update: June 27, 2020

Dear Hope Members,

The Strategic Planning Council, in concert with Hope staff, has been continuously evaluating safety and health conditions to ensure Hope can continue with robust spiritual ministries while ensuring the health and wellness of its members. To that end, we pivoted all our services, small groups, and other ministries to a virtual format - allowing us to continue to be in community, even at a distance.  

We have been overwhelmed by the support, continued engagement, and dedication of our members during this challenging and unprecedented time. Thank you!

As the State of Michigan continues to see improvement in efforts to contain the virus, the leadership team at Hope has started to imagine the return of some activities to an in person format. In order to safely do so, we envision a phased approach as outlined below.

Phase 1 - Starting June 2020 (this month)

  • Small groups are permitted to meet in person with the understanding that they will observe proper social distancing guidelines. This can occur outdoors on church grounds, or in other outdoor spaces like parks and backyards. Please note, access to the church building including bathrooms will not be available.  
  • We encourage small groups and their leaders to choose to meet in whichever format best works for that group whether it be virtual, in person or a combination. All proper masks and social distancing protocols must be followed at all times. 

Phase 2 - Starting July 2020

In-person, outdoor worship will begin July 12th at 11am with the understanding that all in attendance will follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask. 

  • BYOC: Bring Your Own Communion AND Bring Your Own Chair.
  • PEACE: In order to both curb continued spread of the virus as well as respect the comfort level of everyone, we will simply flash a peace sign as opposed to any mode of hand shaking, fist or elbow bumping.
  • SINGING: There will be some...but you still have to wear a mask.
  • BATHROOMS: Sorry…bathrooms will not be available yet. 
  • More details will follow as we get closer to that date.

The online video stream service will still take place on Sunday mornings at 9:30am in addition to the in-person worship service. Anyone who prefers the video stream service or who is at an increased health risk is encouraged to continue to watch the video stream. Worship in the way that makes the most sense for you!

The building is still closed until further notice. Why? Simply, we are not yet prepared to meet the ongoing recommended and necessary sanitation protocols for a facility of this size. 

Phase 3 - TBD

Hope’s leadership will continue to evaluate conditions and will make plans with the goal of moving toward more in person operation if and when appropriate. 

We continue to appreciate your ongoing support of ministries at Hope, and look forward to worshipping with you in person in the near future!


Strategic Planning Council of Hope Lutheran Church

Click here to download a copy of this letter

march 13, 2020



*Hope Lutheran Church is suspending all in-person ministry until April 5th. In the meantime, JOIN US ONLINE every Sunday at 9:30am beginning March 15th.

* * * * * * *

Just 24 hours ago, things seemed different…please read carefully.

Priests and Shepherds

    Allow me to put two ideas together for you:

    “…you are a royal priesthood…”  1Peter 2:9

It is a foundational concept of Lutheranism that all God’s people are ‘pastors’. We all have a responsibility to live the Gospel of Jesus in this world…not just the called and ordained person, but all who follow Jesus.

    The word “pastor” comes from the Latin word pastor which means shepherd.

Very few of us have much experience with actual, honest-to-goodness shepherds. If we did, we would know that a shepherd generally leads their flock to places of food and water as well as places of safety.

I put those together to remind us that we are all pastors. We are all shepherds. And we all have a role in protecting each other and the other as well as the congregation of Hope and the church as a whole. That is why this is so difficult. 

As far as our society’s response to COVID-19, things have seemingly moved very, very quickly.

  • Nearly every professional sporting league has postponed and/or suspended seasons.
  • Elected officials and professional health experts at every level of government (Federal, State and Local) are emphasizing social distancing and urging that gatherings of people of various sizes be avoided.
  • The Governor of Michigan closed every school K-12 in the state until April 6th.
  • The President of the United States just declared a National Emergency.
  • Yesterday, the ELCA and Episcopal Bishops of Michigan stated that it is our “moral, civic, and spiritual obligation to care for one another by taking the necessary steps to slow the spread of this virus”. 

Unfortunately, the list goes on.

Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, the leadership of Hope Lutheran Church collectively decided to suspend all in-person ministry and resume worship on April 5th unless the situation dictates otherwise. Again:

Hope Lutheran Church is suspending all in-person ministry until Sunday, April 5th.

Yes…this could change in another 24 hours as this situation has been changing rapidly. For now, we feel this is the right decision from a moral, civic, and spiritual perspective.

Please know that leadership and staff did not come to this decision lightly. It is a very, very difficult situation. Nonetheless, we are doing our best given the reality of the world as it is at this moment.

* * * * * * *

Creativity and Vision

    “In the beginning, God created…” Genesis 1:1

If the Bible is authoritative at all, then its first words should be considered foundational. We gather because we believe in a God that creates…a God that created literally everything we know.

Creativity itself is theologically foundational to who God is and to who we are.

This is a difficult situation for sure, but it is also an opportunity. This is an opportunity for us to gather differently than we have before. We are careful to use the words “in-person” ministry, because this is an opportunity for us to explore creatively with love and grace new and exciting ways to gather. With the blessing of technology, we have the opportunity to gather on-line.

We will have more details early next week, but for this Sunday, March 15th we will be streaming worship at 9:30am. Again:


SUNDAY, MARCH 15th @ 9:30am

Using the streaming approach, it makes sense for us to put together one online worship experience at 9:30 am. Then we can use our time as ministers and staff to create other, unique, creative and visionary faith experiences and connections with our congregation and beyond in fresh and imaginative ways. We will continue to post the service on the website the following day.

* * * * * * *

HOPE Finances

We are well aware that this decision could have major financial implications for Hope and more importantly the people who benefit from the ministry done through this family of faith.

Remember, that even when services are temporarily suspended, we still have to pay our mortgage, utilities and salaries. 

Please, if at all possible, keep this in mind as you consider your giving. If you have not yet done so, please sign up for automatic giving through our website to ensure the continuity of ministry at and through Hope Lutheran Church.


*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *


We know you have a LOT of questions at this time, frankly so do we. We are doing our best to make the best decisions for the Gospel, this community of faith and for the community in which we exist. The situation is fluid and so must we be.

We will continue to keep you updated through our various means of communication.

Thank You and God Bless,


Pastor Rob