St. John Evengelical Lutheran Church - Reopening Plan

The congregational council adopted a Reopening Plan during our April video conference.

We do not know when the public health authorities will authorize public gatherings. We will not be able to return to "life as we knew it" until a vaccine is available. Reliable sources indicate that a vaccine will not be available for twelve to eighteen months. We do suspect that states will be in the continual process of progressively opening and closing for the foreseeable future. So, we wanted to have a plan in place that allows for worship while keeping us all safe.

We did cancel all worship services and activities for the month of May. The congregational council will meet via video conference on May 13th to reevaluate the May cancellation, if the public health authorities should reopen regions of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania prior to June.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recently unveiled its phased reopening plan. There are three phases to this plan: red, yellow, and green. We are currently under the red phase, where only essential services are permitted and a stay at home order is in effect. Gov. Wolf indicated that regions, not individual counties, will be opened when cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus drop below a predetermined level.

The reopening will be purposefully slow. It is intended to reenergize the economy while keeping many of the red phase protections in place.

The transition from the red to the yellow phase will allow public gatherings of no more than twenty-five people. We are assuming that this might happen by June, however we are heeding Dr. Birx’ words that social distancing will be with us during the summer. This presents us with some challenges, but they are not insurmountable.

In order to comply with the law, we will initially offer four weekend worship opportunities:
          Fridays at 7 pm
          Sundays at 8 am
          Saturdays at 7 pm
          Sundays at 10.30 am

Worship will be held in the Hoshall Family Life Center, because it is easier to sanitize than the nave and seating can be arranged in advance to comply with social distancing guidelines. Worshippers may enter through the upper or lower entrances and the elevator is available for those with mobility issues.

Worship will be limited to twenty three worshippers, one musician, and the pastor per worship service. Because we do not wish to turn anyone away at the door due to lack of seating, we will ask congregation members to contact the church office (717.235.2315) by Thursday to reserve seating at one of our four services. We will add services if we find that we cannot accommodate everyone with four services. Worshippers will be asked to wear masks when gathering for worship.

Worshippers should maintain social distancing when entering and exiting the Hoshall Family Life Center. We will not be able to accommodate singing, due to the fact that social distancing for exercising and singing increases from six to fifteen feet per individual. However, we are planning to include music as part of worship.

We will celebrate a liturgy of the Word during the yellow phase, because we do not wish to pass the infection through the distribution of the communion elements.

We will sanitize our worship space weekly to help contain the spread of the virus and to keep us all healthy.

We will organize our worship space to help contain the spread of the virus and to keep us all healthy.

We will encourage those who are at risk to remain at home as we broadcast worship on Facebook.

I know that we all long to see our lives return to normal and that these necessary changes can seem disheartening. I frequently ask my colleagues to recall their reactions during seminary when Dr. Gritsch taught us about Luther’s advice for serving a congregation during a plague. We never thought that we would have to turn to Luther’s ethical advice on what to do during a plague, yet here we are. So, we will heed Luther’s counsel and follow the guidance of the doctors to promote the health of the congregation and the community.

If you have any suggestions, or would like to discuss this reopening plan further, please contact me at your convenience.

May the peace that passes all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,

Rev. George Schneider

 Messages from Paster Schneider

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Beginning Sunday, April 14th,  you can receive a video presentation of worship on Sunday morning to use in conjunction with our new Season of Easter Home Worship Booklet.  You can find a copy of that booklet here.  Continuing through the season of Easter, you can receive the Sunday morning E-Pistle at 8.00am which will include links to our video worship.  

I would also like to invite you to take part in our 11.00am Sunday morning Virtual Coffee Hours by a Zoom video conference.  I am trying to get that up and running by Sunday, April 19th.  

Additionally, I invite you to take part in our virtual Thursday Noontime Bible Study via Zoom.  We will begin on Thursday, April 24th.  We will be examining the resurrection of our Lord through the lens of the four Gospels.  We will begin with St. Mark’s Gospel on Thursday, April 24th.

Alleluia!   Christ is risen!

 In need of aid during the coronavirus?  Click here

Sunday Worship in Church

8:00 am Worship Eucharist (Worship Service with Communion)

9:15 am Sunday School

10:30 am Worship Eucharist (Worship Service with Communion)

Assisted Listening Devices are available in the Sanctuary  - 
Wheelchair available: If you require a wheelchair, please inform the usher.
Parking Assistance: If you require parking assistance, please pull into the circle and inform an usher..
Pew Communion: If you would like to be communed in your pew, please inform an usher.

Current Roof Fund Update     Activities - News - Events

Updated 05/29/20

This Week's Calendar   This Week's Calendar

11am Online Coffee Hour

Starting May 17th:
5:30-6:30pm Kids Feeding Kids

Noon Feeding America

5pm Good Food Box

Noon Feeding America

11am Online Bible Study

Kids Feeding Kids is Looking for Volunteers

Thursday and Friday mornings (10am – Noon) to help put together bags. 
Sundays (5:15pm - 6:30pm) to help with curbside distribution.
This is a great opportunity for our youth to get involved. Call the church office (717-235-2315) to sign up for volunteer slots.

Donations Needed

We are currently looking for the following donations:
- Ramen Noodle cups (chicken & shrimp)
- Tuna salad paks
- Chicken salad paks
- Ham salad paks
- Individual salads
- Uncrustables (all types)
- Individual cheese or pepperoni pizzas
- Lunchables (all types)
- Individual microwave spaghettios
- Yogurt cups
- Individual fruit cups
- Individually packaged vegetables (ie. carrots/celery)
- Granola bars (smores)
- Chocolate pudding cups
- Individual cereals
- Juice boxes/pouches
- Individual milks (regular & flavored)

Donations can be dropped off Monday - Friday, 9am to Noon.



The Lord’s Lunch
We are currently in need of the following items:

- Canned vegetables
- Boxed potatoes
- Canned Tuna
- Pasta
- Hamburger helper
- Tuna helper
- Canned baked beans

Donations can be dropped off Monday - Friday, 9am to Noon.

Church Office Hours:   
Monday through Friday: 9am to Noon

Activities - News - Events

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Our Church History