Skip to main content

Back to Normal?

Dear Friends,

There is a question that I have heard a number of times in these past months.  Sometimes it is asked with honest sincerity.  Sometimes, it is asked as an expression of frustration.  It is almost always asked with deep appreciation for all that this faith community is doing in this strange chapter of ministry together.  The question, or some variation of it, is "When will life at St. Andrew's return to normal?"  Indeed a tough question to answer.  When I think of "normal"  I think of the last worship service we shared in person on March 8th along with the many well attended and supported activities and gatherings we sponsor.  The question I ask myself in return is, "When do we think it will be safe to gather more than a hundred people together inside the church building knowing that many are vulnerable?" Also, when I consider the necessary precautions that will be needed  in worship: several weekend services (even in the summer!) and roped off pews for social distancing, all wearing masks, and no choirs, no sharing of the peace, no coffee hour, no greeting each other in the narthex, (the list goes on and on...)  I realize that "normal" as we know it is a long way off.

Pennsylvania, in past weeks, has seen dropping rates of infections and hospitalizations, which is certainly a reason to be thankful.  Unfortunately, as many of us are now aware, other states who "opened up" much earlier than Pennsylvania, are now seeing infections and hospitalizations surge placing new stresses on health care systems.  And often indoor restaurant settings, and houses of worship are among the places where COVID19 is spreading most quickly. I do not want that to be the St. Andrew's story.  For this reason, we will continue to operate with caution and not plan on in person worship for at least the rest of July.  There are no guarantees for August just yet as we remain without air conditioning and contractors are now descending upon our building as demolition and construction gets underway. (This is also a good thing!)  The truth is that we could find ourselves exiled from our building for a time anyway as construction continues.  

In the meantime, we are hoping that our summer outdoor midweek worship experiences can serve as a "soft opening," that other groups will consider having some socially distanced gatherings in the chapel when the weather is cooperating (please contact the office to make sure that the space is available), and that we will begin to make plans (alongside our worship reopening plans) for when small groups begin to meet in the building again for education, support, and service, hopefully in the fall.  

By God's grace, with a combination of in person and digital gatherings, we will  begin to create a "new normal" that will feed us in spirit and help us to protect the gains that Pennsylvanians have made in fighting the pandemic.  What that looks like will become clearer as construction gets well underway and as we see what the impact of "opening up" Pennsylvania will be.  

As we face the historic challenges before us, we will do so focused on what unites us in the Gospel, reliant on God's promises, and confident that we will get through this together by God's grace, and can come out even stronger as a community of faith on the other side.  Trust in God, take care of yourself.  Love your neighbor.

Grace  and Peace,

Pastor Mueller


Popular posts from this blog

Opportunities for Growth

Dear Friends,       There are several learning opportunities coming up in week ahead that I wanted keep on your radar.   - "Aslan on the Move" :  This Sunday (downstairs in Jerusalem Room)  at 9:30 AM we gather together for a presentation / discussion based on Christian themes found in the C.S. Lewis classic, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."   This gathering will continue through November 24.  Anyone from high school students to senior citizens are welcome to attend.  Join us and be enriched in faith.    - "Lunch Bunch Bible Study" - We gather each Thursday at noontime in St. Andrew's Hall to look a little deeper at the assigned bible texts that will be proclaimed the upcoming Sunday.  We provide coffee and printed out texts.  You are free to bring Bibles and a bagged lunch if you wish.  People who rarely take part in Bible Study have become a part of this group and have found it very helpful in their walk of faith.

An Easter Prayer

Holy and Living God,   You continue to confound  our expectations and surprise us with your redeeming power in our lives.  Come among us, risen Lord.  Reveal yourself to us that we may know with confidence that nothing in all creation, not even death, can separate us from your love.  In Jesus' name.  Amen .   A word of thanks to all of you who offered your hearts and hands and voices to a deeply moving Holy Week and a joy filled celebration of the Resurrection.  It was exciting to see an increase in attendance at special services throughout Lent and Holy Week this year, especially among those who are newer to our faith community. Many hearts were touched and lives were lifted up through the celebrations of this past week. We are truly blessed. Continue to pray for those who were unable to be with us on Sunday, the sick, the struggling, the hospitalized, the homebound, and the dying.  Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, especia

Thanksgiving Greetings

Dear Friends, As many of us prepare for Thanksgiving Day and the weekend ahead, I want to wish you a truly blessed celebration.  Many of you will be gathering with loved ones and, while likely eating way too much food (Enjoy!),  offering thanks for God's abundant blessings.  May your joy be full and overflowing tomorrow and throughout the holiday season ahead. However, let us also remember that there will be others for whom this festive season will not be experienced with the joy of abundance, nor surrounded by family and friends.  Many thanks to those of you who continue to reach out to bless the homeless and hungry of our communities at Thanksgiving and throughout the year to make a difference in lives that are hurting. The weeks ahead can also be a time of great sorrow for those who are grieving the death of a loved one.  Take time to reach out to those experiencing loss, honoring boundaries and their desire to take a step back from festivities when needed, but