Taking a Step Back

July 16, 2020

Dear Harbor Family,

           As most of you have heard by now, the state and county governments have order all places of worship to cease in-person services once again due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in California and across the nation.  This will mean we cannot gather for indoor worship services until August 15th at the earliest pending any changes in order from the government.

           We are saddened by this step back, but we want to do what is best for the members of our church and our community.  It is our desire to partner with the authorities God has put in place over us to help care for others and put an end to the pandemic.  We trust that God will continue to provide for us and guide during these uncertain times.

           Our plan moving forward is to continue offering our livestream service at 10:15am every Sunday.  If you haven’t already been watching, we invite you to go to www.harbor316.org.  Just click on the “live stream” button to watch.  If you miss one, you can always go back and watch the recorded services including worship and the message.  We may look into other ways of gathering outdoors, but need time to figure that out.

           We will continue to use things like the Care Team and weekly announcements to help you stay connected.  If you have any needs or just want to talk to someone, please feel free to contact Jill Saeli at saeli4@msn.com to get added to the Care Team list.  You can also sign-up to receive weekly updates by emailing Carol Lambert at church.office@harbor316.org.

           Feel free to contact the elders at elders@harbor316.org if you have any questions.  May God bless you and keep you.

In His Grace,

The Harbor Elders

Lance Saeli and Matt Patterson

Together Again 2.0 Resuming Services

June 19, 2020


Hello, All!  We are excited to gather for our second in-person service THIS SUNDAY at 10:15am, June 28th!  We want to thank all of you who have stepped up to help make our facility ready! Be sure to watch the video for some updates to our guidelines as we gather. We will also continue to live-stream our services moving forward for those who prefer to stay home at this time.

Together Again – Resuming Services

June 19, 2020

Dear Harbor Family,

Hello, All!  We are excited to announce that we will be resuming our worship service THIS SUNDAY at 10:15am, June 21st, Father’s Day!  We want to thank all of you who have stepped up to help make our facility ready.  There has been a lot of work put into this effort.  In the next two days we will be finalizing preparations, so please keep us in your prayers.

While we are excited to gather, we want to emphasize that it is OKAY TO STAY HOME.  If you have any reservations about joining us, we would encourage you to remain at home and join us for our livestream online at harbor316.org

In order to abide by state and county guidelines for COVID-19, we have several things we need to do as we gather.  Please read through the following guidelines:

  • Self-Screening
    • If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, we kindly ask you to stay home.
    • Symptoms may include: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Protecting Others
    • Wear a mask when inside.  Anyone who prefers not to wear a mask will be asked to worship with us outside.
    • Children under the age of 13 are not required to wear a mask.
    • Maintain six-feet of physical distance from others (except those in your household).
    • No hugs, handshakes or other physical contact.
    • Avoid touching surfaces when unnecessary.
    • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Worship Service Guidelines
    • We will line up in a queue wearing masks before we enter the building to take attendance.  This is strictly for contact tracing in case we have someone contract the virus (as per county guidelines)
    • We will have ushers help everyone find a seat.  You will be asked to sit with your household.  We have arranged chairs to accommodate individuals, couples and families of up to five to be able to sit together.
    • We also will be beginning and ending our service with one-way traffic flow.  This means one door will be an entrance only and one will be an exit in both our Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall.
    • During the service people are welcome to get up to use the restroom going any direction they choose, but we do encourage people to plan ahead when it comes to bathroom needs.
    • We will also be opening up the Fellowship Hall as an Overflow Room where we will be livestreaming the service.  It is also an option for anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable in the sanctuary, such as families with younger children.
    • Singing
      • To be honest, this has been a difficult issue for us.  We have wrestled with it back and forth.
      • The county has asked churches to “strongly consider” not having corporate singing.
      • However, we have decided to make singing optional, as long as people are wearing masks indoors.
      • The exception will be the worship team who will not wear masks while leading as it interferes with the sound system and because of social distancing.
    • Offering
      • We will not be passing an offering bag during service.
      • Instead, we will have a secure offering box overseen by an usher near the front of the sanctuary.
      • You can also give online at harbor316.org (click on ‘giving’)
    • Communion
      • As we celebrate communion on the first Sunday of each month, we will be using disposable communion cups.
      • Cups will be distributed at the beginning of service to be held on to until we partake together.
    • Hospitality
      • We will not be serving refreshments or beverages at this time.
      • The kitchen is closed to everyone except staff.
  • Children’s Ministry & Nursery Care
    • Children must remain with their parents.  We will not have Children’s classes or nursery care at this time.
    • In addition, the children’s classrooms, nursery and playground will be closed for the time being.
    • Our Children’s Ministry team is working on providing printable activities to bring with you to use during the service.
    • Children under the age of 13 are not required to wear a mask.
    • In the meantime, we encourage you to bring suitable activities for your children as they sit with you during the service.
    • We also encourage parents to look into online resources available through the church website at harbor316.org.

           Thank you again for all of your prayers, patience and grace.  We are so excited to see everyone together again soon. 

           Feel free to contact the elders at elders@harbor316.org if you have any questions.  May God bless you and keep you.

In His Grace,

The Harbor Elders

Lance Saeli and Matt Patterson

COVID-19 Pandemic (aka. Corona Virus)

Resuming services update

June 12, 2020

Dear Harbor Family,

Well hello all! We wanted to update you all on our plans to resume services here at the Harbor. Much of what we have done to this point has been to work through the Santa Barbara County Health order for faith-based organizations like ourselves. It is about a 13 page document of detailed guidelines that we are to adhere to if we want to open our doors. I have a lot of people and the re-entry team to thank for that. In processing through all the information it has been quite an undertaking. The good news is we are now ready to move into the next phase of preparations our re-entry team has now been broken up into smaller teams to oversee the completion of a variety of tasks such as cleaning the facility, arranging chairs, putting signs up, ordering supplies, countless things that we could go into. They will be trying to accomplish all that is needed in the next week or so in order for us to resume services as soon as possible.

At this point it is our hope to hold our first in-person services on Sunday June 21st; Father’s Day. I emphasize hope, because we don’t have certainty that we will have everything in place by then. We would ask you to please be patient and pray for us as we work through this week. Another way you can help is to volunteer. The re-entry team will need help with things like cleaning, moving chairs, getting the whole facility ready, and other various tasks. If you have time in the next week to help please contact the church office at Church.office@Harbor 316.org. We will be sending an update sometime in the middle of next week, hopefully by Thursday. It will include a confirmation of what day we are starting it will also include some very important instructions on what we need to do, and what you need to do in order to gather. So please keep an eye out for that. We will be continuing our Livestream moving forward. We want to make sure you know it is okay to stay home even as we resume services. We care about you and we want everyone to be safe. So feel free to come when you are ready, not sooner. We want to thank you again for all of your prayers and your patience and grace in this whole process. We are excited to see everyone again soon. If you have any other questions we would encourage you to contact the Harbor Elders if you have any questions.

May God bless and keep you,

Matt Patterson, Pastor

A letter from the Elders

RE: COVID-19 Pandemic (aka. Corona Virus) Update    March 19, 2020

Dear Harbor Church Family,

           By now you are all aware of the pandemic affecting our world with the outbreak of the COVID-19 or Corona Virus.  Based on the information we had a week ago, we decided we would still gather for our Equipping Hour and Worship Service last Sunday.  However, things have changed significantly over the course of just a few days. 

The State and Federal Government have issued strong recommendations limiting gatherings to 10 or less.  The counties north (San Luis Obispo) and south (Ventura) of us have given orders to “shelter in place” for either all of their residents or those most vulnerable.  It seems a matter of time before Santa Barbara County is in the same boat.

           All of this has led to our decision to suspend our gatherings on Sunday mornings (both Equipping Hours and Worship Services) until further notice.  We may still have smaller gatherings of 10 or less, like some small groups, but are making those decisions on a case-by-case basis.  Other than that, we will not be meeting.  This includes cancelling gatherings like the Men’s Breakfast scheduled for this Saturday, March 21st

           We are looking into the possibility of live-streaming our services starting this Sunday, March 22nd.  A crew of people will be working on trying to set that up over the next couple of days.  Our hope is to host the stream on the church’s website harbor316.org.  We will send an update about the status of the streaming service in the next couple of days.  Please be praying for this effort. 

We believe it is vital to find ways to stay connected during this time.  Other than streaming our services, we will be reaching out each week to all our members by phone calls, texting, email, social media, etc.  We encourage you to do the same with one another, but also with people within your sphere of influence including family members, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, etc.

