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News

21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge Challenge

Starting July 1st you are invited to join Pastor Laura and Pastor David in doing the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge Challenge. This challenge is particularly designed for white people to consider issues of race and racism in a purposeful way. After 21 days, we would love to unpack that experience with those who participated. For people of faith who value all of God’s creation, the systemic presence of racism painfully contradicts God’s kingdom promises. This challenge is one way we might be a part of healing for our hurting world.

Categories
COVID19

Congregational Feedback Regarding In-Person In-Door Worship

Wonderful St. Philippians:

The St Philip Covid Preparedness Team is seeking your input. As you know, currently we have weekly online worship as well as our recently initiated monthly drive-in worship with communion.  As we make plans for how worship and fellowship can continue to happen in our congregation, we would like to know how you feel about returning to some type of in-person worship in the sanctuary.

We are asking you to take a moment and complete a very brief online survey, but first please be aware of some specifics of what resuming indoor worship in the sanctuary would look like:

  • Based on calculations of 6-foot distancing in our sanctuary space, only 36 worshippers could attend a given service.
  • Masks would be required at all times when inside the church building, except for brief removal when taking communion.
  • The service would have NO SINGING due to the increased risk of transmission of the coronavirus that accompanies singing in an indoor space. There may be some instrumental music, but no singing of hymns or liturgy.
  • There would be no physical contact between congregants and pastors or amongst congregants.  This includes shaking hands, hugs, or any other forms of physical greeting during arrival at the church, passing of the peace, and departing the church after worship.
  • Communion would be offered, but in a format that minimizes physical contact between pastors and congregants.
  • The nursery would not be available.
  • Let’s Café would not be held after service.

Given this information, please click this link to complete the 2-question survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZPMJ3L8

The Covid Preparedness Team will use your responses as we continue to discern the safest path forward for St. Philip. Thank you so much in advance for your participation, and we hope to see many of you at the “Congregational Picnic—pandemic style” on July 11th! (see July newsletter for details)

From the St Philip Covid Preparedness Team:  Marlene Craig, Dan Horine, Shannon Radmacher, Nancy Shadix, Donna Wright, Pastor David, Pastor Laura

Categories
Newsletter

St. Philip Invitation – July 2020

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Uncategorized

Protocols for Restroom Visits during Drive Up Worship

We are excited to be back at St. Philip for worship even if that is in the parking lot!  We miss you and care about every single one of you. Our plan is to worship in the safest way possible and our preparedness team is trying hard to think through logistics with that goal in mind. As you come for drive-in worship it is of course best for you to have used the bathroom at home before arriving, BUT if you need to use the bathroom at St. Philip we would ask you to follow the directions below:

  1. Please use the door at the side of the church under the portico.  As you enter, we are encouraging people to use the automatic door opening button by pushing it with your elbow.
  2. Use the hand sanitizer immediately inside the church building then proceed straight to the bathroom.
  3. When finished in the bathroom, wash your hands, as well as using a sanitizing wipe to clean the toilet handle. Take the sanitizing wipe with you to exit the bathroom using it to open the bathroom door and dispose of the wipe in the trash outside each bathroom.
  4. As you exit the building, again use the automatic door opener by pushing it with your elbow.

We know these protocols add steps to everyday processes, but it is important that we protect others. We truly appreciate your participation as we seek to put safeguards in place.

Categories
News

Drive Up Worship for June 14

Dear St. Philippians, 

We miss you all! While we give thanks for the gifts of technology that have allowed us to gather virtually every Sunday during this Pandemic, we lament not being able to connect in our traditional ways. This time certainly has not been easy for any of us. We are excited to announce that starting June 14th, we will be starting a monthly Drive-In service with Holy Communion. Once a month on the second Sunday, rain or shine, at 11:00am you are invited to drive to the church parking lot where we will worship together and share in the sacrament of communion. Please note that our Open Doors online worship will continue to be offered at 9:30 every Sunday, including the drive-in Sundays. The drive-in service will be an abbreviated version of that Sunday’s Open Doors worship. 

Please note while we are looking forward to this new worship opportunity, social distancing will still be observed. Below are some guidelines for the service. 

