COVID-19 UPDATES

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A Summary of Our Health & Safety Precautions

(Updated on 3/7/2021)

To protect the health and safety of our members & attendees, we have the following guidelines & accommodations in place for our worship services:

  • Individuals above the age of 2 are required to wear masks for the entire time that they are in the church building. Additionally, when individuals are outside of the church building, masks are to be worn in cases where individuals are not able to maintain social distancing. Those who are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons are exempted from the requirement to wear a mask. If you forget a mask, we can provide you with one upon your arrival.
  • We ask that you sit 6 feet apart from any non-family members.  We have also roped off every other pew to facilitate social distancing.  In our morning service, if the sanctuary is full, there is overflow seating in our Fellowship Hall.
  • We will be disinfecting high-trafficked areas of our facility (pews, bathrooms, handles, etc.) between our morning and evening services. (Please note that the playground area outside is not disinfected. Please use at your own risk).
  • Hand sanitizer stations are placed in various locations in our building for the convenience of our guests.
  • We are not currently passing offering plates. Rather, offerings can be placed in one of the metal boxes in the back of the Sanctuary or Fellowship Hall before or after a service. You can also give online.
  • At this time, our nursery room is not staffed during our Sunday AM or PM Worship Services. However, parents of children 0-18 months may bring those children into the nursery room during one of those services, if they desire. Only parents may accompany their child(ren). A TV with the live stream is also provided. Disinfecting wipes will be made available for parents in the nursery. Please note that the nursery will not be disinfected between services.

MOST RECENT COVID-19 UPDATE:

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February 4, 2021 - Update on the Life of the Church

Dear Members and Friends,

Just a note to bring you up to date regarding some of the decisions that were made by the Board of Elders during their February 2, 2021 meeting.  

Wednesday Prayer Meeting 

We are anticipating restarting in-person Prayer Meeting on March the 3rd at 7:30 pm.

The Elders passed these two resolutions:

Resolved, that we change the format of our in-person Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, so that we have a layman share a devotional of 10-12 minutes (with a max of 15 minutes), followed by sharing of requests in the large group, and then splitting up with prayer partners or in a small group. Pastor Brandt will open the meeting and take the prayer requests. 

Resolved, that we have Pastor Cruise teach the Grades 1-6 class during Wednesday night Prayer Meeting.

In addition we will be having a class for ages 2-5.  There will be no nursery, however.

Easter-Related Services

In regards to the Easter season, the following decisions were made:

Maundy Thursday Service 

We will have our traditional Maundy Thursday Service on Thursday, April 1, 2021, at 7:30pm. We will utilize a disinfecting crew to  clean after the service is over. 

Good Friday Service 

Resolved, that we would have a Good Friday Service on Friday, April 2, 2021 from 1:30pm-3:00pm, with Pastor Reed, Pastor Cruise, and Pastor Brandt speaking, and also with special music. 

Sunrise Service / Easter Evening Service 

Resolved, that we would cancel the 2021 Easter Sunrise service and breakfast, and instead have the Youth Fellowship lead the Easter Sunday evening service. 

The evening service will not be a baptismal service but rather the traditional Youth Service.

Day Camp 2021

Day Camp is scheduled for July 12-16, 2021. Planning is underway. 

Thank you for your continued support and prayers for the life of the church.

Blessings,

Pastor Calvin Reed, on behalf of the Board of Elders

Previous Updates

Winter 2020-2021

Some January Updates - Jan. 7, 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

Just a brief note to communicate a few decisions made at our Elders meeting on Tuesday night (1/5/2021) of which I want to make you aware.

Sunday School

First, we are pleased to announce that we are planning to reinstate in-person Sunday School beginning Feb. 7, 2021. We are looking forward to that opportunity once again. In keeping with our protocols, masks will be worn the entire time.

Communion

Second, also on February 7, 2021, we will be celebrating Communion during our morning worship service. If you would desire to participate in communion during our on-line service you may pick up the communion elements at the church beginning on Wednesday, Feb 3, 2021.

Congregational Meeting

Third, a reminder that we will be having an in-person congregational meeting on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at 7:00 pm. Financial reports and an update on the building progress will be given at that time.

Blessings,

Pastor Calvin Reed on behalf of the Board of Elders

In-Person Services to be held Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020

Dear Members and Friends,

This is just a note to say that we will be having regularly scheduled in-person services on Sunday morning and Sunday evening. As always, we encourage anyone who is not feeling well to stay at home and take advantage of the live streaming.

However, the New Year’s Eve Service has been canceled both in-person and online.

We trust that you will have a wonderful Christmas.

May the Lord bless,

Pastor Reed on behalf of the Board of Elders

December 17, 2020 - Decisions Regarding Dec 20th Services

Dear Members and Friends,

There are a number of people in our congregation who are not feeling well. In addition, there are two more people who have tested positive though they were not at church on Sunday. Also, there are people who need to quarantine due to being around people who are ill.

