Covid Lockdown Response

December 22nd, 2020

As many of you are now aware, the province of Ontario is moving into a province wide lockdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 virus.  This includes the Grey Bruce region.  At this point, the lockdown will last 28 days, starting on December 26th, 2020 at 12:01 am.  While the lockdown is presently set to expire for our region on January 23, 2021, we are aware that the government will be re-evaluating the situation closer to that date and could choose to either lift or extend those guidelines.

As Ministry Council, when we first reopened our church building this past August to in-person services, we said that we would stay open if it were responsible, safe, and we could do so.  Because we want to be responsible, obedient, and safe citizens, we are agreeing to close our facility to any further in-person worship services or events until this lockdown is lifted, starting on December 26th, 2020.

What this means is that our Christmas Eve services are still going ahead as planned.  We will still be meeting at 5:30 and 7:00 pm to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, and the hope, peace, love, joy and light that He brings.  For those who are preferring to join us online or on the TV, a special Christmas Eve service will be broadcast on Facebook starting at 530 pm, and on Wightman Channel 6 at 7 pm.

Starting this next Sunday (December 27th, 2020) until the time where we can meet again in person, we will be doing a live stream service on Facebook, much like we did during the first wave.  We invite you to join us online at 10 am each Sunday for worship, prayer, teaching, and an opportunity to grow in your faith and be encouraged.

As mentioned prior, for your safety and in compliance with the regulations, our building will be closed for public access except for things deemed as essential services as per the government guidelines. We are in contact with the health unit to determine what those specific things are.  Also, for those of you who still need to give to the offering by cheque, we will have details released shortly as to the times in which you can arrange to drop your offering by the church.  If you still need to reach a pastor, the pastoral care phone will still be active (519-379-1752).

In this time that is ahead, know that we are praying for all of you. If you need anything, please reach out.  If you have any questions of us as Ministry Council, please contact us.  And in the days that are ahead, we want to wish you a Merry, blessed, restful, and refreshing Christmas where, even in the midst of all that is going on, that you feel the hope, peace, joy, love, and light of the Saviour, born in Bethlehem.

Your Ministry Council – Hanover Missionary Church – Jason Bechtel(Chair), Karen Schmalz(Vice-Chair), Dan DeVisser(Treasurer), Charlotte Spitzig(Clerk), Kaia Kontrimas & Carolyn Pearson

June 3 Statement

Peace is something that North America and our World is in need of it, aren’t we? Normally as a pastor, I am very careful what I say online and how I say it because in everything I do not want to bring the message of Jesus reproach. But in these present times, me not saying anything has the very same potential.

We watch our news, look through our Facebook feeds, see what is flashing across twitter, and hear what others are telling us. North America, and our world is hurting. Accounts of unimaginable injustice and racism, acts of violence, and deep feelings of grief, loss, and sorrow grip us all. And as each day progresses, the darker and more tragic things become.

In times like this, what is our role and response as a church? What does Jesus ask us to do?

First of all, we are people driven by love. Jesus commands us to love God with everything we have, and out of that love, we love our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus goes as far as to say that everything else hinges upon these two commands. We are people driven by love.

As well, we are people who are driven to serve. Jesus tells us that the greatest must become the least. The master of all must be the servant of all. This is the example He set for us as He served us in the most selfless way possible, giving up His life for us. He tells us that if we follow His example, we will be blessed in it.

Also, Jesus didn’t discriminate. Jesus didn’t choose to stay with those who had influence, or those who were of wealth or position. Jesus chose to associate with those from other nations who no self-respecting Jew would have been seen with. Jesus chose to go to the least of these, to the down and out, to the outcasts, the poor, and the rejected. He went to those who were victims of the worst of injustices, and even though He was scorned for doing so, He extended love when no one else would.

Lastly, Jesus calls us to be people of peace. He, in his counter cultural sermon on the mount, blesses those who promote peace. In a world that seems to be gripped by the acts of hate, racism, and violence that have been going on, we need to be counter cultural, and in doing so, bring healing.

In Hanover, we likely feel like we are removed from what is happening in the rest of North America. We hear the message of the black lives matter movement, and we agree with the central message of it that racism is wrong. Yet we feel isolated here in Hanover, in what feels like our quiet and isolated, rural lives.

Yet racism knows no geographical boundaries. Racism happens in our county. And racism goes against the current of the Gospel message. Therefore we, as Hanover Missionary Church, denounce all forms of racism. The message of Jesus compels us to say that black lives do indeed matter. It compels us to say that all racism is wrong. No person should feel unsafe, victimized, or of less value because of where they were born, or the colour of their skin. God created all of humanity in His image, and as His image bearers, we agree that racism is wrong.

Instead, we believe that Jesus calls us to love and serve radically. Part of loving and serving those who have been victims of racism is by acknowledging the hurt and pain caused by that action. It means us acknowledging the reality of racism and doing what we can to eliminate it. It means us looking at people, regardless of race, and seeing value in them as equals, and as people created in the image of God.

As we see tensions boiling and bubbling over with acts of violence, we do believe that we are called to be agents of peace, and people of prayer. Let us pray for our country, our neighbours to the south, and our world. Let us pray for peace. And let us also find ways that in our daily lives, we can promote the peace of Jesus in all our relationships.

Our ideology isn’t political. It isn’t driven by who is the most influential. Our ideology is driven by who Jesus was, and what He calls us to. If we want to change our world and stamp out hate once and for all, let us love like Jesus did, radically. And let us let it start in us, here in Hanover.

A Priesthood of All Believers: A Response to COVID-19

To: my fellow Pastors,
former classmates,
church leaders,
(and of course my congregation)

I can still remember the weight and the look of my dad’s ‘church bag’. A big-lug-of-leather brief case. And if memory serves, he only took it church. It was filled with loose papers, his Bible, pens without lids, and church candy. Oh that sweet, sweet church candy! Our family would sit two rows from the front (keeners) – spitting distance from the Pastor. Sunday morning and Sunday night – every week – without fail.

And I loved it.

I loved going to church. I loved being a part of a church. Seeing the people. The feeling of being swept into the river of folks mixing after service. I loved the stories. I felt safe in the building.

I loved the community. The flyby-pencil-stealing-missions past Mrs. Ernst every week. I needed to draw! And she could only guard the supply room door for so long, until SWOOP. Another stash of church pens in my pocket.

Looking back, it isn’t a wonder that I wandered into the clergy. I still love the church. It is my second home. The people are my family. Even my children have been absorbed into the same way-of-being I experienced as a child. They run through the doors, kick off their boots, find the secret stock of baby cookies, and settle in. Our family schedule and weekly rhythm has been molded around the church rhythms. You know as well as I, pastoring isn’t a job – it’s a way of life.

COVID-19 has disrupted almost every facet of pastoral life.

We have literally watched the world stop. Our government has closed its borders. World governments have completely locked-down and shut-out. Airlines have been grounded. The markets are in free-fall. The streets are nearly empty. The toilet paper is gone! And millions upon millions upon millions of people are in isolation. Projections for the crisis to end are a moving target. Our government has signalled we should prepare for weeks and months. Scientists forecast June, or July, or August as a possible end to social isolation and the return of ‘normal life’. Some have suggested even a year. Maybe they are wrong! Maybe they are right. Our world has changed in a blink of an eye. Our churches have followed suit.

COVID-19 has disrupted almost every facet of church life.

Nearly every operation of our in-person community building mechanisms have halted simultaneously. Sunday Worship. Midweek meals. Small Groups. Youth. Visitation. Events. Missions trips. Staff meetings. And all those precious impromptu conversations in the foyer. The hugs. Smiles. Weekly updates. Jokes and rants.


Worse. It is conceivable that as Pastors we may not physically see, or speak, or cluster with our parishioners for weeks on end. It is conceivable that our people may not physically gather for groups, events, meals, game-nights, conferences, or Sunday worship for months.

Let that sink in.

Like you, my soul is grieved. There are moments I am speechless at the thought. Breathless. Where is this going? What will happen to the spiritual health of our people? What will happen to our churches as institutions? What will be left of our denominations, our bank accounts, the volunteer corps, summer interns, that cream I left in the fridge? Can we hold out for weeks, or months, or years? I know it sounds apocalyptic, but I can’t help but wonder:

is the Evangelical Church on the brink of extinction?

Oh, hear me local church Pastor – Sunday gatherings will happen in the post-COVID era. There will be sound glitches, mediocre coffee, hugs and songs, endearing awkward conversations, greetings in the foyer. It is all waiting on the other side. It may take weeks, or months, or longer. But how, oh how, can it ever be the same?

We are all scrambling. Upping our online presence (at least until the internet collapses). Our care teams are in place. Calls are being made. Groceries delivered. But live streaming alone cannot sustain us. We risk becoming a literal ‘show’ and just another barrier to an already passive-consumer-Christian experience. Zoom groups will keep us talking. But they limit our capacity to fully care. Besides, these methods are adult-centric and tech-heavy. Our most vulnerable – the kids, youth, and elderly – remain the most vulnerable. We are in a crisis of faith.

