June 19, 2020
Dear Church Family and Friends,
Our Church Council is pleased to announce that we will start gathering again on a limited basis for “in-house” worship beginning Sunday, July 12th. We will begin with one service in the coolness of the morning at 8:30am. We will also continue broadcasting on the radio (Clarion’s 94.1 FM and 1300 AM), and streaming on Facebook and YouTube at 11:00am, which afterwards will remain posted for your convenience of watching anytime. As our attendance returns, we will make future announcements as we add services to accommodate all who are ready to return for communal worship.
We are using medical advice in our reopening. We will clean before and after gatherings. Not all the entrances will be open, so please use our parking lot/office entrance. You may use the inside steps or the elevator. Since we are seating at a safe distance, you will NOT need to wear masks during worship; however, out of consideration for others around you, DO wear masks as you enter the building until you get to your seat, and again as you move from your seat. Our greeters and hospitality team will greet you inside, note your attendance, and direct you to the sanctuary. Since we are starting with only one service, our ushers will seat you to maximize seating. (Alas, most will not be able to have their usual seat, until we fully reopen.)
You will notice some other differences. Most touchable objects have been removed for safety. You are encouraged to bring your own print or electronic Bible. Music professionals have learned that singing, even at six feet, is a definite high risk of contagion activity, similar to coughing or sneezing. Singing is beautiful, and for now, will be done by our soloists. Other common “touch” activities, such as passing bulletins and trays to one another, have been postponed, as has hand shaking and hugging. Use only restrooms located in the office area, and only one person or family at a time.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). Do be concerned, prepared, and cautious. We all should know that Coronavirus 2019 is not over yet. We know it is spread unseen primarily by close contact from person to person. It is out there somewhere, and we all hope that “somewhere” is not here. Virus doctors are concerned that the spread of the virus, which has been diminishing in Pennsylvania and in our country, will once again begin increasing if we lower our guard and do not practice the precautions we have been taught social distancing six feet or greater, “love” masking, frequently washing hands, not touching the face, and staying away from crowds. Pennsylvania’s “shelter in place” red and yellow zones were very hurtful to our economy and incomes; at the same time, they were protecting us from infection. It would be dismaying to have to return because the population widely disregarded medical advisement. Until the virus is eradicated or a preventive vaccine is found, for everyone’s sake, continue to be careful.
We know that many, out of continuing caution, are not ready to return. We know you are with us. Our worship streaming and prayers are for you too. Everyone, in church and at home, encourage one another. We have gotten this far in our social “return.” These temporary restrictions also shall pass. We shall continue to move through this time, becoming a better person and better people, together. Praise God always for the promise before us! Thank you, Jesus!