This has resulted in a shortage of people who can participate in our services, and also those who serve in other capacities before and during the services. We certainly do not want to create a situation in which people feel they need to be there who should not be at the services. Still further, we want to promote the health and well being of our entire congregation.

Therefore, at a Zoom meeting on Wednesday night, the Board has decided to cancel both the in-person and online special Christmas service on Dec. 20 in the evening due to the number of scheduled individuals that could not participate.

We will still live stream the Sunday morning service Dec. 20 at the regular time but the in-person service will be canceled.

These cancellations are for Dec. 20 only.

Please pray for those who are not feeling well.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed on behalf of the Board of Elders

December 12, 2020 - Update on the Life of the Church

Dear Members and Friends,

The Board of Elders met by Zoom on Friday evening.

Gov. Wolf on Thursday, among other changes, placed an additional restriction on the size of gatherings that specifically exempted worship services. We are following the mandates regarding masks and social distancing as required. Therefore, we are going to be continuing with our worship services as they are at this point. However, effective immediately, other indoor church gatherings of more than 10 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people are canceled, in keeping with the Governor’s mandate.

In addition, in an abundance of caution and transparency, I will inform you that we had a person at church on Sunday who was feeling fine but is not feeling well now. That person has not been tested. That creates a level of uncertainty and ambiguity that is not particularly helpful. Therefore, going forward, we will notify the congregation when a person has tested positive for having covid and may have been infected during the time that they attended a church service.

As always, we strongly encourage anyone who is not feeling well to stay home. And if you think it best at this time not to worship in person, we fully understand and recommend that you participate in the services through live streaming.

May the Lord bless you.

Pastor Reed on behalf of the Board of Elders

December 3, 2020 - Update on the Life of the Church

Dear Members and Friends,

It is hard to believe that we are in the Advent season already. We trust and pray that God will give you joy during this wonderful season. In celebrating Advent in the morning services we will be focusing our attention on who Jesus is. Hebrews chapter 1 will serve as the foundation of our study. In addition, we will be having a special Christmas Service on December 20 in the evening.

Bulletins

We are also pleased to announce that starting this Sunday, bulletins will be made available in the church narthex.

Building Project / Volunteers Needed

Work on the building project is moving right ahead. There is the sound of a bulldozer at work even as I write this letter. We praise the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness. That brings us to a need at the present time. We are in need of voluntary skilled and unskilled laborers to help with various aspects of the building program. For example, the kitchen cabinets will need to be removed as well as drywall in various areas. There will be both plumbing and electrical projects. And of course, there will be cleaning up of construction areas, as well as a more detailed cleaning to follow. There is a volunteer form posted on the website where you can express your willingness and availability to help. Thanks in advance to all who participate in this way.

COVID Protocols

We are grateful to God that so far we have not had anyone who has been at church during the time that they have had COVID. Of course, we would encourage anyone who is not feeling well to stay home and participate in the church service via the live streaming. Nevertheless, we recognize that it is a possibility in the future that the church may experience some exposure to the virus. 

Therefore, even before we have any situations, we thought it prudent to develop a protocol in case there is known exposure to the virus during a service.

Resolved, that we adopt the following protocol if a person (or persons) with COVID are found to have attended church within a week of having symptoms and/or having tested positive

      • we will inform the congregation by email the number of individuals who have attended the church within a week of having symptoms or have tested positive for COVID. 
      • we will encourage the individual(s) who have attended the church within a week of having symptoms or have tested positive for COVID, to contact any persons that they had close contact with during their attendance at church. 
      • if we have 6 or more individuals who have attended the church within a week of having symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID, services will be canceled for a week.  And be it further

Resolved, that we ask anyone who has had symptoms or have tested positive for COVID to contact one of the pastors. 

Just a word of explanation on these protocols.   

First, if even one person has had symptoms or tested positive for COVID, during a time period in which he/she has attended church, the congregation will be notified by email so that each individual can weigh for his/herself the decision to attend the following church service. We will reveal the incident of exposure but not the name of the individual. It will be incumbent upon the individual to notify anyone with whom he/he or she has had close contact.

Second, we are asking that the individual contact one of the pastors so that the email can be sent out notifying the congregation of an incident(s) of exposure.

Third, It must be remembered that a full week transpires between services. That in itself provides a measure of protection from further spread of the virus.  

Fourth, in closing the church for one week if we encounter 6 cases, that will actually provide two weeks of separation from the initial exposure.

All other protocols continue in effect.

Future Planning

We are still in the practice of making a decision monthly on when to begin Sunday School again.

Lastly, we are planning to have an in-person congregational meeting on January 20, 2021.  That meeting will also be live-streamed in the same format as the previous congregational meeting.

May the Lord bless you all and hope that you have a wonderful Christmas.

On behalf of the Board of Elders,

Pastor Calvin Reed

Fall 2020

November 19, 2020 - Update on Mask Requirements

Dear Members and Friends,

On Nov 17, 2020, a new order was issued by the PA Department of Health regarding masks.

