Worship: Sundays at 10:00 am
FROM THE PASTOR’ S DESK….November 2021
Dear Members and Friends,
As these many months have gone by, we at St. Stephen’s have been diligent in doing our best to follow CDC and Penn Southeast Conference Guidance in determining safest practices for worship and service at St. Stephen’s. We have experienced virtual worship, outdoor worship, and, thankfully, have been able to return to in person worship in the sanctuary within the last month.
Now, a vaccine has been approved for children ages 5-11, which means the majority of the school age children who have been so vulnerable can now be protected from COVID-19. This milestone has given us confidence that we can now begin to return to a new normal in our worship and service.
What does that mean for us as a church?
Well, first and foremost, we will be worshiping indoors on a regular basis from this point forward. We will keep masks and social distancing as a recommendation as there is still guidance on this level being shared with us.
We will be singing and responding to during worship.
We will continue to share communion via prepackaged elements in order to practice the safest distribution of communion possible for now. We will continue to receive offerings in a box at the back of the sanctuary.
And, in what is a big step forward, we will resume in person Sunday School starting on November 28, 2021.
This date will also mark a change in worship time for us at St. Stephen’s, as our September congregational meeting approved a change in worship to 10 am during the months of September through May. Sunday School will begin at 9 am. After the first of the year, we hope to resume Circle of Sharing from 9:15 am until 9:55 am (before worship).
This plan allows for more participation in Sunday School and a more rounded program.
At this time, our ministries continue to meet though the format is different for each group, determined by the chairperson in conversation with their ministries. Some are meeting in person and some via ZOOM. Many have recommended staying with ZOOM as a primary meeting platform through the winter months.
In regard to the use of the church building, the basement is not available for use at this time due to moisture and mold issues that will be addressed in a forthcoming congregational meeting. Because of this limitation, we are operating solely on the main floor of the church building. Thus, scheduling the use of space is most important. At this time, Thursday evenings are full on the church schedule with the Handbells rehearsing in Ehrhart Hall at 6:30 pm and two Girl Scout Troops meeting on rotating Thursday nights in Obold Chapel.
We anticipate the Perkasie Historical Society returning to meeting at St. Stephen’s in December.
At this time, masks are still required for all gatherings in the church space, except while eating food.
If you plan to meet at the church, please be sure to let the church office know in order to help with scheduling.
Another important notice for your calendars—Christmas Eve.
This year, please note, that St. Stephen’s will have limited seating for Christmas Eve due to maintaining a social distance. In order to accommodate the most people possible, the Consistory and Worship and Music Ministries Team have settled upon two Christmas Eve services for 2021. We will have a family service at 6 pm which will be a more casual service that will include the children who may be present in the service itself. We will then have our traditional candlelight Christmas Eve service at 7:30 pm. Please be aware that seating for the second service will not begin until 7 pm. More information will be forthcoming as we return to what will be a new normal.
Please feel free to ask any questions of the Consistory, the Ministry Teams, or the Staff as we seek to grow together in this re-creating time.