  1. Parking attendants will help direct worshippers to a parking spot. Please park in a way that allows you to see the font entrance of the church. This is where the worship leaders will stand. 
  2. Worshippers may attend the worship service while seated in their cars. All cars may roll down their right-side windows. This will allow for cars to have fresh air, but maintain distance between one another’s open vehicles.  
  3. Worship will be streamed on the frequency 92.9FM using an FM transmitter so that all worshippers will be able to tune into the service audio from their cars. 
  4. A worship bulletin will be emailed to the congregation the Thursday prior to worship that they are invited to print at home and bring to worship. For those unable to access email, bulletins will be provided at the church.
  5. During the passing of the peace, worshippers who are wearing masks are invited to exit their vehicles and stand by them to wave a greeting of peace to the community. Social distancing is to be maintained during the passing of the peace. Worshippers not wearing masks should not exit their vehicles. 
  6. Communion will be celebrated at the drive in worship service. Worshippers are asked to bring their own communion elements with them to worship. Worship elements include bread or gluten free bread or cracker and either wine or grape juice. 
  7. The pastors will lead the service and walk by cars to greet worshippers. The pastors will practice social distancing while leading and interacting with worshippers. 
  8. Parking attendants will guide cars in exiting the parking lot after the service.
  9. The church building will be open for emergency bathroom visits. You may enter the building, masked, one person at a time, through the side entrance and follow the cleaning protocols listed in each restroom. (For bathroom protocols, please see here.)

We are looking forward to celebrating this service together. To experience the joy of seeing one another’s faces and to give thanks to God for abiding with us in this difficult season. If you have questions about this service, please contact one of the pastors. 

Peace, 
Pastor David and Pastor Laura

Categories
Newsletter

St. Philip Invitation – June 2020

Categories
News

Response to the Murder of George Floyd and Systemic Racism

Dear, St Philippians,

As faith leaders, we are heartbroken by the murder of George Floyd, but we know that people of faith cannot remain silent in the face of injustice. As part of the baptized community of faith, we are called to renounce the devil and all forces that defy God. We are called to renounce the powers of this world that rebel against God, and the ways of sin that draw us from God. The white supremacy present in our society defies the world God intended. Racism rebels against God. Our knowing or unknowing complicity in systemic racism draws us from God. 

As we celebrate the festival of Pentecost today, the celebration of the Holy Spirit being breathed into creation, the hard irony is that we, as a community and a nation, are grieving the murder of George Floyd, a black man who repeatedly said I can’t breathe while he died under the knee of a police officer. Our hearts break for the Floyd family, for communities of color who continually live in fear, and for how deeply racism is embedded in our society. While our service was recorded before the tragic events this week came to light, we still wanted to speak to the sins of racism and white supremacy from the perspective of Pentecost.

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, a black EMT worker killed in her own bed, and Ahmaud Arbery a young black man killed on a jog in Georgia, are truly heartbreaking and infuriating, but perhaps the most painful aspect is that there are so many more Ahmauds, Breonnas, and Georges whose stories go untold. 

Racism is a deep rooted sin in our world and in our country. It is not a past historical concept, it is not something we have moved on from, but a painful, ever-present daily threat for our siblings of color. It may have been brought to bare for us this week in the national news, but people of color know this to be a daily reality. 

The festival of Pentecost celebrates the wondrous moment of people of all kinds of languages and cultures coming together, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, they are able to understand one another. This is a powerful lesson for us in our present time. We are called to listen. Despite our own reluctance or discomfort, we are called to truly listen to the voices of people of color. Hear their experiences of systemic racism and oppression in this country. 

Then, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to commit ourselves to the kingdom work of first acknowledging the racism we hold in ourselves, to ask God for guidance and forgiveness. We are called to pray for our siblings of color and for the dismantling of systemic racism.

As faith leaders, we felt that it was important to speak to these tragic deaths, and the racism that caused them, because we believe that all people are created in the image of God. Tragically, due to the sins of racism and white supremacy, not all bodies are seen as God-created. We commit ourselves to the proclamation that Black lives do indeed matter. We commit ourselves to hard conversations about racism, and learning more about ourselves. We know the complications of COVID and social distancing makes all of these things more difficult, but as people of faith, we are called to be about this work. As on that first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is indeed blowing and moving the church to more fully proclaim God’s love for the world.

As part of this ongoing work, on Sunday, June 21, we will hold a service commemorating the Emanuel 9, the members of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC who were murdered in a hate crime during Bible Study. We invite you to join us online for that service, to reflect on the lives of these saints, and how God is calling us to live more fully into anti-racism work together. 

Even as tears flow, as they have for us, the promise of the resurrected Christ is that new life is not only possible, but is inevitable.  It is the Spirit of the Living Lord breathed onto, and into, and through us that makes the work ahead work that is steeped in hope.

