Immanuel UCC & COVID-19

Our response, updates, and cancellations

Still & Again Fund in action!
Creating Power Packs for our Governor Mifflin Community

‘I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still & Again Fund

Inspired by community members who approached Immanuel with donations of $2600, the Still and Again We Rise fund was established. Giving link: https://www.immanuel-ucc.org/online-giving

Funds will support our food ministry in the Governor Mifflin School District and with our community partners included but not limited to New Journey Community Outreach, Family Promise, L.I.F.E. House, Bethany Children’s Home.

 

April 1, 2020

Easter - a celebration like no other!

A catalog for church marketing sits on my desk with that as the focal statement. 

Easter - a celebration like no other!

Now more than ever that statement rings true. 

Our calendars tell us that we should be celebrating Easter on April 12th.

Our traditions tell us we should be celebrating, gathering,singing, feasting together.

And yet, this year our love of neighbor tells us: stay home, do not gather.

 

Friends we are Easter people, even in this ‘Lentiest Lent that we ever Lented’ we are experiencing the resurrection. Hope continues to shine through the cracks of the stone-doors of our quarantine. 

The phone calls and virtual gatherings speak to the profound compassion we have for one another.  

The donations of food and resources for our most vulnerable neighbors both in Governor Mifflin and Reading bear witness to Christ’s reach beyond the confines of the grave.

The prayers for each other, scientists, first responders, medical personnel, grocery workers, truckers, teachers, students and the ill strengthen the invisible bond of our faith.

 

Now we are here at the threshold of Holy Week.  I invite you to join me in tracing the footsteps of Jesus.  We begin with his triumphal entrance on Palm Sunday followed by Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and ultimately Easter.  We will be celebrating communion on Maundy Thursday and Easter.

 

How do we do that and is that even allowed may be questions you ask. 

First and foremost we do it with grace, reverence and humility.   We, as members of the United Church of Christ,seek to honor the traditions of our past while exploring and creating new meaningful ways to connect in the present.  We believe that God is Still Speaking, even at times beyond our capacity to understand.  In these times when we need to be connected more than ever, and when the only way to do so is digital, so be it.  The divine is bigger than our rituals, bigger than the rules we have set for ourselves, and bigger that our minds can imagine.

Gather your family, gather your elements (bread, cracker, pretzel and drink of your choice) and let us gather in the Spirit

Gather your faith, your doubt, your tiredness, your energy and together we will be fed by Christ’s presence that connects us throughout all space and time. 

 

In addition to communion elements, I invite you to have a small bowl of water and hand towel nearby for the Maundy Thursday service.  Details of service time and online access are pdfs below and found on our website and Facebook Page.

 

As we continue to navigate these days, please contact the church if you are in need of assistance.  In all that is new and uncertain, what remains constant is God’s love and faithfulness.  Your continued financial and spiritual support is greatly appreciated. I invite you to consider a special Easter offering as together we proclaim ‘Christ is Risen’!  The truth of the resurrection is that new life is always being birthed and love will always win.

 

With alleluias on my heart and blessings on my lips,

 Rev Meg

 

 

 

 

 

March 16, 2020

Friends and Members of Immanuel UCC,

We are the body of Christ together and as such we seek to take care of one another.  We care for one another spiritually and physically alike, feeding our hearts, our minds, and bodies in a multitude of ways.

Given the Covid-19 pandemic, the leadership of Immanuel wants you to know that we are taking additional precautions to uphold the quality and safety of our ministry to one another and the greater community. To be an active partner in the unified effort to reduce and confine the spread of the virus, we are making significant changes to our ministries and practicing social distancing. In this time the best way we can love our neighbor is by holding physical distance.   

As of today, Sunday March 15th, we are suspending all programming, including in-person worship, meetings, and rentals through March 30th.  Worship and other virtual gatherings will be livestreamed through Facebook.  The Immanuel campus will be closed beyond the office area.  Our staff will be working remotely as much as possible with modified office hours.  Please call the office before attempting to make an in-person visit.  The voicemail will be checked regularly throughout this temporary change of schedule.  

We will strive to make sure social distance will not have to mean a spiritual distance.  This is a challenging time and we will face it together with strength and courage.  The interconnectedness of our human family is both a vulnerability and a blessing. 

All of us are encouraged to:

  • Reach out to one another by alternative forms (phone, cards, email).  Contact the church office immanuel@immanuel-ucc.org or 610-777-7107 for updated directory.

  • Hold one another, medical professionals, the most vulnerable in prayer.

  • Engage in spiritual companionship through online communities such as our Immanuel Facebook Group. 

  • Practice spiritual disciplines that nurture and sustain our own mental and spiritual wellbeing.

  • Give ourselves permission to fast/take breaks from the news and social media.

  • Offer grace to ourselves and one another:  We are learning our way through this together.

 

Please note the following responses that are underway at church:

  • Pastoral Care ministries are being adapted.  Please contact Rev. Meg directly at 610-413-9334 for pastoral care emergencies. 

  • Young adults are volunteering their time and knowledge to assist with technology questions.  They are ready to help you get connected to our Facebook Page (public) and Facebook Group (private). Call the office to retain their services.

  • Empowering group leaders to determine the best ways to be in contact with one another.

  • Communication with school district as to how best to partner in meeting the dietary needs of local families who depend on free and reduced breakfasts and lunches from the school.

  • Creating online Faith Formation resources.

  • Encouragement of our electronic giving options.  Our ministries will continue, and your prayerful and financial support is appreciated. To learn more about online giving, please contact the office OR visit our website.

  • Increased and enhanced cleaning.

  • Increased communications, updating the changes to our pandemic response and programming through Constant Contact, Facebook, website and the church’s outgoing phone message.   Our most effective and efficient form of communication is Constant Contact and Facebook.   Contact the office to get set up if you are not currently receiving our Thursday emails through Constant Contact.

 

Consistory is closely monitoring the developments of the pandemic, reviewing best practices provided by CDC, WHO, and local officials, and adapting our response as needed.  Consistory will provide an update of modifications to closure schedule no later than March 27th.

It is natural for us to feel fear and anxiety in these uncertain times; take care of yourself. Remember that throughout Scripture ordinary people were told “Be not afraid.” May those ancient, trustworthy words fall freshly on our hearts and be the guiding words we offer to one another. 

 

In Christ’s Peace,

 

The Consistory of Immanuel UCC and Reverend Megan Huesgen

 

 

Prayer for a Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced

Remember those whose lives are at stake

May we who have no risk factors

Remember those most vulnerable

May we who have the luxury of working from home

Remember those who must choose

Between their health and making the rent

May we who have flexibility to care for our children when schools close

Remember those who have no options

May we who have to cancel our trips

Remember those who have no place to go

May we who are losing our margin money in the turmoil of the economic market

Remember those who have no margin at all

May we who settle in for quarantine at home

Remember those who have no home

As fear grips our country

Let us choose love

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,

Let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our Neighbor. Amen    -CBellm

 

Here’s how social distancing does not become spiritual distancing. 

Here’s how we ‘love our neighbor’ in these times. 

Here’s how faith - not fear - guides us. 

Here’s how we Be The Church –alongside our brothers and sisters of all faiths and no faith alike.

"Every hand that we don't shake must become a phone call that we place.  Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern.  Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise." -Rav Yosef

March 14th

 

In consideration of the recent school closings, worship modified for social distancing, and optional FB livestream of the service, we have decided to cancel Faith Formation for tomorrow, 3/15. Activities will be provided on the stage in fellowship hall for any families who wish to still have programming during the faith formation hour. 


More information will be provided as Consistory will be reviewing and publishing Immanuel's plan for the next two weeks later tomorrow afternoon. It will be shared via FB, Constant Contact, and newsletter.

March 12th

Friends and Members of Immanuel UCC,

 

We are the body of Christ together and as such we seek to take care of one another. We care for one another spiritually and physically alike, feeding our hearts, our minds, and bodies in a multitude of ways.

 

Given the unfolding, and now pandemic Covid-19 situation, the leadership of Immanuel wants you to know that we are taking additional precautions to uphold the quality and safety of our ministry to one another and the greater community.   As it stands today, we expect to continue to hold worship services and our normal programming except for our Monday Morning Bible Study.

 

Recently, the CDC recommended that older Americans begin "social distancing" by avoiding large public gatherings like church services in order to protect themselves and stem the tide of the coronavirus. Because we cherish our worship together, we certainly support prudent health measures such as social distancing.  If you are not feeling well or have a compromised immune system, please stay home.

 

We feel it is our responsibility to be the calm, hopeful presence bringing a thoughtful response that keeps everyone safe and informed. And we will strive to make sure social distance will not have to mean a spiritual distance. We are called to love our neighbors, and, in this case, loving others means holding physical distance. This is a challenging time and we will face it together with strength and courage. The interconnectedness of our human family is both a vulnerability and a blessing.

 

We can:

  • Reach out to one another by alternative forms (phone, cards, email). 

  • Hold one another, medical professionals, the most vulnerable in prayer.

  • Engage in spiritual companionship through online communities such as our Immanuel Facebook Group. 

  • Practice spiritual disciplines that nurture our own mental and spiritual wellbeing.

  • Give ourselves permission to fast/take breaks from the news and social media.

 

Please note the following responses that are underway at church:

  • Increased cleaning of surfaces.

  • Utilizing alternative ways to exchange signs of peace and welcome during worship.

  • Exploring use of social media, etc. for streaming worship services. 

  • Young adults are volunteering their time to assist with technology questions and set up. Call the office to retain their services. 

  • Empowering group leaders to determine the best ways to gather and be in contact with one another. 

  • Expanding support of our electronic communications and giving options.

  • Pastoral Care ministries are being adapted. Please contact Rev. Meg directly at 610-413-9334 for pastoral care emergencies. 

  • Updates and changes to our programming will be provided via Constant Contact, the church's outgoing phone message, and Facebook. 

 

It is natural for us to feel fear and anxiety in these uncertain times; take care of yourself. Remember that throughout Scripture ordinary people were told "Be not afraid." May those ancient, trustworthy words fall freshly on our hearts and be the guiding words we offer to one another.

 

In Christ's Peace,

Rev Meg

Holy Week & Easter Schedule

Consistory Update 3.27.2020

Worship Schedule & Opportunities

Directions to watch Facebook live without Facebook Account

99 South Waverly Street    I    Shillington, PA 19607    I    610.777.7107    I    immanuel@immanuel-ucc.org

 ©2018 Immanuel United Church of Christ      Online Giving
 Website by Brandon Buterbaugh
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