Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church cares about the health and welfare of our members and our broader community. This page has been published to help our congregation be informed. Check this page for future updates.
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Regathering Task Force Update
The BMPC Regathering Task Force, comprised of staff, medical professionals and representatives of Session, Trustees and Deacons, has affirmed our plans for providing a safe environment for in-person worship, which we hope to begin later this spring.
Here are our expectations for worship services:
- Attendance at indoor services will be limited to 100 persons (including ushers and worship leaders) by pre-registration.
- Masks and physical distancing will be required.
- Ushers will assist you in entering and exiting the Sanctuary by assigned routes.
- The worship experience will be more passive, with no congregational singing.
- As it is unknown when our pastoral staff will be vaccinated, please understand they will not be as physically present to you as they would like.
- Fellowship time with refreshments will not be provided.
- Childcare will not be available for in-person worship. We hope to begin offering childcare during the summer.
- When we begin in-person worship at 10:00 a.m., there may be conflicts with some ongoing classes that have been meeting virtually all year, including educational programming for children and youth. Sunday morning educational opportunities will remain virtual through the end of May.
In addition, the following reopening guidelines are now in place:
- The Chapel is now open on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for your private prayer time.
- We are actively planning creative Holy Week and Easter celebrations that will be held outdoors.
- Please reach out to the pastors to discuss small in-person meetings.
- Pre-recorded worship services will continue when we begin to gather in person so that all will have access to worship.
- In April, family worship will resume on Sundays at 4:00 p.m.
We are grateful to the Re-Gathering Taskforce members who have been meeting regularly throughout the pandemic to make recommendations for the safe return to campus. With the positivity and daily case rates consistently trending downward now, the virus is considered “suppressed” in the community when the positivity rate is below 5 percent. The rate as of this writing is close to 6 percent. Given that vaccines are now being administered we are cautiously optimistic that there will not be another surge in cases, and we can implement our plans for in-person worship and other church gatherings.
We give thanks for your steadfast commitment to Christ’s ministry and BMPC through this ongoing time of challenge.
Thursday, September 3, 2020
A Congregational Update
Dear BMPC Family and Friends,
Grace to you and peace from God and from our Lord Jesus Christ! As summer gives way to autumn, I am writing to share a preview of how our fall worship and programming are unfolding so that you will know how to stay connected to Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. In this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic, your pastors and church leaders continue to seek creative ways to be the church together even while we are apart.
The BMPC Re-Gathering Taskforce continues to track guidance from medical experts, state and local government officials, and to monitor the rate of viral activity in our area and its associated risks when people gather in groups. The taskforce, made up of our church’s elected leaders and health care professionals and led by Dr. Tom Willcox, has been entrusted with establishing protocols for the safe and gradual reopening of the church with the health, welfare and vitality of the congregation in mind.
When our congregation gathers to offer prayers and praise to God and to hear a gospel word from on high, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church values being an inclusive, welcoming, incarnate community. At this time, because indoor in-person worship is still considered a potential super-spreader event, we cannot maintain these values we cherish. To limit worship participation is not inclusive. To greet people by asking for contact-tracing data and enforcing mask wearing and physical distancing rules feels unwelcoming. To prohibit singing and limit conversation does not offer the genuine sense of community we seek.
Therefore, until the viral activity of COVID-19 decreases considerably and can be better managed medically, here are our plans for the upcoming programmatic season.
Sunday morning worship will continue online with a link being sent to BMPC eNews subscribers at 10:00 a.m. On September 13, our usual commencement of the new program year, worship will begin to include additional music, liturgical components and more lay participation so that you can view some of your church friends, as well as special seasonal celebrations, including the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.The Children and Family Ministry Council will offer Family Worship at 4:00 p.m. Sunday afternoons on the front lawn. This 30-minute worship service is designed to support the catechetical needs of our children, youth and their families.
This fall’s sermon series, The Church Acts, will be based on stories from the Acts of the Apostles. We find ourselves in a season not unlike that of the early church. In Acts, the first Christians worshipped in homes, shared their resources in common, supported the poor and lived their faith in the byways and intersections of their communities rather than within the walls of the temple. We will consider how their being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and hope in believing can nurture and strengthen us to be faithful disciples engaged in the boundary-breaking spread of the gospel.
Increased Access to our Sacred Spaces
We understand that some members of our congregation long for access to our sacred spaces, so we will be offering multiple times each week when folks can come into the Sanctuary or Chapel for prayer. The times that we will be open will include when these spaces will be silent for quiet prayer and contemplation, as well as certain hours when you can visit while the organ is being played. Printed prayer guides will be available to assist you in devotion. Because of the renovation-related construction, we will be making worship and eNews announcements whether the Sanctuary or Chapel is open, and instructing how you can register your attendance and abide by our safety protocols of wearing masks and maintaining social distance from others.
Pastors and the Caring Ministries Team are available for small in-person gatherings. One pastor is always “on call” every day and night of the week. We are also available for in-person meetings with individuals, couples and families by appointment. Memorial services and weddings will continue to be private and limited to small circles of family and closest of friends under the guidance of the pastoral staff.
Christian Education, Nurture and Mission
The enclosed brochure announces many ways that our intergenerational church family can stay connected through regular classes, church school offerings, and special discussion and fellowship groups. These include familiar as well as new small groups that will be offered via Zoom conference calls.
We invite you to partner with us by your continued involvement in our ministry and mission, and by keeping our church family, community and world in prayer. Because of the generosity of the congregation and work of our mission committees, in the midst of this pandemic over $250,000 has been distributed to partners on the front line in Greater Philadelphia and around the world. We are so grateful for your continued generous financial support of the church which has enabled us to meet these challenging days as a creative, vibrant and vital congregation upholding one another and engaging in service.
