As I sit at my home office desk ready to send you this communication, here’s what God gives me – and you – a reminder from the bird outside my window: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?….  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:26, 33-34)

This bird on my shrub seems to be having a good day!  The above verse was taken from Jesus’ broader Sermon on the Mount and more specifically in this section on “DO NOT WORRY.”

So with that said I’ll dive into all that’s been happening here.  Your church Leadership Team met last night and here are bullet points of information of where things stand relative to the coronavirus situation and its impact on our fellowship.

Because we meet in a public school for worship, the decision was made for us by the state and Romeo Community Schools that we will not assemble at Hevel for at least the next four Sundays (March 15, 22, 29 and April 5).

This is a very fluid situation with information from authorities changing hour to hour, day to day it seems, therefore “predicting” when a return to all things “normal” is very speculative.  However, we can say the possibility exists and we are hopeful that we COULD have Good Friday communion at Hevel on Friday, April 10 and EASTER SERVICE on April 12.

You’ll be hearing from myself and others frequently (almost daily) through videos.  These will be brief updates, devotionals and scriptural words of encouragement and our normal Sunday sermons.  All of this will be done through our Facebook page:

Be looking for the FIRST of these videos tomorrow (Saturday) night early evening!  SUNDAY WORSHIP WILL LIVE STREAM AT 10:30 AM BEGINNING THIS COMING SUNDAY, MARCH 15!

Austin, Shawn and Skylar Ryskamp are currently working on video LIVE worship from a studio!!  Stay tuned on this development as this will be amazing.  We are thankful for their ministry.

If for whatever reason we lose access to Hevel Elementary for an extended period of time, our dear friends at Harvest Fellowship Church (Pastor Ron Raciti) in Romeo have assured us we will not be homeless and can worship there!  (299 E. Gates St, Romeo, MI 48065).  Service times might have to be adjusted but God has provided a place for us if needed!

Speaking of “a place to worship” – we are moving FULL STEAM AHEAD with our building program!  I’m meeting with Township officials this Monday to hopefully accelerate the process of getting our building permits so we can begin construction asap.

Your Leadership believes in submitting to the authorities that we’ve been given – especially as it relates to this public health crisis.  “Social distancing” we are being told, is the solution to beating this challenge. THEREFORE, we are suspending all gatherings and groups that might typically assemble during this “shut down” period.  Again, as things change we will re-evaluate.  This means: NO SET-UP @ HEVEL INDEFINITELY; EASTER EGG HUNT WILL BE POSTPONED TO BECOME A SPRING EGG HUNT AT A LATER DATE; ALL ORCN-SPONSORED BIBLE STUDY GROUPS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

You can make your own decisions regarding gathering with others in the fellowship on your own.

WE ARE STILL THE CHURCH!  If you need help in any way at all, REACH OUT to us.  Pastor Leon and myself along with your committed Leadership Team are here to serve you!  Included below are the contact numbers for each of us.


  1. Apply this verse to your life: I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
  2. Be salt and light!  The world is uneasy, nervous and anxious.  We can be His witnesses to the PEACE He provides.  So smile when you’re out.  Be kind.  Spread CALM!
  3. GIVE financially if you are able and/or GIVE us the known needs that exist in our fellowship!  Many might soon be struggling financially as a result of lost wages, cut working hours, etc.  We want to function as the church should – by meeting needs where they are known to exist.  The BEST way to contribute tithes and offerings is through our FaithStreet online option:

For those uncomfortable with online giving you can mail your contribution to our Financial Recording Secretary, Gary Barney @  45149 Cass Avenue, Utica, MI  48317. 

FINALLY BROTHERS & SISTERS… Embrace the positives that come from this situation.  Yes, I said that!  There are positives!!!

  1. Apparently God has seen fit to SLOW us down!  In many respects, we’ve been given a season of Sabbath.  Rest in Him.  Enjoy time with your family.  Take a long walk at the park.  Pray and Praise Him.  Call to check in on those you love and the ones He has laid on your heart. Read a Book.  (you get the idea).
  2. I feel like we can now identify with the struggles of the first century church in Acts that functioned under similar constraints.  I’m going to take time to consider this.  We’ve been blessed and had it easy for our entire lives in the US regarding our freedom to assemble as the “CHURCH” – have we not???  May this season make us APPRECIATE the PRIVILEGE we have to meet TOGETHER in ways we never did before! And when it’s time to return – LET’S PACK THE HOUSE!!!!!

Orchard Ridge Church Leadership

Pastor Steve Barkey – 586.381.0070

Pastor Leon Drake – 586.484.1100

Sharon Barkey – 586.381.1198

Jeff Morgan – 586.863.2350

Bob Hoffman – 512.993.1507

Kim Bianchini – 586.764.2434

Chris Hines – 586.322.9830

Laurie Pickell – 586.295.7948

Debbie Claypool – 586.933.3274

Gary Barney – 248.379.8769

Fred Moler – 586.634.8707