Oct 22, 2020 (1:00pm CST)
Dear HCC Family,
The Medical Advisory Committee has been working closely with the HCC Staff and church leadership to come up with alternative, safer ways to gather as a church body while we await the conditions surrounding the current pandemic to improve. At this point, we still have not met the criteria necessary to move back into the building for church ministries and services (see our De-Escalation Plan for more details).
In addition to continuing to produce Home Worship Guides, we believe that outdoor worship gatherings would be the best option for those who would like to meet in person. In order to provide guidance to both Houston Chinese Church (HCC) and Pearland Chinese Church (PCC), we have decided to utilize a county-by-county COVID-19 dashboard located here to assess how to move forward specifically for our outdoor services. It is based on a four-category scale: green, yellow, orange, and red (based on the 7-day average of daily new cases per 100k people).
Risk Level Categories
Red: 25+ cases per 100,000 people
Orange: 10-24 cases per 100,000 people
Yellow: 1-9 cases per 100,000 people
Green: <1 case per 100,000 people
Note: There has been a problem with backlogging for Harris County (causing there to be both “recent cases” and “older cases” to be calculated in the above website). Because of this, while backlogging remains an issue for Harris County, we will recalculate numbers using “recent cases” only directly from the Harris County Public Health COVID-19 dashboard. To ensure accuracy, we will be directly calculating the numbers from time to time using the case counts from each county’s public health websites, using the estimated 2020 population statistics, and comparing them to the first dashboard mentioned above. If there is a discrepancy, we will base our decisions about outdoor services on the data from the county-specific public health websites.
When a county (Harris County for HCC and Brazoria County for PCC) is in either RED or ORANGE zones, we plan on utilizing drive-in services (where members and guests stay in their cars for the duration of the gathering).
When a county is in the YELLOW zone, we plan on utilizing hybrid outdoor services (where members and guests sit outdoors spaced out 6+ feet from each other wearing masks; those who are 65 years or older, have underlying medical conditions, are immunocompromised, or families with infants/toddlers can join in their cars).
For both types of gatherings, there will be a pre-registration process and form where you will find more detailed information.
Currently, both Harris and Brazoria Counties are in the YELLOW zone. We will be monitoring the conditions closely, so please keep in mind that the type of outdoor Sunday gatherings hosted will change as COVID-19 (or weather) conditions change.
Medical Advisory Committee
September 18, 2020 (1:00pm CST)
Dear HCC Family,
The Facility Reopen Committee has prepared a guideline detailing how we will sanitize and maintain HCC facilities in preparation for eventual reopening. We want to share this guideline with you and welcome any questions, suggestions, or concerns you may have. You can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
HCC Facilities Reopening Usage Guideline
This communication shall be published on the HCC website and communicated and/or emailed to all members through Community Group and congregational leaders. When HCC re-opens for corporate worship and fellowship, please follow these guidelines for EVERYONE’s health safety:
During the last 14 days, if you have been around anyone who has tested COVID-19 positive, traveled to a COVID-19 hotspot, or exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms (i.e. fever, shortness of breath, cough), please self-quarantine for 14 days, consult your primary care physician, and do not enter the church.
If your temperature measured at the church entrance is above 100.4℉, do not enter the church.
If you are 5-years-old or older, you must wear a mask or nose and mouth covering while on the church campus.
Maintain at least a 6-foot space between you and others outside your family while you are on the church campus.By entering this church campus, you agree to abide by these guidelines in order for all to worship together.
Additional guidelines and information while on the HCC campus:
Health Safety Admission Protocol: Enter the main building through the main double-doors on the south side, the double-doors on the east side (near the Youth Center), or the door on the north side (outside the kitchen). An attendant stationed at each entrance will measure your temperature each time you enter. While you are waiting to have your temperature checked, please maintain 6-feet of space between you and others. In order to be admitted to the building, you must wear a mask over your nose and mouth (if you are 5-years-old or older) AND your temperature must measure at or below 100.4℉. Those who are not admitted may attend meetings via live Zoom or recorded meeting when available.
Anyone who exits the building must return to an appointed entrance and submit to the Health Safety Admission Protocol.
While on the campus, attendees must wear their masks and maintain 6-feet space from others–e.g. sitting in the sanctuary, chapel, or classroom for a meeting, waiting in an office for assistance, or standing the hallway talking. Families must manage the proper wearing of masks and spacing of their children.
