HF covid-19 response

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we no longer providing onsite weekend services during the COVID-19 concern?
It is our conviction to work in submission with our federal, state, and local government agencies who have requested that gatherings of more than 10 people be postponed until further notice in order to slow down the spread of the COVID-19. We want to do our part to ensure that our healthcare systems continue to be able to offer effective treatment for the increasing number of patients.
The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America

How does HF make decisions regarding the COVID-19?
Our plan of action is to seek to hear from God and remain obedient to the Lord within the context of honoring our government leaders. We will continue to assess the situation within this framework as things develop.

How long will we continue to only provide online weekend services?
Our current plan is to continue with online-only services and events until the end of March, and possibly for some time after that. We will continue to stay alert to upcoming developments, paying attention to our government authorities and reassess accordingly. Please check your email, the Harborview Facebook page and our website to stay informed of our onward strategy.

What time will the Sunday service be live-streamed?
We will live-stream the service at 9am every Sunday until further notice.

Are there any remote connecting or learning opportunities available during this time?
YES! It is our priority to continue ministry, support, and connecting opportunities for our church family during this time. Please note the following connection and learning points that will be available for everyone to join:
  • We will continue meeting online @ 9am on Sunday mornings through the Facebook Live portal, so again, please make sure to “Like” and “Follow” the Harborview Fellowship Facebook page.
  • We have resumed Outdoor Meetings at 11am on Sunday mornings.
  • We will periodically provide pertinent truth content as we feel directed based on the unfolding situation. This will either be streamed through the Facebook Live sessions mentioned above or posted as videos or articles on our Facebook page.
  • Our music team will provide a playlist of worship songs that will be a source of strength, faith and encouragement to you during this time. We will “pin” the worship playlist at the top of our Facebook page so that it will be easy to find anytime you visit. It is important to keep the atmospheres in our homes God-centered and Spirit-filled during this time – this will provide spiritual stabilization in the turbulence.
  • Please stay connected and tuned in to your small groups and ministry & service teams for ongoing personal connection and to provide and receive helpful information. If you have prayer requests, please make them known so that we can stand with you in faith for your situation. The building may be closed, but the church remains active.
  • Youth, children, and women’s ministry will continue to communicate through the established channels, so please stay tuned to these demographic groups for connection and encouragement.
Please will you also use this time to make sure you are receiving our church emails so that you will receive any written communication sent out by us. If you have not been receiving our emails, it is because you are not subscribed, or they are going to your spam or junk folders.


CLICK HERE to join our HF mailing list.

This would be a great time to check your profile on CCB (Church Community Builder), our web-based communication and database platform, to ensure that your preferences for contact are set appropriately and your information remains current – CLICK HERE to access the CCB website.

What overall attitude do we encourage people to have during this unusual time?
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)

While we understand that this is an unprecedented situation that is quickly unfolding and that many are gripped with different degrees of fear, we believe that God has the church in place for such a time as this. We are called to be light in the darkness. However, this does not mean that we abandon wisdom and behave irresponsibly. In fact, our compassionate care for others leads us to fearlessly cooperate with the universal goal of slowing down the spread of COVID-19 by supporting the cautionary measures instituted by our local and federal governments.

We therefore encourage an attitude of bold responsibility. Be on the lookout for ways that you can be a blessing and an encouragement to others in need during this time. Practical service is a sure way to make our presence and love felt by others.

Finally, let’s agree to make prayer a priority in our lives during this time. Pray for our church family and especially those who are sick or shut in during this time. Pray that the virus quickly becomes dormant and stops spreading. Pray for medical leaders and researchers. Pray for our government leaders to make wise decisions. Pray for the people in our communities. God is still on the throne, so let’s use this time to draw close to Him in prayer and worship.

What to do if I, or someone I know, needs urgent help?
We are instituting a hotline for those in our HF family who have urgent needs at: together@harborviewfellowship.org. We are setting up an infrastructure to provide services to those in our church family who are not able to get out and about. The above email address is the first step to enter the process, not only as one receiving care but also as a caregiver.

