Skip to main content

Church Reopening

Our staged reopening process is well underway.  After experiencing socially distanced outdoor worship periodically during the summer months and each Saturday evening this fall, we are preparing for indoor in person worship to begin October 24-25 with one socially distanced Saturday evening worship @ 5 PM and one socially distanced Sunday morning worship @ 9:30 AM.  Below are some common questions that folks have been asking.

St. Andrew's Reopening Q & A

1. Why have we not opened sooner?

As has been stated in several of our worship recordings, it really has come down to the three C's:

COVID19 - The opportunity to increase our school / work / community interactions enough to see if we are comfortable reopening with precautions in place or if increased activity results in a serious spike (We will continue to monitor this situation along with recommendations from the state, Montgomery County, and  the Southeastern PA Synod of the Lutheran Church)

COOLING - Demolition / Renovation /  Construction started over the summer resulted in the removal of our HVAC unit in the church building. As you may have noticed in some of the recordings, it has been toasty in there and not safe for groups.  By the end of the month, we should be past any possible Indian summers and will have a temporary heating unit installed (Yes, winter is coming!)

CONSTRUCTION - With major construction going on throughout the building and grounds, we wanted to make sure that the worship space was accessible and safe.  It is very possible that we will have another hiatus from the worship space at the beginning of the new year, not COVID related (hopefully) but associated with work taking place in the sanctuary.  We anticipated this before the construction began but assumed in a pre-COVID world  that we could simply rent another indoor venue for worship.  During this brief time period, we will simply return to digital content.

2. Why are we only having one service on Sunday morning (alongside Saturday night worship)?

After analyzing congregational surveys of who was or wasn't able or comfortable returning to the building for indoor, in person worship, it was determined that we have enough space to socially distance our worshipers in one service on Sunday morning, especially if we open narthex doors and place clusters of socially distanced chairs in the narthex. 

Furthermore, surveys and subsequent conversations with members have helped leadership to realize that it will be challenging to have enough trained volunteers (ushers, readers, musicians, altar guild, etc.) to safely facilitate three services at this time.  (Ample volunteers have been secured for Saturday night.  We are still  seeking volunteers for Sunday.)

Finally, by only having one service on Sunday, we do not have the pressure of having to quickly clean / sanitize between services.

3. How will this schedule impact Christian Education?

This has been a challenging question to address and therefore leaders of Christian Education have been carefully consulted along the way. Sunday School will be gathering mostly in their homes with materials they have picked up at church as well as pre-recorded materials and Zoom meetings on Sunday mornings.  Occasionally during this program year (and we consider this a very temporary arrangement) families who have Zoom meetings may choose to miss those for in person Sunday worship and watch a recording later.  However, most families have indicated that they would prefer digital worship or Saturday evening at this time.  Teachers who wish to worship in person on Sunday  will rotate with rest of staff so that they  can worship at that time at  least half the month.  Confirmation meets on Monday nights and is not impacted by this change. 

As for Adult Education, Sunday classes will be offered in the Narthex or on the Zoom platform @ 10:45 AM.  Since worship will be briefer with no fellowship to follow, those who live in the community can return home for Zoom offerings.  This will chiefly be a challenge for Sunday morning worshipers with longer commutes.  However, we  will continue to offer our Thursday Noontime Bible Study on Zoom, a Bible Study (socially distanced)  at Shannondell will resume in November, and we will be exploring additional learning opportunities for groups through social media in the months to come. 

4. How will a return to the sanctuary impact worship that I have enjoyed on line?

We are committed to continue to provide digital resources for those who are unable to worship with us in person for any reason.  Included in these resources this fall will be scripture, prayer, song, a children's message, and sermon.  We may streamline content from time to time and may need to give our tech team a break once in a while.  However, most weeks out of the year, you will be able to find worship resources through YouTube, our Facebook page , your e-mail links, and the church website.  Even if there is a week when  we are not recording, we are committed to providing you with weekend spiritual resources for your growth.  


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