COVID-19 Response

COVID Response Update July 17, 2020

In response to guidance being offered from the state of Pennsylvania and from the higher councils of our denomination — the synod and the presbytery — the session of Faith Church is closing the sanctuary to the congregation for worship on Sunday mornings. Worship will continue to be live-streamed to Facebook and a recording will be available on our website. The session deliberated this decision very carefully and prayerfully, weighing together the spiritual well-being of our congregation, COVID-19 mitigation efforts, and our congregational relationship to the wider community. Like the congregation it represents, the session misses how things used to be before COVID-19 but is committed to being a faithful church in these uncertain times. The session will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and lead the congregation into the future, trusting in the leadership of Christ, whose church we are. 

As of July 1, 2020:

Per the plan offered by the session  on June 18th, the Session has authorized the use of the sanctuary for on-site worship with the guidelines stipulated below. It is understood that each person and family must make decisions about whether to attend on-site worship based on their own sense of risk-management. The session does not expect anyone to attend on-site events against their own judgement or comfort. To care for those who prefer not to attend on-site events, worship services will be streamed on Facebook Live, recorded, and made available on our webpage. If you attend on-site worship, here is what to expect: 
    1.    Face masks are required. Face masks protect others from the virus, not just oneself. Wearing a face mask, even when one is comfortable not wearing one, is an expression of care for others. Every attendee is asked to bring and wear a face mask at all times while in the building. The church will provide a face mask to those who need one. 
    2.    Social distancing is encouraged and will be provided for as much as possible. This means that the sanctuary space, its contents, and the worship service will be adjusted to maximize our ability to observe social distancing. For example, extra aisles will be available, the offering plates will not be passed, and other adjustments will be made. Attendees will be encouraged to observe social distancing as much as possible.
    3.    The use of hand sanitizer is encouraged. The church will have hand sanitizer stationed throughout the building. Members are also encouraged to bring their own preferred hand sanitizers and wipes for personal use.
    4.    Childcare will not be provided at this time. As always, children are invited to be in the sanctuary for worship.
The session will continue to assess:
    1.    the physical safety of the congregation and
    2.    the overall effectiveness of corporate worship while the congregation is both on-site and online
The session may close the sanctuary to safe-guard the physical and/or spiritual well-being of the congregation at any time.
Again, the session does not want anyone to feel compelled to attend on-site worship at this time. All are welcome, none are obligated. If you are not comfortable being in a communal space with the limitations as described above, please make use of the online option. 
The session is grateful for the prayerful support of the congregation. The flexibility and positive outlook of the congregation has enabled us to remain connected to Christ and connected to each other during these unpredictable times. 

Please note, everyone, that the worship service will not be on Zoom. The service will be live-streamed on the church Facebook page and then embedded in our church website. The Order of Worship will be posted each week here in Realm (on the Event) for the use of those who will be worshiping online.

Use of Masks, general guidance as of June 22, 2020:

  • Inside the church building: Masks are required for all people. 
  • Outside the church building: Masks are encouraged for all people.
  • Social distancing is encouraged at all times, inside and outside the church building.

 

On-Site Worship, as of June 19th:

The sanctuary will be open for worship beginning on July 5th, 2020. 

It is understood that each person and family must decide whether to attend on-site worship based on their own sense of risk-management. The session does not expect anyone to attend on-site worship against their own judgement or comfort. To care for those who prefer not to attend on-site events, worship services will still be streamed, recorded, and made available online.

If you attend on-site worship, here is what to expect:

  1. Face masks are required. Face masks protect others from the virus, not just oneself. Wearing a face mask, even when one is comfortable not wearing one, is an expression of care for others. Every attendee is asked to bring and wear a face mask at all times while in the building. The church will provide a face mask to anyone who needs one.

  2. Social distancing is encouraged and will be provided for as much as possible. This means that the sanctuary space, its contents, and the worship service will be adjusted to maximize our ability to observe social distancing. For example, extra aisles will be available and the offering plates will not be passed. Attendees will be encouraged to observe social distancing as much as possible.

  3. The use of hand sanitizer is encouraged. The church will have hand sanitizer stationed throughout the building. Members are also encouraged to bring their own preferred hand sanitizers and wipes for personal use.

  4. Childcare will not be provided at this time. As always, children are invited to be in the sanctuary for worship.

The session is deeply thankful to the congregation for your prayerful support and affirmations. During the epidemic, Faith Church has been able to remain connected to each other and connected to Christ because of the flexibility and good will of all its members. Thank you, Faith Church, for demonstrating the love of God and neighbor so powerfully.

 

As of June 12, 2020

The session held a special meeting this week to discuss when and how to resume on-site events at Faith Church.  Here is an update:

1.  The session laid a tentative plan to open the church which will be reviewed next Tuesday, June 16th.  Multiple meetings are preferred because of the unprecedented nature of the situation, its complexity, and the need for prayer and research.

2. The session will post the tentative plan to the congregation next week.  

3.  The session is working hard to ensure that diverse points of view are heard and considered.

4. The session is grateful for the many expressions of support from the congregation.

5.  The session encourages the congregation to continue in the perseverance, flexibility, and positive outlook that have gotten us this far.  While we have been presented with challenges and limitations, we have also discovered new ways of being a church and this is exciting.

6.  The session is committed to providing leadership to the congregation while understanding that all FUP members can and will make choices that are best for them during this time.

Lastly, the session cares deeply for each and every one of our members and for the congregation as a whole.  Just as you are praying for the elders on session, they are praying for you.