That which is most pertinent includes the following:

  • “Masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.”
  • “When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least 6 feet away) from someone not in your household the entire time you are outdoors.”
  • “When indoors, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from members not in your household. This means that even if you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household.”
  • “This order applies to every indoor facility, including homes, retail establishments, gyms, doctors’ offices, public transportation, and anywhere food is prepared, packaged or served.”


(Source:
Official PA Government Website)

  • “Do I have to wear a mask at a house of worship such as a church, synagogue or mosque?”
    “Yes, individuals must wear a face covering inside any public place as well as outdoors when they cannot maintain sustained physical distance from those who are not members of their household.”


Source:
Updated Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Requiring Universal Face Coverings: Frequently Asked Questions”)

While this wording can be a bit confusing, the mandate itself makes it clear that the clause “when they cannot maintain sustained physical distance from those who are not members of their household” is not intended to apply to indoor situations. The consistent message is that masks are required to be worn indoors, even while social distancing. See bullet 3 above.

The Board of Elders met by Zoom on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, and the following resolutions were adopted:

  • Resolved, that in light of the Updated Mask order that was given by the PA Department of Health on Nov 17th, all individuals above the age of 2 are required to wear masks for the entire time that they are in the church building, and be it further
  • Resolved, that when individuals are outside of the church building, masks are to be worn in cases where individuals are not able to maintain social distancing.


These resolutions will be implemented in our worship services and other gatherings on the church property. According to the order, they do not apply to the staff when they are in their own offices and apart from others. Also, those who are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons are exempted from the requirement to wear a mask. 

These resolutions will take effect immediately. Therefore, during our worship services, everyone is to wear masks (or shields) throughout the entirety of the service. This will include those who are speaking, preaching, and ministering in music. We will also continue to practice social distancing. 

Thank you for your cooperation. We understand the unpleasantness of these measures.  However, there is much for which to be thankful. We hope that you will participate in this coming Sunday’s Thanksgiving Service by sharing your thankfulness publicly.

We pray that God would continue to give us health and strength and that soon things can revert to a more normal situation.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed, on behalf of the Board of Elders

November 6, 2020 - Update on the Life of the Church

Dear Members and Friends,

This is what has become my monthly update concerning some of the decisions that have been made by the Board of Elders at their meeting.

First, we rejoice in the wonderful Celebratory Service and Groundbreaking Ceremony that took place on October 25. All of the preparations for starting the building program are going as planned. We continue to work through the bank financing, permits, etc. You should see activity on the building taking place in the very near future. It will be exciting to watch the weekly progress as we gather together for worship on Sundays.

Just a brief word on finances since we are not having a weekly bulletin that contains weekly offering statistics. We are pleased to inform you that our giving is greater than our newly adopted budget. We praise God for His great faithfulness and the faithfulness of His people.

We have begun the in-person evening services in keeping with our announcement in our last letter. Pastor Brandt will be preaching this Sunday Evening (Nov 8). I will be officiating at a wedding that was planned well over a year ago. Lord willing, I will be preaching the following Sunday night. First, I will be finishing the book of Philippians series that I began online and then go on to Ecclesiastes.

Baptismal Service

We will be having a baptismal service on November 15th, during the morning worship service. We rejoice that 7 individuals are anticipating being baptized.

Thanksgiving Service / Operation Christmas Child

Our traditional Thanksgiving service is scheduled for Sunday, November 22nd, in the morning.  Once again, we will be participating in the Operation Christmas Child program. Shoeboxes will also be collected on that date.

Angel Tree Ministry

The Angel Tree Ministry will be taking place again this year, with a slightly different format. You can participate in this ministry by signing up on our website.

Children’s Advent Messages

  • Resolved, that we would have Advent children’s lessons, taught by Pastor Cruise in the morning service, and that the children and helpers would wear masks when they sit up front.

Christmas Carolling

It was decided that we would cancel the regularly scheduled Christmas Caroling for this year.

  • Resolved, that we cancel Christmas Caroling this year.

EMBARC

Our EMBARC Bible memorization program for kids will take place in a modified format at the beginning of 2021. The sign-up sheet will be available online at lebanonbfc.org starting this Sunday (Nov 8th).

Additional Ministries and Online Sign-Ups

Additional ministries such as the Women’s Ministry Committee will be scheduling events. For example, their ‘Soup from the Heart’ activity will be taking place on November 11th.

In lieu of the bulletin, check the website weekly by going to lebanonbfc.org and clicking on the ‘Events’ button for upcoming events and additional sign-ups. Additionally, a list of current events & announcements will be posted on the bulletin boards in the Narthex & the Foyer.

Sunday School

Once again we discussed starting a modified Sunday School program. The following goal was established:

  • Resolved, that we seek to start our Sunday School program in January 2021.

Corporate Officers

David Herb has decided to step down from his office as Treasurer of the Corporation.

We express our gratitude to David for his many years of faithful and exemplary service. In order to facilitate that decision, the following resolution was adopted.

  • Resolved, that effective immediately, we name Mike Herb as Secretary, and Steve Sattazahn as the Treasurer of the  Lebanon BFC corporation.Barry Hostetter will remain as President of the corporation.

