Dear Members and Friends of St. Andrew’s –
The sun is shining, and the weather is like a beautiful early Spring day, but appearances can be deceiving, especially in the midst of this COVID-19 virus crisis. The purpose of this message is to inform you about precautions we will be taking to do our part to keep people healthy and deter the spread of the virus to the best of our ability.
To begin, let me say, we need to continue, first and foremost to remember that God IS in our midst and as faithful followers of Christ, we can continue to allow trust, not fear, to be our prevailing emotion. However, that does not mean that we should throw caution to the wind and hope for the best.
The Bishop and the Cabinet of our Conference have sent out communications encouraging churches to carefully consider what would be the best plan of action for this situation. Encouraging us to definitely follow any official State or County restrictions and to be mindful of local suggestions as well. Governor Murphy put out an edict that no gatherings of 50 or more should happen. On Friday, a second person in Cherry Hill was diagnosed with the virus, which lead the School Board to announce they will be closing schools for two weeks. So, after consultation with the Administrative Board and leaders of the church, the following actions will be implemented at St. Andrew’s.
We will suspend our in-person worship service on Sunday, March 22, 2020. This was a very difficult decision to make. We will offer a worship service, online, at our regularly scheduled time of 10:30 on Sunday morning. This service will be offered live on Facebook and then posted to our website. Of course, this service will look a bit different than you are used to, but we intend to include some music, a message and prayer (you will be able to message prayer requests during the service). During this time, and the days to come, we will continue to seek ways to be sure we stay connected.
I must add, please remember to continue to support the church financially while we are separated as a body, but not separated spiritually. We depend on your generosity to keep our building and ministries going, and bills will arrive as usual.
At this time other activities at the church will be limited, if not cancelled. Be sure to check our calendar for event updates. Because Cherry Hill Schools are closed so will our Nursery School. The teachers and administration are doing what they can to keep the students engaged while they are away.
It is so important that we continue to be the Church at this time. The men of IHOC will still be staying with us for two weeks beginning on March 22nd. If you have committed to providing food or hospitality – we will still need you to provide that service. Beyond that, be sure to stay connected to each other – especially with those who live alone – to be sure they are well, have food and aren’t overly anxious.
Please share this information with anyone who you believe may not see this announcement. The church office will be closed, however, you can still email the church as well as leave a message on my voice mail. (It is working and I will receive notification of voice mail.)
Continue to trust in the love and power of God, be safe and stay well.
Pastor Richard Work