Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church
3441 Devonshire Road, Allentown, PA 18103
Rev. Donald Brown, Designated Transitional Minister
May 4, 2020
Dear Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church Community of Faith,
I am writing to all of you as we continue to cope and deal with the unprecedented times we are living in today. It seems to continue to change and evolve literally months after it began. As we continue to hear about both more confirmed cases in our area – especially downtown Allentown, and some selected openings begin happening, we are continuing to take precautions to further prevent the spread of this virus, and we need to continue to wear our masks, wash our hands, practice safe social distancing, and take all these actions to protect each other.
Your church leadership represented by the Executive Committee of the JBCC, working with me, Linda Held, Robert Eisenhard, Cleo Demidont, Dr. Ed Schatkowski and the rest of the church to continue to think proactively making, and continue to make decisions that take into account all of the advice and directives from public health professionals and our local, state and federal government as we assess and reassess our plans on an on-going basis. This is especially true as we begin to think about returning to our sanctuary for worship and re-opening our building to all of the ways it serves our church and the community. We continue to take steps with what we believe are valid and informed decisions that put the safety of our members, and those in the wider community who are involved in the life and work of Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church.
The Executive Leadership Team of the JBCC met via a ZOOM virtual meeting over the internet last Thursday, April 30, 2020 to discuss and begin to put together a plan for our eventual return to the building.
First decision we made together was to continue with the cancellation of in-person Worship until at least Sunday, June 7, 2020. Additionally, all activities, meetings, groups, and programs including Choir, Instrumental Ensemble, Hand Bell Choir, Ladies Aid Society, Yoga, Bible Study, and in-person meetings of committees, teams and boards are cancelled until at least the FIRST WEEK OF JUNE 2020. The Festival Committee has also decided to cancel the JWSC Festival scheduled for June 27, 2020. No decision has yet been made if it will be re-scheduled for later in the Summer or wait until next Summer.
Additionally, we ask that you continue to consider that the church building is officially closed. Please contact Robert, Linda, or Pastor Don to inform them that you are entering, and which parts of the building you have visited. This is a simple way we can be sure to know that the building is safe and clean everywhere all the time.
Can you imagine, this past Sunday, May 3, 2020 marked the 8th week we stepped out in faith and decided to go ‘Live Streaming’ on Facebook!!! The first two weeks the live stream came from our sanctuary, the next five weeks, the service originated from our home, and finally, this past Sunday, we have returned to the sanctuary. These LIVE STREAM worship services can be found on the JWSC Facebook page and are also on the JWSC channel on You Tube. A paper copy of the sermon is also available – please contact Linda Held if you would like paper copies of the sermon. In the coming weeks we will begin to add other voices and musical contributions to the worship service. These will be limited to single individuals, or family units joining me in worship leadership. All safe social distancing and cleaning practices will be followed always. We also know the necessity of continuing the live streaming of the service even beyond our return to the sanctuary, as there will still be some among us who are not yet comfortable coming to worship in the sanctuary for a whole bunch of reasons. Therefore, we still need to provide them with a worship experience that they feel comfortable accessing and participating in from their homes.
The leadership of JWSC is also challenged with all the factors that must be looked at, addressed, and included in re-opening the building and beginning worship and other activities. We will be coming up with methods and practices for the building both in preparing for return and after we return. We will continue to work on these concerns and others, and keep you informed and educated as we move toward being together again in the sanctuary for worship.
The church office will continue to officially be closed, and staff will be spending most of their time working from home except for a minimal presence each day. During this time they are continuing to be sure that our building, the grounds of the church, and the needs of the members of the church are taken care of safely, to the best of each of our ability, and within the limitations placed on us by the various levels of government oversight and special rules. The continued effort and commitment of the staff is truly an example of commitment and service to our community of faith. All of us are indeed fortunate that we have these dedicated folks working for us and with us. Thanks again Linda Held, Cleo Demidont, Robert Eisenhard and Dr. Ed Schatkowski!
In the coming weeks, members of the JBCC and the Care Team will continue to reach out by phone to the members of the church if for no other reason than letting you know that your church is there for you in these extraordinary times.
If it is not a burden on your personal finances, please remember to send your offering to the church by U.S. Mail. Having said that, we also completely understand if you are unable to send your offering or send the full amount of your offering during these times.
For those of you who are able to give and give a little more, we are actively seeking to support those filling in the gaps of need during the pandemic. These include New Bethany Ministries in Bethlehem, Promise Neighborhoods feeding families and children in the Ninth and Turner neighborhood in Allentown and other partners in ministry. Please help if you can.
We are also actively looking at options for electronic giving and will let you know when these are in place.
Who knew as we gathered in large numbers for Christmas Eve and then welcomed the new year, 2020 that we would face all the challenges the Corona virus has brought our way?
What I wrote to you in a letter eight weeks ago is still relevant today when I said: “Some might say – What is God asking us to do? The answer seems clear. We need to follow the call we affirm in worship and we find in scripture to love our neighbors, to find creative ways to help those who are especially vulnerable at this time. … We, as a community of faith are called to as it says in Matthew: 34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. - Matthew 6:34 The Message (MSG)”
If you need to contact me for any reason CONTACT ME DIRECTLY – (862) 571-4443 voice, text and there is voicemail to leave a message.
Or you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe and wash your hands.
I seek your input, I covet your prayers, and I look forward to our continued life and work together.