Please note: While we will be closed through April 6th, Social Distancing does not mean Social Disconnection and we encourage you to stay connected with us online. You can always find our Sermon messages Sunday Afternoon on our Youtube Page @OakHillOxford.
On Sunday March 15 the decision to suspend Sunday worship services and Wednesday evening Dinner & Discussions for two weeks was announced. On Sunday evening the Governor of Massachusetts banned all public gatherings of 25 or more people. This order shall remain in effect until April 5, unless further extended.
Here's what this means. We cannot meet for worship services, Bible study/discussion times, youth group and/or other planned/special events through April 4th (at least). Visits to hospitals and nursing homes has been restricted or banned. Because visitation in homes may cause exposure and greater risk for certain people in our church community, we are severely restricting such visits. We are currently developing plans to stay in touch with the Oak Hill community, especially those confined to their homes. We are actively working on a plan to assist people in need with meals, food purchases, rides to doctor visits, etc., while remaining sensitive to and monitoring changes in CDC guidelines.
Life Groups may continue to meet per the decision of each local Life Group/leader. Please contact your Life Group leader for questions or concerns. We are presently working on an alternative plan for Sunday morning "gatherings" which will be announced as soon as possible. We will keep people apprised of updates through email (or use of the Calling Post as needed). We strongly urge everyone to set aside time each day for prayer according to the suggested guidelines below. Families are encouraged to pray together. This is a wonderful teaching opportunity for children. Parents of youth/children keep an eye out for an email from Jess with more information on how we’ll be connecting remotely. Please feel free to contact Jess (email@example.com) if you have questions or would like to receive resources for youth and children during this time.
We would remind you that although we will not be meeting together for worship, the financial obligations associated with ministry continue. These include missions and denominational support, staff salaries and housing costs, building insurance and expenses, and other obligations. You may continue to give your tithes and offerings as planned to the Lord in several ways. We encourage you to send your offering in the mail (OHBC, P.O. Box 277, Oxford, MA 01540). You may also give through the church website (oakhillbible.org/GIVE.htm).
Please use the OHBC Facebook prayer group (LINK) to communicate any prayer needs. These may also be submitted online (LINK) or emailed to the church (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also contact the pastors with any special needs or concerns at <email@example.com> or <firstname.lastname@example.org>
UPDATE 3/15/20 (Afternoon)
Dear Church Family,
I hope this email finds you well and in peace this Sunday Afternoon. I’m writing to pass along an update that we at Oak Hill will be canceling all events for the time being. There will be no meetings, dinner & discussion, youth group or Services for at least the next 3 weeks given Governor Baker’s latest update (article linked at the end). TOMORROW we will be sending out an official update from our Pastors and Elders. In the days ahead I encourage you to use your time in the Word and turning over all your feelings to our heavenly father who has control over today and every day. Remember that good social distancing does not need to mean social disconnecting. Stay in touch with your church body, friends and family with the technology we’re lucky to have. You can keep connected with us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (with all our latest messages) at @oakhilloxford. Get connected with our prayer request page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/903638353091894/.
Again, more information will be coming tomorrow, know we’re praying for your health and peace.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21)
The Song Pastor Glenn quoted in today's sermon - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7jXASBWwwI
UPDATE 3/15/20 (Morning)
We continue to monitor the outbreak of the respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, COVID-19. At this time, there have been no reported cases of the coronavirus among the Oak Hill community or in the Town of Oxford. We want you to know that out of an abundance of caution and desire to serve our church and local community, Oak Hill leadership is taking proactive measures to monitor and exercise caution in light of this virus. We are following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) steps and are making ongoing adjustments to our practices in the life of this faith community.
At the present time, we plan to continue weekly worship services and regular activities/events, until it is necessary to change or discontinue our practices. We are making modifications to help keep our community healthy and safe. Adjustments and new updates are listed below.
- Every bathroom has antibacterial soap. We strongly urge the frequent washing of hands for at least 20 seconds, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- Hand sanitizing stations will soon be located in the lobby and sanctuary. Mini sanitizer bottles can be found throughout the facility. Please do not remove these from the church facility.
- Bulletins are being prepared and distributed by people wearing disposable gloves.
- We are not “passing the plate” to take the collection. Instead, you can place your offering in the Joash chest during the Greeting Time.
- All doorknobs and high-touch surfaces (e.g. tables, light switches, remotes, handles, pens, etc.) are being wiped down after services/events. Nursery and children’s areas are being disinfected in an effort to remove germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces.
- We are limiting access to the facility to scheduled services, activities and planned events, to help ensure that the facility remains clean for scheduled services/events on the church calendar.
- Anyone whose health is compromised is encouraged to stay home. Plans to Live-stream Sunday morning services are in progress. If you are not feeling well you can soon join our worship from home via the internet. We will endeavor to provide assistance to those who have difficulty with technology.
- Visits to hospitals and nursing homes are being curtailed or reduced due to imposed restrictions or limitations. We have plans in progress for a team of people to maintain contact with shut-ins or those self-quarantined via telephone or text messages.