How can I give my tithes and offerings?
You can CLICK HERE to give. Please know that we are currently strategizing to provide continuing ministry in different forms during this time. We have invested in some new capacities to enable us to do so, and our basic operational costs remain close to normal.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

Email: admin@harborviewfellowship.org
Phone: 253.514.8229

communication & updates

MARCH 26, 2020 COMMUNICATION

WHAT’S HF’S RESPONSE TO THE STAY HOME – STAY HEALTHY ORDER?
The emergence of the Covid-19 virus - and resulting State and Federal responses - result in us living in extraordinary times. Our government leaders continue to issue orders regarding public conduct in their effort to fight the spread of the virus. In real-time, HF leaders are committed to looking for opportunities to support and comply with these directives and to especially observe the laws of our State and Nation.
In this rapidly changing context, we need to clarify what methods of service are legally permitted under the Governor's Order and, specifically, whether they are considered “essential” or not; we must know exactly what is mandated as law - and what is not.

Worldviews and Ideologies
In any crisis, differing worldviews and ideologies quickly surface and differing opinions emerge regarding decisions and actions that are taken (or not taken). Because these events expose new and differing tensions, it is challenging to make decisions with which everyone can agree. As an example, the following are some of the contrasting ideologies held by people related to the Covid-19 issues:
· Safety vs. Freedom
· Health Impacts vs. Economic Impacts
· Conservative vs. Liberal
· Secular vs. God-centered
· Conspiracy Hoax vs. Apocalyptic Plague
· Deep State Ploy vs. Spontaneous Outbreak
· Religious Freedom vs. Government Mandate
· Individual Freedom vs. Group Compliance
How many - and which - ideologies are held by each individual determines the matrix of each person’s opinion. This results in differing perspectives, positions, and tensions on decisions that are implemented.

HF Elders Guiding Principles
As an elder team, we are navigating this ever-changing reality by:
  • focusing on the facts - as best we can understand them
  • staying grounded in biblical truths
  • actively listening to the Lord’s voice
  • valuing the input of each elder and ‘staying in the discussion’ until alignment is reached
Facts
The Governor's Most Recent Emergency Order
On March 23rd, Governor Inslee issued a "Stay Home Stay Healthy" order. For the sake of clarity, this is different than a "Shelter in Place" order.
It is important to note that this order was issued in the context of a State of Emergency declared by the Governor and not under Martial Law. This has legal implications.
  • "Shelter in Place" means finding a safe location indoors and staying there until you are given an "all clear" or told to evacuate. See: https://emergency.yale.edu/be-prepared/shelter-place
  • The Governor's "Stay Home - Stay Healthy" Proclamation advises everyone to stay home. Yet the Order “allows” people to go outside as long as they remain at least six feet apart from each other. Grocery stores, doctor's offices, and other “essential services” remain open. People can still participate in activities such as bike rides, gardening, and dog walking — if social distancing rules are followed.
The Proclamation
  • Requires every Washingtonian to stay home unless they need to pursue an “essential” activity.
  • Bans all gatherings for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes.
  • Closes all businesses, except “essential” businesses. · View Link
Legal Distinctions
We (HF leaders) have been in direct communication with high level legislative, legal, and law enforcement authorities to gain further clarification regarding the Governor's Order. We are learning that there are several common questions raised by organizational and business leaders, including some of our State Representatives. These issues include:
  • The nature of the order and whether it is legally enforceable,
  • Whether the Church and its activities are being considered within the “essential services” category in serving the emotional and mental health of people during this extraordinary time.
The best and common information we have received is that the "Stay Home - Stay Healthy" order does not constitute a legal decree with enforceable legal consequences. As a result, Law Enforcement personnel across the State have been directed to limit their response to “educate and encourage;” people will be directed to voluntarily comply with the Governor’s Order and to practice social distancing and hygienic protocol.

The Church – Essential or Not?
The Governor's order included fourteen pages of exemptions to his directive. The exceptions are delineated by the roles, functions, and occupations that are deemed “essential” to the basic needs of community stability.

Churches and faith-based organizations were excluded from the Governor's exemption list. Under this Order, faith-based organizations are not regarded as essential to our community's health and well-being. More to the point, the Church's work is not considered essential (though, for example, dry cleaners and recreational cannabis stores are included).

