Resuming in-person worship on June 28, 2020

The Phased Re-Opening Planning Team is excited to announce we will be resuming in-person worship in Messiah’s sanctuary beginning Sunday, June 28th.This letter is to help you understand and prepare for what in-person worship will look like as we continue to increase in-person activities at Messiah Lutheran.  Worship will look different than it did the last time we worshiped together.  We have been consulting with CDC Guidelines and Resuming Care-Filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic, a booklet published by an ecumenical consultation around worship in this time, including representatives from the ELCA.  Based on recent evidence about how the coronavirus moves through the air and the ventilation in our sanctuary, please be respectful of the guidelines outlined in this letter as COVID-19 is still present in our community. This current moment is unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory, if ever, and the situation is constantly evolving. We will continue to reevaluate these protocols as the evidence and best practices evolve. These changes are temporary.

  • If you or someone in your household are ill or have been recently ill, please stay home and join us online.
  • Cloth face coverings or surgical masks are required.
  • Social distancing is required.
  • Worship will be shortened to approximately 30 minutes.
    • Music will be instrumental only
    • We will not have in-person communion at this time. We hope to begin this soon.
    • Sharing the Peace will be without contact.
  • Please do not arrive before 8:45 am (15 minutes before worship begins).
  • Enter through fellowship hall doors.
  • An usher will help you find a seat based upon your family size.
  • Please reserve bathroom use for emergencies.
  • Following worship, please wait to be dismissed by the usher.
  • Do not congregate near the doors of the building.
  • Worship will be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube.
  • Fellowship Hour and Communion will continue on Zoom, beginning at 10 am.
  • Zoom Bible Study will begin at 11 am.

Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before the start of worship at 9:00 a.m.  When you arrive, you will notice everyone entering through the Fellowship Hall doors and proceeding through the Fellowship Hall to the Sanctuary using the hallway that connects the two areas.  Along the route you will notice markers to note safe social distancing.  We ask that you do not congregate around the entrances and exits to the church. We are all excited to see each other again and we understand that, while outside, you may want to chat with fellow worshippers.  We ask that if you do, you do so at a distance away from the church entrances.

Upon entering the sanctuary, ushers will help you find a seat. Our sanctuary has been set up to accommodate different sized family groups to sit together while practicing social distancing from other worshipers.  It is important to understand the sanctuary will have open pews where no one will be able to sit (see the included seating chart). This is so we can practice at least 6 feet distance between worshipers.  Bulletins will be placed on the pews to mark the area where you and your family will be able to sit.  We will not be handing you a bulletin as we have in the past, but we will have some large-print copies available if you need one.  At the end of worship, we ask that you either take your bulletin with you or leave it in the pew for the church to recycle. 

Worship will have a shortened format lasting around 30 minutes. Worship will continue to focus on the historic four parts of worship: Gathering, Word, Thanksgiving, and Sending. Professional choral organizations strongly discourage singing in, or around, large groups indoors. For now, we will refrain from singing together and music will be played on the organ. At this time communion will not take place in-person, but please know we are working to find a safe way to carry out communion and anticipate communion to be added to our worship in a timely fashion. Please join us on Zoom at 10 am to celebrate communion remotely.

Several safety procedures have been put in place for the health and safety of everyone.  The offering plates will be located at the entrance and exit to the sanctuary. Hand sanitizing stations will be located at various spots, please sanitize your hands upon entering the building. Masks are required for the safety of all in our church and beyond. As Kendra Aucker, President and CEO of Evangelical Community Hospital, says, “Your mask helps protect others and their mask helps protect you… You can be carrying and transmitting COVID-19 before you feel any symptoms. Your mask protects us all.” We understand children under the age of 2 and persons with certain breathing conditions may not be able to wear a mask and do not expect them to do so.

In closing, the Phased Re-Opening Team will continue to meet regularly to assess our in-person worship practices and make modifications as the conditions change. There are many reasons why you may choose not to attend worship in-person at this time. We understand this and will host a live-stream of the worship service on Facebook and YouTube.  If you have any questions, we ask that you reach out to any of the Team members listed below. 

Thank You,

The Phased Re-Opening Planning Team Philip Heggenstaller, Janine Fee, Nathan Williard, Tom Milbrand, Chris Hauck, Kaylin Foss, and Pastor Chilton

June 11 Update from the phased reopening planning team

Messiah Family,

Our Phased Re-Opening Team has been meeting regularly to discuss a safe way to
increase our in-person church activities including Sunday Worship. We are excited to
share Church Council meetings have been taking place, in-person, since mid-May and
Committee Meetings will begin in-person meetings the first week of June. These
meetings are taking place in the Fellowship Hall following safety measures including at
least 6 feet of space between each person and wearing masks. The Church Sanctuary has
also been open since mid-May on select days and times for prayer and meditation. All of
these activities have been going well and will continue to take place as we increase
activities at our Church.

