Update: July 22, 2020
On Wednesday, July 1st, Governor Wolf signed an edict declaring that one must wear a mask anytime one leaves home and continue to maintain social distancing prescriptions.
The Governor stated, “This mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania, those hot spots can be traced to situations where Pennsylvanians were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing – two practices that must be adhered to if we want to maintain the freedoms we have in place under our reopening.”
The Consistory of I.L.C. has given the matter careful thought and prayer in light of our God-given duty to honor our government and subject ourselves to their authority. (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2: 13-17)
Consequently, we ask that you adhere to the following guidelines as you enter the Immanuel Leidy’s Church building for public worship in demonstration of our united and humble submission to Christ.
- Please be advised that the face mask mandate applies to anyone two years and older. Persons who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability are exempt from this order.
- Please only sit with people from your family.
- Please wear a face mask when you are not seated in the pew/Fellowship Hall seating area.
- Please do not sit in the roped off rows in the sanctuary.
- Please sit 6 feet away from different households sitting in the same pew.
- When moving about or standing and talking, please maintain social distancing protocols, including wearing a mask.
- Please stay home if you have a fever or you are feeling ill.
Thank you for loving and respecting one another through this most difficult time. Please continue to pray for our governing authorities and for the spiritual leadership of this local church as we gratefully worship and serve our Lord together.
May 22, 2020
Dear Leidy’s Church Members and Friends:
Warm greetings in Jesus’ name. Two months have elapsed since we suspended our services of worship and other activities at Leidy’s Church. We’ve been most grateful to God for the way He has kept us unified, focused, and in touch with one another despite the circumstances. But the big question is, When does this all end? Here are some preliminary answers.
- Our intention is to resume open, public worship on Sunday, June 7th.
- No one should feel pressured to come to worship, but we will be open for public worship.
- If anyone is ill, if anyone feels unsafe, or if anyone for some other reason is uncomfortable coming out to worship, we encourage you to stay home.
- We especially encourage those who are in high-risk categories to consider staying home. Usually, this refers to the elderly and those with compromising health issues. No one from those categories should feel obligated to come out to worship at this time.
- We will continue to livestream our services so everyone will have access to our worship.
- There will be plenty of hand sanitizer available, but if you want to wear a mask, bring your own. We will not be taking anyone’s temperature. Our facility will be thoroughly sanitized before and after our services.
- We will not pass the offering plates, at least initially. There will be receptacles where offerings may be placed.
- When we serve communion, for the time being, it will be done in such a way as to preclude passing the elements down each row. The particulars are still being worked out.
- We will limit restroom use to two persons maximum at any one time.
- Provisions will be made for social distancing. We do expect those present to self-regulate – we aren’t going to measure distances between folk. We will have seating only in every other pew. If that is still too close for anyone’s comfort, then the Fellowship Hall will be available to participate in worship via that screen. We encourage each of us to be aware of the sensitivities of others.
- We will not have any Sunday School hour initially; we’ll make a determination regarding SS resumption after we have a few Sundays under our belt.
- Nursery and child-care services will not be available as we re-open. We hope to offer such services again in due time, but not initially.
- This re-opening applies only to Sunday morning worship. All our other activities are still being assessed. Most require significant prep time. While we’ve been prepping for worship each week throughout the past two months, we have not done the prep work for the other activities we would normally be undertaking at this time of year. Consequently, they will be held in abeyance for the moment, with ample notification given when they will resume or take place.
- Confirmation was scheduled to take place on May 31st. That is no longer feasible. We plan to have Confirmation on June 21st if all goes as planned.
Why have we decided to do this now? What about government mandates, etc.? Read on:
- We have consulted a number of our neighboring congregations regarding these matters. We’ve also been in contact with the Pennsylvania Family Institute about the legal and safety requirements for re-opening. Randall Wenger, Chief Counsel for the PA Family Institute, has offered guidance to us. Our plans are in accord with the counsel.
- Churches have been labelled as essential by Gov. Wolf from the outset. He recommended churches consider the well-being of congregants and the wider community and so restrict services, but there was never a requirement for any church to do so. [As a side note, we should remember each state establishes for itself the rules or guidelines to be followed. What is required in Michigan, for example, is not necessarily required in any other state. Thus, Pennsylvania’s rules and guidelines are unique to Pennsylvania.]
- We do believe worship is essential and are glad to be able to begin open, public worship.
- We will limit our attendance to 50% of our seating capacity, which is the recommended guideline for larger facilities by PA Dept. of Health.
- We do believe this is a proper and reasonable course of action in the light of all that is known. But we encourage each person/family to determine if such is true for their particular situation or concerns.
- We are agreed that it is time to begin to resume normal activities. This is a start, limited for sure, but a start, nonetheless.
We give thanks to God for His faithfulness to us during this time. We give thanks to God for your faithfulness during this time. We ask that He guide us in moving forward faithfully as well.
Faithfully in Christ,
John H.C. Niederhaus, Pastor
David G. Reich, Consistory President