Author Archive

October 6, 2020

Stewardship Tip: What’s Your Narrative?

The Lake Institute for Faith and Giving had a survey of congregational leaders from across the country, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving in a July 2020 survey of 555 congregations found that congregational giving declined by 4.4 percent on average from February through June 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. A plurality...

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October 2, 2020

Housing Insecurity Resources for Churches

Lutheran Congregational Services, with their partners in disaster, have put together resources for congregations and other community organizations who may get questions from people who are facing housing insecurity or homelessness, some of whom may never have faced this before. The resources are linked below and include contact information for mostly state agencies and state...

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September 22, 2020

God’s work. Our hands. Service

On (and after) Sunday, September 13, 2020, SEPA congregations joined others across the ELCA for the annual Day of Service projects. Each year, “God’s work. Our hands. Sunday” brings Lutherans out to serve their communities. This year, even though gathering was limited by the pandemic, churches still managed to serve neighbors near and far. Read...

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September 21, 2020

A Word of Encouragement from Bishop Davenport

Bishop Davenport Greetings beloved. If I could sing, I would sing I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus, which I did. However, I also had you on my mind, and I just wanted to pause today just to say, God bless you. And I am so grateful for each and every one of...

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September 9, 2020

In God’s Image 2020

Interested in learning how to expand your ministries to be more intentionally welcoming for LGBTQIA+ persons? Is your congregation already Reconciling in Christ but you want to know what more you can do? Do you feel like you just don’t know how to be the best ally you can be? This year’s In God’s Image...

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September 9, 2020

UTI Celebrates 40 Years, Embraces Future

“Celebrating Our Past . . . Embracing Our Future”From September 22-25, 2020, United Lutheran Seminary’s Urban Theological Institute will hold a virtual 40th-year celebration featuring the annual UTI lecture, annual UTI sermon, chapel worship and piano concert. All events will be featured on the ULS YouTube channel. 9/22/2020 at 11:45am – Annual UTI Lecture with...

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September 1, 2020

Fox 29 Recognizes Welcome Bread

Fox 29’s Bill Anderson talked with Lou Farrell, the organizer of Welcome Bread, which has so far collected and distributed more than 30,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to persons in need or experiencing homelessness since April. “There is no excuse for people to be hungry in this country, and if you have the opportunity...

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August 26, 2020

Singing in Church?

A recent online conversation with pastors and communicators discussed the steps congregations are taking to return to worship. This is a complicated subject. In Pennsylvania, religious organizations are specifically exempted from the governor’s July 15 mitigation order.    Answering questions about singing is harder since the CDC removed language from their website that asked houses...

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August 21, 2020

A Prayer For The New School Year

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6-7 Bishop Patricia A. Davenport offers a word of Scripture and prayers...

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July 29, 2020

Going Green: Counties In Last Phase of Reopening

Updated July 29, 2020 “Our highest priority is to do no harm” Our suburban counties entered the Green phase of reopening on Friday, June 26. Philadelphia is now modified green but reporting “High Risk of Community Transmission” as of July 29. The Green phase is not a return to pre-pandemic normals. Organizations must still follow practices for...

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July 27, 2020

Forward Together in Faith Grant Applications Open

Our Synod is again offering $25,000 in grants to congregations and leaders in 2021 for new initiatives and ministries that support the emphases of the Forward Together in Faith Campaign. Due to COVID-19, the grant process has been moved back. Applications will be accepted through October 31, 2020. Funds will be distributed by January 31,...

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July 20, 2020

Clarification on Gathering Size Limits

Gov. Wolf’s latest order restricting gatherings to 25 persons indoors and 250 persons outdoors do not apply to religious institutions. Asked specifically about this at a July 15 news conference, Secretary Levine and the governor both responded “no.” (See this recording at 48:45)   While the restrictions are not mandatory for congregations, churches are still...

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July 16, 2020

Update: New Order Limits Size of Gatherings

In an executive order that went into effect at 12:01 am today (July 16), Gov. Wolf announced new restrictions limiting gatherings to 25 persons indoors and 250 persons outdoors. Organizations are also required to conduct operations by telework unless the work must be done on premises. Update: According to, both the governor and Health...

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July 13, 2020

Managing the Risks of Return

City Webinar Covers Legal Aspects of Reopening In its’ ongoing conversation with Philadelphia faith leaders, the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement offered an informative webinar last week discussing legal considerations when preparing to resume in-person worship and programming. (View video of the webinar and slide deck.) While the conversation focused on operations within the city, the...

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July 8, 2020

Feast of Justice Steps Up to Fight Hunger (Video)

As food insecurity across the five-county SEPA area during coronavirus and the ensuing recession, congregations and agencies have expanded and in some cases started service to provide food to the hungry. Today’s video highlights one of these ministries: Feast of Justice. Since the pandemic almost everything has changed at the Northeast’s Feast of Justice. Demand...

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July 8, 2020

Spirit Uses Technology To Launch New Ministry

So, what happens to a yoga ministry in the age of COVID-19? Beginning in March 2019, Yoga at Redeemer gathered at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jamison on Sunday mornings and occasional Saturday evenings for gentle, beginner-friendly yoga, meditation and prayer, with themes for each class designed around the weekly lectionary and the liturgical seasons. Instead...

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July 7, 2020

Help Local Kids Get Summer Meals

From the Greater Philadelphia Coalition on Hunger: Understanding Summer Meals Summer Meals is a federally funded, state administered program for the five-county region. Program administrators distribute food to community members and organizations, and are reimbursed for the cost of the meal. Community partners distribute the meals to kids, ensuring that they are well nourished when...

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July 5, 2020

Masks Mandatory in Pennsylvania

From Gov. Wolf’s website: Governor Tom Wolf today reminded Pennsylvanians that mask-wearing is required and critical to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “The order to make mask-wearing mandatory when leaving home was put in place to protect all Pennsylvanians from the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “This simple practice, combined with social distancing, handwashing,...

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July 3, 2020

“Healing The Heart” – Medical Appeal For Bishop Stephen Munga

We recently learned of urgent medical needs for Rev. Dr. Stephen Munga, Bishop of our companion synod the North Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. He fell ill and was diagnosed with transient ischemic attacks. Bishop Munga needs emergency medical treatment and the closest doctor that can help is in South Africa....

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June 29, 2020

Counties Reopen As PA COVID Cases Increase

’Our highest priority is to do no harm,” Bishop says As our suburban counties move into the “Green” phase of reopening, both the state as a whole and the city of Philadelphia in particular are seeing rising new cases of COVID-19.  The city remains in a modified “Yellow” phase and health officials now require the...

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