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  • Updates: COVID-19

    Scott McKee Blog 3 months ago

    UPDATE: May 28, 2020 at 5:40 p.m.

    Ward Family,
    Since I last wrote, the president has declared churches essential. The governor extended a stay-at-home order.
    That’s not all. Nearly one thousand of you shared your feelings on returning to campus through our recent survey. Thank you!
    Allow me share some of those results, our plans for worship and my encouragement to you.
    Yours,
    Scott

    Sunday Worship Services

    • Worship services will be held exclusively online at least through Sunday, May 31 at ward.church/live. There will services at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. and 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. Service will also be available by radio at 11:00 a.m. on WRDT 560.
    • The building is closed to the public.

    Activities + Events

    • All Ward Church programs are suspended until further notice. The building is closed, but we’re not taking a break! Our church staff is working remotely and Entry 5 is open for various community relief related drop-off and pick-ups.
    • Need help? Call 248.374.7400 and we can direct your call.

    Taking Action

    Fantastic staff and volunteers have been in place, already responding to needs recognized in the community. From calling hundreds of our most at-risk population in order to proactively learn and respond to needs, to partnering with local school districts and non-profits to distribute meals — there is work being done and more to go! Let us know how you can help, or if you need help.
    Are you or someone you know experiencing hardship due to COVID-19? We want to personally connect you to resources.
    This pandemic is a huge opportunity for us to share God’s love with people in need. Discover ways you can be part of the response.

    FAQ’s

    When will Sunday worship services be streamed?

    We will livestream worship at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. We will broadcast these streams again at 2, 4 and 6 p.m.

    How long will services be exclusively streamed?

    We are monitoring local and federal recommendations on a daily, and often hourly, basis. We will make ongoing decisions with the information available and update you via website, email and social media. For now, the yellow box toward the top of this page includes the most up-to-date cancellations and postponements.

    How will the mission of Ward Church be impacted by this?

    There is nothing that can stop the church of Jesus from prevailing in every season, at every time. You and I get to be part of it! Staff and volunteers in each ministry area are adapting to new challenges and continuing to lead generations to live and love like Jesus.

    With physical worship services suspended, giving will be impacted. Our prayer is that those who call Ward Church home continue to trust God with their resources and continue to partner with their local church. Now, possibly more than ever, lies an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus here in our community and around the world. If you rely on in-person gatherings to fuel the mission, please consider setting up your recurring gift today at ward.church/give. Need help? Contact Chris Ockerman, Director of Administration or Jeff Mitchell, Director of Digital Experience. Both are ready to assist you.

    Chris Ockerman – Director of Administration

    Jeff Mitchell – Director of Digital Experience

    What can I do to help?

    This pandemic is a huge opportunity for us to share God’s love with people in need. Everyone can do something. Discover some of the ways you can be part of the response here. Please return to this page periodically to view new opportunities.

    Has my event at Ward Church been canceled?

    Please view the yellow box at the top of this page. Real-time updates are being posted there.

    PRIOR UPDATES

    UPDATE: May 22, 2020 at 12:40 p.m.

    Ward Family,
    Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer!
    I’d like to share some thoughts about re-engaging with life, including a peek into some of our plans for June.
    Yours,
    Scott

    UPDATE: April 3, 2020 at 8:50 a.m.

    Friends,
    Worship at home is our new normal, at least for the month of April. I’m sharing tips for the bestworship at homeexperience. I’ve included a sneak peek of some new features you can expect in the weeks ahead, beginning this weekend.
    I pray this message finds you well. Know that I am with you and for you.
    Scott

    UPDATE: April 1, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

    Ward Family,
    I’m eager to show you a few of the ways God’s people are living and loving like Jesus! Allow me to share some new updates and endless thanks.
    Yours,
    Scott

    UPDATE: March 25, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.

    Dear Ward Family,

    I pray that you and your loved ones are staying healthy and well. Many of us are experiencing new realities with the stay-at-home order—some are out of work, while others are working from home. In a time when fear is likely to creep in, I encourage you to focus on what is true: God is good, faithful to His promises, and able to provide.

