Saturday, June 20

Good morning church,

I am going to keep it brief today.  I learned that we are going to enter the green phase in the Philadelphia suburbs next Friday. It means that many of us can finally get a decent haircut if we so choose. (God knows, I need one!)  More businesses and establishments will be cleared to open up for services. I also hope that some of our members can finally then see their loved ones who have been isolated in special care units. Green phase does not mean, however, that we go back to “business as usual.”  Especially at church, when we start offering crowd-limited services on July 5 and after, we will adhere to the social distancing rules described in our document. But it does mean, based on the seating chart that John L. devised, that we can accommodate up to about 36 people instead of 25 in the sanctuary with appropriate social distancing. We could also have an even larger outdoor service. These are all baby steps and we are not rushing it. We try to keep a balance between sensible precautions and not being ruled by fear. 

Another aspect of the church re-opening not described in detail in our document is the handling of AA groups.  I have had several conversations with AA leadership. They have been managing o.k., doing recovery work via zoom. But just like our church community, they don’t reach everyone and there are aspects of their ministry that can’t be as effective through a screen. They would like to offer both virtual AA meetings and some in-person meetings.  Our document outlines that we, the church community, will not use the Fellowship Hall and kitchen area until such a time that people can be safely together in larger crowds. I expect that in the beginning (July) there may be one or two AA meetings per week in the Fellowship Hall, and over time up to four meetings opening up, but no Saturday gatherings. Saturday is cleaning day, and the double doors separating the Fellowship Hall area and the sanctuary/parlor area will remain locked throughout the week to avoid crossover.

Please join me in prayers for Aiden C. who had an emergency appendicitis done. This is what his mom (Bethany) wrote yesterday on her FaceBook page: “Well, our brave guy is out of the ER and settled into his own hospital room on the (very familiar) Peds Unit. The scan and bloodwork all point to appendicitis but they’re giving him antibiotics and want to check him in the morning to decide about surgery. It’s hard to wait but, for now, we try to rest.
Highlight for mom: fitting into the bed to cuddle my buddy and watch a movie. 💕
Highlight for Aidan: discovering his new room has a personal, touchscreen tv with on-demand. 😂
Highlight for both of us: FaceTiming the other half of the Coover Clan! We miss them!
Thank you to all of our amazing friends and family for your support! We appreciate it so much!”

Get ready for Father’s Day and Father’s Day service!        

The Sweat Pea Ice Cream truck from Doylestown will make a stop in our church parking lot on Sunday/Father’s Day between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The ice cream will be served drive through style and is free of charge, thanks to a generous sponsor. We invite our members and friends to come and enjoy, especially all dads and their children. The ice cream is home-made, all-natural and they use only compostable containers. Do something nice for dad! We will also have a basket for church offerings on site. Come and enjoy!

I want to thank you for many early responses to our survey, see link below. We really welcome and appreciate your input!

Another mini-series that we are adding to our summer calendar had come out of my conversations with Rabbi Parmenter from Tiferet Bet Israel (TBI) in Blue Bell. It is called “Tender shoots of Righteousness: Re-discovering religious Civil Rights Leaders – A Jewish/Protestant conversation in the Black Lives Matter Era. We will offer the following three sessions via Zoom:   

July 7:  Abraham Heschel: “When I marched in Selma my feet were praying.”  – A Jewish mystic on a journey toward justice – what he can teach us and what we can learn while our feet are praying. With Rabbi Danielle Parmenter.

July 21: The Civil Rights Movement in our front yard: Black leaders in Philadelphia from 1963 to 1985 and the Move Bombing.  With Assistant Prof. Emeritus for African American Studies, Dr. Richard Stewart.

August 4:  Lessons learned? Reinhold Niebuhr and the Civil Rights Movement. With excerpts from 1954 until late 1968 written by one of the best-known Civil Rights Ethicists of the time. With Pastor Andreas Wagner.

Today is the birthday of Mitch N. Happy birthday, Mitch!

Be blessed and be safe! Pastor Andreas Wagner