Family Update: Relaunching Sunday Gatherings

Hey everyone! If you read the email update from last week, or watched our online service this past weekend, you would have heard that we are re-launching in person services here at HMC. You would have also heard that more details would be coming. This is a start of some of those details. There will be a video made available through our website next week that will show a bit more of what it will be like to be back in the church building.

As we prepare to re-launch in person gatherings again, know that this is not a replacement of our online services. As internet and telephone surveys were reviewed from a couple weeks ago, it was clear that there was a segment of our congregation who is not able to connect to our online services presently or needs the in-person environment that a physical gathering would produce. As we talk about the importance of “Gather” and being “Generations Following Jesus Together”, we want to be accessible to all people. Us re-launching physical gatherings is in addition to our online presence (which will continue), to help those connect in who need that ‘in person’ church connection.

Our first Sunday back in our building will be Sunday August 2nd, 2020 @ 10am, in co-operation with our region now being in stage 3 of the provincial reopening plan.

For those of you who are returning, things will look different than you may remember from the last time we met in March. There are certain guidelines that we are choosing to follow and require as you come. They may seem extreme, unnecessary, or heavy, but we are requiring these because we want our building to be a safe place for all people. We love our church family and our community at large and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can (while still meeting) to reduce our risk of anyone getting sick here. Below is a list of some of the regulations and guidelines that will be followed:

a. There will be a health questionnaire taken at the main doors before
entering. Phone numbers will be required for contact tracing (in the event of an illness breakout), and family waiver forms will need to be signed for your first visit.

b. Face masks will be a requirement for anyone entering the building.

c. We will need to observe social distancing while in the building (6 ft apart, no mingling in the foyer or sanctuary). The foyer will be set up to promote traffic flow, but not mingling.

d. Building access will be limited to just the foyer, sanctuary, and upstairs

e. Washroom usage is limited. We are asking one person at a time in
the washroom, and if you don’t need to use the facilities while here,
don’t. Please use the washroom before you come to church.

f. You will have assigned seating that will be set up to keep us all at a
safe distance, observing social distancing guidelines.

g. When you arrive, ushers will guide through the designated path in the foyer to the sanctuary, where your assigned seat awaits. We are asking that you remain at your seats until the service is done. After the service, the ushers will dismiss you and guide you back out the building.

Some of you have asked “can we sing?” Because we are wearing face masks, yes. Wearing a face mask, you can sing as you are comfortable. We will have a live worship leader each week to lead us in singing.

So that we can organize seating, and keep under our 30% capacity, we will need you to pre-register for our sunday service. Registrations will open every Monday at 9am and close 10am on thursday for our services. Registration will open this Monday at 9am through our website . Please ensure only one person in your household fills out the registrations for everyone. Waiver forms will be posted there as well so that you can print them off and fill them out prior to Sunday. For those who can’t use the website to register, you will need to email with your family’s registration or call the main office at 519-364-1823. We are asking that all regular attenders of HMC please pre-register. While we will have limited ‘walk up’ spaces available for those who come Sunday morning without registering, these are intended for those who are visitors and did not have the opportunity to pre-register.

Thanks for taking time to read this, and I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Pastor Dave

HMC Family Update

Hopefully, you are enjoying a bit of a cooler week after the last several days of a heat wave here in Southern Ontario.  There were a few days where I can say I felt cooler being in Florida last November (and it was hot) than being here last week!

I wanted to take this time to give you an update of what has been going on here at HMC the last little bit, and what you can look forward to.

The summer holidays continue!

As the summer rolls on, more of our staff will be using up their yearly vacation time.

Just a reminder that regardless of which pastor may be away, the pastoral care line is always on and will be answered.  If you have an urgent need and are in need of a pastor, you can always call 519-379-1752.

For the next two weeks:

Pastor Amos will be away from July 18th through to Aug 2nd

Pastor Kristina will be away from July 20th through to Aug 2nd

Pastor Lyndsay will be gone from July 20th through Aug 18th.

I (Pastor Dave) will be in the office and can be reached for any concerns of a pastoral nature.  Marie and Alanna will also both be working.

