By now, you might have heard the news of Governor Wolf's newest restrictions, essentially limiting all gatherings inside to 25 persons and outside to 250. I know people are weary. I know you are weary. This is a difficult time for all of us in various ways.
Throughout this season, church leaders have asked the question: "What is the most loving thing to do?" The strong consensus among church staff and members of our Administrative Council is that the most loving thing to do now is to suspend in-person worship. Therefore, we will suspend our in-person worship gatherings until further notice. The church staff has also begun exploring outdoor worship with an eye toward starting August 2--more details to come. Please know this is not the news I had hoped to share. I want to gather together in worship with you all just as much as anyone else. But for now, this plan seems best all things considered. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Remember, God is with us. We will get through this together.
Online worship will continue every week, and the audio recording of each week's service will continue to be available over the phone. By calling this number, 1-833-831-8193, you can listen at any time to the most recent service. Please share this number if you know someone without internet connection who would like to listen to our worship services. You can press 1 to receive a notification by phone when the latest service is unavailable. This is a toll-free number, so anyone who calls it will not be charged minutes.
Here's an update on plans for resuming in-person gatherings and worship. We have a team monitoring COVID-19 updates from our local city, county, and state governments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical professionals, and local health departments. I'm also in ongoing conversations with other pastors and community leaders about plans for moving forward. I'd like to thank our staff and church leaders for their thoughtful engagement with these important matters. After a process of gathering information, careful consideration, discussions, and prayer, our church leadership has determined a plan that consists of two parts.
1. In-person gatherings of groups 25 or under can resume effective June 8th provided that they are in keeping with our return policy (see attached). Any group within our church or affiliated with our church that would like to resume in-person gatherings should have the group leader complete the attached form and notify the church office to confirm scheduling availability prior to holding an in-person gathering.
2. At this time, we plan to resume in-person worship on June 21st and all other activities can resume on June 21st at the discretion of the leader or leaders of those activities. When we resume in-person worship, we will once again offer our 9am traditional service and the 9:45am and 11am contemporary services. Sunday School for all ages and the children's programs, including the nursery, will resume at a later date. We will be implementing major changes to ensure safe social distancing and increased sanitation procedures.
We are putting together a Cleaning Team to wipe down certain areas in between services, and we need help. If you'd like to volunteer for the Cleaning Team, please contact the church office (office@SpryChurch.com / 717-741-1429). Instructions and supplies, including gloves to ensure personal safety, will be provided.
Once we resume in-person worship, we will encourage masks to be worn and ask people to stay home if you are ill. We want to do what we can to help keep everyone safe and well. We want to be guided by love for our neighbors as Jesus commands.
Online worship will continue every week, and the audio recording of each week's service will continue to be available over the phone. So, you can worship with us either online or in person starting June 21st. We encourage you to make the decision that you believe is best for you or your family.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these times. It's such a privilege to serve the Lord together with you all in our Spry Church family!
- the March 14th prayer walk
- all worship services on March 15th
- the "Today, Lord!" Home Gatherings on March 15th and March 16th
- the March 22nd Vision Gathering and Dinner (a decision will be made and communicated next week about worship on March 22nd)
- all meetings, activities, and groups that meet at the church
“Doing Nothing” and Staying Home Will Make a Difference in Our Community!
What the research and expert opinion shows is that the single most effective way to slow down the spread of the coronavirus is to practice social distancing. (More info here.)
We have the ability to slow down the spread of the virus in our region by “doing nothing”! That is, when we stay home, we make a difference.
This is About Our Hospital System and About Loving Our Neighbors
We know the virus will spread, and many people will get sick. A major concern I have (after reading lots of reports) is lessening the strain on our hospital and healthcare system, so that the people who are sick or injured from whatever cause will have a safe hospital bed in which to be treated and recover.
This is not simply about you or me avoiding getting sick—this is about us caring for others and thinking proactively about our hospital and healthcare system by deliberately slowing the virus spread, thereby keeping more people healthier longer.
I Do NOT Want You to Come to Church
For the first time in my entire pastoral ministry, I believe that the most faithful leadership I can show and the most love of my neighbor I can practice is to tell you not to come to church this Sunday.
Now is the Time to Act
This is a temporary measure because NOW is the time to slow the virus. If it breaks out among us in as severe an outbreak as in Italy, for example, that will cause major problems.
This is Not About Giving Into Fear
It is not giving into fear to be prudent. Fear and panic is buying all the Doritos at the grocery store and stocking toilet paper for the next 4 years! Prudence is the opposite of panic—prudence is boarding up your windows when the hurricane is coming. Prudence is preparing for the future.
Here’s What Our Church Will Be Doing
We will resume public worship services ASAP.
In the meantime, our Spry staff is working hard to deliver content to our people on a regular basis. We invite you to watch our Sunday morning worship message for March 15, 2020 right here, in the comfort of your own home.
We will continue to update this page with new information so please check this page if you have any questions. We're also thinking about and making plans for how best to care for the poor and vulnerable among us who will be hit hard financially when they miss work etc. More details to follow.
There is No Reason to Be Afraid
Friends, preparing and prudence are not panic. They are wise. We have no reason to be afraid because Jesus is King.
You Can Be a Light in a Time of Crisis
- Pray for those who are affected by this virus—those who are ill, the medical professionals treating them, the scientists working on vaccines and cures, and the leaders making tough decisions to try and curb the spread of the virus and keep us safe. Pray for those with mental health concerns, as well as those who feel extra lonely during this time. Please reach out to anyone you think might be feeling isolated over the next few weeks.
- Educate yourself about the Coronavirus from credible and reliable sources, such as from the World Health Organization and the CDC. Know the symptoms and have a plan for what you would do if you or a family member were to become sick.
- Check on your friends and neighbors. If you know someone who may not have internet access, give them a call and share the information in this email. If the virus spreads through our community as predicted, we can continue to reach out and care for one another through phone calls, emails and social media.
- As the virus spreads, many doctors and nurses will be working long hours. Consider ways you can bless these medical professionals with acts of kindness and notes of appreciation.
- Remember this is temporary. Our church continues to serve our congregation and community. Continue to be a part of the ministry—the need for the support you give in York County and beyond continues despite the pandemic. Look for opportunities to serve individually or in smaller groups. Please continue your financial support of the work of the church. Many of you have set up your tithes and offerings to be automatically given. If you haven’t, you can give your tithes and offering online, or you can mail a check to the church at 50 School St., York, PA 17402.
Here’s What I Am Asking Us to Do:
1. Spread this message. Tell all the Spry people you know that church is temporarily canceled for this Sunday. Tell everyone you know to stay home.
2. Spread peace through your networks. We have no reason to be afraid—Jesus has overcome the world!
In Christ's love and peace,