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Suspension of worship during Covid-19 outbreak

As you know Governor Wolf ordered that as of midnight on Monday (Tuesday morning) all non-essential businesses in Pennsylvania need to close for the next two weeks. This order is to attempt to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.

I asked our Synod Attorney, Mrs. Megan Will, to explain how this order affects our congregations.

Mrs. Will informs us that churches are, in the eyes of the law, considered to be non-essential businesses. That means that we should not have in person worship and in person meetings for the duration of this order from the Governor. I know that some congregations were considering if you would have worship in spite of the recommendation from the Synod Office. However, the Governor’s order changes things. All of our churches should be closed for in person worship through the end of March. If we do not do that we are violating the Governor’s order. In addition the White House task force has requested that all meetings over 10 persons be suspended for the next two weeks.

Please share this information with your Council. Please let me know if I can assist you.

Mrs. Will also points out that ministers and staff can still be in the building and can still do our work in the next two weeks under this order. We just can’t hold in person corporate worship until this ban is lifted.

Mrs. Will also tells us that we should postpone weddings and funerals if at all possible. If that is not possible please be in contact with our office, there are some guidelines we can follow to help make this safe for everyone.

If you must have meetings over the next two weeks. I would strongly recommend using Zoom. Zoom is an online meeting platform which we use in the Synod Office, and will be utilizing for our upcoming meetings.

+Bishop Michael Rhyne

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