COVID-19 UPDATES  —  

Pioneer is now open for worship in its Sanctuary. Sabbath Schools remain meeting digitally or in smaller off-site groups at this time. For details regarding prevention measures in place and the COVID-19 Pioneer response click here.

 
Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 22:36

COVID-19 Updates

SEPTEMBER 29, 2020

The Pioneer Memorial Church Re-entry Task Force and Safety Committee has updated its phased guidelines related to the reentry and use of the Pioneer church facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. This update is implemented as Phase 4 and begins October 1, 2020. You can review the full Preparedness & Response Plan: Phase 4 below.

Preparedness & Response: Phase 4

SEPTEMBER 23, 2020

During this time of COVID-19, most people are aware of measures to take for their personal safety when they are away from home. Over time, recommendations from health-care leaders in government and academia have proposed different methods to best protect from contracting the COVID-19 virus. One area that has received a lot of attention is the wearing of masks. Evolving recommendations call for the following:

  • DO WEAR a face mask covering nose and mouth. These are required when you are at Pioneer Memorial Church.
  • DO NOT WEAR face coverings such as a bandana, gaitor, and similar products as these are NOT adequate since most are too thin to adequately protect others around you. Additionally, research suggests they actually cause droplets to break apart into more and smaller droplets. Pioneer Greeters will ask you to wear a regular face mask before entering the church.
  • DO NOT WEAR a face shield without a mask underneath. Face shields are the clear plastic devices you wear on your head. These protect you from flying droplets coming from others but do not protect others from you.

Please follow the recommendations of leading authorities and wear a face mask in public, including at Pioneer. Please assist the greeters by wearing the best current method that we know of to slow the spread of the virus and keep us all safe. Thank you for your cooperation.

The Re-entry Task Force, Safety Committee

Ref: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

JULY 31, 2020

Does Michigan governor Whitmer’s executive order on Thursday change our on-site worship plans at Pioneer for this Sabbath and beyond? In short, the answer is No. You may read her statement here: https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer/0,9309,7-387-90499_90640-535163--,00.html.

In that statement is this single reference to churches and worship services: "14. Religious worship. Consistent with prior guidance, neither a place of religious worship nor its owner is subject to penalty under section 17 of this order for allowing religious worship at such place. No individual is subject to penalty under section 17 of this order for engaging in religious worship at a place of religious worship."

The governor has clearly granted an exception clause for churches and their worshipers. We recognize her exception refers to a legal exclusion from fines—she is not rendering a health perspective or health department recommendation.

Over the last three Sabbaths at Pioneer we have witnessed the choice of some Pioneer members to return to the sanctuary to enhance their worship experience. We are grateful for them. And we have made full provision for their safety while worshiping in our sanctuary (disinfecting, face masks, physical distancing, et al). However, we are not requiring members to leave their homes for worship nor are we even suggesting they do so. In fact, our recommendation to our members when we opened the sanctuary for worship on July 11 remains the same—we recommend those in the CDC risk categories to remain at home for our livestreaming services (9:00/11:45 AM). And our attendance reflects the obvious fact that people are carefully making their decisions one way or the other.

The governor's statement does not change this continuing reality. And so with care and prayer we are proceeding with our on-site worship experience tomorrow and the Sabbaths to come. 

We are the campus church—and we are called to be available to minister to the students who will be coming to campus in less than three weeks. Unless (1) Andrews University changes its present protocol and plans and/or (2) our county experiences a dramatic spike in COVID-19 infections, we will proceed with our worship ministry for those who need and seek the enhanced on-site experience. 

We are grateful for our worship, safety and media teams for making this Sabbath morning experience possible. Whether we choose to worship via our live-streaming services or we choose to come to join others for the on-site worship experience, may the Lord of the Sabbath bring a special shabbat shalom blessing to our Pioneer Family and our wider worshiping community: "'Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'" (Matthew 11:28). 

