At Emmanuel’s we are dedicated to maintaining the health and well-being of every member of our community. As a result of the rapid spread of the coronavirus a well as flu, and colds the Church Council and I have decided to implement the following practices. These practices are intended to maintain a safe place for all of us to gather in. Everything is based on the best information we currently have from the CDC, the Pennsylvania Health Department, and the ELCA. All practices will be effective immediately and will remain in place as long as necessary. Should situations change adjustments will be made.
We will continue to share the peace of the Lord, but without physical contact. Please greet those near you, by saying “the peace of the Lord be with you” and perhaps nodding. Please be respectful of other people and their concerns, which may be very different from yours.
It has been shown that offering plates/ baskets, which touch almost every hand, are a prime source of pathogens, therefore for the 8:00 and 10:45 services we will be placing the baskets on a windowsill near the front of the sanctuary. At the 9:30 service baskets will be placed on the tables at the back of fellowship hall. Please place your offerings in the baskets when coming forward for communion or at the conclusion of the service.
The pastor and all communion assistants will use hand sanitizer or wash their hands before touching anything used for communion. We encourage you to also use the hand sanitizer as you come forward. In order to maintain the symbol of the common cup we will be using individual cups filled from a pouring chalice. Additional instructions will be given at each service. Children or anyone who not receiving communion are still encouraged to come forward for a blessing. We will not be placing our hands on the children as they are being blessed.
When possible, the pastor will greet people at the conclusion of the service, but for your protection will not be shaking hands.
We will continue to hold Wednesday evening Lenten services at 7:00, but we are suspending the soup suppers for now.
Given the fact that most, if not all nursing facilities are either closed to or are severely restricting visitors as well as the high risk to any of our shut-ins when someone comes into their home we are suspending visits for now. Should a life threatening or dire situation arise the pastor will visit.
We know that for some of you these decisions may seem excessive, but we want to do what we can to make sure everyone is comfortable as we worship. We encourage you to continue to follow the best practice put out by the CDC and other sources including frequent hand washing with soap and hot water for at least twenty seconds. If you are sick please stay home. If you are well please continue to attend services and other gatherings.
We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed about any changes we may need to make.