Please continue to pray for the Board of Elders as we work through the unique challenges and issues of the present time. We continue to look to the Lord for wisdom, direction, and His sufficiency.

On behalf of the Board of Elders,

Pastor Calvin Reed

October 9, 2020 - Update on the Life of the Church

Dear Members and Friends,

We had a Board of Elders Meeting last night in which a great deal of planning took place.

Special Celebratory Groundbreaking Service for the Building Program

We begin by announcing that there will be a special celebratory service on October 25 in the morning. We will be celebrating God’s provision and leading in the establishment of a building program. That will be followed immediately by a groundbreaking ceremony. After the groundbreaking ceremony, we will have a lunch outdoors. Bring your lawn chairs and your own hot dog roasting forks if you want to roast hot dogs. Grilled hot dogs will also be available.

Our Next Communion Service

On November 1st, in the AM service, we will have a communion service utilizing the same format that we used for our last communion service. If you would like to celebrate communion while watching online, you may pick up the communion elements in the church office beginning Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Sunday PM Worship Services

In addition, we will begin having in-person services on Sunday evenings, starting November 1.

We will follow the same protocols in the evening that we have for the morning service. The sanctuary will be disinfected after the morning service in preparation for the evening service.

Youth Fellowship

Also, on Nov. 1st, Youth Fellowship will begin in-person meetings prior to the evening service.

Baptismal Service

We will be having a baptismal service on November 15th, during the morning worship service.

Thanksgiving Service / Operation Christmas Child

Our traditional Thanksgiving service is scheduled for Sunday, November 22nd, in the morning.  Once again, we will be participating in the Operation Christmas Child program. Shoeboxes will also be collected on that date.

EMBARC

Our EMBARC Bible memorization program for kids will take place in a modified format at the beginning of 2021. You will receive more information about EMBARC in the near future.

Changes in Protocol for the Virus

We are well aware that it is going to get colder and fellowshipping outside is going to become more difficult.  Therefore, the following resolution was passed.

Resolved, that beginning October 11, 2020, we will no longer be dismissed by pew.  Due to the change in weather, individuals may fellowship inside the building, but masks must be worn. Yes 9, No 0.

The thought is that once we are dismissed, masks are to be worn and continue to be worn inside the building.

Future Considerations of Sunday School / Wednesday Prayer Meeting

Lastly, we discussed a modified Sunday School program along with a modified Prayer Meeting and Children’s Meeting.

At this point, the intention is that the next step in opening up will be a modified Sunday School program with a modified Prayer Meeting and Children’s Meeting to be initiated after that. No start date for these two items has been established at this point, but we will continue to re-evaluate monthly all of the decisions that are associated with the virus and the steps that need to be taken to allow for more activities and services. Please continue to pray for the Board of Elders during this time.

On behalf of the Board of Elders,

Pastor Calvin Reed

Summer 2020

August 6, 2020 - Update on the Life of the Church

Dear Members and Friends,

Here is the monthly update on what is taking place in the life of our church.

Offerings

We first want to thank you for your faithfulness in giving during this time of the coronavirus. The offerings have been very good as we view the entirety of what has taken place in these last few months.

Church Services

The morning service will continue being conducted in the present manner for at least the month of August. We will be evaluating all of the church’s activities and events on at least a monthly basis.

We are pleased to announce that we have scheduled a communion service for Sunday, September 6. We will be celebrating communion by utilizing individual “communion kits.” This will be explained more fully during our AM Services in weeks to come.

The time of Pastor Cruise’s online children’s Bible lessons will be moved from Sunday evening to Sunday morning at 8:00 am. This will provide a learning opportunity for the children prior to the morning worship service. And even though these videos go live at 8:00 am, you can watch them at any time afterward, at your convenience. This new time will take effect on Sunday, August 16.

In addition, starting on Sunday, August 16, I will begin an online Bible Lesson that will premiere on Sunday evenings at 7:00 pm. Like Pastor Cruise’s videos, these can be viewed at the time that they premiere, or any time afterward. This will be just a Bible Lesson. It will not be a full-blown worship service with music, etc. I am going to be studying the book of Philippians. I realize that I preached through Philippians 3 years ago. However, I view that as a positive for it will allow me to build upon that study and focus a lot more attention on application. I chose Philippians because it revolves around the joy of the Lord. I think we could all use a ‘shot in the arm’ of God’s joy in our lives in the midst of all that we are facing. The intent of this study is to bring a smile to our faces, hope to our souls, strength to our hearts, a spring to our step, and a demeanor of joy in our response to God and in our interaction with others. Pray that God would use this study in a most beneficial way.

The Building Program

During this time, progress is still being made regarding the building project. More approvals were sought as well as a finalization of the total estimate. The Building Committee is scheduled to meet on August 27, at which time the final estimate will be reviewed.

We have an Informational night for the entire congregation tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, September 2, at 7:00 pm. You can either attend the meeting in person or watch online. It is tentative, for we are hoping that by that time we can complete both the estimate review and obtain all the necessary information regarding bank financing.

Renovations to the Parsonage

Also, during this time, work has been taking place on the parsonage to transform it into a youth center. On the second floor, the walls have been removed resulting in one large meeting room that will also have a lavatory facility. That work is going well, and it will be exciting when completed.

Church Usage

We are still not receiving requests for scheduling the church for future events and activities. We will let you know when the church facilities become available again.

Thank you all for your continued support and cooperation. It is greatly appreciated.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed, on behalf of the Board of Elders

July 8, 2020 - Update on Services

Dear Members and Friends,

The Board of Elders had a meeting last night (7/07/2020) that covered a number of areas in the life of the church. Included in those discussions were some clarifications for gathering in person for worship this Sunday morning at 10:45 am.

Since our last letter, Gov. Wolf has made some stricter policies for gathering. This has raised questions in the minds of some concerning our announced procedures. The procedures that we had already established for reopening continue to meet the requirements set forth by Gov. Wolf. Our procedures will continue as described in our June 24, 2020 letter. Please review them. However, the board seeks to make a few clarifications.

Let me review a synopsis of the procedures that have been established with a further clarification of some of them. In the last letter the following was included:

“How will all of this work? Church doors for seating will be opened at 10:20 am. When you arrive for morning worship only the doors to the New Narthex will be unlocked. Greeters will be there to say hello and open the doors for you. Masks must be worn to enter the church. Once in the Narthex, we ask that you make your way directly to the Sanctuary and be seated or if full, to the Fellowship Hall. We will be practicing social distancing in our seating. To accomplish that, we will be utilizing every other row of pews and sitting 6 feet apart from non-family members. Ushers will assist you in seating. Once seated you may remove your mask. We ask that you wear your masks during times of singing. (The CDC has concluded that singing and shouting promotes the expulsion of droplets in the air. The recommendation for churches is not to sing or to sing and wear masks. The Board has chosen to sing and wear masks.) Once the singing is over masks again may be removed. They are to be worn again upon exiting the church. Ushers will be dismissing people by rows. We ask that you immediately exit the church. You are encouraged to greet and fellowship with others outside while still practicing social distancing.”

Now for a few clarifications:

Those who are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons are exempted from the requirement to wear a mask.

Resolved, that there be an exception of the requirement of wearing a mask for those who have a medical condition that prohibits them from wearing a mask.

In regard to the playground it was previously stated:

Resolved, that we will be roping off every other pew. We will be live streaming to the Fellowship Hall, for overflow seating. The following areas will be roped off: the playground, the lower level, and the nursery wing (however, the Fellowship Hall and Nursery Wing bathrooms will be open).

However, the playground will not be roped off. Instead, a sign will be placed on the playground stating that it has not been disinfected and is to be used at one’s own risk.

Resolved, that Kevin Hostetter will put a sign up at the playground that says “This has not been disinfected, use at your own risk”.

Additionally, we certainly understand and support those who have reservations about attending in-person services at this time and encourage them to continue to worship through the live online streaming.”

The church will be thoroughly cleaned and hand sanitizers will be available in the narthex.

We thank you for your cooperation in a difficult time for us all.

We ask that you continue to be in prayer for our reopening of the church for morning worship services. May God give us a wonderful day of rejoicing in our Lord Savior Jesus Christ.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed, on behalf of the Board of Elders

June 24, 2020 - Update on Services

Dear Members and Friends,

The Board of Elders had a meeting last night (6/23/2020) that was devoted primarily to a discussion of reopening the church. The Board greatly desires to gather in person again as I am sure you do as well. Further, we desire that our gathering will be pleasing to the Lord and spiritually helpful to each one of us.

Previously, the Board declared that the church would be closed at least until July 11, 2020.

We are anticipating that Lebanon County will be entering the green phase by July 12, 2020. Therefore, we are making plans to have a morning worship service and gradually reopen the church in keeping with CDC guidelines.

There are many challenges and difficult decisions that are associated with gathering for worship in the present environment. Please be assured that the Board carefully considered and fully discussed the following resolutions.

The following resolutions, that were all unanimously approved, provide the structure for reopening:

Resolved, that we begin having indoor Sunday AM Worship Services, starting on July 12, 2020, provided that Lebanon County is in the ‘green’ phase by that date. We will not be having Sunday School, evening service, or nursery.

Resolved, that we will be roping off every other pew. We will be live streaming to the Fellowship Hall, for overflow seating. The following areas will be roped off: the playground, the lower level, and the nursery wing (however, the Fellowship Hall and Nursery Wing bathrooms will be open).

Resolved, that we require individuals over the age of 2 to wear masks from the time they enter the church until the time they sit down for the service, again during singing, and then upon exiting the church.

Resolved, that we would not pass offering plates during the Sunday AM Services, but that we would have boxes in the back of the sanctuary and Fellowship Hall for individuals to place offerings.

Resolved, that we will not be using bulletins until further notice.

