As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. – Luke 4.40-44
Dear St. Mark’s,
Today has been one of unfolding events. This morning, I didn’t think I would be needing to write this email, that our community would be small enough to continue to worship amid the COVID-19 outbreak. That all changed this afternoon when Gov. Tom Wolf issued the order for all Montgomery County schools, gyms, and large public assemblies to cease for the next two weeks. While there was no outright ban on public worship, the press conference with Montgomery County officials made strong suggestions to cancel or have people not attend services during this time. It is therefore our decision to cancel worship in the building until the ban is lifted.
We will also be limiting services in the building to essential small group things.
- Meals on Wheels will continue if they need to
- Recovery groups will continue to meet at the direction of their group leaders
- There will not be Dinner Church or choirs on 4/19 or 4/26
- Easter Egg packing will happen on Friday morning, but we will make a call this weekend about production for next week. At this point it is doubtful that it will happen, however we will try to be open for Easter Egg order pickups.
Over the next day, I will be working to create a set of digital worship resources for us to login and tune into worship virtually on Sunday morning. Emily and I are working up ways for us to gather to pray, to hear scripture, to hear songs of hope and share in the Lord’s Supper that feeds us in times of need. We worship a great and wonderful God, one that has blessed us with gifts of technology that make remote and contact free ways to worship. While they might be different, I think this is a great opportunity to draw even more people to see the story of God’s salvation for all people. In the pastor’s email tomorrow will be instructions on how to log into worship, so stay tuned. The building might be closed, but the church isn’t. Since the church is the people who gather – no matter where we gather at 508 Harry Street, or in our homes, we are the church proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need to hear it.
With the schools being closed for 2 weeks, this also puts a lot of people in need. I know many of us are thinking about how do we manage kids at home – and trust me I am working on resources to help distribute to you that will keep the work of faith formation happening! It’s not often that we no longer have to compete with so many sports. It also means that there are many in our community who will have needs. I am meeting with Sandy Fryer tomorrow morning to talk about ways we can support families who depend on school meals to help feed their families. So I will let you know what I find from that meeting about ways in which we can help.
It’s hard for me as a pastor – as much as I know we need each other in times like these and as much as I don’t want to give into hysteria – I have to believe that these are not decision that the government or others are coming to lightly. So let us seek ways to support each other virtually and in the safest way to care for our most vulnerable neighbors, they need us now.