Church COVID Update: June 3, 2020

The biggest news of the update: WE'RE GETTING BACK TOGETHER AGAIN! Sunday, June 14, at 10am will be our glorious return, our grand reopening for an in-person worship service on the church property. Do I sound excited‽‽‽


Further below, I'm including some adjustments we're asking those who are willing to attend in-person to make during this ongoing coronavirus season. Please read through them carefully as you evaluate whether you wish to return in person yet or if you will continue to attend from home for a while longer. But before I get to that list, a couple other announcements:


Tonight at 6pm there will be a summer discipleship brainstorming session to think through how we can pursue discipleship for our children and youth in the absence of LLBC's summer camps this year. Please check your emails to see how to join in on our session. This is open to all people to share ideas, not just the Christian Education team!


Have you seen the church lawn? How nicely mowed it is? Thanks to our volunteers who have pitched in so far (looking at you, Mike Pollard, Gerry Guard, Roger Jones, and Janet Neece)! Would you volunteer to mow the church lawn in one of the weeks of the summer still ahead? Please call Lana at the church office (906-639-2165) to find a spot to help.


Also, as restrictions begin to lift, if you and your small group or ministry team would like to meet in person, I want to encourage you to do so again. One of our ministry teams met in person yesterday in the Fellowship Hall to maintain a better degree of social distancing … and it was a good experience for all involved! Remember, not everyone in your small group or ministry team may feel the same liberty or have the same hesitation to meet, so please be quick to show grace to one another as you evaluate your opportunities in the weeks ahead.


All right: here are the adjustments that we will be asking our in-person attendees to make …

  • Currently we will hold one service at 10:00am. If our attendance level makes it difficult to fit everyone into the sanctuary due to social distancing guidelines, we will work on splitting to two in-person services. Any overflow will be given seats in the lobby outside the sanctuary.
  • If you do not feel safe attending our service in-person yet, we will continue to stream our services on Facebook every Sunday. We’re still working out a bunch of technical details on that, but we hope you can handle our work in progress as we try to extend our welcome to you and others who need to stay at home.
  • When you arrive at church, you’ll see greeters there to welcome you. We will be requiring masks for all in attendance, so whoever needs a mask will be given one by a greeter. If you’re able to bring your own mask, that would be helpful! Anyone who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons will not be turned away from attending without one on. Please show grace to one another, church family!
  • As you enter church, pick up your own bulletin, as well as a prepackaged communion cup with both wafer and juice if you wish to participate in communion. The bulletins and cups will be laid out in advance to avoid the spread of disease.
  • At this time, there will be no discipleship classes, no childcare for nursery or toddlers, and no children’s church. Please warmly welcome families with these children in our service: welcome them as Jesus welcomed the children to come to Him. Give an extra measure of grace to moms and dads if their kids are fussy. We will resume these ministries once we get a feel for attendance in our services, individual volunteers feel safe returning to a child-focused setting, and the Elders give the green light.
  • Ushers will help you find a seat so that we can get spaced out appropriately. We’ll be sitting in every other row and staggering seating as necessary. Families will be able to sit close to each other. Thanks for your patience with our ushers: they will do their best to serve you and everyone else in our church family!
  • We will include singing in the church service, but we do ask that you sing with your mask on. If it’s too difficult to sing with the mask on, stop, enjoy the singing of those around you, and do what you need to get the air you require!
  • We will have a touch-free greeting time in our service. Please wave to your neighbors, talk with those who are in your area, and use an abundance of non-contact ways to show your care for one another! We also ask that you stay in place during this time, as flooding into the aisles makes keeping an appropriate distance from each other a lot harder.
  • We will not be passing trays for the offering or passing plates for communion. Don Anderson made a couple lovely boxes to collect our offerings that will be sitting in the church lobby. As you read above, anyone taking communion will pick up their prepackaged elements on their way in. We also ask that you throw them in the trash on your way out.



Church COVID Update: May 27, 2020

  • For starters, Lana and Pastor Kit are both back to work on site at the church! If you need to give us a call, we're around. Or if you need to stop in, we'd love to see you!
  • We could use some volunteers to help cut the church lawn! Thanks to Mike Pollard for getting us mowed this last weekend; if you're willing to jump on a mower and teach our dandelions a thing or two, please give Lana a call at the church office––or email her here!
  • We are looking for volunteers for the last two weeks of June for the food pantry at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Stephenson (the 20th and the 27th). The hours are from 9-12 on those two Saturdays. To offer to help, or to find out more about it before you jump in, call or email Tim or Hazel Johnson.
  • Ministry Teams: what would you need to get rolling now if we were to have in-person services again starting June 14? Please consider reaching out to each other to start making plans for that tentative reopening date.
  • Please pray for Lake Lundgren Bible Camp. Their heart is to honor God and to act uprightly in the sight of outsiders as they decide upon their plans for this summer. Ask God to give them wisdom, clarity, and unity of mind and spirit as they look to settle their decisions for what's to come.

It was wonderful to see so many of you at the Memorial Day services at our local cemeteries! Can't wait until we get to see each other again! Which reminds me …

  • We will have another prayer meeting at church tomorrow night, May 28, at 6:30pm in the parking lot at the back of the church (along Ray Street). Don't forget to bring a mask … and a lawn chair to sit down in! Thank you for continuing to pray for the needs of one another, our church, our community, and our nation.

God be with you all, brothers and sisters in Christ!



Church COVID Update: May 20, 2020

  • The Elders have discussed reopening the church … and we're looking at mid-June! Plenty can change between now and then, but we want to make sure that, with the reopening of the UP, we don't contribute to a new spike in cases right away. As we move closer to the middle of June, we'll give an update on when we'll get back to in-person services again.
  • Next week will be our last Kids' Night on Facebook! Thanks to all who have been joining us on Wednesday nights at 6pm to sing, do Sword Drills, walk through the Color Book, and share Bible stories together. We'll still look forward to seeing you tonight and on the 27th!
  • Our Prayer Team is hosting a Prayer Night in the church's back parking lot (along Ray Street) tomorrow, May 21, at 6:30pm. We'll be observing social distancing (6 feet apart) and asking everyone to wear a mask––but if you've been itching to see one another, in person and not on a screen, come and pray with us!
  • We have been helping with the Mid-County Ministerium's Food Pantry at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Stephenson for several years … and we may be on to help again in June! If our help is still needed for hosting curbside pickup for those in need in our community, we need to get volunteers together to serve. If you're willing, would you please reach out to Tim and Hazel Johnson to let them know you're available?
  • Please pray for my (Pastor Kit's) parents and all those living in Midland, MI. After several dams burst (at least four), they are experiencing floodwaters from the Tittabawassee River. The flood may be cresting about now (2:00pm on 5/20). A river depth of 24' is considered a flood, and a major flood is 28'; as of noon their time today, the river was at 35' and still rising. My parents are safe, but they are among about 10,000 people who have had to evacuate. Thanks for your prayers as they look to God to help them all through this time.



Church COVID Update: May 13, 2020

  • First, thanks to the ministry teams that have found ways to meet during the last couple months. A number of groups are using Zoom or finding other ways to conference call with one another––great job! Thank you for continuing to serve the church and lead onward so that we can press on to follow Jesus together.
  • According to the website for the EFCA youth conference, Challenge, the conference leaders believe that "The best way to serve you this summer is to shift Challenge 2020 from a physical gathering in Kansas City to a one-night, virtual gathering." It will be a free event to join in online; more details are promised to be on their way soon!
  • In light of what's happening with Challenge, Bryan and Scott are working together with Stritz at LLBC to plan an adventure trip for our youth in early August: likely a canoeing/fishing trip down the Menominee River. For more details, stay tuned for information from Bryan and Scott!
  • When are we getting together in person again, Pastor? I don't have a date yet. Cases in the UP have been decreasing for the last two weeks, and other area churches are opening up this coming Sunday (Bark River Bible, Central Baptist, and likely some others). I (Pastor Kit) can't guess whether the cases will increase or decrease in the next week or two, but I am also very eager to open up, to welcome everybody back to church again––once the elders talk again and feel peace with a decision that the time is right!
  • Be sure to join us tonight at 6pm for Kids' Night, tomorrow at 2pm for our next Book Reading (either Packer's Knowing God or Sproul's The Holiness of God), and Sunday at 10am for our next streaming worship service!



Church COVID Update: May 6, 2020

The quick overview: thanks for your ministry through masks, we'll probably add an earlier in-person service when we can meet again, keep on giving to the benevolence fund if you can so we can keep helping families in need, there's more coming up on Facebook this week, ask three short questions to help you love your neighbor, and get out there and enjoy the beautiful day God has made!



STATE OF THE CHURCH Address: April 29, 2020

The State of the Church Address doesn't take the place of a congregational meeting of the church membership, but it is a more thorough update than previous weekly updates. THANK YOU to all the leaders and participants in our church who continue to minister and to serve, even when we can't meet together in person as we'd like!


The PDF of the State of the Church address is available for download here.



