Dear Siblings in Christ,
We are in the midst of difficult times. Governor Wolf has issued “Stay at Home” orders across the state and has banned non-essential businesses from operating until further notice. Even with the upcoming exceptions anticipated mid-May, churches do not yet fit that designation. Because of this, the Synod Council unanimously adopted the following resolution at its April 28
Therefore, be it resolved that, in light of Governor Wolf’s orders closing public gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic, and in conformity with the practice of most synods in the ELCA, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Council approves the cancellation of the May 2020 meeting of the Synod Assembly.
We as a Synod need to take our lead from our Governor and from the guidance of the CDC. Our priority is the health and safety not only of our faith community but also of the broader communities in which we live and serve. We have also heard from our host site, Franconia Mennonite Church, that they are closed and will not consider hosting any events until it is clear that the virus has passed.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed life for all of us in deep and profound ways. As we lean into our new “abnormal,” we continue to trust God and respond to events as they unfold. The ELCA Rostered Ministers Gathering in August has been canceled. The fall meeting of the Synod Vice Presidents has been canceled. The Conference of Bishops is meeting remotely for the foreseeable future. As a result, we do not anticipate meeting as an Assembly until next year. Fortunately, we do not have a Bishop’s election or other significant work for the Synod to consider that cannot wait until next May.
We appreciate your willingness to serve your church. We are grateful for all the ways in which your congregations continue to live out the Gospel through virtual word, and deeds of love and kindness. Please continue to pray for our Bishop and our Synod Staff, and your sibling congregations, as we continue to live and love and serve together in Jesus’ name in this health crisis. In the words of our Vice President, Ms. Tracey A. Beasley, “SEPA Synod, we GOT this!”
Praying for you and with you,
Tracey A. Beasley, Vice President
The Reverend Karl M. Richard, Secretary
Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA