of COVID-19 and the coronavirus are filling the news and the potential dangers
are causing a lot of anxiety. In brief, here is what we want you to know as it
relates to our common life at St. Edward’s:
Audrey has consulted with medical experts and has just issued a NEW set of
guidelines for congregations. We are now following those guidelines and it is
VERY IMPORTANT that you read them carefully. Please read the Bishop’s
you consume news about the outbreak, please be sure to use reliable sources
such as the website of the U.S. Centers For Disease Control (CDC) at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html or the Pennsylvania
Dept of Health at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx. Especially beware
of rumors or stories posted on social media or forwarded via email as many of
these stories are not accurate.
we encourage you to follow the advice of the CDC, which recommends that you
avoid unnecessary trips and large gatherings (such as church) if you have a
chronic illness or if your immune system is not strong. We have plenty of
people at St. Edward’s in this group! Although we will temporarily miss your
presence, we want you to be safe. This outbreak will not last forever and we
will eventually be able return to normal. And be sure to let us know if you
need pastoral care or attention due to spending time at home.
have also added some protocols that address our life at St. Edward’s for the
immediate future and they are listed just below my message.
will be having 8:00 am and 10:15 am services this Sunday. We will have
services only, no coffee hours, adult forum, or Sunday School. And will close
the church immediately following the 10:15 am service.
Update for St. Edward’s:
utilize the St. Edward’s website and Facebook page as your “information hub”
for communications. We may be utilizing email, but in the next 2 weeks
the web site will be the main source of outbound communication. However,
if you need to reach the office, email is best and we have remote access to be
able to answer any email questions parishioners may have and will respond in a
we want to stress is that we want you to please be sensible and be safe, and do
what feels comfortable to you. St. Edward’s is here for you. We
will stay in communication and keep you informed. Just to clarify and
expand on the Bishop’s letter as it relates to our St. Edward’s parish please
note these details:
(1) The parish office is closed through
March 30th and we will keep you informed as to the reopen date if this changes.
Please do not come to the parish. This includes volunteers that utilize
the parish office. If you do enter the parish office, there are
disinfectant wipes and gloves to clean the desk/computer area, but it is best
to please stay away from the church during this closure time, for our safety
(2) If you have an emergency and need to
call us, please contact Michelle Bentley at 717-203-1580 or Meredith Westgate,
Vestry Senior Warden at 717-575-2119 and we will make certain your matter gets
addressed in a timely manner by the office or the Rector.
(3) ALL parish activities are cancelled
effective immediately: This means: All music practices, Bible study
group, KnitWits, outside groups, coffee hours, adult forums, Sunday School,
vestry and committee meetings.
(4) Our web site will be the best source
for updates. Please send emails for any communication or questions and we
will respond in a timely manner.
(5) There will not be any Wednesday services or pastoral visits made by LEMs or the Rector, but if there is a pastoral need, please contact the parish office via email and the rector will respond via phone.
(6) We encourage you to continue your financial support of St. Edward’s. Your stewardship is vitally important to the success and continued ministry of our parish. Feel comfortable mailing your pledges and giving as we will be maintaining picking up of mail daily.
(7) There will be questions and items we have left out and may think of at a later time. We apologize for any eliminations and want to avoid confusion, but this is a fluid situation where news is given to us and situations change from day-to-day, so please be patient and prayerful.
Members of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania,
fast-moving pace of the Coronavirus and resulting cases of COVID-19,
Wednesday’s upgrade by the World Health Organization of the illness to a
pandemic, the Governor’s press conference on Thursday, and President Trump’s
declaration of a national emergency today have all come to bear on exercising a
new level of decision making that will have ramifications on our common life
consultation with my brother bishops in the other four Pennsylvania dioceses;
several other bishop colleagues across the church; our diocesan Standing
Committee (the elected body that serves as my Council of Advice); and Mr. Ed
Robertson, our Disaster and Emergency Coordinator, I have decided to suspend
worship in our churches on the Sundays of March 22 and 29, and to cancel all
large gatherings in the diocese and parish meetings, effective immediately.
is a change from what I offered to our clergy in a letter to them on Thursday,
and, yet, I believe it to be the appropriate choice for our people and
communities in the time of an international public health crisis. The
recommendations for altered worship patterns from last week’s pastoral letter
(e.g., no intinction, no touching at the Peace) remain in place for this
Sunday. Those who are especially vulnerable should take care and avoid large
public gatherings, including church on March 15.
his press conference on Thursday, the Governor made three succinct points
suggesting ways to “flatten the curve” of the spread of the disease:
participate in social distancing, avoid recreational activities, and, to
religious leaders he issued a call to “use discretion to prevent the spread (of
diocese, though mostly composed of smaller congregations, does contain a great
number of faithful, aged members. Those over the age of 60 and those with
chronic health conditions are considered to be at-risk for contracting
COVID-19. It is my desire- and the desire of the Standing Committee- to work to
preserve the health and safety of our parishioners at all times. A cessation of
gathering for worship will help to keep us- and our families and neighbors-
is the plan for going forward:
All churches will refrain from public worship on the Sundays of March 22 and
March 29. This includes worship and other activities of the parish on
Sundays. The public health situation will be reevaluated as we approach Holy
Week, and the decision to resume services will be considered.