‘Flat Jesus’

A couple weeks ago, you should have received our summer mailing with the Flat Jesus weekly family activity.  It has been great to see so many of our families taking the challenges every week and posting pictures of you doing those challenges!  Keep the pictures coming, and keep sharing Jesus with our community!

If you have not received this mailing, please contact the church office as we may not have your address, and we would be happy to send one your way.

Summer video surprise!

Every Wednesday at 7pm, make sure you go to our facebook page for a surprise video each week.  The first two Wednesdays have been great, and we have many more great videos in store for you this summer.  Check it out!

SummerSlam is here, and will be back!!!

What is summer without SummerSlam at HMC?  Even a pandemic can’t stop it.  This year we are going digital with summer slam.  Go to for information and to register.  The first week of SummerSlam is just wrapping up, but for those of you who missed it, or you want to do SummerSlam a second time around (and trust me, you might just want to), we are running it again in August (10-14th).  Sign up online.

Missions Highlight

Every two weeks, we want to highlight a different missionary for you to be praying for.

This week we highlight our very own Wes and Brenda Dyck.   Wes and Brenda serve with Ethnos and the Durham location, teaching and preparing future missionaries and their families for going into missions around the world.

They are requesting prayer for the upcoming fall semester.  As some of you are aware, for the first year in many, Ethnos did not have new students entering the program this last year.  This upcoming fall, there is a lot of interest, and there have been many who signed up.  Yet with the reality of COVID, some plans may have been changed.  Many of the students come here from the USA and may not be able to attend due to the border shutdown.  As well, how the training is delivered may have to change to suit some of the unique needs that are present.

Thanks for your prayer support, and I know they would always welcome a phone call or an email to reach out!

Giving update

Thanks to everyone who has been helping HMC by giving, even during this shut down.  We are thankful and amazed how God continues to provide for us.

As I mentioned in my last update, with summer coming, giving levels traditionally drop, and the present situation has not helped.  June was the tightest month on record since COVID hit. While up to this point, we have been able to pay our bills, we are meeting our bills because ministry is not costing what it normally does.

In order for us to continue to fund the ministry that we are doing (and that so many of you have reached out to us to tell us that you have appreciated), would you please consider, as you are able and God leads, to give to the ministry here at HMC?

As mentioned in the past email, we do have the ability to accept giving by E-transfer.

Please send your e-transfer to

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Cory Bezeau at the same address.  He can help you with any questions you have.

When is HMC going to re-open?

First of all, thank you to all of those who responded and gave feedback through email or by phone to the surveys that were sent out a couple weeks ago.  I personally appreciated being able to find out where you are at as we contemplate future in person ministry at HMC.

With much of Ontario presently being in stage 3, our province has begun to open up on many various fronts.  More freedom has been given around gatherings in our province, and with that has come the question “when will it be safe to re-open our doors for Sunday gatherings?”

We are aware that there are many in our congregation who can not connect to our digital online Sunday services or activities.  We are also aware that there are many who can not watch the services on Wightman Channel 6.  We are also aware of the effect on mental and emotional health that not being able to connect in person has had for some.

This is why, in addition to our HMCdigital platform that we will continue to offer and expand upon, we are looking at re-opening our building specifically for Sunday worship gatherings starting August 2nd, 2020.  Keep your eyes open for details coming up.  And for those of you who do not have email access, we will be calling you in the days ahead.

We know that an in person gathering will not be for everyone at this time, nor can we physically have everyone attend.  Please know that we are not pressuring anyone to return, and we give you the complete freedom to decide when you think it is safe for you and your family to return in person to HMC without any sense of guilt or shame.  We will continue to provide the option to live stream the Sunday gatherings.  We will still maintain a strong online presence, and plan to do so even as things return to normal in our province.

As you come to the Sunday gatherings here at HMC, know that there are strict guidelines from the health region that we are requiring anyone coming into our building to follow.  We are frequently checking the latest updates from our health region to ensure that we are on the forefront of keeping people safe.  As we gather together, your safety is of our utmost concern.  And at any point where the health unit recommends that we close, we are willing to do so.

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading and keeping in touch with what is going on at HMC.

Know that we miss you all and pray for you.  If you need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out.

See you again in two weeks for our next update!

On behalf of everyone here,

Pastor Dave

Update: When Will We Be Open Again?