But beneath my feelings of dread and grief, there is a surge of excitement welling out of my soul. Jesus spoke: ‘It is the people, stupid.’ It has always been the people. The kids. The youth. The adults and singles and elderly. The families. It is not our brand. Our programming. Not our vision. Our building. Our production quality. Our preaching. It is the people.

It is time to reimagine the church. It is time to reequip the people!

In this moment, in this crisis of faith, we have a profound opportunity. We have a chance to re-energize our parents to be the spiritual caretakers of their children, youth, and families. We have a window to re-charge our adults to be self-motivated, self-teaching, self-driven people of faith. We have a moment to re-invigorate our people to be the church in action! We have the freedom to reimagine our congregations as JOEL 3 – ACTS 2 people of faith. A priesthood of all believers!

Our congregations are desperate for it.

Every family needs a Storyteller.
(someone who can open up their Bible, read it aloud with conviction, weave a picture with their words, and make it alive!)

Every house needs a Worship-Arts Director.
(someone to paint and draw and express, someone to take charge of the family playlist, load it with Jesus-songs, fill the air with hymns and praise and dance music!)

Every parent and grandparent needs to be Child and Youth Worker.
(someone who takes the work of play seriously – who guards the imagination of their children as their highest priority – who dares their youth to ask tough questions – and who is secure enough to listen without judgement!)

Every person needs a Counsellor.
(someone to listen, create sacred spaces for sharing and prayer.)

Our communities are desperate for it.

Every house needs a Pastor.
(someone who cares deeply for those around them, checks in, prays, and shepherds their flock!)

Every street needs an Evangelist.
(someone to speak boldly the love of Jesus without judgement, or fear, or hesitation!)

Every block needs a Prophet.
(someone who will cry out against injustice, hold truth to power, exclaim God’s promises, advocate for the poor, the starving, and the vulnerable, in Jesus’ name!)

Every town needs an Apostle.
(those who will be sent out on mission – in both physical and digital spaces – to redesign public space, and reinvigorate public conversation, for Jesus’ sake!)

Everyone needs not one – but many Teachers.
(people who adore the ancient scriptures, teach the history, adhere to context and form, embed the biblical narrative into daily lives of those around them!)

And everyone needs a Care Pastor and Encourager.
(people who actively see and intuitively read the needs of their neighbours and respond in kind with open hands and joyful hearts!)

Toddlers. Children. Youth. Adults. Parents. Singles. Grandparents. Families. Generations. We all have a part! There is no time for us to sit idle. We cannot wait this thing out.

If ever our towns needed an organic network of Spirit-led people – it is now.

If ever our world needed to hear and see the Good News of Jesus Christ working and flowing through everyday people – it is now.

If ever your church needed you, as a Pastor, as a shepherd, as an equipper of the saints – it is now.

In this moment, we must do what we were trained to do: reimagine the church and equip the people for the ministry! And then watch, as the priesthood of believers reshapes our world for Jesus’ sake.

There is no model on ‘how to do this’. Complications will abound. Our plans will be a mess. The work is insurmountable. But the spirit will lead.

This is our moment:

To rethink our purpose.
To reequip our people.
To reimagine the church.

May the Spirit lead us.

Your friend and brother,
in love,
in Christ,


Download a PDF version of this article and share with anyone who needs it.

How We’re Moving Forward: A Message from the Staff of HMC

Read our latest update from Pastor Dave.

Video transcription:

Hello. My name is Amos Shelley and I am the pastor of children, youth, and family at Hanover Missionary Church in Hanover, Ontario, Canada.

Covid-19 has changed our lives for the time being. Many of you are scared. Many of you are anxious. There’s uncertainty around jobs, around health, around our loved ones. We know the effects of social isolation and bans on large group gatherings have altered the course of our society for the time being.

I want to remind you that you are not alone and you are loved and you are not forgotten.

As a pastor and as staff who’s primary job is to meet with people in big and small groups, how we do church has to change for the time being and we are really excited to roll out two new initiatives for Hanover Missionary Church. HMCdigital and HMCcares.

HMCdigital will be a unique online strategy to meet you in your home where you are at. Couples, families, children, youth alike. There will be live streaming of content, there will be digital curriculum, sermon videos, sermon series, suggestions, updates, group chats. We will provide and facilitate as many opportunities for you to connect with each other and with us as possible and we’re excited to see what God will do with this medium.

HMCcares is perhaps the most comprehensive one-to-one contact mechanism that HMC has ever employed, and our goal is to personally contact each and every one of you through a person on our care team every single week. We want to hear your stories. We want to hear your voices. We want to pray with you and talk with you. We want to know your needs and how best to meet them.