BIBLICAL TRUTHS – Submitting to elected officials
The HF leadership strongly believes that the Church clearly provides essential emotional and mental support and strength to the people of our communities across the State. What we do is needed more, not less, during these extraordinary times.
Therefore, through relational connections with State leadership, HF leaders have made an appeal to correct this issue. A high-level state worker has submitted an appeal to the Governor's administration on behalf of religious organizations in Washington State. In doing so, we have received an initial verbal response that is favorable to our inquiries on behalf of faith-based organizations. We are waiting for written confirmation.
In addition, HF leadership received a text Tuesday evening from our State legislator. Regarding churches being able to provide ministry through online services and social media, it stated, "The Republican caucus leader has word from the Governor it is not his intention to shut down webcasts, broadcasts, etc., run with minimal staff."

SUMMARY
We remain in communication with people at high levels of our State government. We are also receiving input from the legal community. Our objective is to verify that everything we do is God-honoring, wise, legal, protects our church family, and promotes God's kingdom.
Therefore the HF leaders have determined - based upon the counsel we have received as outlined above, and prayer - that the ministry approach we implemented beginning on March 15th remains within the law and is appropriately compliant with the Governor's most recent Order.

Accordingly, we will continue to operate as follows:
  • We will provide remote online Sunday services produced with no more than a 10-person team, practicing social distancing.
  • Just moments before this email was distributed, the Governor, in a press conference stated that religious institutions can have a production team produce online services. View statement at 2:00 minute mark of video
  • We are prioritizing online meetings and gatherings through various virtual tools like the Zoom app.
  • There will be various “Facebook live” presentations, which will be conducted while practicing recommended hygienic protocol and group size limitations.
  • When an individual or family needs are identified, we will deploy our people where possible to serve and meet the needs.
  • We continue to urge each member of the HF family to comply with the directives from our governing authorities in our battle against the Covid-19 virus.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact any of the HF elders.
The HF leaders urge you to comply with the exhortations of our governing authorities and health officials in our battle against the virus. As a church family, we remain committed to being in solidarity with our fellow citizens to fight this pandemic.

On behalf of the elders and staff,
Mike Riches

MARCH 14, 2020 COMMUNICATION
Dear Church Family:

At 5:45 this evening we received a telephone call from a member of our congregation letting us know that several members of their family were experiencing flu-like symptoms. We are grateful for this heads-up and their courtesy in letting us know. Consistent with the medical advice we are all receiving during this stretch, their family members have each been tested to determine which strain of the flu is affecting them.

However, due to the weekend when labs are closed, they will not receive their test results until Monday (or early next week), so there is simply no way at this late point to verify the precise nature of their illness. We will of course keep them – and every member of our church family – in our prayers.

As a result of this new information, out of an abundance of caution, we are cancelling our in-person church services scheduled for tomorrow.
Instead, as planned, we will have a live stream available at 11:00 on the church Facebook Page.

We look forward to connecting with each of you online tomorrow as we embrace the availability of video and internet technology to leverage our opportunity to gather “on the web.” Blessings to each of you!

On behalf of the elders,
Mike

MARCH 13, 2020 COMMUNICATION
HF Family and Friends,

As Followers of Christ living in the United States of America, we have access to the best of both worlds. We have the leading health care system in the world, and we have divinely powerful resources in Jesus Christ. We continue to encourage everyone to practice recommended personal health safety. We also need to remember that we are people of faith - and to take full advantage of the resources that are available to us in Him.
What tools do we have as believers in precarious times?

Hearing God’s Voice
We regularly teach and train on how to Hear God’s Voice. Therefore, we know we don’t need to guess “what to do, where to go, how to respond.” The Lord is able and willing to speak to us as His children (“My sheep hear My voice…” John 10:3).

When our culture and its people are wondering what to do, we know where to turn. We have been learning how to hear and discern the voice of the Lord together for many years. Now is the time to put that knowledge into action. Let’s redouble our personal commitment to grow in our capacity to listen for specific direction every day – and to do so for the practical day-to-day decisions we face.

Leading our Families
As families, let’s use this opportunity to read Scripture together, to pray, to listen, and to respond with compassionate faith to each other and those around us. Let’s maximize “downtime” as family time – encouraging one another emotionally, mentally, and in the Lord.