When will we be open again?

Good afternoon!

As you are likely aware, last week the provincial government made a provision available for churches to begin to meet again in person. For many of us, that decision was met with excitement as we long to be together again. The last few months have been difficult on all of us. Many of you have been asking “when is the church going to open up?”

Last week, I promised you that I would have a plan available to you for this week. After meeting with staff and with ministry council, we do have an update ready to share.

Let me start by saying that we love you all, and we miss you all. We look forward to seeing you again.

Let me also say that we are living in unprecedented times where information is changing frequently and readily.

Because we love and care for you, because we are concerned for your well being, and because we have a desire to keep you and our community safe, our physical church building will remain closed for the near future for the purposes of Sunday gatherings. Our decision was made based on the information that we have been currently given. This could quickly change as regulations and restrictions change, but as of this point we will continue to provide online services streaming through Facebook and our website, as well as broadcast on Wightman Channel 6.

There were many factors that played into our decision, but let me share with you some of the rationale behind us not physically meeting as of yet:

1) Last Wednesday, I was in a video call hosted by Dr. Ian Arra with 100 other church pastors and faith leaders in the Grey Bruce region. In the video call, Dr. Arra affirmed the role that the church plays in the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of people in these times. He also stated that the safest way for people to engage with church is online if possible. Meeting in a crowd, even with proper protection, still carries a level of risk.

2) We would not be able to participate in the aspects of the service that we hold dear. The health unity has requested that singing would not be allowed due to the concern that singing is as bad as (or worse than) coughing. Also, communion would not be allowed to happen due to the risk of transmission. As well, there would not be the opportunities to mingle and connect with people before or after the service as we would have to adhere to social distancing protocols.

3) There are many other churches in our denomination that I have been in contact with that are over a certain size that have decided that they will likely wait the summer out and not push to re-open until September.

4) Within Hanover, a large number of the churches have expressed recently that they will also be holding off on opening as late as the fall by request of their denomination or church council.

5) Upon conversations with a few different sources within the medical field, a common theme expressed was concern of the church opening too quickly and potentially introducing a large number of people to an infection that has not disappeared yet and could be on the brink of a second wave.

6) Our building does not have the capacity to hold everyone who may want to be back at this time. Rather than having to say who can and can not be here, we feel it is better to wait until we can all come together as a family and worship together.

What I do offer, with a word of caution, is the freedom, as long as you can do so while observing proper social distancing measures, is the ability to get together in casual, unofficial groups of 10 or less at your homes, or in your front and back yards to participate in the service, doing so as a community.

I understand and acknowledge that this will come as a bit of a disappointment for many. We have all been looking forward to being able to meet again. Last Monday, it probably felt like a glimmer of hope had returned!

Please know that while these are not ideal times, we also make this decision as followers of Jesus, seeking to set for our community an example of respect and submission to the authorities over us. Romans 13 tells us that this is a good thing for us to do, and that it acknowledges the authority of the God who placed them there.

Also, please know that this decision was not made out of fear. We are not fearful of the days that are ahead because we believe our God knows the past, present, and future. We know that nothing takes Him by surprise, and that He can turn even the most difficult and stressful situation and bring something of amazing beauty and wonder out of it. While we are inconvenienced right now and our routines are further turned upside down, we can confidently believe that as we follow God in this, He will bring something amazing out of this time.

Also, while it is hard not to meet in our church building, we are reminded that we are the Church. The Church is built by God. The building is only a man-made structure where we meet. Wherever and however the people of God meet together to worship Him, there the church is.

The encouragement and challenge to us today is to find creative ways to continue to be the Church.

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.

Update from Pastor Dave

I hope this update finds everyone healthy and safe. It has been a few weeks since I reached out to all of you, so I wanted to make sure I checked in and filled you in on a few happenings here at HMC.

We are on TV

We are thrilled to be able to announce that we will be on TV weekly, broadcasting past services here at HMC to allow those who can not watch us online an opportunity to tune in.  As well, we see this as another way that we can share the hope of Jesus with our larger community.

You can catch our services every Saturday night, at 7 pm on Wightman Channel 6.

