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Since March 15, our Church family has found new ways to remain in fellowship with one-another. We have found that Realm is an effective way to communicate with a large part of our congregation. Rev. Dawson has shared daily spiritual messages to help us cope with the new normal. Zoom worship services have been a way for us to see the church and all of our families. And, our technology capabilities continue to grow with significant improvements to our audio and soon to be video production equipment. Together, we have kept Schwarzwald UCC relevant in all of our lives.

Now, since Berks County entered the Yellow Phase on Friday, June 5, we are making preparations for restoring in-person worship services starting this Sunday, June 14, 2020 at 10:30am in the Sanctuary. Zoom worship will also continue to broadcast.

If any of the following apply (based on CDC recommendations), consider not attending the in-person worship service:

  • People over 65 years old or who live in nursing homes/long-term care facilities.
  • People with underlying conditions (e.g. chronic lung disease, moderate/severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, liver disease).
  • People with COVID-19 symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

What if I do not feel comfortable attending in-person worship services?

  • Zoom online worship will be used to live-stream the in-person worship

Attending In-Person Worship

To accomplish this reopening, while keeping the health and safety of our church family foremost, we need to ask for your help:

If you are not feeling well, are at higher risk, or have COVID-19 symptoms, DO NOT COME TO IN-PERSON WORSHIP.

  • Individuals (age 2 and older) will be required to wear a cloth mask.
    • At this time, we are promoting 100% mask usage. If you are unable to wear a mask, we ask that you join our Zoom broadcast.
  • Seating in the church will be set up to promote social distancing.
    • It is likely that you will not be sitting in your “normal” seat. This is an excellent opportunity to re-engage with others in the church family.
  • Entry and egress will be through the Front Sanctuary Doors and Ramp.
    • Since we are only opening the Sanctuary, the office door and lower doors will be locked so that people are not walking through the entire church.

Things that you will notice once you enter the church:

  • Attendance will be taken for each person attending in-person worship.
  • Greeters will escort you to a pew within the Sanctuary.
  • No bulletins will be printed.
  • Offering plates will be positioned in key places around the Sanctuary for your envelopes. Offering plates will not be passed during worship.
  • Only the bathrooms adjacent to the office will be open. We ask that you wipe down the seat after use. Also, wash your hands for 20 seconds!
  • Water fountains will be disabled.
  • We ask that you express fellowship by offering hand signals to one another - hello, love, peace, etc.
  • Parts of the church interior will be blocked off.
  • The Sanctuary windows will be open and the ceiling fans will be operating.

Communion will not be offered until July 5, 2020. We are exploring two options for distribution of the communion elements:

  1. Prepackaged juice and wafer
  2. BYOC (bring your own communion)

Starting on Father’s Day (June 21, 2020) we will be changing the worship time to 9:30am. Worship will continue in the Sanctuary and through Zoom broadcast. Currently, we are not planning to meet in the Social Hall this summer.

Thank you for everyone’s continued support of this church family. We are excited every time we get to see you, whether on Zoom or in-person.

Sincerely,

Rev. John S. Dawson, Pastor

Jason S. Ganster, Consistory President

Additional Notices

  • Worship Services are currently being offered in the Church Sanctuary and via Zoom Meetings. Contact help@schwarzwalducc-pa.org for login information.
  • Property Committee will meet by conference call.
  • The Easter Egg Project will be postponed until it is safe to resume.
  • Schwarzwald UCC Preschool is following the recommendations from the PA Department of Education and the Exeter Township School District. We will continue to keep our community updated on our 2020-2021 School Year.