Grace and Peace,
The Reverend Dr. Agnes W. Norfleet
Thursday, July 16, 2020
COVID Re-Gathering Taskforce
We are all asking the same questions. When will this pandemic end? How can I keep those I love safe? When will we be able to resume life as it used to be? How will schools reopen? Just as you are asking these “when” and “how” questions about every aspect of your lives, your church is carefully considering how and when our intergenerational church family might begin regathering.
The BMPC Re-Gathering Taskforce, made up of church leaders and medical professionals (Rich Allman, Anita Iyengar, Chris Libson, Bill McKee, Tom Willcox, Anne Wendel, Parish Nurse Carol Cherry and myself) was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help us navigate these complex questions.
The taskforce has been tracking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other medical experts, and the recommendations of state and local governments to begin imagining a gradual reopening of our church campus for worship and programs. Based on these recommendations and the current reality of the increasing viral activity across the United States, we are not ready to recommend resumption of large group gatherings at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.
The CDC and numerous medical experts agree that the most dangerous settings for transmitting the coronavirus are indoor locations where large groups of people are talking and singing. There are now many documented cases of worship services and church activities that have become “super-spreader” events.
The Re-Gathering Taskforce will continue meeting regularly to reassess the situation and update our recommendations. In the meantime, we have developed protocols emphasizing the four pillars of safety, including hand hygiene, screening, physical distancing and wearing masks, which will be implemented for any re-gathering.
With responsibility for enforcing these guidelines, the pastors and senior staff are allowed to host small outdoor in-person gatherings, conduct small weddings and memorial services, and host indoor pastoral meetings one on one or with couples and families.
The Re-Gathering Taskforce will continue to monitor the COVID-19 public health data and scientific information and will make further recommendations to Session as we move forward.
As we prepare for fall, we are committed to providing resources to nurture the spiritual life and engage the missional outreach of our congregation by offering quality and creative worship and programming, both virtually and eventually in some hybrid virtual/in-person small gatherings.
At a recent graveside service in our Memorial Garden for one of the saints of our congregation, I was privileged to read the familiar words of Jesus: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The burdens of all those making difficult decisions these days feel pretty heavy – in churches, schools, homes, continuing care communities, prisons, essential services, places of business and commerce, and governments near and far. Let’s join in a spirit of prayer and patience as we seek to be faithful to our calling and also find rest for our souls in the Living Christ.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Resources for talking to children are listed below:
Talking to Children About Coronavirus: CDC Parent Resource
How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus: PBS For Parents
Prayer from Agnes
O God, may your blessings fall upon us that we may not be afraid. Send your healing presence upon this world of need. Uphold us with hope for a brighter tomorrow. And, come what may, remind us all that even in this strangest of Lenten seasons, Easter is on the horizon bearing promises of resurrection, new life now and eternal life to come. In the hope of your promises and in the name of your love for the world, Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.
Thursday, March 12, 2020
BMPC Coronavirus COVID-19 Response
Dear BMPC Family and Friends,
Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church cares about the health and welfare of our members and the larger community. In response to growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, and after extensive consultation with church medical professionals, public health officials and the Session, we are making changes to engage best practices to help mitigate the spread of this virus.
Beginning today, March 12, 2020 at 5:00 pm, the church campus is closed.
Sunday worship and all church programming, including the Middleton Center and the Weekday School, is suspended until further notice.
If you have a pastoral emergency, call 610-525-2821, press 2, and you will be connected to a pastor who will be on call for 24 hours a day.
While Sunday worship is unavailable in person, we are offering sermons and worship resources online.
Regular updates will be posted on our website.
I invite you to join me in prayer for the healing of those suffering the consequences of this virus as well as all who care for them, and to engage in best practices for the community’s health and safety as outlined below in a revised message from the BMPC Care Team.
Grace and Peace,
The Reverend Dr. Agnes W. Norfleet
A Message from the Care Team:
In addition to continued vigilant everyday preventive actions like careful handwashing, frequent cleaning and social distancing, please be aware of the following:
- Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever and shortness of breath. Please contact your doctor if you have these symptoms.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services posts daily updates on their website. Questions may be directed to 1-877-PA-HEALTH
The following additional resources are available for more information:
Thursday, March 5, 2020
A Message from the Care Team:
As the latest updateson the new coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19)flood the news, we want to assure you we are monitoring the latest information and considering as a staff what we can do to helpthe BMPC community be safe. While the virus has spread through numerous countries, we hope most people in the United States will have little exposure to this virus. However, it is important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic (worldwide spread of a new disease).
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) iscontinually tracking the spread of the virus and updating its extensive website with information about precautions.
For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low. But we need to take everydaypreventive actions to help prevent thespread of respiratory diseases. Please consider the following:
- Wash your hands often with soapand water for at least 20 seconds (try singing the Doxology!) especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick. And you can viewthe weekly Sunday sermons on the BMPC website. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Get a flu shot. It won’t protect against COVID-19, but flu is a bigger risk.Flu is widespread throughout Pennsylvania, resulting in over 60 deaths this season.If the pneumonia vaccine is recommended for you, be sure to get that as well.
- Remember you are more susceptible to flu and other infections if you are overly stressed and sleep deprived. Applyall those basic health tips we learned as children –eat a healthy diet, exercise and get enough sleep.
- Recognize the effects of living in an information-overloaded culture. Sometimes a fast from the news and social media can behelpful when fear gets the upper hand.