Acting with Faith and Spiritual Authority
Let’s be diligent to claim God’s promises. By faith, in your spiritual authority, resist and rebuke any fear that comes from unfounded hype. Remain wise in practical ways, yet also stand in faith against any spirit of fear that the enemy would try to generate during these days. (focus on key scriptures, like Psalm 91 and 46:1-3).

We will continue to communicate as further directives from the government unfold. Indeed, we are living in the best of both worlds. We will come out the other end of this season strong and thriving - as families - and together as a church community of faith.

On behalf of the elders and staff,
Mike

MARCH 12, 2020 COMMUNICATION
HF Family and Friends,


As most of you have likely already heard, on Wednesday morning, March 11, Governor Jay Inslee mandated a ban on gatherings and events of more than 250 people in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties in an effort to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak. This is an attempt by our leaders to reduce the interaction of people and, thus, the potential spreading of the covid-19 virus. The ban on events of more than 250 people includes gatherings for social, recreational, spiritual, and other purposes.

In reality, the local data related to covid-19 has changed very little from our previous HF leadership communication (sent Tuesday, March 10). As of 2:30 pm on March 11, KIRO News 7, reported the following:
  • Washington State now has 31 deaths,
  • 26 of those deaths have occurred in King County,
  • 23 of the King County deaths were linked to one nursing care facility in Kirkland,
  • Pierce County has reported 17 confirmed cases of covid-19.
What the Government and health officials are attempting to accomplish is to “flatten the curve” by slowing the spread of any virus so that appropriate medical responses are more likely to be available as needed. They are not interested in inciting fear – rather they have a plan.
To honor Governor Inslee’s directive, we will be adjusting our Sunday gatherings in order to keep our meetings below the mandate of no more than 250 gathering during this season. To accomplish this, we will offer 2 service times beginning this Sunday. The following are the details:
  • The two services will be held at 9:00 and 11:00 am
  • There will be Children's Ministry provided at the 11:00 service. There will NOT be Children’s Ministry at the 9:00 service (including nursery)
  • The auditorium seating will be adjusted to comply with the Governor’s request that we begin to practice “social distancing” by seeking to maintain personal distance between our chairs
  • Surfaces will be wiped down in-between services with disinfectant
We will continue to live-stream the church service through our Harborview Fellowship Facebook page for those who believe it is in their personal or family’s best interest to stay at home.

Please also continue to practice the safe-health measures that have been widely described by everyone, including us, in previous communications. Make wise decisions and choices, especially based on your health.

Church Family, we also want to provide some specific encouragement – we will therefore be providing some additional specific content to remind us of the things we have been learning together that make our community the faith-filled people who are destined to be light and life to those around us in times that could otherwise be uncertain.

We will continue to communicate with you as developments unfold - and as circumstances change – which lately seem to occur quickly. We will remain diligent to clarify any adjustments regarding how we will function as a community – as a church family. If any further directives from our government create additional restrictions, we will respond with updates detailing any impacts to our current plans for our corporate gatherings.
Finally, you can be assured that you and your family remain in our prayers as leaders for your covering, protection, and faith - throughout this season.

On behalf of the elders and staff,
Mike Riches

CHRISTIANS AND GOVERNMENT – Part 1

Hi HF Family and Friends,

During this season of Covid-19 many issues have surfaced, including some that are not medical or health-related. Among the many issues, concerns have risen by many regarding the potential overreach of governing leaders in our nation and even our own state. There have been instances of heavy-handed orders set forth and enforced that appear to challenge constitutional rights as citizens, including Christians.

As elders, we have fielded questions and deep concerns presented by many of you. As a result, the elders have had multiple conversations, have done some research, sought counsel, and have prayed as to the way forward for us as a church family.

We concluded that we need to educate, equip, and empower our church family to think rightly.

The Scriptures are not silent regarding the human government and God’s people. In fact, the Scriptures provide ample accounts of governments and governing authorities interacting with God’s people. And, the Bible speaks directly to the responsibility of God’s people toward governments, and visa-versa.

For some, politics and the Christian faith should not mix. We hear that there is the separation of Church and State. We have heard it said, “That if you leave politics alone it will leave you alone.” That is not the case.

The accounts of the interactions between God’s people and government are prolific in Scripture and in the history of the world. Much of the time, there has been tension between governing authorities and God’s people.
By giving Scripture careful thought, and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal biblical truth, the believer can form a godly worldview concerning his or her responsibility to government and government’s role.