JULY 8, 2020

Pastor Dwight shares an update regarding the return to worship inside Pioneer on July 11.

Preparedness & Response: Phase 3Subscribe to Email Updates

JUNE 25, 2020

The Pioneer Memorial Church Safety Committee has updated its phased guidelines related to the reentry and use of the Pioneer church facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. This update is implemented as Phase 2 and began June 22, 2020. You can review the full Preparedness & Response Plan: Phase 2 here. Please note the church offices are now open Monday - Thursday 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM and Friday 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Face coverings are required and time inside the church facility should be minimized. A COVID-19 Reentry Task Force has been created to prepare plans for Phase 3, which is scheduled to begin July 11 (opening the church for members to attend church services in person). To help us prepare, worshipers are encouraged to take our short worship survey.

Preparedness & Response: Phase 2

JUNE 10, 2020

The Pioneer Memorial Church Safety Committee has reviewed guidelines set forth by state, federal, and Church officials related to the reentry and use of the Pioneer church facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. The commmittee recommends a phased reentry approach, with Phase 1 beginning June 8, 2020. You can review the full Preparedness & Response Plan: Phase 1 here.

Preparedness & Response: Phase 1

MAY 27, 2020

Dear Pioneer Church Family,

On Tuesday Tuesday May 26, the Pioneer Church Board and Board of Elders convened a collective conversation regarding a timeline and protocol for our congregation's re-entry into the Sanctuary, Sabbath School rooms, Commons, and Board Room. 

Because Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, last Thursday, extended our home-bound orders until June 12, the leaders decided to forestall any specific re-entry date until Michigan further modifies its mandated lockdown. At present, the governor has given permission for groups of ten and under to meet (with social distancing and mask protocol). But also at present, Pioneer is blessed with multiple creative lockdown adaptations to worship and Sabbath School—from popular Zoom Sabbath School classes to family circle worship/Sabbath Schools (via YouTube videos created by our Sabbath School and youth leaders for homebound online use). To the place, some are suggesting we give study to eventually creating house churches (multiple families) that might thrive in the midst of further national or local uncertainties.

The leaders repeatedly noted the high level of creativity Pioneer members are exhibiting in the midst of this pandemic lockdown--from remarkable and inspiring music ensembles (with participants contributing from across the continent) to youth productions from Elevate Sabbath School to The Tent programming each evening this week (7:00 PM pmchurch.org/thetent) to the YouTube library of Sabbath School programming our leaders have already produced. The sense was unanimous that any plans for re-entry to worship and Sabbath School need to incorporate the effective homegrown creativity on display during this season of shelter-in-place.  

Regarding re-entry to Pioneer, the leaders are envisioning an incremental or phased in re-entry for worship and Sabbath School. The consensus is that worship will be the first re-entry experience--probably beginning with a single service both live-streamed and live with worshipers in the sanctuary. A second service would be added in time to accommodate the arrival of university students (classes begin August 24), with enough space in the sanctuary to provide the necessary social distancing stipulations in effect.

The board established a task force, to be led by Jim Ford, Head Deacon, to give careful study to (1) implementing social distancing in our newly renovated Sanctuary; (2) disinfecting the spaces; and (3) establishing an entry-exit protocol to ensure safety and peace of mind for all worshipers. Also, the Pioneer Safety Committee, chaired by Richard Parke, presented a recommendation—"COVID-19 Preparedness & Response Plan—Stage 1"—to the board members with procedures for Pioneer employees' eventual re-entry into their workspaces. All plans are subject to the state's revised orders. 

Watch here for further updates to re-entry plans. 