Pastor Kristina and I will be live streaming this Sunday at 10:00 and sharing the plan and the strategy and the schedule for the weeks ahead. We invite you to join us. You can hop onto our Facebook page or even through our website at 10:00 to follow along and participate.

Most importantly we want to remind you that God’s redemptive work in the world isn’t finished. He is still active. He is still moving. No economic downturn or virus can slow His grace or mercy. The borders of his kingdom can’t be closed and His spirit can’t be put in isolation. His love is eternal and it is good. Even in death, the hope of the resurrection remains because of what Jesus Christ has done.

So be encouraged. You are the literal light of the world. You are the embodiment of hope and peace everywhere you go. You are filled with His spirit and you are filled with His love. And though there will be difficult days ahead, you’re not doing this alone. We are together, a family of families of generations who follow Jesus together.

For those who are not part of this family, know that this family is open. And if you know someone who need encouragement or needs to be connected in, send them this video, invite them to our Facebook page, connect with them, give them a call. Our family is open for anyone and everyone.

In the words of St. Paul to the Romans, he says there’s nothing that can separate us from God’s love. Nothing. Nothing high or low, nothing angel or demonic, nothing dead or alive, nothing thinkable or unthinkable. There’s absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God because we have been embraced by Jesus Christ.

Know today that you are embraced by Jesus Christ, that He loves you, and He has not forgotten you even in the darkest times of our life. So feel His embrace, feel His love, connect with us. We’re here for you and we’ll talk to you soon.

Update: COVID-19 Response

For Immediate Release

March 15th, 2020

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matt 5:14)

Can our light be hidden if we don’t have a building?

Good morning everyone.  Since the video update yesterday evening, the situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus has been changing, even in Hanover with worship services now beginning to be cancelled.  In the last 12 hours, at least two local congregations have temporarily closed their doors for public worship, with the weekly community Lent services also being cancelled.

While we have been told that we are still okay to meet together this weekend, in consultation with Ministry Council, multiple sources from the medical world, as well as Health Canada and Ontario Public Health guidelines, we have decided that for the following two Sundays (March 22 and 29, 2020), we will be closing down our regular Sunday worship gatherings.  This is in addition to us temporarily closing all our weekly ministries this past Friday.

During this time, Hanover Missionary Church will not be providing any sort of live streaming worship service from our location.  However, we are happy to help provide families with suggestions for home Bible studies, as well as make suggestions for some excellent electronic resources that you can view and make use of from the safety of your home. Please contact a pastor for suggestions. 

While it is our desire for us to remain connected as a community, and it would be our natural desire to see small groups gather within the context of homes, we also need to be aware of the need for social distancing.  Any such gathering needs to be at your own discretion.  We are not organizing any official networks of small group meetings as a ministry of HMC.  

During this time, the church office will be officially closed for public access, but the staff and pastors are still available by phone or email.  For those who wish to give to our weekly offering, please consider using the app and giving electronically.  If you need to use the debit terminal or drop off an envelope in a lock box, you can still do that.  

We are currently working through a strategy and plan to ensure that the congregation is still cared for in this time.  If you are in need, are wanting prayer, and are needing some extra care because of the present COVID-19 outbreak, please contact our office and speak with a Pastor, or with Marie.  

Currently, the plan is to have worship services resume for April 5th, 2020.  We will re-evaluate our current situation over the next couple weeks and will keep you updated on any developments.  Please watch our website and social media pages for important updates.   

As we deal with what has become an unprecedented time within our country, remember that regardless of what happens with COVID-19, we are still the church. We don’t need a building to be the church.   You (the people) are the church.  As such, closing our doors do not stop us from being on mission for Jesus.  It does not stop us from loving others.  It does not stop us from being a source of light, hope, encouragement, comfort, and peace in a world that seems to be falling apart with panic and fear.  You and we are the light of the world.  The light of Jesus in us can not be hidden and needs to be shared.  

Find ways to be Jesus.

Until we gather again,

Pastor Dave

Read the original March 12, 2020 update

HMC’s Response to Covid-19


For Immediate Release

March 12, 2020

We are a community of families. To borrow a phrase often used around here, ‘we are a family of families’. Part of being a family means that we love each other and look out for each other.

In the recent days and weeks, our world has been buzzing with news surrounding the COVID-19 virus that has moved across the globe and into our own province. With all the coverage surrounding COVID-19, and the potential risks associated with the outbreak, there is a level of fear and concern that exists.