Financial Update

Thanks to all of you who have been giving to HMC during this time.  I know that for many, these are difficult times financially, yet I am thankful for your generous giving during this time.  We are thankful that God has been providing for us, and through your generous giving, has been taking care of our needs. We are truly blessed to find ourselves in a place of relative financial stability. I want to thank you again as it is because of your joyful and sacrificial giving that we are stable.

As the summer months approach, and giving traditionally drops, I ask you to please remember HMC and consider how you can help us continually meet our monthly expenses and help us continue to do ministry in Hanover and area.

Even though we can praise God for being in a relatively stable financial position as a church, we are mindful that we also need to be wise with the finances we have, especially in these challenging times.  With that in mind, all ministry spending has been limited to essential spending that is necessary for us to carry out the present ministry needs of the church.  Ministry Council has also discussed a multi-step plan of how to manage our expenses should our income from giving see a significant drop.  It is our desire to be responsible with what God has given us.

Benevolence Fund

In the last update, I announced that we had launched a benevolence fund so that we could be a blessing in our community and meet the needs of those around us as the needs arise.  I thank you to all of you who have given so far.  If you would like to give to the benevolence fund, over and above your regular giving, you can do so through (as there is a benevolence fund designation), or through a designation on your offering envelope that is dropped off.

Do you need anything?

We want to make sure that we are caring for you as a church family, keeping you connected in what is going on, and helping you feel like you are a part of a family even in this time of isolation.

If you have any needs, please let us know at the church.  We would love to talk to you and help you any way we can in this time.  If you know of someone who is not connected to HMC but is in need, let us know as well.

As always, make sure you stay connected with us online and through email updates. If you know of someone who needs these updates, but is not on the internet, and is not already getting our regular mailings, please let us know in the office so that we can put them on the list.

When can we begin using our facility again?

The truth of the situation is that we do not know the answer to this.  Things are changing daily, and at this point, we are following the lead of our government.  At this point, the protocol continues to be no gatherings over 5 people, and strict social distancing measures.  Looking at the plan put forward to gradually open our province, the lifting on gatherings is one of the last things to be lifted.

Because of all the uncertainty, we will no longer be putting a date projection as to when we will be back in our building.  With things changing daily, it seems prudent to take a wait and see approach. Plan on things continuing as they presently are for the near future.  We are continually evaluating our situation, and as things change, we will be sharing that with you.

Know that we as a staff team miss all of you.  We look forward to seeing you back.  We pray for you and think of you all often.  If there is any way we can care for you in this time, do not hesitate to reach out.

On behalf of all of us here,

Pastor Dave

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.

Let’s Be People of Prayer and a Church that is Making Disciples

Thoughts out of the EMCC Regional Gathering, 2018

A few weeks ago, many EMCC pastors and leaders from Eastern Canada got together for a regional gathering. The point of this weekend gathering was to give a chance for everyone to be refreshed, but to also talk and pray about the future ministry of the EMCC denomination as a whole.

people of prayer

For me personally, it was exciting to see where our denomination seems to be heading in terms of vision because I believe it ties into where we also need to go at Hanover Missionary Church.

On Saturday afternoon, there was an extended round-table discussion and discernment session about where we as pastors sensed the greatest needs were in terms of vision and direction in our denomination. Two themes seemed to be heard continually: we need to be people of prayer, and churches who are making disciples. The need for our churches and denominations to have more intentional strategies and plans around making followers of Jesus was discussed, specifically as it relates to us seeking to walk in the way of Jesus.

As the lead pastor here, that is where my heartbeat is. I long for this church to be a church of prayer, where we wholeheartedly, with faith and intention, ask God for His guidance in this church. I long for this church to be a place where we take ourselves out of the drivers seat and let God steer where we need to be and who we need to be. Beyond that, my heart for this church (and where I see our church heading in the future) is a church that intentionally and effectively makes students and followers of Jesus. This is the only way our church will thrive and continue to survive as we move into the future. Be watching for our church to make a noticeable move in that direction in the months ahead.

My challenge to us would be that as we seek God in prayer, we would ask Him to show us how we can be a place that makes committed followers of Jesus. It would be my desire that as we pray and talk to God, He would show us how we can truly be a church that will ‘gather and go.’