Our Phased Re-Opening Team is discussing and outlining a plan for in-person Sunday
Worship. The team is using guidelines shared by the CDC and other sources to guide
their work. The Phased Re-Opening Team has identified a basic outline for Sunday
Worship and has asked the Music and Worship Committee to plan for Sunday Worship
following the outline established. The Phased Re-Opening Team is also planning for the
safety of those who attend in-person service. These include seating, use of space,
sanitizing and general worship procedures. We ask that you understand our worship may
look a little different in the beginning as we follow safety guidelines. We want to gather
together as one body but need to practice safety and proper social distancing guidelines
as Union County and surrounding counties allow for more “normalcy” in our everyday
lives. The Phase Re-Opening Team will continue to meet regularly to adjust all church
activities including Sunday Worship.

The Phased Re-Opening Team is also discussing the creation of Small Group Prayer
Meetings. Small Group Prayer Meetings will give us an opportunity to meet in small
groups, generally people in your everyday social circle, to participate in a short Dwelling in
the Word discussion, sharing out positives happening in your life along with difficulties
and struggles we are faced with. The small group will also pray for the celebrations and
needs of their group and our Church. These small groups would be led by a designated
Leader who will meet with Pastor Chilton to prepare for the Small Group Prayer Meeting.
Materials and prayers will be provided so all groups have consistency. We are looking for
leaders and those who would be interested in being part of a small prayer group. Please
complete the survey included in this mailing, paper copy or digitally via the survey link, by
Saturday, June 20, 2020. Paper copies of the survey can be dropped off at the Church
during open Sanctuary times. Establishing Small Group Pray Meetings will also give us an
opportunity to meet in small groups if we find ourselves in a situation that requires us to
scale back our worship activities based on Covid-19 outbreaks. Please consider being a
group leader and/or joining a small group.

It is the goal of The Phased Re-Opening Team to have in-person worship during the
month of June. Please look for future communications as the team continues their work.

Philip Heggenstaller
The Phased Re-Opening Team: Philip Heggenstaller, Nate Willard, Thomas Milbrand,
Janine Fee, Kaylin Foss, Chris Hauck, and Pastor Chilton

Worship for the Festival of Pentecost

Worship for the Festival of Pentecost

Worship for the Festival of Pentecost, with greetings from our siblings in faith in the Mifflinburg Ministerium, a virtual choir rendition of “God of Tempest, God of Whirlwind,” and the large Association of Lutheran Church Musicians virtual choir singing “O Day Full of Grace, including Messiah’s Gaye Wetzel and Amy Shuck.

Texts are: Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:24-35; 1 Corinthians 12:3-13; John 20:19-23.

Worship continues with Holy Communion on Zoom.
Bible Study at 10:45.

Greeting and prayer from the Mifflinburg Ministerium.
“O Day Full of Grace” from the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.

Give to Messiah.
Give to the ELCA COVID-19 Response Fund.
Give to the Upper Susquehanna Synod COVID-19 Grants and specify “COVID-19 Grants” in the notes.

Copyright licenses provided by Augsburg Fortress Annual Liturgies License SBT002156 and A-715196.

Worship for the Sixth Sunday of Easter – May 17, 2020

Worship for the Sixth Sunday of Easter – May 17, 2020

After worship, come to fellowship hour on Zoom:
Bible Study at 10:45:

Give to the ELCA COVID-19 Response Fund:

Give to the Upper Susquehanna Synod COVID-19 Grants: and specify “COVID-19 Grants” in the notes.

Copyright licenses provided by Augsburg Fortress Annual Liturgies License SBT002156 and A-715196.

Worship for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Worship for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

After worship, come to fellowship hour on Zoom:
Bible Study at 10:45:

“Christ, You Are The Savior.”
Words © 2014 Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, used by permission.

“Alleluia! Jesus is Risen!”
Words: Herbert F. Bockering, © 1995 Augsburg Fortress
Music: EARTH AND ALL STARS, David N. Johnson, © 1968 Augsburg Publishing House
Used by permission under A-715196

Liturgical text and music © Augsburg Fortress.
Used by permission under Augsburg Fortress Annual Liturgies License SBT002156

Worship for the Fourth Sunday of Easter – May 3, 2020

Worship for the Fourth Sunday of Easter – May 3, 2020

Prepare for worship with the digital bulletin, a cup of a beverage of your choice, and a bowl of water.

After worship, come to coffee hour:

Bible study at 10:45, with friend’s from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (Erdley’s Church), including Pastor Kate Drefke:

Give online:

Worship includes the new hymn-prayer “Shelter Me” by Fr. Michael Joncas. ©2020 The Jan Michael Joncas Trust. Used by permission.

Copyright licenses provided by Augsburg Fortress Annual Liturgies License SBT002156 and A-715196.