In Christ, 
Pastor David and Pastor Laura

Categories
COVID19

Create a Worship Space at Home

Pastor Laura gives some pointers on how to easily create a worship space in your home.
Categories
COVID19 News Uncategorized

Newest Pastoral Update from St. Philip

Dear St. Philippians, 

In consultation with health agencies and the Virginia Synod, ELCA, on March 13, 2020, all in-person gatherings at St. Philip were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The St. Philip Church Council later extended this practice through May 17, 2020. We acknowledge that this time of physical distancing has been hard. We grieve the lack of in-person connections. One of the gifts of living in a community as St. Philip is being with one another. But even as we have missed being together physically, we give thanks that we have never ceased being the church! God has walked with us through this season and will continue to guide and comfort us in the days and weeks to come.  

As we are now entering the time of a phased reopening approach, St. Philip will operate under the following guidelines and practices. Please know that these practices were thoughtfully prepared in consultation with the relevant health and government authorities. We want to return in the very best way possible, and as frustrating as it might be, we need time to prepare to do that well.

As always, our mission as disciples of Christ is to live out the love and grace shown to us by God. We understand that mission during this time of pandemic to be one of love and care for our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable among us. While these plans are intended to be carried out, they may be revised at any point in response to new relevant information.

Phase One: Starting May 15

From the CDC Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith, “Phase 1: Limit gatherings to those that can be held virtually”

St. Philip’s Practices 

  • Continued suspension of in-person gatherings for worship 
  • Open Doors digital worship will be offered at 8:30 and 11:00am on May 17 then at 9:30am starting May 24. Additionally, the worship video is posted to Facebook and the church website. 
  • Conference call access offered for both services. 
  • Church Council is forming a COVID Preparedness Team to plan for, resource, and implement restrictions for in person gatherings of faith communities.

Phase Two: Beginning 2-4 weeks after the start of Phase One, to be announced by Governor Northam

From the CDC Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith, “Phase 2: Consider continuing to hold gatherings virtually… for vulnerable populations and consider video streaming or drive-in options for services.”

St. Philip’s Practices

  • Open Doors digital worship will continue to be offered at 9:30am. Additionally, worship will be posted to Facebook and the church website, as well as access via conference call 
  • Drive In Worship will be held in the church parking lot on a monthly basis, while still following important social distancing guidelines.
    • Worshippers may attend the worship service while seated in their cars with windows rolled up. Through a radio transmitter worship will be broadcast using the FM radio in the vehicle.  Windows must stay rolled up throughout the service to prevent the spread of the virus between closely parked cars. 
    • A worship bulletin will be emailed to the congregation in the week prior to worship that they are invited to print at home and bring to worship. For those unable to access email, bulletins will be provided at the church.
    • During the passing of the peace, worshippers who are wearing masks are invited to exit their vehicles and stand by them to wave a greeting of peace to the community. Social distancing is to be maintained during the passing of the peace. Worshippers not wearing masks should not exit their vehicles. 
    • Communion will be celebrated at the drive in worship service. Worshippers are asked to bring their own communion elements with them to worship. Worship elements include bread or, gluten free bread or crackers, and either wine or grape juice. 
    • The pastors will lead the service and walk by cars to greet worshippers. The pastors will practice social distancing while leading and interacting with worshippers. 

Phase Three: Will start at a later date to be announced by Governor Northam

From the CDC Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith, “Phase 3: Limit gatherings to those that can maintain social distancing and consider video streaming or drive-in options for vulnerable populations.”

St. Philip Practices

  • The pastors and congregational council will continue to consult state and federal health guidelines before making decisions about Phase Three operations. 
  • The sincere hope is to resume in-person gatherings in Phase Three. The pastors and St. Philip Council will consult the Bishop’s Office and all relevant state and federal guidelines about gatherings at the time. 
  • Online worship will continue to be offered in some form to serve the whole community. 

We know that this time of pandemic has not been easy. We miss worshipping with our St.Philip family and spending time with one another. We give thanks that this hard time will not last forever. In the meantime, we give thanks for one another, for the ways we are connecting during this time, and the love of God that holds us always. 

In God’s care, 

Pastor David and Pastor Laura 

Categories
Ministries

Come and See

On Come and See Sunday we remember the calling of the disciple Philip and his simple invitation to his friend Nathaniel. Along with Nathanael we celebrate the promise that Jesus is the Son of God, the messiah and hear Jesus call to each of us to follow by making the same simple invitation – Come and See. This year at St. Philip Lutheran we celebrated by asking Where do you see God active in the life of the church? These are the stories told in images and quotes from members.