Resolved, that we would allow Youth Fellowship to organize outdoor activities after July 12, 2020, provided that Lebanon County is in the green phase, and provided that YF would put in place any necessary safeguards.

How will all of this work? Church doors for seating will be opened at 10:20 am. When you arrive for morning worship only the doors to the New Narthex will be unlocked. Greeters will be there to say hello and open the doors for you. Masks must be worn to enter the church. Once in the Narthex, we ask that you make your way directly to the Sanctuary and be seated or if full, to the Fellowship Hall. We will be practicing social distancing in our seating. To accomplish that, we will be utilizing every other row of pews and sitting 6 feet apart from non-family members.  Ushers will assist you in seating. Once seated you may remove your mask. We ask that you wear your masks during times of singing. (The CDC has concluded that singing and shouting promotes the expulsion of droplets in the air. The recommendation for churches is not to sing or to sing and wear masks. The Board has chosen to sing and wear masks.) Once the singing is over masks again may be removed. They are to be worn again upon exiting the church. Ushers will be dismissing people by rows. We ask that you immediately exit the church. You are encouraged to greet and fellowship with others outside while still practicing social distancing.

Even though we are not going to be having a nursery, we want to make it clear that babies and children of all ages are most welcome to be a part of the worship service. We certainly understand and support the decision of elderly people and those with risk factors to not attend in-person services at this time and to continue to worship through the live online streaming.

We know that all of this is a huge adjustment and that change does not come easily. We ask that you would view these adjustments as an opportunity to show love and concern for those who are more vulnerable, and that we would make these adjustments gladly in keeping with the true heart of worship and thanksgiving to God. We trust that God would enable all of us to manifest a spirit that is in keeping with the example of Christ in Romans 15:1-2 in which the strong bear with the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves. May God give us grace to be calm in spirit and use all the challenges that we are facing to grow us and cause us to be more conformed to the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed, on behalf of the Board of Elders

Spring 2020

May 29, 2020 - Update on Services

Dear Members and Friends,

The Board of Elders had a meeting last night (5/28/2020) that was primarily devoted to discussing our services going forward.

We had a time of excellent discussion in which a great many issues with regard to in-person services were considered along with possible solutions.  Uniformly, there is a great desire to return to normalcy and be back together enjoying the worship and warm fellowship.

Since we are able to hear the Word through the streaming of the services, fellowship started to emerge as the greatest need and the greatest impetus for trying to get back together as soon as deemed wise.

With fellowship in mind, we then considered the way that social distancing and other restrictions would continue to hinder our fellowship at the present time, even if we were to return to in-person worship. In some respects, those restrictions would become even more frustrating.

Consequently, the following resolution was unanimously approved.

Whereas, PA Secretary of Health has said that the current occupancy limit for essential businesses (including churches) is no greater than 50%, and

Whereas social distancing guidelines would limit us to even a much smaller percentage of usage of our facility and thus a much smaller number of individuals that are to gather for worship, and

Whereas, the Board of Elders deems it wise for us to follow the CDC guidelines for ‘Communities of Faith’ as much as is reasonably possible out of a desire to love and protect our neighbor, and

Whereas, the CDC guidelines would greatly limit the intimate fellowship that is so greatly desired, and

Whereas, it would not be feasible for us as a church to be able to meet in person in such a way that we could achieve the intimate fellowship that is desired  and also ensure the safety of our people, therefore be it

Resolved, that we continue to suspend our in-person worship services and activities at least until July 11th and continue to broadcast our live stream am service, and further

Resolved, that we regularly review the decision when to resume our in-person worship services.

We greatly appreciate your continued support and understanding.   May the Lord graciously preserve our unity and love for one another.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed, on behalf of the Board of Elders

May 6, 2020 - Update

Dear Members and Friends,

I hope this letter finds you in good health. We want to keep you abreast of all that is happening in the life of the church. This is obviously a difficult time for all. However, the Lord is gracious and we are looking forward to when we can get back together in person.

We had a Board of Elders meeting last night (May 5th) and some important decisions were made.

We reviewed the programing that we are presently making available. There is a live streaming of the worship service Sunday mornings at 10:45am. We are pleased with the many that are live streaming our services. We have more viewers than we normally have in average attendance on Sunday mornings. God is using this ministry in the lives of others.

There are the prayer lists that are being distributed over email on Wednesdays and Sundays. Please take advantage of that ministry by both praying and also submitting prayer requests.

Additionally, Pastor Cruise is conducting Zoom meetings for the Youth Fellowship on Friday evenings.

Let me tell you of some additional opportunities that are going to be afforded to you to have fellowship with God’s people and to be nourished in the word. We are going to have Zoom prayer meetings on Wednesday nights beginning Wed. May 13th at 7:30pm. Pastor Brandt will be leading. If you would like to be a part of the prayer meetings conducted through Zoom please sign up here.

Additionally, Pastor Cruise is going to conduct a children’s Bible Lesson with a target group of those in grades 1-6.  Those talks can be viewed on our website Sunday evenings at 6:30pm beginning this Sunday May 10th.

