19 November 2020
Good day to each of you!
It is my prayer that this day finds you well. Yesterday, during a recent Zoom meeting with pastors from across the Susquehanna Conference, Tom Salsgiver, the Assistant to the Bishop asked us to answer the following question: “How is it with your soul?” Normally, my response is, “it is well (great) with my soul,” an answer that comes very easily. But, yesterday, I struggled to answer honestly. What is challenging me to the core of my being is the once again increasing mandates making it very difficult to navigate how we are allowed to conduct in-person worship. What are the rules of this week? Are they guidelines or orders? Are we exempt as a house of worship, or are we not and what practices that have been effective for 6 months are now no longer effective and have to be modified. What is in place today is different than last week and there is a possibility that it will be different again next week. The only consistency in the planning process for what lies ahead for us for Advent is inconsistency.
Upon discussion with our leadership team last evening and upon considering the varying viewpoints, all of which are recognized as valid, we have decided to continue to do what we have been doing, which have proven to be effective for our fellowship. In addition, we will be opening several classrooms where a live feed of our service will be presented on large-screen televisions and we are encouraging some of our small group fellowships and Sunday School classes to meet in those locations for both worship and The Christmas Experience Sunday School presentation. This will provide additional space in the sanctuary for others to continue to experience live worship at Yorkshire Church.
As in all decisions that we are faced with during these challenging times, there are two sides. Outside of the church, these two sides often clash in contentious disagreement. It is imperative that we do not allow this to happen within our fellowship. Our leadership is listening to all sides and we are making decisions based on what we believe represents the largest consensus opinion that allows us to move forward in a manner that meets the rules for gathering that are being imposed on the church- while also observing the legal liberties afforded to us as a religious institution.
But, this also means that there are those who’s opinion and concerns are on the other side. In this case, we are doing everything possible to provide a live stream worship experience that allows everyone an opportunity to share in our collective worship of God. This is, after all, the reason that we are a church. I continue to listen to your voices and seek the counsel of our leadership team as we move forward through challenging waters.
As I have stated, we will continue to follow our existing guidelines, but I would invite each of you to review the latest order from our governor which can be found at https://www.governor.pa.gov/
With all of this said, I strongly suggest that if you are displaying any symptoms of a cold or even allergy symptoms, that you choose to enjoy worship from the live stream posture until you are feeling better. This is cold and flu season, so there are a lot of sniffles, coughs and sneezes that are going on that are actually quite normal for this time of year. But we need to err on the side of caution, which will also help everyone in our facilities be there without concern of some level of infection.
We are the Church, and we must remain the Church, even in these difficult times. There is a very important element to in-person worship and fellowship and I want to ensure that we continue to do all that we can to protect our rights to be able to provide it.
As a reminder, we are modifying our service schedule this week to accommodate a new Sunday School emphasis. Our new service times will be:
9:00AM First Service in the Contemporary Style
10:00AM Sunday School (See weekly announcements for description)
*** 11:00AM***Second Service in the Traditional Style ***
Our Sermon Series will follow and compliment the Sunday School lessons. We have also received permission from City On A Hill Studios to Livestream the lessons–including our Sunday School discussions!
So, these are the things that are on my mind this day. Unsettled in my soul, yes. Distraught, no. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything, please feel free to reach out to me!
Have a great and blessed day and weekend!
– dave. firstname.lastname@example.org
125 Edgewood Road, York, PA 17402 • (717)755-4952 • www.yorkshirechurch.org