Greetings saints of St Andrew’s,
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” —Romans 12:12
In light of recent surges of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across our state, it is with sad hearts that the Executive Committee of our Congregation Council, pastors, staff and COVID Task Force have agreed to shift once more to only online worship and strongly limit in-person small group gatherings. As Bishop Patricia Davenport of our Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod has written in her recommendation to churches:
“Right now, new cases of COVID-19, positive test rates, and hospitalizations are spiking across Southeastern Pennsylvania. Public health officials are issuing new mitigation orders in our area. In order to protect our most vulnerable members, our pastors and church workers, and our communities, I strongly recommend that congregations move to online worship and/or socially distanced outdoor worship through January 1, 2021. I also recommend that pastors and church employees work from home as much as possible.
“I encourage you to take this current wave of the virus seriously. Our region is now seeing larger increases than during the spring when mitigation efforts started. This will not be forever. We continue to hear positive news about the development of vaccines. Until a vaccine is approved and widely available, our highest priority must be to do no harm. I am sure that you do not want your church to be the source of a “superspreader” event.” Read Bishop Davenport’s whole letter here.
For us at St Andrews this means the following restrictions until further notice:
- Building Use
- Masks must be worn over nose and mouth, both indoors and out, at all times.
- The church office is closed to visitors, except to drop off offering envelopes and foster kids gifts, to pick up Advent Workshop craft packs, and for essential work in the work room.
- Sunday Worship
- There will be no 8 AM in-person worship.
- 10:30 AM worship will stream on Facebook Live only, with only essential staff and volunteers at church to facilitate worship. Our IT Committee is working hard installing new cameras and aiming to get the services available through YouTube as well.
- If you do not have internet access or are unable to connect to the stream our IT volunteers will help you or we can provide you with a call-in number for worship.
- St Andrew’s Day on Nov 29 we will celebrate with videos dedicating our renovated spaces. The Mueth family will be allowed to attend in-person to celebrate the scheduled baptism of Madelyn Rose.
- Christmas Worship
- “The Longest Night” service on Wed Dec 23 at 7 PM will stream on Facebook Live only.
- Our 4 PM Christmas Eve service on Dec 24 will stream on Facebook Live only with joy-filled recordings of our adult choir, children and bell choir to help celebrate the incarnation of our Lord!
- We plan to hold an in-car parking lot Christmas Eve service at 8 PM in the lot by the preschool entrance. We have an FM transmitter and worshippers will remain in their vehicles and listen to the service with car radios. We will provide electric candles for a rendition of Silent Night. Stay tuned for more fun details!
- Small groups
- Please see our flow-chart for small groups.
- Groups may meet only if they absolutely cannot accomplish their ministry via Zoom or other digital means. No food or drink will be allowed. This is because we have learned that extended exposure is a key cause of the virus’s transmittal.
If there are any improvements in public health and case numbers we will happily adjust these restrictions accordingly.
Pastors Krey and Sullivan continue to hold you all in their prayers as this difficult year drags to a close. We all beg for your patience and understanding as we try to keep our most vulnerable members safe and try to be leaders in our community as we respond to this continuing and stubborn health threat.
Importantly, we also ask you to remember St Andrew’s and our dedication to God’s mission of mercy and peace in your year-end giving. It has been a year like no other and we brace for a challenging 2021 as well. What better way to combat the despair we feel around us than by expressing our never failing hope in God with generous stewardship this Christmas season?
In the peace which surpasses all understanding,
Pastors Krey and Sullivan
St Andrew’s Staff and the Executive Committee
Upcoming Live Stream Services
Watch our Year in Fellowship Video!