We also made some decisions regarding the regrettable cancellation of some future activities. We know that so many of you look forward to the various activities that take place in the life of the church. We are aware that God uses these events to enrich the lives of His people and it brings great disappointment to many when they do not take place. So it is neither easy nor pleasant to cancel these events. It is done with a great deal of thought and deliberation.

All church activities and services have been canceled at least through June 13. Additionally, the following have been canceled:

Teen Week is cancelled for 2020.

Day camp has been canceled for 2020.

The July congregational meeting has been canceled.

The business that would normally be conducted in July will be conducted during our January 2021 congregational meeting. The following three resolutions were passed by the Board of Elders, with the intention of allowing us to function without the July meeting.

Resolved, that we cancel the congregational meeting in July and make the agenda items for July be a part of our January meeting, and be it further,

Resolved, that we continue to use the 2019‑2020 budget into the 2020‑2021 fiscal year. Any needed changes will be presented for approval and initiated at our January 2021 congregational meeting.

Resolved, that our current church officers continue until our January 2021 congregational meeting.

The Board of Elders also addressed the policy regarding funerals:

Resolved, that funerals be conducted at a funeral home or graveside until further notice, and be it further

Resolved, that there would be no compassion meals until further notice.

We are very much aware that people have a great many questions with reference to when we can meet together again and what that will look like. Some have asked about fellowship meals, etc.  We are not ready to make those declarations at this time. Please be assured that the Board of Elders is looking at all aspects of the life of the church. Careful consideration is being given to the directives and guidance that is being provided by the governing officials and also the CDC. Therefore, when we do come together again, we hope that it will be in an environment where people will feel safe, comfortable, and spiritually helped. We are acutely aware that our well-being is in God’s hands. He is the source of our trust and confidence.

Therefore, the Board of Elders covets your prayers. Many very difficult decisions are having to be made. We seek to do so responsibly, compassionately, and faithfully in a manner that will be honoring to God and a benefit to His people. Also, please be praying for the life of our church. May God keep us together in spirit while we are apart physically. May He continue to strengthen us so that we might conduct ourselves in a manner that adorns the gospel of Christ. May He sustain us with a positive outlook and thankful hearts that recognize His goodness in the midst of this difficulty.

The Lord bless you all.

Pastor Reed

April 23, 2020 - Update

All services and activities are canceled through May 8, 2020 and until further notice. The morning messages will continue to be live-streamed on Sunday mornings at 10:45am.

April 1, 2020 - Update

All services and activities are canceled through April and until further notice. The morning messages will continue to be live-streamed on Sunday mornings at 10:45am.

March 25, 2020 - Update

Hello, Members and Friends of the Lebanon Bible Fellowship Church,

I hope that you are all doing well. We are praying for God’s grace and mercy and that this disease would come to an end quickly. In the meantime, we are sending out another update.

First, Sunday’s live stream went very well. Many expressed appreciation for the scripture included on the screen. Thank you to all who encouraged others to join us online. I greatly appreciate all of Pastor Dave’s hard work.

Gov. Wolf has closed schools through April 6. Therefore, all services and activities will continue to be canceled at least through April 6. Keep in mind that the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunrise Services have already been canceled in addition to the Sunrise Breakfast. Decisions have not yet been made concerning Easter AM and PM Services.

Today our focus shifts to Prayer Meeting. Since we are unable to have Prayer Meeting during this time, we will be sending an email list of requests in the coming weeks to those who desire them. Added to the website this week is a prayer request form through which prayer requests can be submitted.  The form can be found by going to lebanonbfc.org, clicking on the ‘Resources’ tab of the main menu, and choosing ‘Submit a Prayer Request’ from the list below. All fields of the form must be completed before it is submitted. Pastor Cruise will be the one receiving and responding to those prayer requests. We will utilize the submissions to compile a list of praises and concerns that will be emailed next week to those who request it.  If you would like to receive emails containing the prayer requests, please sign-up by going to the ‘Resources’ tab on lebanonbfc.org, and then click on at the menu item that says ‘Sign Up for Weekly Prayer Lists or Special Church Announcements’. Be sure to check ‘Weekly Prayer Updates’ on the signup form.

Please continue to pray that the effects of the coronavirus would soon come to an end.  Pray for a spiritual revival of our country and world. Pray for all the medical workers who are serving so sacrificially at this time.  Pray for those with the disease and their loved ones. Lastly, please be in prayer for our church. That we would remain spiritually healthy and strong.  That the work of God would be advanced. That we would learn all that God intends us to learn through this experience.

Please continue to get the word out to others concerning the online streaming of our Sunday morning message at lebanonbfc.org.  This is a unique situation that God is greatly using.

The Lord bless you all. Looking forward to when we can worship and fellowship together again in person.

Pastor Reed

March 19, 2020 - Update

Dear Members and Friends of the Lebanon Bible Fellowship Church,

I hope that you are all doing well.  Remember the Lord is in control. This letter is intended to answer some questions that are on many people’s minds regarding the life of the church. Because of the uncertainty of the times, decision making is fluid. We will do our very best to keep you informed in all that is happening during this time.  The Elders had a meaningful meeting Wednesday evening that included participants both in-person and online.

