survey about reopening church
Dear Spry Church,
I hope you are staying safe and well. This week's email update contains a lot of important information, including a survey that we'd love for you to complete, so please read all the way to the end.
If you're like me, then at some point during this lockdown period, you've probably felt alone. Some of us literally are living alone right now. It's so important, especially in these times, for us to know the truth of Jesus, who promises that we are not alone: "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18). Jesus is with us, always, through the Holy Spirit.
This Weekend in Worship
This weekend we continue our Resurrection series by focusing on how Jesus promises each of us the gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift is vital; we depend on the "Spirit of truth" and Jesus says, "You know him, for he lives with you and will be in you" (John 14:17). Join us as we celebrate this timely message.
When you click on the graphic below, it will take you to our page with messages and online worship. You can copy the image below then post it on social media or email it to a friend; or, you can follow Spry Church on social media and share our posts that way. Please invite your family and friends to join us for online worship--people need a message of hope and encouragement during this time!
When will we reopen for in-person worship and programs?
At this moment, all United Methodist churches across central and northeast Pennsylvania remain closed. Even so, know that your pastors and church staff, lay leadership, and ministry area leaders are working extremely hard behind the scenes during this difficult season to keep the church moving forward as faithfully as possible. Our church is rising to this challenge and I am so very humbled and proud that so many people are stepping up in so many different ways, visible and invisible. As some churches now face severe existential crises during this time, your giving and support have continued to be very strong and for that we are all grateful. If you are part of a high-risk vulnerable population group, do not be in a rush to go places that may compromise your personal health and safety. Please continue to pray for all of us and for our nation and world.
As we begin to hear preliminary thoughts about reopening churches, please remember that things may look different about how we gather for a long time to come. We are awaiting fuller guidance from our conference and Bishop Park about what that may look like in particular. We've created a survey related to our church's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and when you would join us for in-person worship, and we'd like your input. The survey consists of 2 parts and it should take about 10 minutes total. Please take the survey by May 21st. We also invite Pine Grove folks to take the survey. It is anonymous and you can share as much as you'd like us to know. Click on these 2 links (why 2 parts and 2 links? Survey Monkey wouldn't let us combine into 1 unless we bought a year's subscription--that's another story!)...
We believe a significant number of our members will be hesitant to return to in-person worship (particularly our older adults and those with health complications) until there is a vaccine. We have made significant upgrades to our online worship experiences and anticipate continuing to work to create the highest quality and most meaningful online worship experience possible.
I'll share with you the results of the survey and the decision of our leaders regarding reopening in-person worship and programs in the coming weeks. Thank you in advance for your feedback through the survey; your input will be very helpful.
This Year's Graduates
On May 24th, we're going to recognize this year's graduates of high school or post-secondary education. If you're a graduate this year, or if you know of one you'd like us to recognize, then by May 18th please email a picture with the graduate's full name, school, and future plans to office@SpryChurch.com.
Graduation 2020 is not going to happen in the way any of us ever would have imagined. Yet, none of the changes in society take away from the hard work and achievement of this year's graduates. We're so proud of all graduates! We celebrate you for what you have accomplished and pray for your next steps. Congratulations, Class of 2020!
Part of what I've been doing lately is writing letters to express appreciation, prayer, and support. Last week, for National Nurses Day, I wrote letters of gratitude on behalf of Spry Church to the nursing departments of local hospitals. Nurses do so many unseen things to care for their patients, and I wrote to tell them, "We see you, we appreciate you, and we admire you--you do heroic work that matters." I was surprised by how much joy I discovered in writing those letters. Sharing a message of gratitude and appreciation to local nurses in that way was such fun!
This is National Police Week. I invite you to join me in sending messages of appreciation this time. Send a card or note to your local police department to express your care for our local police. Below is the letter I sent to each of the area police stations, on official church letterhead, on behalf of our congregation.
Remember, you are not alone--Jesus is with you. He is with us all. He is always faithful. We need that message, and our world needs that message, now as much as ever. Join us this weekend as we worship the Lord from our homes and hear the good news of Jesus. "See" you in worship (online) this weekend!
P.S. Here's the letter I wrote to the York Area Regional Police Department (I wrote similar letters to other local police departments, too). Take a few minutes to send a card or note to your local police department to express your care for our local police.
May 14, 2020
York Area Regional Police Department
33 Oak St.
York, PA 17402
Dear Officers and Staff,
I'm writing on behalf of the congregation at Spry Church to express our gratitude for you. Your courage, selflessness, and service inspire us. You exemplify the attributes I teach our congregation to strive for in the work you do. During this pandemic you have been, as you always are, on the front lines, caring for people, protecting us, and ensuring the welfare of our community.
I am praying for your safety, strength, and courage as I send this note. We know that you take risks on behalf of others as you go to work each day, and you consistently give of yourselves for the common good. Thank you for who you are and what you do in caring for the people of York County.
With immense gratitude,