Dear Chapel Family,
As I write this, Gov. Wolf has just given the order for Adams and York Counties to move into the yellow phase for reopening this coming Friday, May 22. Many businesses and individuals are grateful for the lifting of the most restrictive of the quarantine guidelines. Large group gatherings are still limited to no more than 25 attendees, and citizens are asked to stay-at-home and telecommute for work as much as possible. Like all other religious institutions in the commonwealth, Littlestown Chapel is exempt from these restrictions. However, the elders and staff of the Chapel are in complete agreement that we should love our neighbors by voluntarily choosing to abide by the guidelines.
This coming Monday evening, May 18, the elders and ministry council will be gathering on Zoom for our monthly meeting, and on our agenda will be finalizing the details for beginning in-person growth groups and small worship gatherings in homes and at church. We will share the specifics our plans with you by Friday, May 22. Remember, the church was never really closed – just the doors to our building.
We will continue to limit our groups to 25 people or less. The worship service will continue to be livestreamed as it has for the past 10 weeks, which will enable all our members and friends the decide whether or not to attend in person. We recognize that people will come when they feel safe.
We will follow the guidelines for wearing face masks at our gatherings (by the way, wearing a face mask does not spread the coronavirus!), practicing appropriate social distancing, refraining from handshakes and hugs, and wiping high-touch surfaces with disinfectants frequently. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer children’s ministry for now but will do all we can to assist parents in teaching their children God’s Word at home. In truth, opening the church in a safe manner will be more difficult than it was to close it.
Some folks will eagerly come back to the public gatherings as soon as we open the doors, while others are not yet comfortable doing so. Whether we attend or remain home, we need to love and respect one another! As we prepare to reopen our worship gatherings and growth groups, I suggest that each of us read this article: Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You.
Someone suggested that life after the covid-19 quarantine will be much like climbing out of a shelter after a terrible blizzard and finding it not just winter, but a little ice age. Things have changed in major ways, and the normal we’re used to is gone. We’ll now have to learn how to navigate the challenging new ways of ministry that will be required by the new norms of post-pandemic life. It will take much patience, wisdom, and courage from all of us. We’ll need to give each other much grace as we adapt to these changes in our jobs, schools, social life, and church. We don’t have experience; none of us have done this before!
Yet, the Lord Jesus remains the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As we love him steadfastly and love our neighbors, he will see us through and bring glory to his name. Let’s claim this wonderful promise: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we are able to ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
God bless each of you!