COVID-19 Update: April 22, 2020

Good afternoon, church family! Here's what you need to know in the latest CEFC COVID Update:

  • Our Elders and Ministry Teams are working out what we will need to do when we unlock the doors of the church and start having services in person again. But don't worry: we will continue streaming our services on Facebook so that you don't have to put yourself at risk if you don't feel safe going out quite yet. I'll be sure to get you more details when we have them!
  • Next week's update will be fuller: in place of a congregational meeting, Pastor Kit will give a "State of the Church" address on Facebook Wednesday, April 29, at 2pm. He will be reaching out to our Ministry Team and Committee leaders soon to make sure he represents them well during the update.
  • HUGE THANKS to our mask makers: Ruth Hryshkanych, Danni Anderson, Sherry Cooper, Colleen Seaton, Debbie Stiglitz, Sherri Garnett, and Joe Garnett. And also thanks to those who have donated supplies and made deliveries: Elizabeth Heyer, Deanna Moreau, and Mike Pollard. You all rock!
  • We do urgently need more people willing to sew, because the demand for masks is still high. Also, if you can donate cotton fabric (cotton only, please!), thread, or thin elastic, please reach out to Mary Ann Peterson.
  • Need a mask? Know someone who needs a mask? Reach out to whoever's closest to you: for Carney area, Caralene Jurmu; for Stephenson area, Tim and Hazel Johnson; for Pembine area, Mary Ann Peterson.
  • Upcoming livestreams will be tonight (4/22) at 6pm for Kids' Night; tomorrow at 2pm for Pastor's Book Reading (Let the Nations Be Glad! by John Piper), and Sunday at 10am for our worship service. We'll be in James 2 together on Sunday morning.
  • Lastly, keep connecting to each other! Sometimes we let our connections with others fall off the radar, especially as the quarantine gets settled into a new and very strange normal (yes, it can happen). But make those calls, send those cards, yell back and forth between the front door and the road! Let's keep the love alive for one another and for our neighbors!



COVID-19 Update: April 15, 2020

Good afternoon, church! Here's what's happening lately at Carney Free …

  • Thanks to all who spent time in prayer at noon today! And thanks to prayer team for calling us to prayer again! It's good to be reminded to pray, and good to come before the Lord and remember His character and His faithfulness in the ongoing situation.
  • Pastor Kit will lead another livestream for kids on the church Facebook page at 6pm. We hope that you can join us again tonight!
  • I sent out a Flash Update yesterday to ask for help with the Food Pantry delivery next week––and you came through! Big thanks to those who volunteered to pack up food, drive it down, and unload it.
  • Tomorrow at 2pm on Facebook I'll do another book reading, this time sharing the chapter "Lord, Liar, or Lunatic" from More Than a Carpenter. Hope that you'll join in to comment and discuss!
  • We're going to have another Zoom meeting with the Pastor after church on Sunday! It was so good to see one another's faces again! For those joining us on the Zoom app, email Pastor Kit for the Meeting ID and the password. If you'd like to just call in with your phone, the phone number is +1 312 626 6799; you can put in the Meeting ID and the password from Pastor Kit when prompted.
  • The recent Mask Drive is going great! Huge thanks to Mary Ann Peterson, Caralene Jurmu, Tim and Hazel Johnson, and all those making masks in this season. If you'd like to join in making masks, or if you know of any needs, please let Caralene Jurmu know.
  • A grocery delivery update: we are thankful for so many volunteers! Now we're waiting on people to take us up on the offer to pick up and deliver their groceries! If you know a need, please reach out to Hazel Johnson.
  • Thanks for continuing to give to the ministries of the church! Please also consider supporting other Christian ministries that will be affected by this virus season, like Christian camps as their enrollment for summer drops. Or set money aside for neighbors in need, like Paul encouraged the church in Corinth to do (1 Cor. 16:2). You can always give to Carney Free Church by sending checks to 52 Church Street, Carney, MI, 49812; or online at carneyfreechurch.org/give.

God be with you, brothers and sisters in Christ!



COVID-19 Update: April 8, 2020

I pray that you are staying safe from the looming virus––and staying close to the Lord. Please, don't hesitate to reach out if you could use a helping hand, a prayer, or someone to talk to! And many thanks to those who are already reaching out to share the love of Jesus with others!


Here are the main items for our ongoing church life at Carney EFC:

  • Our Good Friday service at the cross in Carney will be livestreamed on Friday at 6:00pm. It's a livestream only event, so keep your car keys where they are! But please join us; I will send out lyrics for Good Friday's songs to you Thursday, April 9th (Lord willing)!
  • Our Easter Morning service will be livestreaming on Sunday at 10am! I'm looking forward to worshiping along with you and continuing to celebrate one of our strangest settings for Easter to-date. Remember, if you're not on Facebook but you'd still like to watch the livestream, go to this website and you should be able to join us: https://www.facebook.com/carneyfreechurch/live/.
  • I'll also be hosting a Zoom Meeting after the Easter Morning service for questions about the sermon, questions about book readings, or other Q&A with the pastor. I’ll give the Zoom meeting ID at the end of the service in the Facebook comments, and (hopefully) in an email to all our regular attenders.
  • I plan on doing Book Readings on Facebook Live regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm. This means that I'll try to finish chapter 1 of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert tomorrow at 2 … and I'd love to have you along as I read! You can catch up on what you've missed by going to the church Facebook page OR by checking out our videos here.
  • Huge thanks to those who gave for our benevolence fund last week! We're able to help out some more folks with this boost, so please let me, Lana, or our church elders know who may be in need in the coming weeks. If you need it, you can give online here.
  • Would you be interested in joining a Mask Ministry? If you’ve been making masks for going out amid the virus, and you’re looking for a way to distribute them, let Pastor Kit know so we can see if we have enough momentum and supplies to make them available in our community. I wonder if a Mask Drive to make 200 might work … and don't forget, we are getting a Grocery Pickup outreach going as well, so reach out to Tim and Hazel Johnson (or me) if you're willing to help OR know someone who needs help.
  • Keep on praying for one another, brothers and sisters. Many thanks for your prayers already! I'm in the enviable position to hear from those for whom you're praying and to repeatedly hear, "We feel your prayers! Please tell everyone thank you for both their prayers and for their other expressions of love in our difficulty!"