All parish and diocesan gatherings (including committee meetings) during the
weekdays will be suspended until Holy Week. Those meetings that can be
conducted by Zoom conferencing or teleconferencing will be encouraged to take
place. Our diocesan offices can assist with setting up Zoom meetings for
various diocesan committees. Please be in touch with Canon Guzsick (firstname.lastname@example.org) for
assistance with Zoom.
All Shaped by Faith convocational meetings will be moved to a webinar format.
Canon Streeter (email@example.com)
will be in touch with participants with directions for this new protocol.
All churches with feeding programs will be asked to come together to prepare
the food and then serve it in To-Go containers to its guests, avoiding the
gathering of groups.
Food and Goods distribution programs (Meals on Wheels, Meals for Seals, Food
pantries, Clothing distributions, Diaper Banks) will be able to conduct their
usual distribution as long as there are adequate volunteers and the
distribution takes place in an efficient manner, not inviting the gathering of
AA and other 12-step programs may still meet at parishes- with the permission
of the Rector- with the added protocol that participants spray surfaces and
wipe them down following use and participate in good hygiene practices,
including the use of hand sanitizer and minimal physical contact. The
work of these groups is lifesaving to people with the experience of addiction;
it is up to the Rector to make the decision, in consultation with the Vestry,
about the use of the parish space for these meetings.
Pastoral offices (burials, memorial services, confirmations, baptisms, etc.)
are to be postponed if possible. Please confer with me about conflicts.
Congregations are encouraged to participate in the live streaming of services
as we will provide them from St. James, Lancaster (https://livestream.com/saintjameslancaster,
and St. Luke’s, Mechanicsburg (https://st-lukes-mechanicsburg.diocpa.org/digital_faith/live)
and our two cathedrals as their capacity is developed. These services will not
include a congregation. Some clergy may wish to conduct services of Morning
Prayer on Facebook Live as they are able.
We have created a free resource to allow your parishioners make secure gift and
pledge payments online. The link provides a listing of all our congregations—so
no matter what service you are watching, you can donate to your own parish.
That page can be found here: www.diocesecpa.org/stewardship.
For those congregations hoping to set up their own portal for giving on their
own parish webpage, please contact Canon Alexis Guszick at firstname.lastname@example.org or Canon Chad
Linder at email@example.com.
The diocesan staff will be offered the opportunity to work from home during
this period. Most of the staff have the capacity to work remotely. Please
exercise patience in reaching them during this time; email is the preferred
method for communication. I will be available by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and by cell
phone (860 866 7412).
new way of being together has been described by one of my bishop colleagues as
a “fast.” Fasting is, indeed, a hallmark of our Lenten discipline; I had never
imagined that it would extend to worship, or to our weekly celebration of the
Holy Eucharist. It is my fervent prayer that this two-week fast will allow us
to participate in slowing the spread of the virus and that, come Palm Sunday:
The Sunday of the Passion, we will be back together to journey through Holy
Week to the Cross and beyond, to the Paschal Feast.
bear with me through these days, in faith, and with grace.
care of each other, and hold each other in prayer, as I do you.
use this time of fasting from corporate worship and meetings at church to try
on new ways of relating to God: select a book of the Bible to read through
quietly at home; go for a “prayer walk” in nature and find God in the beauty of
the emerging spring; spend time in unhurried conversation with family members;
use the phone to reach out to those whom you have missed; explore the Book of
Common Prayer and its rich resources (for those without a BCP at home, you can
find the full text online at www.bcponline.org);
sit in the quiet and welcome Christ; prepare and share a meal with your family,
telling stories of faith and hope. All of these are ways that we can express
devotion to the One who has created us, to Jesus who saves us, and to the
Spirit who sustains us.
advantage of technological capacities that can allow for prayer chains in
email, e-blasts with news and encouragement, phone trees to check in on our
aged, and creative, compassionate expressions of our faith.
is new territory for us that will call on our creativity, experimentation,
collaboration, discovery, and change.
God is a good God who watches over us and will not forsake us.
of the present moment,
who in Jesus stills the storm
soothes the frantic heart; bring
and courage to all
wait or work in uncertainty.
them courage to endure what cannot
your will is health and wholeness;
are God, and we need you.
we pray in
our Lord. Amen.
Episcopal Relief and Development website
will write again during this time of hiatus to check in and keep our diocese
informed of any developments. Please share this e-mail with your parish e-mail
the Way of Love,
Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan
April 26th at 3:00 PM valleyphonics – Mix of classical and contemporary program
June 20th at 7 PM Servant Stage – A Broadway Review style “revue”
September 20th at 3 PM – QuintEssentially Brass –
Baroque to Jazz, Sacred to Secular
December 13th at 3 PM Fire in the Glen – A Celtic Christmas program
Please submit any news articles,
announcements, photos, etc. for the April Scepter, due Friday, March 20th
to mac Miller at: HJ_Miller@outlook.com