November 19, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of the Presbytery of Philadelphia,
As of last night, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania indicated 281,852 cases of COVID19 with more than 9,000 deaths. Some of these deaths have directly impacted members of our congregations – with more members testing positive for the virus. This number is unfortunately projected to rise due to the holiday season, which begins with Thanksgiving next week.
In anticipation of this regrettable trajectory – with hope of slowing the spread of the virus- the Governor of Pennsylvania, with advice of public health officials, has issued a revised statewide mandate. This attempt to flatten the epidemic curve mandates masks in all public places along with social distancing. The mandate also provides directive of 20% occupancy in buildings that can hold 0-2,000 people.
You will find links to the Pennsylvania state page that will answer questions you might have. Section 1 impacts and informs our churches in Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Please note, Philadelphia has announced stricter guidelines which impact our congregations in that county and city. These guidelines are indicated in Section 2.
This has not been an easy journey, but we are grateful for the wisdom of our sessions and congregations over the past nine months. Your commitment to model covenant life in new ways has been faithful and inspiring. We know vaccines might soon be on the way, but given the current reality, we advise you to continue to worship virtually, minimizing exposure to the most vulnerable among us. The presbytery office will continue to serve you as we comply with the City of Philadelphia’s directives in an effort to do our part to maintain the safety of our staff and the people we serve.
We never imagined we would be leaning into a Thanksgiving and Advent season in this manner, many of us missing the people we love. As we consider the horizon before us, we are hopeful we will get through this not merely as survivors, but as faithful disciples who have risen to the challenges before us at a time such as this. Let us continue to be safe. Let us continue to hold one another in prayer. Let us stay connected as the covenant community Christ has called us to be.
May the Triune God continue to hold us close. May the peace of Christ be with us all. May the power of the Holy Spirit continue to breathe life into our spirits.