—Pastor Dave

Installation of our New Lead Pastor

On Sunday, January 7, 2018 we officially welcomed our new lead, Pastor Dave Hildebrandt. Regional Minister John Cressman led the installation. Thank you to our congregation for embracing Dave and his family and please keep them in your prayers as Dave settles into his new role, leading HMC as we move forward in this new chapter.

Lead Pastor Update

Pastor Dave Hildebrandt was presented as a lead pastor candidate on Sunday, October 22. After delivering a message on living a fearless life, a congregational vote brought in a unanimous 100% stamp of approval from the present members and Dave was extended the offer of the Lead Pastor position.

We are so excited to announce that Pastor Dave—together with his three boys, Josh (9), Andrew (7), and Caleb (4), and his wife of 12 years, Shannon—has accepted the call and will be assuming the role of Lead Pastor at HMC as of January 1, 2018.

Dave is leaving his position at Port Rowan Mennonite Brethren Church, where he has been serving as the pastor of youth ministries. Prior to that, he spent time working with 100 Huntley Street on the 24 hour prayer lines, was the sole pastor at a church in rural Saskatchewan, and was a worship ministries director before that. Dave has attended Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, BC, and Briercrest College in Caronport, SK. He is presently working towards his Masters of Divinity through Heritage Seminary in Cambridge.

Dave is passionate about communicating the Word of God in a life-changing way, caring and encouraging those who are hurting, empowering and equipping people to serve in their God-given areas of gifting, seeing people understand who they were created to be in Christ, and loves seeing the church fulfil the purpose that God has laid before it.

Please be praying for Dave and his family as they wrap up their ministry in Port Rowan and begin a new chapter with us at HMC. Pray that they would find the housing they need, that the boys can settle well into a new school system, that God would give clear direction to Shannon regarding employment, that Dave would feel settled and encouraged as he starts leading our congregation, and pray for the current staff team as they prepare to welcome a new team leader.

We wish to extend a gracious thank you to the members of the search committee, for their tireless work in the face of many hurdles. Thank you to the warriors in our congregation who kept the needs of HMC at the forefront of their prayers — please don’t stop! And we give thanks to God for His continued blessing, for the reminder that we are not far from His sights, and for His constant and unfailing grace.

Update on our Lead Pastor Search

Meet Dave and Shannon Hildebrandt. Dave is being presented to the congregation as the candidate for the position of the lead pastor. Dave has been married to Shannon for just over 12 years, and have three active and friendly boys: Josh (9), Andrew (7), and Caleb (4). They presently live in Port Rowan, Ontario, just off the shores of Lake Erie.

Dave grew up in a Christian home. His father was a pastor for many years and was born in Burkina Faso, Africa, where Dave’s grandparents served as missionaries for 40 years.

Presently Dave serves as the pastor of youth ministries at Port Rowan Mennonite Brethren Church. Prior to that, he spent time working with 100 Huntley Street on the 24 hour prayer lines, was the sole pastor at a church in rural Saskatchewan, and was a worship ministries director prior to that. Dave has attended Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford British Columbia, and Briercrest College in Caronport, Saskatchewan. He is presently working towards his Masters of Divinity through Heritage Seminary in Cambridge. Dave’s ministry passions are getting to communicate the Word of God in a life changing way, caring and encouraging those who are hurting, empowering and equipping people to serve in their God given areas of gifting, seeing people understand who they were created to be in Christ, and loves seeing the church fulfil the purpose that God has laid before it.

Shannon is an American ex-pat, coming to Canada shortly after marrying Dave in 2005. She worked as a R.N. in the states prior to moving to Saskatchewan. She presently works at McMaster University for a trio of pediatric surgeons and has loved every minute of it. She felt God leading her to resign her position for the end of October 2017 and is excited to see where God is directing the family.

In their spare time, they enjoy board games, good coffee, good music, and  spending time with friends and family. They do not canoe (anymore)

Join us on Saturday, October 21
from 3-5 p.m.
for a casual meet and greet with
the Hildebrandt family.

Consider volunteering to help with this event (speak with Marie) or sign up to bring some desserts (sign up sheet on the reception desk in the foyer)

On Sunday, October 22, Pastor Dave will be preaching. Immediately following the service we will hold a congregational meeting to vote. All members and regular attenders are encouraged to attend.