At Hanover Missionary Church, we are aware of the concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus. While we do not want to perpetuate or continue an atmosphere of fear, we are committed to the health, safety, and well being of all those who would choose to worship with us on Sunday mornings or be a part of any of the weekly ministries here. With that in mind, in an attempt to be balanced in our response, we are proactively taking the following measures:

  1. For the immediate future, we are limiting handshakes, hugs, and other forms of physical contact that we use to greet each other. While we want to be welcoming, and show friendliness through physical contact, we want to ensure that we are not unnecessarily passing around illnesses.
  2. We have replenished our hand sanitizer stations by the main entrance, sanctuary doors, nursery, and other locations throughout our building. Please make use of them when you enter.
  3. Please ensure you wash your hands with soap and water after using the washroom.
  4. We are switching back to disposable dishes, cups, and cutlery for any event where food or drink are consumed until further notice.
  5. We are being vigilant to clean and disinfect all doorknobs and handles where a high volume of people will be touching.
  6. There will be some changes to our ministries here at the church during this time. In tandem with the school closures, all weekday ministries and HMC events will be taking a hiatus until April 5th. As of this point, because our Sunday gatherings fall below the 250 person attendance mark, services are still happening, but we will continue to monitor conditions and recommendations. We will re-evaluate our response based on current conditions prior to April 5th.
  7. If you have any new symptoms (such as a new cough, sniffles, fever, etc..), even if you think it is just a common cold or virus, or if you have been out of the country in the last fourteen days, please avoid all gatherings, including Sunday mornings, until your symptoms have cleared.

If you are ill and unable to be a part of our Sunday gathering in person, we will have a live stream option available for you to be a part of through our Facebook page. If you want to contribute to the offering, you can continue to give through the app, or by visiting .

If you are choosing to stay away from the Sunday gathering for your own safety and well being, but are not sick, please join us online through our Facebook page. You can give online through as well, or visit us in the office during the week to drop off your offering by envelope or through the debit terminal.

While a situation like this has the potential to create a lot of fear and panic, I want to encourage you to remain calm and trust in our God. Remember that He knows what is going on, and this is ultimately in His hands. We can find comfort and peace in Him, knowing that whatever happens, He is taking care of us.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

(Psalm 91:1-2)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7)

Praying for you in all things,

Pastor Dave

Be sure to like/follow us on Facebook for updates about this situation

We are now set up for online giving!

You asked and we listened! People don’t always have cheques or cash anymore, and giving on a Sunday morning can be limited without access to modern technology. We are so pleased to let you know that your tithes and offering can now be given through an app!

Go to (or click the button below) and sign up to give!

  • download the (finance) app.
  • create an account
  • verify email
  • login & find church: HANOVER MISSIONARY CHURCH
  • click ‘GIVE NOW’
  • You will jump to the web browser
  • enter PAYMENT options (DEBIT/VISA) and ADD CARD
  • enter your $ amount (please also select the ‘cover fees’ option to ensure HMC receives your complete tithe)
  • designate to ‘Offering’ or ‘Building Fund’ or the account of your choice

We’re excited to offer this new opportunity to give. We are also in the process of setting up a debit machine in our foyer where you will be able to TAP TO TITHE – stay tuned for more information about that!

Pastor Search Update

Over the last few months, we have had the opportunity to go through the hiring process for the Part Time Associate Pastor of Adult Discipleship. Upon the unanimous recommendation of the search team, pastoral staff, and Ministry Council, we are please to present Kristina Dyck as the candidate for this role. Over the next two weeks, we are asking for the congregation to affirm the decision of Ministry Council to call Kristina to this role at HMC. On July 21st in the morning service, you will have an opportunity to hear Kristina share about her heart for this role and get to know her a bit more. We are also asking if the congregation has any feedback, that over the next two weeks, you directly contact Ministry Council, the Search team, or Pastor Dave. On July 28th, we would like to publicly affirm as a congregation a calling to Kristina to be a pastor here.

Coming Soon! The First HMC Chilli Cook-Off!


If you want your chilli to be part of the February 25 Cook-Off: Bring your crockpot to the main kitchen before the service. See the cook-off team to register. (You will be asked to take a number and give your chilli a creative name.)

We will take up to 20 entries.

If you want to be a judge: At the end of the service you will be given a chance to volunteer as a judge. We can have (up to) 20 judges. You will be dismissed a few minutes before everyone else. Find the judging station in the U18 foyer (kitchen outside the gym) and get further instructions there.

You do not have to participate in the cook-off to share your chilli! Please plan to bring a pot either way and deliver to the main kitchen before the service. Buns and drinks will be provided. You’re welcome to bring along a dessert as well if you choose.

Winners will be celebrated in our service on Sunday, March 4 and will get to take home one of these gorgeous trophies:

Bring your appetite and your best chilli!