Pastor Dave reported on the live stream on Sunday morning, March 15, 2020. There were as many as 93 concurrent viewers of the live stream on Sunday morning. Based on the feedback that Pastor Dave got on Facebook, the average number of people watching in a household was 3. So that would mean about 279 people watched the live stream (larger than our average attendance). The live stream was successful.

This Sunday Morning (March 22, 2020) at 10:45 AM, I will be presenting a special message relating to the coronavirus. We hope you all will join us online for that.

We discussed the possibility of continuing to live stream the services even after we resume our normal gathering together, for the benefit of our shut-ins, those who might be absent due to sickness, or those who live in different parts of the world.

We will keep making improvements to our live streaming as time goes on.  The goal will be to actually live stream the entire service, and not just a message, in the not-too-distant future.  Included would be music, etc. That requires additional licenses and other technical issues. We want to make it the best experience possible. Please pray for us and especially Pastor Dave in this process.

Pastor Cruise reported on visits. He will be visiting the people on the Deacons’ list by phone as long as the nursing homes are locked down. He also will be visiting the people in the hospital by phone.

The Board made the following decisions regarding cancellations:

Resolved, that we will cancel all services and activities in keeping with the recommendations and directives of the governing authorities, until further notice. Yes 11, No 0.

We don’t know how long it will be that we are not having in-person services.  However, for planning reasons and so that people can be prepared we have made the following extended cancellations.

      • Resolved, that we cancel the Maundy Thursday service for 2020. Yes 11, No 0.
      • Resolved, that we cancel the Good Friday Service for 2020. Yes 11, No 0.
      • Resolved, that we cancel the Easter Sunrise Service and Breakfast for 2020. Yes 11, No 0.
      • Resolved, that May’s Fellowship Sunday meal be cancelled. Yes 11, No 0.
      • Resolved, that we cancel Family Fun Day that was originally scheduled for May 16, 2020. Yes 11, No 0.

A decision regarding the Easter AM and PM services will be made at a later time.

For now, all committee meetings have been suspended and the Board of Elders will take direct oversight of planning.

Work will go on with parsonage renovations but the Youth Fellowship and Rescue Mission volunteers will not be involved in the demolition.

As far as the building program is concerned, the following resolution was adopted:

Resolved, that we will continue the process of moving forward with the blueprints and the mechanical drawings of the building project, and have an evaluation in the month of June. Yes 11, No 0.

No additional building committee meetings will be needed before then.

These are the most important issues to be communicated at this time.  Again we are thankful for your prayers and continued support.

During the time that in-person services are canceled, you can give online through Tithe.ly or send checks to the church.  If you desire to give cash, we ask that you save it until the services resume and you can give in person.

In closing, here are some prayer requests:

  • Please continue to pray for the officials that are making such difficult decisions.
  • Pray for all the medical workers in the very important and sacrificial work that they are doing.
  • Pray for those who have the disease and their loved ones.
  • Pray for those who will be under financial duress.
  • Pray for God’s mercy and grace to bring this disease to an end.
  • Pray for our church that we will stay unified and spiritually strong during this time.
  • Most of all, pray that God will bring people to Himself during this difficult time. Pray that they would glorify Him as God.  Pray that they would seek Him for their help and well-being. Pray that our country and world would be spiritually renewed.

Thank you all so very much. We are grateful for your understanding.  You all have become more dear as a result of this experience. I really miss our worshiping and praying together.  However, I am grateful for the technology that allows us to continue worshiping together in spirit and getting the word out to so many. Use the opportunity to invite others to join us online. I encourage you to pray with me that God’s purpose in all of this will be achieved. Our God is at work!

Blessings,

Pastor Reed

March 13, 2020 - Update

Dear Members and Friends,

Earlier today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that due to the coronavirus, all PA public schools will close for 10 business days.  Also, health officials are asking people to practice “social distancing” which includes, among other things, not gathering in large groups.  Therefore, in keeping with the Scriptures’ admonition to submit to authorities, and also to care for one another, we will be canceling all of our services on Sunday, March 15, 2020, the Ladies Bible Studies on Monday (3/16) and Tuesday (3/17), the Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and activities on March 18th, and the Senior Fellowship Event on March 21st.

However, we will live stream the March 15th morning message at lebanonbfc.org at 10:45 am.

On Wednesday night (3/18), during what would normally be our prayer time, the Board of Elders will be meeting to plan a way forward with issues relating to the coronavirus.  Please pray for the Elders as they make some difficult decisions.

Once again, we are humbled as we recognize the sovereignty of God and the limitations of mankind.  The coronavirus is creating quite a stir.  I pray that God will use this time of uncertainty to help all to see that our only source of confidence and well-being is ultimately the Lord. May our world leaders seek His help. And further, may the peoples of this world find their solace and well-being in Him.

We hope that you will avail yourself of the opportunity to watch online.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed

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