SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA SYNOD | ELCA
Resources for effective church leaders
+ April 4, 2020
Some Good Ministry News
In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, SEPA congregations are stepping up to continue or create ministries to serve their neighbors. Here are a couple of these stories.

What is your congregation doing to serve in this time? Send your information, stories and/or photos to Bob Fisher and we will publish them next week.
Working Differently To Keep Seniors Connected

"A congregation is crucial amidst times like these. We don’t stop being crucial. We just have to work differently and be open to possibility," says Pastor Katherine Cartwright of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Olney.

St. Paul’s, in collaboration with the health ministry staff of St. Helena Catholic Church, regularly hosts Senior Wednesdays each week for the older adults of their community. Providing opportunities to benefit their spiritual, physical, and mental wellbeing, this program brings seniors together and provides ministry, meals, activities, exercise and more.

“It is a safe place for seniors to come and spend time with friends. Many of our seniors live alone and don’t have family nearby, and one-third of our participants speak Spanish as their primary language,” says Ann Farley, member of the congregation for 18 years and manager of St. Paul’s Senior Wednesday program. “Connectedness is so critical right now. It’s so important to keep in touch with our seniors." (Photo taken prior to physical distancing.)

E-meals Serve 1,800 in Souderton - So Far

Knowing that other local food sources would be stressed, Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Souderton started the E-meals program on March 16. Meal bags are for "anybody in need," Pastor John Heidgerd said. "We don't ask any questions. We don't ask you to prove that you're in need. You come to us for help and the hand goes out." 

Since then, other local feeding programs have closed, and Emmanuel has distributed 1,800 meal bags since then.


Digital Worship Tip For Small Churches

St. James Lutheran in Pottstown solved the dilemma of not gathering leaders to live stream worship and instead recorded music, lessons, and sermon separately and provided all three links to congregants.
"We Remain United" -- A Video Message
From Bishop Eaton
We Pray...
The Synod staff holds you and your congregation in prayer.

  • For Pastor Kay Braun (St. James, Pottstown) and her family on the death of her father, Mike Bender, on April 3.
  • For the staffs of our Lutheran retirement and nursing communities, and for the volunteers making cloth masks for their work.
  • For all the college students quarantined on their campuses, including Kendall
  • For our congregations as they navigate this uncertain time, especially those who are financially fragile.
  • For our rostered ministers who are working hard to transition church services and programs to the digital realm, that they might find rest and refreshment.
  • For the food ministries across our synod who serve growing numbers of food insecure people, that they might find the funds, volunteers and food supplies to meet their needs.
  • For our ministries among the marginalized, especially Welcome Church and The Well as they serve the people entrusted to them.
  • For Presiding Bishop Eaton, Bishop Davenport, and all of our bishops, and for our Deans, assistants to the bishop and administrative staff as they lead the church in this uncertain time.
  • For those who are unemployed and underemployed
  • People who are suffering from COVID-19
  • People who live alone or are hospitalized away from family.
  • For those who grieve and who are not able to gather with family to mourn their loss, including the family of the Rev. Charles H. Eiss, Jr., who died on March 1.
  • For our doctors, nurses, respiratory and pulmonary specialists, as well as the maintenance workers who keep hospitals sanitized and functioning, that the love of God surrounds them as the place themselves in danger.
  • For essential workers - firefighters, police, EMTs, grocery clerks and stockers, workers in the financial sector -- who are in harm's way.
  • For the families of healthcare and public safety workers who assume greater risk of contracting the virus.
  • For our police and all who are victimized by the spike in violent crime seen in Philadelphia
  • For colleagues in the Lutheran World Federation who have contracted the virus or are exposed.
  • For our national and local leaders; our president, our governors and their administrations, and public health workers as they race to contain this virus outbreak.
  • For the college students who remain on campus away from their families, while taking digital courses.
  • For the high school students, particularly seniors, missing graduation and end-of-year activities.

Boldface items are new to this list. If you have a concern you would like us to pray for, send it to prayers@sepa.org.
Thank you
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The Rev. Bob Fisher, assistant to the bishop for mission interpretation/communications
rfisher@sepa.org  / 267.323.3743