COVID-19 Update: April 1, 2020

Several developments over the last 48 hours deserve to be shared with you! Here's what going on with our church during COVID-19.

God be with you all, Carney Free Family!


Grace and peace, Pastor Kit



COVID-19 Update: March 30, 2020

Quick takes from the update on March 30:

  • English Camp in the Czech Republic has been postponed until next year, but teachers and friends are still staying in touch and making plans to reach out to one another online
  • A big sanitization party will be in the works once the quarantine is lifted, so if you'd like to join in the Deep Cleanse of the church, stay tuned and get in touch with Martha Palmer
  • Send your Easter videos to Pastor Kit! Something as simple as, "Happy Easter from the Gunderson family!" would be terrific. If you'd like, maybe read the resurrection story from one of the gospels (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, or John 20), or another passage about Jesus rising from the dead. For the musically inclined, share a favorite Easter song with us! Pastor Kit will upload videos to our Facebook page and to our church website for a full, church-wide celebration of Easter, even as we're all apart.
  • Thank you for giving. Compared to this time last year, we are actually ahead on our giving to the ministries of the church! And please take time to consider how to be generous to those in need around you during this uncertain season. If you haven't set up giving online yet and you'd like to, click here or go to "Give" in the website menu.
  • Thanks to all the encouragers who have been sending texts and emails, both to me (Pastor Kit) and to one another! And a thanks again to all of our discipleship class teachers and small group leaders: your ministry to us is missed, and we thank God for you!



COVID-19 Update: March 28, 2020

In case you missed it, Troy Meissner, our Elder Board chairman, shared a devotional on Facebook! Break out your Bibles to Psalm 91 and take courage in God's power to protect and to save.


Look forward to seeing you tomorrow at 10:00 for our streaming service on Facebook! We will also post the service on the Livestreams page here after it's finished recording.



COVID-19 Update: March 25, 2020

Here's the summary of the video today!

  • We've made a bunch of updates to our church website, including a page devoted to church updates during the COVID-19 season. If you've made it this far on the church site, then you're right on track …
  • If you desire to give to the ongoing ministries of Carney Free Church, especially in this COVID-19 season … thank you. We are thankful for how you support our church staff, our missionaries, and our own members as we continue to prepare worship services, support missionaries around the world and in our communities, support our small groups and other discipleship opportunities online, and care for our neighbors in this time of crisis. Click here to get to our giving page.
  • Pastor Kit will continue to post devotions for grown-ups and for kids during the week -- and he will also be reading from different Christian classics online, including Mere Christianity and The Problem of Pain (C. S. Lewis), The Pursuit of God (A. W. Tozer), Life Together (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). Interested in joining a videoconference book study or Bible study? Let Pastor Kit know.
  • Pastor Kit has also been gathering email addresses to make sure our church can stay informed quickly. If you are willing to help get the news out regularly by calling one or two people who are not connected by email, please tell Pastor Kit.

God be with you all! More updates to follow!



COVID-19 Update: March 24, 2020

Putting out the basics for everybody to hold on to, for now. It's good to know what's what for the time being …


Do the Five

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Cough into your elbow
  • Keep your hands away from your face
  • Keep 6 feet apart from others
  • If you have a fever, are coughing, and feel shortness of breath, call your doctor about whether to get tested for coronavirus.

In the meantime, all in-person activities at the church are postponed until April 13. Our Sunday morning gatherings will take place online every Sunday at 10 a.m. on our Facebook page (facebook.com/carneyfreechurch). Please join us!

COVID-19 Update: March 23, 2020

Due to the Governor's executive order, the church office and facilities are closed through April 13 (the day after Easter Sunday). Pastor Kit will continue to work from home -- please contact him there!


We will post more updates regularly here, by email, and on our church Facebook page (facebook.com/carneyfreechurch). Keep loving the Lord; keep loving one another!


~ Pastor Kit