In the meantime please pray for God's guiding wisdom on behalf of: (1) our campus leaders (Andrews University, Andrews Academy, and Ruth Murdoch Elementary School) who face unprecedented educational challenges in this pandemic; (2) the leaders of our church at the Michigan Conference and the Lake Union Conference, along with our national and global church leaders, who share with us the challenge of connecting with a lost world in the midst of this crisis; (3) the volunteer leaders of our own congregation as they make plans for their ministry in this season COVID-19; and (4) your team of pastors who pray daily for your health, your safety, your peace of mind in Christ Jesus. It is still true, no matter what you may have heard--the best is yet to come--with Him.

Dwight K. Nelson
Lead Pastor

For the additional news related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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MAY 20, 2020

For the latest update related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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MAY 13, 2020

For the latest update related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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MAY 6, 2020

For the latest update related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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APRIL 29, 2020

For the latest update related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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APRIL 22, 2020

For the latest update related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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APRIL 15, 2020

For the latest update related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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APRIL 8, 2020

For the latest update related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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APRIL 1, 2020

For the latest update related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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MARCH 26, 2020

For the latest update related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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MARCH 23, 2020

Given today's Executive Order from the governor of Michigan, Pioneer will no longer hold regular office hours. Our staff and pastors remain committed to serve you remotely. If you need to contact someone on the team, please visit our contact page.

Sabbath School content is available for all ages. Adult quarterlies (including Quarter 2 Bible Study Guide) are available online, as well as many resources for children and families.

MARCH 18, 2020

For the latest update related to Pioneer's response to COVID-19, please view our e-letter.

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MARCH 13, 2020

Pioneer will also host an online Sabbath School feature on March 14:

  • For our lower children's divisions, we will be providing links to prerecorded Sabbath School lessons, created by our local leaders, applicable to your child's age. We encourage parents and children to view the content together as a family.
  • Our Youth Department will provide programming at 10:30 AM, available via Facebook Live and our website, followed by an adult lesson study lead by Glenn Russell.

Pioneer will also still livestream both the 9:00 AM and 11:45 AM services both on Facebook Live and on our website. We hope you are able to join us for this time of worship and study. 

MARCH 11, 2020

Dear Pioneer Church Family,

Today the governor of Michigan declared a state of emergency as result of coronavirus COVID-19. Her instructions include no large group gatherings in this state. This evening, in compliance, Andrews University announced all in-person face-to-face classes are moving to an online-only component until the end of the semester. Most students will not be returning to this campus after spring break.

As the campus church, this major change also affects us. Please note the following adjustments to our Pioneer life:

  1. Effective immediately, our worship experience is moving to online-only—which means we will offer both a 9:00 AM and 11:45 AM livestream service. These services will be streamed at pmchurch.org and can also be viewed on our Pioneer Memorial Church Facebook page.
  2. Pastor Ben and Pastor Lindsey are hoping to incorporate a newly produced online component for children's Sabbath School classes. More information will be available in the next few days.
  3. During this time, maintaining a sense of community through Grow Groups and other fellowship will be important. Your Grow Group leader will communicate with you how your group will continue to meet. As a church we are committed to doing all we can to facilitate continued engagement.
  4. Regarding your tithes and offerings, please take advantage of Adventist Giving Online. If you prefer, you may come to the church office during the week with your tithes and offerings or mail them via the United States Postal Service.
  5. We encourage you to continue following the recommendations from the CDC such as washing your hands for 20 seconds, staying home if you feel sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. For a full list of recommendations click here.  
  6. One of the best ways to ensure a healthy immune system is to continue to follow health practices that are well-known to us: eat healthy foods, get regular exercise, expose yourself to some sunlight, get some fresh air, and rest.
  7. For the latest information regarding Pioneer's response to the coronavirus, return to this page. In this time of national uncertainty, please know your pastors and church office staff are here to serve you. (Office hours will remain the same.)

Finally, let us not forget that God is still on His throne. The story of Scripture is the history of God reversing the enemy's efforts to thwart His kingdom. So, from the words of the psalmist let us take heart, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble—therefore we will not fear" (Psalm 46).
 

Dwight K. Nelson
Lead Pastor

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