Dear Wesley Church Family:
From the start of this season of COVID-tide, experts have warned of a second — and significantly worse — wave of infections in the fall and winter. We find ourselves in that season, and are witnessing first-hand the realization of these predictions: increased case rates, reduced hospital capacities, and growing COVID-related fatalities. Earlier this week, these factors caused our state governor and secretary of health to release new orders and restrictions for indoor and outdoor gatherings, restaurant dining, gyms and athletic activities, and more. The order went into effect on Saturday December 12 and will extend through Monday January 4.
As part of this new order, indoor gatherings are now limited to ten or less individuals — a limitation that compels us at Wesley Church to re-examine our current worship practices. While the governor’s order includes an exemption for religious organizations (as has been the case throughout the pandemic) we have consistently chosen not to exercise these exemptions in the interests of safety. This is in keeping with the guidance of our bishop, who has urged the churches of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference to waive such exemptions and follow these orders fully. (For more on the bishop’s guidance, please visit https://www.epaumc.org/news-information/coronavirus-response/2020/12/bishop-urges-caution-in-a-season-of-darkness-and-light/ .)
Out of a desire to be consistent in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a commitment to keep our church and community safe, our Reopening Team announces the following updates to our worship practices:
- All Sunday morning worship services during this period (Sundays 12/20, 12/27, and 1/3), our Quiet Christmas worship service (Tuesday 12/15) and our Christmas Eve worship services (Thursday 12/24) will take place online.
- All services (with the exception of the 12/24 6:00 PM service) will take place via Facebook Live and will later be available on our church website. (The 6:00 PM Christmas Eve service will take place via Zoom — see previous messages for details).
And remember, friends — even while worship is online, the church is not “closed.” The church continues to be “open” so long as God’s people continue to be the church. So be the church! Reach out to one another in safe and socially-distant ways. Maintain your connections. Meet pressing needs. Continue in your generosity. Advocate for justice. Embody the love of Christ. Join us for worship. Study the scriptures. Pray. Keep the faith, and hold on to hope.
Remember that, friends, and remember this as well: