A Pastoral Letter - update 07/09/2020
LPC and COVID-19
Good Afternoon Church Family,
As mentioned briefly Sunday, Langhorne Presbyterian Church is excited to announce our return to in-person worship services beginning on Sunday, July 26th at 9:30 am. We have longed to gather together with God’s people for worship since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but throughout this time the leadership here at LPC has sought to honor our government and protect members of our congregation by following CDC guidelines and Governor Wolf’s restrictions on public gatherings. At this time, with the consultation of medical professionals and ministry leaders, we believe that we will be able to gather together to worship Jesus Christ while maintaining compliance with the guidelines set before us.
Throughout this time, the leaders at LPC have felt a strong burden to protect each member of our congregation to the best of our ability and to honor the command of Hebrews 10:25 in not neglecting to meet together for the purpose of worshipping and serving one another. We have spent much time in prayer, seeking godly wisdom, in determining the appropriate timing, precautions, and format to provide the opportunity to gather together for worship as the body of Christ based on the information currently available regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. As with many aspects of our world right now, this situation is fluid, and we ask for flexibility and patience in light of the rapidly changing information regarding the virus.
While we are excited to offer the opportunity to worship in-person, our church body must come together to bear the burden of maintaining unity among the body of Christ with those who are unable to return to worship right away. We will continue to offer online resources, including putting the worship service online each week, to help those unable to return to in-person worship feel connected with our church body. Let us continue to reach out to, serve, and pray for each member of the body of Christ throughout the duration of this pandemic.
With that said, here is a list of the precautions that we will be taking as a church on Sunday mornings:
- We Request that each family sign up and register ahead of time for worship services
- This helps us to plan ahead and prepare seating arrangements ahead of time
- This also prevents us from needing to turn people away should the building become full.
- Sign-up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904054aaca92da7fc1-reopening
- This sign-up link will be available on our website, langhornepres.org, and will be sent out regularly over the next several weeks.
- Max occupancy of the sanctuary will be limited to 90 people
- Socially distant seating
- Pews will be clearly marked to maintain a 6’ radius
- Masks are required at all times within the building
- Child care will not be offered at this time
- Fellowship Hour is canceled until further noticed
- We will have clearly marked exits and entrances
- Medical professionals will be taking temperatures at the doors
- Ushers will both seat and dismiss members before and after the service
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available
- Communion (during communion services) will be taken via pre-packaged communion packs
- Physical papers will not be passed (sign-in sheets, bulletins, etc.)
- Necessary information will be found on the screens
- Maximum of 2 people in the bathrooms at all times
- The drinking fountains will be blocked off.
- We ask that during the service, members refrain from singing and instead reflect upon the words being sung.
- Liturgy and Responsive readings will still take place during the service to encourage the participation of the congregation in the worship service.
- Cleaning and sanitizing of the building following the conclusion of worship.
Our ministry leaders and volunteers will be constantly evaluating and re-evaluating these procedures to ensure maximum efficiency and protection for each member of our congregation. Again, we ask for patience during this transition back into in-person worship.
In addition to these precautions, we sincerely ask that anyone who is not feeling well to stay home. This includes but is not limited to fever, cough, upper respiratory symptoms, fatigue, loss of sense of smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Please help us protect one another by not putting others at risk. We also encourage those who find themselves in a “high-risk” demographic to please stay home. Please know that your church family and the leadership at LPC cares about you. It is our intent to maintain a connection with anyone unable to return to in-person worship to the best of our ability. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our church office for support via phone, (215) 752-3200, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Church Family, please know that we love you and are praying for each of you.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)
Let us continue to support and encourage one another in the Lord.
Langhorne Presbyterian Church.
As Bucks County moves into the Green Phase and as we plan for the phased reopening of LPC, we will consider CDC and state regulations and guidelines, as well as our own developed set of best practices. We will follow a set of ministry priorities from our EPC Book of Order that begins with the centrality of worship.
In the coming weeks our staff and elders will develop practical plans based on the highest values of LPC - the glory of God, the advancement of the Kingdom, the good of God's people, and love of our neighbors.
Tyler Stanhope, Pastoral Associate
Dear LPC Family,
With shutdowns and shelter at home orders extended until at least the end of April, we know that this new and always changing normal is going to be with us for a while. In the midst of such uncertainty we cling to a God whose love is certain and sure. In the midst of such change we are held by the Lord Jesus Christ - the same yesterday, today, and forever.
LPC's family life and ministry continues even when the building is closed and our time with each other is virtual. Scroll down to the "Latest news at LPC" on the home page for up to date information.
During this time of physical separation, our elders and others are seeking to reach out to every member. Look forward to a call. And if you have a need - an errand that needs to be run or a time of prayer over phone or video conference, please let us know. (And if you have abandoned that old landline, give the church office a call (215-752-3200) and let us know your best number - you can leave a message any time.
We continue to worship with a new worship resources - music, the sermon, and more - posted to our sermons page every Sunday morning. STAY IN TOUCH WITH ONE ANOTHER! Phone, email, text, FaceTime, even a card in the mail!
STAY IN TOUCH WITH ONE ANOTHER! Phone, email, text, FaceTime, even a card in the mail!
From the morning Psalm for today:
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth. (ESV)
March 21, 2020
As we continue our journey throught these difficult times,
Our building is closed and our calendar has been cleared, but the church is still very much alive!
Our website will always have the latest news, updates, and resources.
Check out our Lockdown Devotional with its words of encouragement to LPC people from LPC people.
Thank you, Casey Huckel and Melanie Pienkowski for the Children's Ministry Newsletter and its great ideas for Christian nurture at home this weekend.
We've launched Virtual Faith Acts and plan on being back next week with another Bible Study from Revelation 3
Sunday's sermon, along with some amazing music from Kyle Duke, will be posted by 10:00 a.m. Sunday.
Tyler has prepared devotional and other materials for our students - Students, check your email!
Our elders and deacons are ready and willing to help with any need! Please reply to this email if you or an LPC member you know needs some assistance.
STAY IN TOUCH WITH ONE ANOTHER! Phone, email, text, FaceTime, even a card in the mail!
The Church in a Locked Down World
March 16, 2020
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord… (ESV)
What is this new normal? What is happening in our world? When will it end?
Obviously we don’t know the answers to many, most, of the questions that fill our minds in this day of trouble. Like the Psalmist, though, we will be wise to seek the Lord rather than answers to unanswerable questions.
As we go into this new week, however, I can say without a doubt that while we’ve emptied our Sunday morning pews and our program calendar, we are still the church, a caring and compassionate church, seeking to be the church God calls us to be.
From what we know today:
Our program calendar is empty. Until we gain a better sense of our situation and best practices in it, regularly scheduled ministry activities are canceled. Please consult our online calendar for updates. We will add cancellations and other news only when events are closer or when we have definitive word about them. Certainly we know that worship on our campus is suspended until after March 29.
LPC is a caring community! Our Deacons were quick to make plans to keep our food pantry available to our neighbors who depend on it. It will be open as usual Wednesday and Thursday mornings, with some new procedures institutes to ensure the well-being of all.
LPC is a caring community! Our elders are going through our membership list and identifying those who may find this time of social distance a time of social isolation. Calls and contacts will be made. All of us can be a part of that effort. Do you know an LPC friend who might need some extra contact? Reach out, or let us know. If you are reading this in email form, just reply to the email. If you are reading this on our website, please use our contact form.
LPC is a learning community! Casey plans to have some children’s Bible activities available for home use by this weekend. Look for the email and for links to attachments.
LPC is a learning community! Tyler is in regular contact with our students and will provide them with devotional and other materials as they journey through these unchartered waters.
LPC is a learning community! I plan on providing study resources for those of you who have been a part of our Thursday night series on the Seven Churches of Revelation. We will take a virtual journey to Sardis!
LPC is a worshiping community! How encouraging to hear of the ways yesterday’s sermon was used by so many of you – and some of you adding prayers and hymns as you worshiped in your homes. We’ll be back online this coming Sunday!
How can we be the church when the building is closed? I think God is challenging us to answer the question, and answers are coming – we care, we connect, we learn, we worship, and more!
The Ministry of the Word
March 15, 2020
Dear LPC Family,
From one of the Psalms for this Lord's Day:
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
May we seek the Lord this day and know deliverance from fear.
There is an eerie emptiness to the church building this morning. The building is empty, but the church is still alive and well in our homes and the other places this week of lockdown may take us.
We may not be able to gather in the Chapel or Sanctuary this morning, but the Ministry of the Word continues and is available to all of us.
This link will take you directly to a recording of this morning sermon - with PowerPoint - or you may go the sermons page anytime to listen at your convenience.
WORSHIP AND OTHER ACTIVITIES CANCELED
March 14, 2020
Dear LPC Family,
Governor Wolf has asked for the suspension of larger gatherings in Bucks County. Accordingly, LPC will cancel worship services for the next three Sundays. Youth Group and Faith Acts will not be held, as well, and those who participate in smaller group gatherings will be notified of further decisions by group leaders or via our email and website as soon as possible.
We will continue to monitor the situation and make additional decisions based on the requests of the governing authorities, best medical practice, and our desire to witness to the hope and love of the Gospel.
Our leaders gathered this morning for a wonderful time together and heard the words of David from one of the daily Psalms.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear. - Psalm 27:1, 3
The man after God's own heart faced a literal army; we face both a frightening virus and our own deep fears. As we love our neighbors and love one another in the Body of Christ, may care, compassion, and understanding mark our every word and action. May we encourage the fainthearted (1 Thessalonians 5:14) and be instruments of the peace that passes understanding to the anxious and to the angry (Philippians 4:7).
And, again, during this time of extreme social distancing, let us not grow apart - Stay in touch!
For tomorrow we will plan to provide a fully animated PowerPoint recording of the sermon from Acts 17 - Knowing the Unknown God by 10:00 a.m. (You will find it on the sermon page of our website, with links provided by email and on the church's Facebook page.) Indeed, there is much unknown about the course of the next few weeks, but we are privileged to know God and his love, hope, mercy, and grace through the gift of his Son and witness of his Word.
The psalmist found himself embittered when he faced difficulties hardship. As he laments, God’s goodness comes to mind once more. “Nevertheless,” he says of the difficulties and hardship.
May LPC be a nevertheless people in these difficult times!
Tomorrow's Leaders Retreat at LPC will take place as planned
We will worship at 8:30 and 10:00 this Sunday — please watch for news of any changes in our plans
Please heed any medical counsel advising you to absent yourself from any event as needed
Please do not attend any event if you show any symptom of illness
March 12, 2020
Dear LPC Family,
How shall we respond to reality of the Coronavirus? This past Sunday I referenced a helpful resource from Christianity Today suggesting ways a local congregation might best be prepared to deal with the crisis. In summary, we are reminded to:
Heal the Sick
In these anxious days, the church can shine as a light of hope, care, faith, patience, and prudence, demonstrating for the world how our faith provides true assurance against worry and fear.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body. . . . Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25–27
Our plans will continue to unfold in response to what we hear from the Pennsylvania and Bucks County Departments of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and other reliable sources. LPC health professionals are also advising us as to any LPC-specific measures we might take.
As of today then:
Please be aware of and practice the precautions all of us are asked to take
If your physician or health care provided recommends avoiding public places, please heed the advice
If you are at all symptomatic, please love your neighbor by avoiding unnecessary contact including missing a church gathering
Tonight’s Faith Acts program will continue as planned with the exception of the salad bar at the meal which will be suspended until further notice.
We will worship together Sunday by Sunday as planned unless we let you know otherwise
We will reevaluate our communion practices before our next (April 5) communion service
The morning psalm for today is psalm 71. It begins:
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress. (ESV)
We worship a caring and strong God – a rock and a fortress. May we reflect the faith we have in him as we journey together.