A Note from the Pastor
I am writing this note to keep everyone up to date. We have received a letter from the Bishop and the District Superintendent. I am enclosing parts of them so that you know what they have requested of us.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Ministry:
Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray you all are safe and staying focused.
With lots going on in our world and especially in our nation, you may be coming across lots of controversial and confusing information with regards to the current health situation and ministry in the church. Just yesterday, the Governor of Pennsylvania announced new guidelines that have thrown so many people into question mode. For better understanding and guidance, Bishop Park also released an explanatory statement today not in response to the governor’s announcement but clarifying how we as leaders in the United Methodist Church of the Susquehanna Annual Conference could be guided with regards to the reactions from our parishioners.
When it comes to our Susquehanna Conference churches, Bishop Park’s statements override whatever statements are out there. Bishop Park carefully studies and rationally puts his messages together that are meant to guide.
The bishop clearly stated in his statement that was released today that pastors and church leaders must be diligent in taking care of their parishioners.
In Bishop’s words:
“As your bishop, I strongly urge our churches to heed these limitations on gatherings. This is to slow the spread of the virus, for the sake of our worshipers and the communities outside our churches. I know that the state has exempted religious institutions from these restrictions. However, as Christians, we must be diligent to care not only for ourselves, but for all people, especially the least and the vulnerable. It is our sacred responsibility to surpass governmental standards to keep people safe.”
As church leaders, we have the responsibility to make the right decisions. Even though religious organizations are exempt from the new order, church people are still people like others that should comply with the guidelines that were released yesterday.
The Bishop doesn’t want to mandate anyone when it comes to decision-making issues especially in times such as this. As Pastors, we should work with our church leaders in making the right decisions in the interest of all, especially the least and the vulnerable church members.
After discussion with our church leaders, we have decided to continue with our worship services as they are. We will keep a very close eye on the COVID 19 numbers in Lycoming County, and if they began to spike we will re-evaluate our worship structure.
We are still going to ask that you follow the following guidelines:
We will not be having bulletins or greeters. The worship service will be on the screen. We will not be having ushers to take up the offering. There will be a plate in the back of the church for you to put your offering in.
It is recommended that masks be worn for the worship service, unless you have breathing problems such as COPD, asthma, or severe allergies.
It is recommended that we maintain a 6 ft. distance between us in the sanctuary.
I would also like to remind each of us if you do not feel well, it would be recommended that you do not come to worship services.
We will also continue to have our service online.
In Christ’s Service,