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