In addition to staying connected, we need to continue to take care of our financial responsibilities as a church.  We would ask you to prayerfully consider how God would lead you to give during this time.  We have three ways that you can give: 1) Online through the church’s website at harbor316.org.  Simply click the “Giving” tab at the top right and follow the direction; 2) Drop off your checks in the church mailbox, which will be checked regularly; or 3) Arrange a drop off time at the church office by contacting Carol Lambert at church.office@harbor316.org

           While these times are confusing and even frightening, we have the Light of Hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  I believe we may have unprecedented opportunities to share the truth and peace of the Gospel to a world thrown into chaos and fear.  I encourage all of us to take steps of faith, being wise about protecting our family and friends, but bold about the name of Jesus.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

           If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the church elders via email.

In His Grace,

The Harbor Elders

May 7, 2020

Peace Beyond Understanding

Over the past week or so, we have started to hear a lot of information about the potential of states reopening.  While this prospect is exciting, it has also brought up confusion and questions.  Is it too soon?  Is it safe?  When do we, as a church consider reopening our doors?  What should our position be as followers of Christ?

As we wait for our federal, state and local leaders to make these important decisions, let’s remind each other Who is ultimately in charge.  God has a plan for all of this, and will not abandon us in our time of need.  Let’s be praying for those in authority over us to have wisdom and calm in the process of making these crucial decisions.  But let us first seek God’s Kingdom and His direction.

We would ask for your prayers for our church leaders (elders and ministry leaders), as we consider how we should proceed.  For now our plan will be to continue live-streaming our services each Sunday.  We will let you know when we begin to make plans to regather as soon as we deem it prudent to do so.  For now, we would ask that you remain calm, pray for one another, care for your family, your neighbors and others in your circle of influence, and that you would pray for the peace that is beyond understanding.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email the Elders here:

COVID-19 Pandemic (aka. Corona Virus) – Resuming services update

May 29, 2020

Dear Harbor Family,

Greetings! It is hard to believe that it has now been over 10 weeks since we have been together! We know that this has been a challenging time for each of you in different ways, but we are so thankful for your perseverance and continued support of all that God is doing in and through the Harbor.

Most of you have heard that churches have been given the green light to resume services. We are excited at this news and eagerly looking forward to being physically together soon. We have appreciated the enthusiasm some of you have about this prospect, but we also hear those of you who have shared your concerns and cautions. It has been a mixed bag of responses not only within our community, but also just within our own congregation.

There are several churches within our area that are planning to meet this coming Sunday, May 31st (Pentecost Sunday). We share in the excitement for those congregations and hold them in prayer as they meet. At the Harbor, we are NOT yet ready to do the same. We do not yet have a date that we will resume services. We did not expect that restrictions would be lifted until later in summer. Most of our efforts have gone towards making the live stream services possible and caring for our church family during this pandemic. However, we are now moving forward to make the necessary preparations for us to resume services soon. We hope to do so sometime in June.

As we weigh the decision of when and how to resume services, we want to encourage you with these words from I Peter 2:16 (ESV)

“16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

It is our desire to enjoy the freedom we have in this nation, and more so in Christ Jesus, but to not use that freedom for selfish purposes. As Peter writes, we are to live as servants of God by…

  • Honoring everyone – we must consider our community and our witness to them.
  • Loving the brotherhood – we must think about what the most loving thing we can do for one another.
  • Fearing God – above all we must submit to our Sovereign God.
  • Honoring the emperor – we also must submit to the authorities that God has put over us, including local, state and federal leaders.

With all of this in mind, we would ask you to be patient and pray for us as we make plans to resume services. Just this past week, we formed a ReEntry Team to help us make the necessary changes to our facility and create processes to be compliant to local guidelines. These are not easy steps, but they include:

  • Screening everyone who comes to church
  • Asking everyone to wear masks
  • Rearranging our seating to comply with the reduced 25% capacity (which for us is about 60 seats)
  • Not have any Children’s Ministry classes – kids must sit with their parents and cannot interact with other kids
  • Disinfecting the church facility regularly between services
  • Not passing communion or offering plates
  • No corporate singing (ugh!) – only the worship team leading in singing with everyone worshiping along silently.

There is more, but we don’t want to overwhelm you with details.

The point is there is much to consider and to prepare. We will be working hard over the course of the next few weeks to get things ready. We will keep you informed of updates and changes as they come. In the meantime, we would ask that you continue to pray for our church, our community and our world.

Feel free to contact the elders at elders@harbor316.org if you have any question. May God bless you and keep you.

In His Grace,
The Harbor Elders
Lance Saeli and Matt Patterson