Author Archive

July 20, 2021

COVID Cases, Risk Up in SEPA

The nationwide increase in COVID cases is affecting Southeastern Pennsylvania. As of July 20, the CDC reported that community transmission risk is moderate in our suburban counties, up from low risk two weeks ago. Risk of community transmission in Philadelphia is low. According to Dr. Tim Babinchak, a local infectious disease expert, “we are definitely...

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July 12, 2021

Prayer and Encouragement from Bishop Davenport

In a video message, Bishop Patricia A. Davenport offers prayer for our leaders and congregations as together we continue to press through to the other side of the pandemic. In this pastoral word of encouragement, the Bishop asks Lutherans to be gentle with one another as individuals and congregations have varying feelings about returning to...

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June 9, 2021

New Guidance for Safer Worship and Sacraments

Long-awaited guidance from the Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship and Sacraments, released June 8, advises houses of worship to go slowly with in-person gatherings where vaccinated and unvaccinated persons occupy the same space. “The group suggests limiting touching except where Christian rituals, such as laying on of hands for confirmation, require it; avoiding...

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April 29, 2021

“We’ve Come…a Mighty Long Way”

Message from Bishop Patricia A. Davenport to the 2021 Synod Assembly Dear Synod! I greet you with deep gratitude for your faithfulness and profound partnership as we have endured together the joys and challenges of this pandemic. We have experienced a year filled with anxiety, pain, change, challenge and death, and yet there have also...

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April 21, 2021

Communications Ministry Highlights

Who knew in early 2020 how important communications and technology would be to our ministries? In this video, Pastor Bob Fisher, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Communications, shares how the synod — like congregations — leveled up to provide new services and support for congregations.  

June 28, 2021

COVID Precautions: Vaccines and Protect Vulnerable People

Although the coronavirus is “never going to go away,” the good news is that “it’s as safe (now) as it’s going to get at this point,” infectious disease expert Dr. Tim Babinchak told SEPA leaders on a Zoom call June 24. “And as more people get vaccinated, it will get safer.” During his presentation, Dr....

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June 18, 2021

The Pandemic Is Not Yet Over

Update: June 18, 2021 Infectious disease specialist Dr. Tim Babinchak tells us that he has not significantly changed the advice he gave to us last month. He wrote in an email today: ‟Most of my recommendations remain the same as vaccination progress appears to be stalling and we are seeing the more contagious Delta variant...

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June 2, 2021

Mediator Youth Honored in Tulsa Centennial Writing Contest

Tredon Stevenson, a member of Mediator Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, received second prize in the youth (ages 14-17) division of the ELCA African Descent Lutheran Association’s national writing contest to honor the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre. He is an excellent student and participates in youth programs and choir and is a worship assistant and...

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May 26, 2021

Pandemic Progress Toward a New Normal

As new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations trend downward, our congregations can begin to look forward to our new abnormal for worship and congregational life. “Focus on moving forward, not going back,” says Pastor Bob Fisher, assistant to the bishop for communications. “Worship won’t immediately be what we remember, yet the creativity we have employed will...

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May 15, 2021

What’s Next? Being Digital Church After the Pandemic

The widespread use of COVID vaccines and the lessening of restrictions on gatherings are ushering us into our latest “abnormal” – a hybrid church that holds on to the best of its pandemic digital presence and rekindles in-person community. How might we do both sustainably? Why might digital be a better platform for some types...

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May 14, 2021

Update on Mask Requirements

Updated May 15, 2021 The CDC released new guidance for vaccinated individuals May 13. Guidance has been changing over the last week, and this does not require immediate change by congregations. The CDC has not yet released updates for businesses, schools, or community gatherings. Update: Pennsylvania follows CDC guidelines on masks. It is important to note that...

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May 12, 2021

Infectious Disease Expert Shares COVID Update

COVID Considerations for Church Leaders COVID is not going away, yet we now have effective vaccines and effectual therapies to reduce the incidences of infections and deaths, infectious disease specialist Dr. Tim Babinchak told SEPA leaders in a Zoom conference May 11. Dr. Babinchak, a  member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Phoenixville, and retired head...

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April 30, 2021

Racism Breaks God’s Heart

The Rev. Violet Cucciniello Little, pastor of The Welcome Church in Philadelphia, shares her thoughts with us. Not long ago I posted a prayer on Facebook that was written by a group known as @Brickhouseinthecity. I was looking for something to give me the words for what I was feeling after seeing the news clip...

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April 10, 2021

Joy Complete: Easter Season Worship

A gift from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod to our rostered ministers, musicians, tech teams, and other virtual worship leaders. This service is available for Sunday, April 11, and suitable for any Sunday after Easter.   Joy Complete – Easter Season Worship from Southeastern PA Synod, ELCA on Vimeo. Download bulletin

April 3, 2021

Easter Blessing from Bishop Davenport

Reflecting on the power and purpose of this day, this scripture fell into my spirit. Please, let me share it with you. Romans 8:35-39 according to The Message:  St. Paul writes, “So what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on...

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March 30, 2021

Writing Contest: Addressing US History of Racial Injustice

This year marks the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, which took place on May 31 to June 1, 1921. Mobs of white residents, many of them deputized and given weapons by city officials, attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, OK. It has been called “the single worst incident of...

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March 17, 2021

Join in Lament Against Anti-Asian Violence

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod sends its prayers to all who are affected by last night’s heinous shootings in Dallas, and with our Asian and Pacific Islander sisters and brothers who face an increasing number of violent attacks. Join Day of Lament Against Anti-Asian Violence The Asian and Pacific Islander Association of the ELCA recently issued...

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March 15, 2021

Thank you for your creative ministry!

Greetings, beloved. I’m reminded of the encouragement that comes from Psalm 31. It says, “Be strong, and take heart, “all you who hope in the Lord.” It’s hard to believe that we are coming up on the first anniversary of the day everything shut down. I remember thinking that it would be a few weeks...

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March 15, 2021

Communications Office Hours: Live Streaming With Vmix

In this online conversation March 11, Kyle Barger from Temple Lutheran Church, Havertown, shares his setup and tips for live streaming worship from multiple locations. Quick highlights: Watch the full conversation:  

March 8, 2021

’I Was Homeless, Now I Help Make Tiny Homes for People on the Street’

“I was homeless from 2008 to 2013,” says Jacqueline Chapman. Today the active Welcome Church leader is advocating for the needs of homeless people as vice-president of the board of the Sanctuary Village project, which will develop tiny houses in Northeast Philadelphia to house people now living on the streets. Jacqueline shares her story in...

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