    While the past week has held its challenges, I’ve seen God at work in our church through the community being cultivated and the needs being met. Did you know Ward Church members are helping Northville and Livonia Schools deliver meals to families who rely on the free and reduced school lunch program? Other Ward members are sewing medical masks for health care and nursing home workers. Hundreds of you have made financial gifts online or by mail. Our partners at Northville Civic Concern and Help’s on the Way have had to creatively adapt to the new reality and have moved to curbside distribution of the non-perishable food items provided by Ward members though Spring Bounty. Check out our Give Help page to learn more about some of the ways you can help. If you or someone you know is in need of tangible or emotional support, we are here for you. Our Get Help page has resources, a place for prayer requests and more.

    Sunday morning worship will continue online. Oh how I wish we could be together, but it seems our gatherings for now will need to be virtual. I apologize for the intermittent interruptions experienced in some of our services last Sunday. These timeouts were not the fault of our tech team, but were caused when our livestream provider was overloaded by an unprecedented number of broadcasts and viewership as millions of Americans connected with their church online. The problem has been resolved, and our team has even designed our own backup system. In addition to Sunday worship, many of us are gathering on Facebook each evening for Scripture reading and prayer.

    In this odd season, we have a tremendous opportunity to show that our church is not a building, but a body of believers who are committed to God, to one another, to serving, and to sharing Christ’s love.

    I’d love to know – How have you seen God at work during this challenging time? Take a moment to share here.

    With you,

    Pastor Scott

    UPDATE: March 19, 2020 at 4:45 p.m.

    Ward Friends,

    While the days have been challenging, I’m thankful for the increase in opportunities we’ve had to connect. Many of you joined in prayer last night through our livestream. We set our hearts on God’s goodness. We lifted up those facing anxiety and prayed for our under-resourced community, our leaders and medical teams.

    I am looking forward to being with you for worship this Sunday. Remember, you may stream either Classic or Modern services at 9:30 or 11 a.m. and again at 2, 4 and 6 p.m.

    For now, I wanted to share some thoughts about this unique season from the place I go to gain perspective and hear from God.

    Pastor Scott

    UPDATE: March 17, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

    Dear Ward Church Friends,

    As you know, last Sunday we offered worship services online only. Our musicians and tech team did a great job adapting to the challenge.  Attendance was outstanding! We had Easter-Sunday-like attendance with thousands viewing online through various platforms. Thank you for you generosity, too. Many people gave online for the first time. Your giving supports the work of the church locally and globally. If you missed the live experience Sunday you can watch the sermon recording online.

    I am hosting an online prayer meeting this Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. This prayer meeting will be less than an hour long and is for all ages. Before we pray, I will give you a brief update on how our church plans to minister to our community during this season. Wednesday’s prayer meeting can be streamed the same way you stream Sunday morning worship services at ward.church/live or Facebook Live.

    Please watch the video message above and know that I am praying for you.

    Pastor Scott

    UPDATE: March 12, 2020 at 9 p.m.

    Please view this update from Senior Pastor, Scott McKee. Rather than in-person gatherings, all of our worship services on March 15 + 22 will be offered exclusively online. We invite you to gather in your homes with your small group, family or neighbors to join in worship together. In addition to the 9:30 and 11 a.m. livestream, we will re-broadcast worship services at 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. You may also tune into the radio broadcast at 11 a.m. on WRDT 560. Sunday activities are postponed for March 15 + 22, including Adult Life Groups, WardKids, WardStudents and Hand in Hand.

    UPDATE: MARCH 11, 2020 at 7 p.m.

    A note from Pastor Scott McKee –

    I want to provide an update on some of the contingency plans we have been making in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Please read through this entire note, as it contains detailed plans for keeping our congregation safe and how you can help.

    At this time, we remain open and we will continue to have services on Sundays and midweek programming. In the event that local and state health officials do mandate closure or we determine it is in the best interest of our church family to close, we will inform everyone to the best of our abilities through our website, emails, and social media.