- We are prayerfully considering ways in which we can provide practical assistance to our church and local communities, continuing to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world around us.
- We strongly urge daily preventative care by washing hands frequently with soap and warm water (20-30 seconds ); avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; staying home if you are sick; frequent cleaning and disinfecting at home or work; and the practice of healthy habits (plenty of sleep, drinking fluids and eating nutritious food, and managing stress).
The CDC reports that patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with such symptoms as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Should anyone from the Oak Hill community begin to experience any of these symptoms, or have been exposed to others who have traveled to affected areas, we ask them to contact the Church office at (508) 987-0287 as soon as possible.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We are reminded of Paul’s instruction to Timothy, which is a good guide in times of crisis or not. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (2Timothy 1:7 CSB) Please know that Oak Hill leadership is taking this matter seriously, as instructed in God’s Word. We trust in God’s Sovereignty, rest in His Peace, and believe that God can and will use our witness in this season for His glory.'
SOCIAL MEDIA LETTER 3/14/20
Dear Church Family,
In recent weeks, our world has been gripped by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, and the threat seems to keep inching closer and closer to home. Over the last few days we’ve begun to see social distancing and extra disease-prevention measures implemented around the United States. What does this mean for us? We at Oak Hill Bible church are approaching this matter with two considerations guiding our response – the honor and glory of the Lord and the safety and protection of the congregation at OHBC. As we walk through these unprecedented times together, let us remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
The Governor of Mass has banned all gatherings of 250 or more people in one place at a time. This Ban does NOT apply to Oak Hill and our small church gathering. We WILL be meeting tomorrow 3/15 for our normal 9:30am service and Sunday school hour. We’d encourage you all to do what you can to #flattenthecurve but after prayer, our Elders and Pastors will continue to host service in person and encourage all those feeling well enough to join us. You can always find our Sermon messages Sunday Afternoon on our Youtube Page @OakHillOxford.
In light of this and following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Oak Hill has initiated some cautionary steps to better protect our congregation. As always, Oak Hill is committed to using best practices and making informed decisions as we seek to be led by wisdom and love, rather than driven by fear. To see the immediate steps that Oak Hill has taken CLICK HERE for the latest letter from the Pastors and Elders.
If there is any group of people in the world that should not be shaken by the events surrounding COVID-19, it is Christians. Our theology and worldview lead us to respond with peace and joy, generosity and love, patience and hope. Christ is seated upon His glorious throne and we have nothing to fear. We will remain wise and diligent in preparation as we seek to honor the Lord and care for those He has brought to our community at Oak Hill. Thank you for your partnership in ministry and for responding to these events in a manner worthy of our high calling in Christ.
Grace and peace,
The Staff and Leadership of Oak Hill Bible Church
Dear Oak Hill Family,
The recent challenges associated with the flu and the spread of Coronavirus in the United States—and in Massachusetts in particular—have brought about a desire by leadership to ensure that Oak Hill maintains a healthy environment for our church community. In light of new information coming out every day, we are taking some measures to strengthen and communicate our commitment to provide a healthy environment for all. Here are some measures we will implement.
- Reminders to wash and sanitize our hands. We added signage in the restrooms and around the facility, reminding people to wash their hands for the appropriate length of time. There is a passage of scripture (Psalm 121) that can be read while you wash. When you are done reading you can be done washing!
- Purchase of hand sanitizing stations. In addition to bottles of hand sanitizer in the lobby and other locations throughout the church, hand sanitizing stations have been ordered and will be installed in strategic places for your use. Please use them!
- Changes to the greeting portion of our service. When it comes to greeting one another, a favorite activity at Oak Hill, for the time being, we are encouraging the use of a wave, a big smile, or even the use of an ‘elbow greeting’ to avoid the usual handshakes or hugs customarily given to one another. Please refrain for the sake of others’ health!
- Joining us from home. The blessings of meeting together are innumerable, but we also recognize that when people aren’t feeling well, it’s best if they remain home. Especially with heightened concerns for people’s well-being. For those unable to attend a weekly worship service, we are presently working on making our services available through live streaming. Please stay tuned for more information about this new feature!
- Reviewing possible changes to Communion. We receive Communion together as a church community on the
first Sunday of each month. That is a treasured opportunity that we don’t want to change. However, we are exploring ways to make our celebration of Christ’s sacrificial death less of a health concern for all. Recently we have added allergen-free Communion bread for those with special dietary needs. We are exploring alternative ways to enhance the Communion experience for all. Please look for more details in the coming weeks!
As people of faith, we are not driven by fear. These and other actions are not fear-based reactions to the Coronavirus. Fear begets restlessness, panic, and a desire for self-preservation. Fear cripples our calling to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are compelled to use wisdom and act prudently as God directs. That is what we are endeavoring to do in this time of uncertainty. However, one thing is very certain: whatever external threats may loom, faith in Christ for our present and for His promised future is what is most needed. With this future having been secured for us at the cost of Jesus’ life, and in the assurance of His abiding presence, we can live free from fear and be faithful to our calling as Christ’s servants.
Because of God’s grace,
Oak Hill Pastors and Elders