Category: Public Health

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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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 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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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 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 20, 2020

Staying Connected with Family and Friends: Resident at The Hearth Attends Daughter’s Virtual Zoom Wedding

The staff at The Heart at Drexel, a Liberty Lutheran retirement community, continue to work hard to keep residents safe, while also offering empowering opportunities that foster outstanding lifestyles during these extraordinary times.  Here, you can discover how the team helped Nancy, a resident, attend her daughter’s wedding from the safety of her home.  Read...

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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 Pennlive.com, 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 13, 2020

Will Your Finances Flourish or Diminish?

Tip of the Month July, 2020 :  Will Your Finances Flourish or Diminish? By 2026 checks will no longer be processed by banks!  So says, one of the ELCA preferred vendors who oversees Simply Giving, in a recent webinar sponsored by the ELCA Stewardship Desk.  In the past 15 years the use of checks has...

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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 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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June 30, 2020

City Requires Masks in Public

On June 26, Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley signed an executive order requiring people to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Philadelphia. In addition to staying at home, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands thoroughly, wearing a mask in public is one of the best ways...

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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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June 22, 2020

Yellow Phase Faith Update

Last week, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley wrote a letter to faith leaders in the city. Dr. Farley wrote: Because of the continued high risk of community spread of the coronavirus, we ask that you not hold in-person services or gatherings of any sort during the “Yellow” phase of reopening. While this guidance applies...

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June 15, 2020

Churches Eligible for FEMA Assistance

When federal disaster declarations occur, and sometimes in other cases such as for anti-terrorism work, federal grants become available to houses of worship for repairs and mitigation. Please see the information below to register your congregations to be alerted if opportunities arise in your community. Greeting Partners, In the midst of a disaster it can...

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June 4, 2020

Yellow Phase Faith in Philadelphia

Last week, the City of Philadelphia unveiled Safer at Home, a plan and executive order outlining the strategy for how Philadelphia will begin to reopen for business when the current Stay-at-Home Order is lifted, which is expected to occur later this week.  The plan specifically outlines guidance for religious communities. Highlights include: Gatherings of over...

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May 30, 2020

ELCA presiding bishop calls on church to observe national day of mourning

CHICAGO (May 29, 2020) — The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has called on the church to join with faith communities across the United States in lament and remembrance, and on our elected leaders to observe Monday, June 1, as a day of mourning to honor...

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May 23, 2020

Bishop Davenport on Opening Churches

Dear Beloved, I am so proud of you for the ways you are keeping the congregations of our Synod open through the pandemic and stay-at-home orders. The church in Southeastern Pennsylvania has truly never “closed,” moving worship and education online and continuing to safely serve people in great need. You, church, are proving to be...

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May 20, 2020

Letter From Our Partner Bishop In Tanzania

    May 13, 2020 Dear Rev. Patricia Davenport, Warm greetings in the name of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16) Beloved in Christ, It is...

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