    Here are three steps you can take today as part of the church body to prepare for potential future obstacles to worship:

    1. Make sure you are set up to worship online.  If you have never joined a worship service online, take a moment this week to practice. For the best viewing and interaction, download the Ward Church App for use on your mobile device or on your television through Roku or Apple TV. Take a moment to test your app and get to know the features.  Alternately, you can always go to www.ward.church/live to watch services live from your computer. If you are over 70 years of age and need assistance setting things up, send us an email and let us know. We will arrange for someone to personally coach you, even visiting your house if necessary. Our Deacons have provided a limited number of Roku sticks for seniors which can enable your home TV to view Sunday services.
    2. Automate your giving.This may sound self-serving, but if this outbreak worsens (and even if our prayers are answered and it doesn’t), the church is going to be needed. The ministries of the church are vital to our members and to our community.  Setting up a recurring gift helps the church by providing steady income not affected by snow storms, vacations, or illnesses. Setting up a recurring gift helps donors by providing a convenient way to become a consistent giver. It just takes a minute to set things up.
    3. Stand ready to help others.Throughout history, Christians have often stood out because they were willing to help the sick even during plagues, pandemics, and persecutions. They loved people and weren’t afraid of death because they understood that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). By stepping into the mess of sickness and disease, they were able to demonstrate their faith to a watching world. So, rather than just asking “How do I stay healthy?” perhaps we should be also ask “How can I help the sick?” Let’s be quick to help and slow to hide in basements.  If you are fit and healthy, you may be called upon to help serve someone who has been affected or is at risk.

    I believe it is important for us to be informed, and cautious, and prayerful. However, let me remind you that worry is not our friend, and panic is not our way. Solomon reminds us, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small”(Prov. 24:10). May it never be said that God’s people are governed more by fear than faith. In times of crisis, the world needs steady people who are strengthened by God’s grace and selfless by God’s power.

    We need to keep things in perspective. For most of us, catching the coronavirus would mean very little other than perhaps a missed day of work. Coronavirus, in most respects, is similar to the flu. However, for the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions, coronavirus and the flu pose a much greater threat. For that reason, we are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of illness.

    • Sanitizing: Our facilities team continues to sanitize counters, door handles, children’s toys, and, especially, the Climb ‘n Slide. Extra hand-sanitizer dispensers have been added throughout the building.
    • Greeting: When greeting people in worship services and in the hallways, we recommend you greet each other with smiles and waves instead of handshakes.
    • Communion:  We will not serve communion on the first Sunday of April as is our habit.  We do, however, plan to serve communion at our Maundy Thursday service.  We will provide prepacked, individually wrapped communion elements.
    • Personal Prevention: We encourage everyone to follow the proper prevention methods recommended by the CDC, including washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.

    While we cannot control the virus, the spread, or the impact it has in our church, we’re doing everything we can to make our campus as safe and clean as possible. We appreciate your cooperation and commitment to help us do just that. We must also remember that God has not called us to live in fear but in faith. As the apostle, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” My prayer is that God will fill all of us with these three gifts, no matter what comes our way.

    UPDATE: MARCH 5, 2020

    Ward Family,

    The coronavirus continues to dominate the news. Even though the risk to the general public is low (according to the CDC), it is natural and prudent to be concerned about anything referred to as a “global pandemic.” Even the stock market has been rattled by concerns of global impact. Fear is one of the biggest movers of the market. How should we respond?

    First of all, let me remind you that we are not to live by fear. You may have noticed that recent news articles have been less about the spread of the virus, and more about the spread of fear. Fear is contagious. Remember that news outlets often highlight the worst-case scenarios. We need to seek truth over rumors. We need to make sure we are checking multiple outlets of news and relying on credible sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Secondly, we need to pray. Prayer will accomplish much more than panic. Let us pray for the cessation of the disease, and for all affected. Pray for the gospel to go forth boldly in the midst of this trial.

    Thirdly, we can take our awareness and prevention efforts up a notch. The health department says that the steps you normally take to prevent the spread of flu and the common cold are the same steps to help prevent Coronavirus.

    • Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
    • Stay home if you are sick.
    • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, and have your children/grandchildren do the same.
    • Feel free to greet each other with a fist bump or a smile, instead of a handshake or hug.

    I want to assure you that our facilities team has a very specific cleaning protocol for the Climb ‘n Slide, and all other children’s areas and restrooms which provide hospital grade disinfection. Hand sanitizer dispensers are located at all entrances.

    If you need to miss church due to illness, you can “attend church” online via livestream. Just go to ward.church/live. You can also give online at ward.church/give. I encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, to download the Ward Church App, which is the best way to view sermons and to access news and other features.

    God is in control and we can trust in Him!

    Yours,
    Scott

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