Bathrooms will be labeled with a maximum occupancy. Those who use the bathroom should wait outside if all available bathroom receptacles are in use. (Bathroom receptacles and sinks that are not divided by a barrier will be taped off.)
Water fountains will NOT be available for use.
During heightened safety protocols, the playgrounds will be closed for use. Additionally, no food or drink services will be provided during meetings or fellowship time.
Anyone who repeatedly violates the established guidelines will be gently warned before being asked to leave or escorted out of the building.
Any activity that requires the use of the church facility must submit a request to and receive approval from Roy Chen.
Facility Sanitization Plan:
Deep clean entire facility – 2nd and 4th week
- Machine clean all tile floors, including restrooms
- Shampoo all carpeted floors, including sanctuary, classrooms, and trailers
- Clean all tables and chairs
- Spray disinfectants on all surfaces
- Wipe clean all door knobs and door surfaces
One week before Stage 3,
- Restart all regular weekly cleaning routines
- Clean all restrooms
- Machine clean all tire floors
One week before Stage 2
- Use Micro Fogger to disinfect all restrooms, classrooms, sanctuary, and hallways. On a Sunday afternoon when facility is empty, except children’s rooms
- Deep clean and sanitize children and youth areas–furniture, fixtures, equipment, and toys
One week before Stage 1
- Touch up clean sanctuary
- Deep clean and sanitize kitchen
- Weekly Clean
- Use Micro Fogger to disinfect sanctuary and restrooms every Monday
Facility Related Matters:
Sanitations Supply Inventory
- All chemicals used are CDC-, FDA-, and EPA-approved
- 3 months supply of masks, gloves, cleaners, hand sanitizers, soaps, and paper products have been prepared.
- Infra-red, no-touch thermometers for checking temperatures of staff, volunteers, and attendees: 8 for South Main and 2 for Pearland
- Each entrance shall be staffed by at least 2 volunteers to measure temperatures for Health Safety Admission Protocol.
- Each exit shall be staffed by at least 1 volunteer to prevent re-entry.
- At least 2 security guards shall be available on site as escort to control situation.
Monitor indoor activities: Teams to be scheduled to monitor activities.
The Facilities Reopen Committee
August 18, 2020 (1:00pm CST)
Dear HCC Family,
It’s been a while since our last coronavirus-related update and we want to communicate with you our guidelines for facility usage when it is safe to reopen.
We are still at Stage 4 on our De-escalation Plan and the Medical Advisory Committee is closely monitoring the pandemic. While facility reopening remains a distant possibility, we believe it is time to share with you our facility usage guidelines so that we can hear your feedback and respond to any questions.
In accordance with the CDC guidelines and the Governor’s Office recommendations regarding best practices to reopen houses of worship, these guidelines will be utilized by Houston Chinese Church when we reopen our campus for worship.
When HCC re-opens for corporate worship and fellowship, please follow these guidelines for everyone’s health safety.
Facility Usage Guidelines
In the last 14 days, if you have been around anyone who has tested COVID-19 positive, traveled to a COVID-19 hotspot, or exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms (ie fever, shortness of breath, cough), please self-quarantine for 14 days, consult your primary care physician, and do not enter the church.
If your temperature measured at the church entrance is above 100.4, do not enter the church.
(Except for children in Pre-K and under or under the age of 5), wear a mask or nose and mouth covering while you are on the church campus.
Maintain at least a 6-foot space between you and others outside your family while you are on the church campus.
By entering this church campus, you agree to abide by these guidelines in order for all to worship together.
Face Mask Requirement
Anyone who refuses a temperature check or wearing a face mask will not be admitted into the building for any church activity (including Sunday worship, Sunday School, or general fellowship or mingling).
Also, there is no provision for on-site quarantine or separate closed-circuit Sunday worship for anyone rejecting the established protocol (masks and temperature check).
The Medical Advisory Committee is recommending that we keep our mask requirements in place as long as the pandemic is still ongoing. This means that even in Stage 0, we would like to have the masks in place. When pandemic resolves, we suggest looking for the following two conditions to be met before stopping the face mask requirement for HCC gatherings:
A vaccine is available and widely in use in the community.
Public officials confirm that social distancing measures and masks are no longer necessary.
We will publish and distribute a more detailed Facility Usage Guideline in the coming weeks. Your safety is our goal even as we strive to prepare the facility for reopening. If you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to communicate with us via email@example.com.