It is interesting to note that the New Testament writings on government were written by men living under the Roman Empire. Roman emperors were known for their ungodly character and actions, and brutality against humanity, including Christians.

We will look at 10 biblical principles that undergird the Christian’s responsibility to government and governing authorities, and government to its citizens. This article will address the first six.

The first two principles we find in Romans 13:1-2.

Romans 13:1-2 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (see also Titus 3:1; I Peter 2:13-17).

Principle #1 - Our Responsibility to Submit to Governing Authorities

The first thing that is apparent from these verses is that the Christian should not have a rebellious, antagonistic attitude toward our leaders.  Christians are to submit to governing authorities.

The Christian’s fundamental posture toward government officials according to the Scriptures is to be submissive and obedient. The Christian should look for ways to obey government authorities. It is healthy for corporate society and individuals.

Principle # 2 - God is the Ultimate Authority

The priority principle, though we have it listed as second in the list, is that God is the ultimate authority in the universe. All authorities who are in power are to see themselves as God’s delegated authorities, and thereby responsible to God for their leadership of the people.

When we resist authorities, we resist God. When we honor governing authorities, we honor God. And, there will be consequences good and bad for our attitudes and actions toward governing authorities. Because, in reality, they are toward God.

We can rest in the fact that nothing takes place unless God causes or allows it to happen. There was an example of this reality when Pilate interrogated Jesus.  “So, Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me?  Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”  Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:10-11 ESV).

God’s sovereignty applies not only to Pilate of Jesus’ day but to every authority in the universe in all of time.

The next three principles are found in the following text.

Romans 13:3-4 “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.  Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority?  Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain.  For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Principle #3 - Government’s Primary Purpose is to Restrain Evil and Uphold Good
 
The third principle is that the government’s primary purpose is to restrain evil and uphold good. This responsibility is to include providing just punishment and consequence to those who commit evil in actions or in words.

The government has a responsibility to represent God and to promote the fullness of life and liberty that He intended. The Psalmist said regarding God, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” (Psalm 89:14). The Queen of Sheba told Solomon that because of God’s love for Israel He made Solomon king to maintain justice and righteousness.

The authorities in the human government are to represent God, His character, and His values in their leadership.
We will see later that when a government becomes an agent of evil and imposes evil upon its subjects, citizens are not obligated to obey and support such activity.  In fact, civil disobedience can be in order.

Principle #4 - Responses to Governing Authorities have Consequences

To comply with and obey authorities results in receiving approval and favor from your leaders.

Resisting government authority may bring severe consequences because, as verse four states, the government bears a sword for the disobedient.

The government has the responsibility to provide order, which requires laws and enforcement of those laws. So, whether there is obedience or disobedience to those laws will determine whether you live in peace and favor or punishment.

How we view leaders should influence how we regard our leaders as we will see in principle 5.

Principle #5 - Authorities are God’s Servants

Government authorities are identified as servants of God. Some governing authorities may not recognize this truth, but it is reality. Our regard and response to authorities, in reality, is regard and response toward God. This is because our authorities are delegated by God. It is critical for us to remember that governing authorities are God’s servants. It is critical for governing authorities to remember they will answer to God.

The sixth principle is found in our next text.

Romans 13:5-7 “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.  For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.  Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

Principle #6 - Support and Honor Government Authorities

The believer’s conscience must be involved in any response to the government authorities, whether in obedience or disobedience. Our conscience should be guided by the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit.

When God’s will and the human government’s will conflict, our allegiance must be to God. We cannot deny our God-directed conscience. Our conscience must be engaged in our actions and reactions to our authorities.

In this text, we see that taxes are ordained by God (sorry about that one friends). Governing authorities are set apart by God, and citizens are to support them in their role not only in submission but financially.

Also, not only are the leaders to be supported by taxes so they can be dedicated to their work, but they are also to receive honor and respect from us. While we may not always agree with their positions or decision, we are to honor them due to God’s placing them in their role.

Summary

We covered the first six principles. Our next article will finish the final four. That will be followed by instruction on the government structure of the United States of America. Then, finally, we will conclude with relevant application to the current and possible future circumstances in which we could find ourselves.

Richest blessings,
Mike