Pastoral Letter 1 from Bill Lentz on Covid-19

Grace and peace to you all,

Here are important decisions for you to know concerning our church. Please read this follow-up to last Saturday’s Covid-19 e-mail carefully.

My prayers have been with you, our community, nation, and the world as we face a pandemic caused by the Novel Coronavirus Covid-19. My hopes are with all of us in this time of disruption, but especially with those caring for the sick, the elderly, and children, and those facing severe economic challenges.

As of 8:00 a.m. this morning, the Commonwealth announced there are two confirmed and 20 presumptive cases of the virus in Pennsylvania, 13 of those are in Montgomery County. We are currently the epicenter of the virus. Directives specific to our county given yesterday include closing public schools and licensed child care centers. Though Bright Beginnings is a non-licensed program, it has followed North Penn School District’s lead in the past and will do so today: Bright Beginnings is closed from March 13-27, 2020.

The directives further place a restriction on gatherings larger than 250 people. While we fall below that number, the administrative cabinet and I have made the following decisions: All church-related and non-church-related activities are suspended through at least March 27, 2020. We do this to protect our congregation and other users of the building. Sunday’s Worship Service, Sunday School, and youth group activities are suspended on March 15, 2020.

These decisions have not been made to foment panic or anxiety; they have been made to cooperate with the Commonwealth’s official directives, to set an excellent example for the community, and to protect each other from unnecessary exposure to the virus. A follow-up e-mail will be sent about the Wednesday Lenten Service at First Baptist Church and the worship service on March 22, 2020, including the brunch to be served at Manna on Main. 

In the meantime, be calm and filled with courage. If you have a pastoral care need during this time, call my cell at 484-767-2352. Let’s connect by calls, texts, and e-mails. Please check on our more vulnerable church members. Use the Facebook Prayer Page to communicate needs. Becky and I will deal with matters as they arise, so be patient with us, especially if I’m in Bethlehem. Assuming the current directives hold, I will be in Lansdale on Tuesday, March 17, for two off-site meetings. If you need to see me, let me know.    

I ask you to offer this prayer:

O God of all hope, we pray for all living in anxiety and fear today.

For all fearing illness, isolation, economic turmoil, and people’s reactions to the unknown, we pray you will pour out your Holy Spirt’s peace and calm. We pray for your church in these uncertain times. We pray you will strengthen decision-makers and uphold the resolve of the church’s faithful witnesses to our community. We pray for the grace of your wisdom and insight. Help us turn our eyes, minds, and hearts to you, O giver of every perfect promise. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.  

Be assured that my prayers continue for you all. Stay safe and healthy!

Peace and goodness,

Pastor Bill.

Following is a link to our Bishop Peggy Johnson’s Pastoral Letter concerning Covid-19:—Words-from-Bishop-Peggy-Johnson.html?soid=1115113910561&aid=1PVTB6aogsI