The Facility Reopen Committee
June 13, 2020 (4:00pm CST)
We have made some revisions to our COVID-19 De-escalation Plan as we continue to monitor the situation surrounding the virus here in Houston. Please take a look especially at the new trigger points for each stage of de-escalation. We will be using this chart from the Texas Medical Center, in particular, to help guide whether or not we move down to each of the next stages. If you have any questions about whether or not you fall into the higher risk category of getting a severe illness from COVID-19, you can visit this website from the CDC.
May 29, 2020 (1:00pm CST)
As the COVID-19 curve show signs of flattening, we are preparing for the church to resume some activities as we de-escalate from complete facility shutdown. No one could have imagined how long we have been forced to stay apart. The church has set up a Facilities Reopen Committee to set up guidelines and safety precautions when we gather in-person once again. We will update you on timelines and dates as to when different church activities can resume.
In the meantime, we would like to gauge your willingness and hear your thoughts regarding precautions and guidelines we are considering for in-person gatherings. While our decisions will not be made based on popular opinion, we do care about your concerns and expectations. Your feedback is very important to us in this reopening process.
If you are a member (or regularly attend one of our services or groups at the South Main campus), please take the survey that is being distributed. The survey form will close on June 8th. We really appreciate your feedback!
The Facilities Reopen Committee
May 14, 2020 (12:00pm CST)
Last Saturday, May 9th, 2020, the Church Council approved a revised version of the COVID-19 De-escalation Plan that has now been aligned with the methodology and language in the official guidance from the Governor’s Office. We will be monitoring the number of cases in the Greater Houston area to ensure there is no significant rebound of COVID-19 cases following each of the three phases in the governor’s reopening plan as we consider de-escalating according to the chart.
April 28, 2020 (10:00pm CST)
In light of the recent announcement from the Texas Governor’s Office, the pastors and elders met on Tuesday, April 28th and clarified that HCC, according to our COVID-19 De-escalation Plan, will remain in Stage 4 until the end of May at the earliest.
Since one of our key triggers for Stage 4 is school closures (HISD will not open campuses for the remainder of the school year), we will remain in this critical stage until the end of the school year. So, until the end of May, our building remains closed and Sunday services canceled. By June, we will reassess what stage we are in and provide an update.
In the meanwhile, the Church Council will make appropriate edits to the De-escalation Plan to align it with the methodology and language in the official guidance from the Governor’s Office. We will post the revised De-escalation Plan asap.
April 15, 2020 (3:00pm CST)
The HCC Church Council has approved the following COVID-19 De-escalation Plan to be in place alongside the current Response Plan. As you can see, it’s essentially the Response Plan, but inverted so that we can see the steps our church will take as the situation surrounding COVID-19 slowly improves. We added a Stage 0 just because we want to be extra cautious when it comes to those who are more vulnerable to the virus in our congregation. It won’t be “normal” in the sense of going back to how things were pre-COVID-19. But it will be a new normal. Until the medical research community is able to develop a viable vaccine for COVID-19 that is widely disseminated, there may always be a chance for the virus to take root again in our community. So with both the Response Plan and the De-escalation Plan in place, we hope that as a church we will be able to navigate the fluid situations that may arise in the future.
March 21, 2020 (8:30pm CST)
Home worship guides for this Sunday have been posted. We migrated them from Google Docs to our website. The YouTube videos for the Special Word and Sermon will be posted Sunday morning. Please review the guide tonight and prepare accordingly. You can also access an archive of guides from previous weeks. Visit: hcc.lv/homeworshipguide
March 17, 2020
Home worship guides for this Sunday are still in process. They will be released by Saturday 7:00pm and will include a video-recorded sermon this time! In the meantime, you can access last Sunday’s guide: 3.15.20 HCC Home Worship Guide [ENGLISH]
March 14, 2020 (7:00pm CST)
Brothers and sisters, we are facing unprecedented times for our church and our city. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak among the general population, we have reached Stage 4 (CRITICAL) of our COVID-19 Response Plan. That means all Sunday worship services have been suspended until further notice.
We should grieve the fact that we cannot gather together as a church family – in the presence of God and fellow brothers and sisters – to corporately worship on the Lord’s Day. But duty to honor governing authorities and love of neighbor compel us to temporarily suspend our in-person gatherings. Through social distancing, we can help limit the spread of this virus, and Lord-willing, we will soon be able to gather again to worship as the church on the Lord’s Day.
In the meantime, we have created a Guide to Home Worship that explains how families, couples, and singles can conduct home worship on the Lord’s Day. Each week a new guide will be made available by Saturday evening. Home worship cannot replace the God-ordained purpose and power of corporate worship as the church, but during this time of crisis, we hope it will be used by God to encourage believers, strengthen faith, and equip husbands, fathers, and spiritual heads to lead their family in worship.
