will be streaming next Wednesday night. Details coming soon.
- Have some extra time at home? Join our 24/7 prayer team – Mission Watch. Join here.
Offering: We will put a lock box at the top of the stairs by the Administrative Offices if you would like to drop off a check or cash. You can also give online or via text; visit our Give page for more information.
Staff: We are providing flexibility for our Mission Hills staff working environment – if people feel the need to stay home, they are allowed to work from home. If you need to reach a staff member, we encourage you to use email. Staff emails can be found on our Staff page. For general concerns, email us at email@example.com.
UPDATE: FRIDAY, MARCH 13 AT 4:00 PM
We wanted to take a moment and address our Mission Hills family for what to expect from us and how we are navigating COVID-19. We remain certain of God’s steadfast presence and careful attention to all that is happening.
We will NOT meet in person this weekend. Instead, we will gather live online : missionhills.org/live. It is particularly important for you to join us online this Saturday + Sunday. In addition to our regular programming, we will update you on how we plan to engage with you and your family during this season.WATCH ONLINE
- We will also be canceling our weekend services and midweek gatherings until further notice.
- The Early Learning Center (MHELC) will be following the Littleton Public School District guidelines and will be closed from Monday, March 16 – Friday, March 27.
- We are considering ways to Livestream for Student Ministry and other groups and we will keep you updated.
- We are monitoring the travel restriction policies being implemented by the various governments around the world and will keep our short-term trip teams updated on the status of these trips as we get more information. We still have a little time before a firm decision needs to be made on the earliest upcoming Mission Trip.
We continue to monitor the updates from local and national agencies and taking precautions to keep the threat as low as possible:
- While we are closed will sanitize highly touched surfaces regularly such as doors, handles, tables, water fountains, and bathrooms.
- We are providing flexibility for our Mission Hills staff working environment – if people feel the need to stay home, they are allowed to work from home.
- While nothing has been reported yet if in the future we identify a positive case on the Mission Hills staff, we will close the campus for 14 days and have a work from home policy during which time we will continue to hold services online and provide online (Zoom, etc) options for our other ministries. We will also have additional cleaning and sanitizing of the church.
We know that in the midst of great fear, there is an opportunity for us to share the peace and hope that we have in Jesus. We pray that as you encounter those who are struggling or frustrated, that you would see an opportunity to live on mission in your community.
Update: Saturday, March 7 at 12:00 PM
Mission Hills Church Family,
As you would probably expect, we’re keeping an eye on the developing Coronavirus situation and wanted to be proactive in sharing our perspective and our plans as a church.
Above all, let’s remember that we are people of faith, not fear. The uncertainty of this outbreak is creating anxiety in our workplaces, schools, and day-to-day activities. Yet we remain certain of God’s steadfast presence and careful attention to all that is happening. I’m confident that God wants us all to be reasonable in our precautions, but not lose sight of the larger reality of what it means to follow Jesus and be on mission with him.
At this point, given that the number of confirmed cases in Colorado is quite small and, following the recommendation of government officials, Mission Hills will be open for weekend services and we encourage you to join us on-campus this weekend.
Ironically, and perhaps not coincidentally, the message this weekend is all about the key to getting free from the weight of worry! I’ll give you a sneak peek: just by joining us this weekend, in spite of any worry you might have about the Coronavirus, you’ll be following one of God’s most powerful principles!
We also think it’s in everyone’s best interest to be mindful of some basic precautions. Let’s not be weighed down by worry, but let’s be wise as well. Below you’ll find some of our suggestions and a few insights into how we’re responding.
At Mission Hills Church, we want to care for our congregation in all respects, including the physical well-being of our community. To that end, we are asking you, our congregants, to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe, especially in light of recent developments with the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please be mindful of the guidance from the Colorado Department of Health and the CDC, including:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- While asymptomatic travelers from China are not mandated to observe a 14-day quarantine, we urge you to consider refraining from attending church events, classes and services until the 14-day time-frame has been observed. We also ask that anyone returning from a high-alert area (currently South Korea, Iran, Italy, Japan) consider doing the same.
- If you choose to stay home, you can join us online for all of our weekend services. We stream live on Saturdays at 5 PM and Sundays at 9:30 + 11 AM at www.live.missionhills.org or you can catch up on the sermon via your favorite podcast platform.
During this time, here’s how we are committed to keeping our campus clean:
1. We will sanitize highly touched surfaces before and after every service such as doors, handles, tables, water fountains, check-in stations, and sinks.
2. Our staff and serve teams will wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick.
3. We are working towards providing additional hand sanitizer stations around campus for everyone to use.
4. We will refrain from shaking hands in our services.
Please join us in praying for those who are affected by this illness, as well as their caregivers and those who are working around the clock to minimize the impact of this virus. In Psalm 46, we are reminded that it is God who is our refuge and strength, and our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, let us not fear, but with confidence use this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus through our prayers and our care for others.