A Word from the Pastors | July Church Council Meeting

A Word from the Pastors

Church Council

Your elected servant-leaders gathered for a Zoom meeting on Monday, July 12. They will probably next meet on August 9 for a Zoom meeting beginning at 7:00PM. Some notes from the July meeting:

    • Minutes from the June 14 Zoom meeting were reviewed and approved.
    • Pastors Gwen and Neil reported that they officiated at three baptisms, all children, in the Sanctuary on Saturday, June 26, with a small gathering (25 persons?) of family and friends who were about 65% masked. They also officiated at the wedding of Aaron Gillyard (“member”) and Rena Richards at a wedding venue on Sunday, June 27, with a gathering of 140 persons who were about 50% masked. They took a few vacation days, occasioned by a college visit near Richmond, VA with their nephew Matthew and also an AAU Basketball tournament with Matt in Atlantic City, NJ. The Pastors met with Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod (ELCA) Bishop Patricia Davenport on June 16 to share their story (about two hours of doing most of the talking!) of the journey of Pastor David Maddox II from first contact with the Synod staff about the candidacy process… through seminary and into serving as an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament… and ending with his decision to resign his call as an ordained clergyperson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America after fifteen years of a “bittersweet” journey. Bishop Davenport was saddened to hear of David’s sense that she perhaps didn’t offer him support, or viable call possibilities both before and after she became Bishop; and she also promised to read again the ELCA “removal letter” which bore her signature and had a negative, disheartening impact on David, offering no gratitude for his faithful service. Both the Bishop and your Pastors agreed that, in a Christian denomination that is still 98% white, systemic racism often creates both difficult struggles in call situations and also too many persons of color forced to sit on the sidelines with “on-leave-from-call” status, which Pastor David endured for six of his fifteen years. Please continue to pray for Pastor David (who has a pastor’s heart and giftedness!), his family, our ELCA denomination, and persons of color who hear and seek to respond to the call to be servant-leaders in Christ’s church.  
  • Property. We have made progress with several tasks and are making plans for others: (1) large classroom was repainted by volunteer members; (2) ceiling tile project, mostly in Rhoda Hall, was completed by a neighbor; (3) Church Kitchen floor, flooded by the heating pipe leak through the ceiling, was polished by Tony, our member and sexton; (4) items removed from the kitchen during repairs will be returned to their places this week; (5) a storage area was cleaned out by a volunteer member; (6) August 7 “service day” by our Youth to put the large classroom back in order; (6) several future projects will be explored.
  • Re-opening. A Council “Reopening Team” of Ben, Roland, Monroe, Veronica, Diane Hughes, Carol Lee, Judy West, and both Pastors met on June 28. They are moving forward with the video equipment project in the Sanctuary for “hybrid worship”, and are contacting Verizon for an upgrade of our WIFI. They proposed to Council, and it was approved, to use September 5 (Labor Day weekend) or September 12 as target dates for the first in-person worship in our sanctuary. They are continuing to look at COVID-related health concerns, worship protocols, and building use guidelines based on Synod advice, medical advice, and continued progress out of the shadows of this long COVID-19 valley.       work in was created to help focus on planning and preparation such things as: (1) cleaning what has been dormant for over a year, as well as cleaning in these COVID recovery times; (2) sharpening the estimated costs for video equipment and connections  so that we might do the necessary preparation for  “hybrid” worship that will include both physical, in-person gathering and digital, online worship; (3) exploring medical guidelines about such things as vaccination or mask requirements, air exchange, seating capacity and spacing, shared singing or reading, Holy Communion, physical touching, fellowship meals and programs, rental events, etc.
  • Building use requests. Church Council approved the use of Rhoda Hall in early August for a member-related graduation party with some limitation on the number of persons. Church Council approved the use of Rhoda Hall by Pastor Benjamin Graves and Bible Fellowship Church for: (1) possible worship once or twice in September in Rhoda Hall (estimated 25 persons); (2) use of Rhoda Hall or another space twice a week for several weeks for a two-person “video project”. Bible Fellowship is currently seeking to fix a mold problem at their site. 
  • Video equipment. At its June 28 meeting the “Reopening Team” of Church Council was upbeat and confident that there would be enough funds, including additional special contributions and/or available grants, to pay for an envisioned “hybrid worship” that would include connection and interaction between “in-person” worshipers and “remote” worshipers both local and scattered in other states. Then some additional cost estimates were received. At this Council meeting we were working with a partial cost total of about $12,000 to Airwaves Electronics, plus a viable computer, plus Verizon upgrade. We used $15,000 as a ballpark figure. Our current funds are two special generous contributions from a friend of St. Peter’s and from a member for this purpose, totaling $6,000. Church Council reluctantly elected to reduce the scope of the project (eliminate the TV monitors in the Sanctuary) and to focus on a “first phase” of camera, computer, and WIFI capability upgrade. This “first phase” would be closer in cost to the funds we now have. There was, however, some sentiment to seek special donations from members and friends, to, apply for grants through our ELCA, and perhaps to look at our own Building Fund

Your Church Council continues to seek to serve and to lead in these challenging days  of slowly emerging from the shadowed valley of COVID-19 and discovering the “new normal” that we might move into. Let’s keep one another in our hearts and in our prayers.

   With our sincere love and humble gratitude, 

   Pastor Neil & Pastor Gwen

A BIG THANKS!

    Pastor Gwen thanks you for your calls, your cards, your gifts, and – especially – your love as she realizes that she has now been an ordained pastor serving in the Lutheran Church for 40 years. She was ordained on June 21, 1981 at Church of the Abiding Presence in Bronx, NY. “Most of those years… all the joys and the sorrows and the people… happened right here at St. Peter’s. I’ve been so blessed! And I am so grateful!”

Upcoming Events

Jun
19
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jun 19 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jun
23
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jun
30
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
3
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 3 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jul
5
Fri
2024
8:30 am Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Jul 5 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Check out the Senior Food Program’s page for more information.