Please share this Guide to Home Worship with anyone who worships with HCC. Enjoy your time of home worship!
March 12, 2020 (5:30pm CST)
Things are moving rapidly. At 1:30pm CST today, Harris County Public Health issued a public guidance effective until March 31 or until otherwise noted. They “strongly urge the organizers of any events over 250 people to cancel or postpone such events.”
According our HCC COVID-19 Response Plan, we have entered Stage 4 (CRITICAL). Effectively immediately, we will:
- Close church building and suspend Sunday services
- Offer members a weekly guide on how to conduct family worship and/or personal devotions (maintain current sermon series and include a pre-recorded new sermon from pastors)
- Move all in-person gatherings online (including groups that meet in homes)
- Require staff to work from home
Since all Sunday services will be suspended this weekend, we will be sending members a detailed guide for how to conduct family worship and/or personal devotions that incorporates a pre-recorded sermon from this Sunday’s scheduled preachers (Mandarin, Cantonese, and English). This suspension will be in effect until the end of March and could be prolonged if deemed necessary. Please keep our church, city, and country in your prayers!
March 12, 2020 (10:00am CST)
After extensive deliberation last night, the Elders and Pastors of HCC have determined the following HCC COVID-19 Response Plan.
We are currently in Stage 3 (ALERT). We will be recommending to the Council in our (online) meeting this Saturday to form a Rapid Response Team that will closely monitor the situation. The moment the Rapid Response Team determines that HCC is in Stage 4 (CRITICAL), then decisive action will be taken. Stay up to date by regularly checking this page or our Facebook page. We recommend checking this page before you head to bed on Saturday night.
All Sunday services (English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Pearland) are still scheduled as planned. Sunday programming for Children and Youth will still be available. But adult Sunday School classes will be suspended along with lunch and any post-lunch activities/meetings. We also recommend for older adults (>60), immunology-compromised adults and children, and anyone expressing flu-like symptoms to remain at home. We will be testing a live-stream feed of the Chinese worship services this weekend (log-in instructions in a subsequent post). Of course, things could change very quickly, so check for updates regularly.
March 11, 2020 (5:00pm CST)
This afternoon the city of Houston and Harris county both issued emergency health declarations in light of the first non-travel related coronavirus case in the region. Large gatherings and community events like the Houston Rodeo have been canceled. We are closely monitoring the situation. The Elders and Pastors will be meeting tonight (online) and will provide an update tomorrow to all members on the status of meetings and worship services for this coming weekend. Please stay updated via our website, Facebook page, or email (to members).
March 6, 2020
Dear HCC members,
HCC is aware of the presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Houston. The safety of our members are always the top priority and we will continue to monitor and take the guidance of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health officials.
If you have recently travelled out of USA, especially the following countries: China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong and Iran, we ask you to:
- Self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
- Inform the Houston Health Department of your recent travel for monitoring at (832)393-5080.
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible if any symptoms develop.
Regardless of your recent travel, if you have a fever or any flu-like symptoms, seek medical attention as needed and please rest up and refrain from attending church or any other public events until you are well.
These are the actions that will be taken now- temporary measures that will be reversed once new cases of COVID-19 in the Greater Houston area are well past the peak and it is deemed wise and safe to return to our usual routines:
- We will encourage pastors not to shake hands at the end of services.
- We will no longer pass the bags for offertory during services. Please use the offering drop box or give online.
- We will provide hand sanitizer throughout the church for you and your family to readily use.
- We will adjust the way we conduct the Communion service so that the elements are not passed from person to person.
- Sunday lunch will be cancelled until further notice.
We follow the recommendations of local and federal health authorities in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the flu, as well as other upper respiratory viruses. Some of the recommendations include these prevention tips:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching the face including the eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then dispose of it.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Get plenty of rest.
Do not fear and continue gathering as you normally would if you are healthy. Let us not overreact. As children of God, we should exercise proper precautions but also walk in faith in God’s protection. We live in the peace of God and we do not contribute to a spirit of panic.
Let us pray for God’s mercy, protection, and peace during this time. Pray for Christ-believers’ witness during this time. Pray for wisdom as we monitor the situation and discern misinformation that spreads panic.
We will be sharing updated and important information through our website. Please keep our church, community, city, nation and world in your prayers during this time of uncertainty and concern.
In God’s Grace,
Pastor Fred Tow