Bishop Recommends No In-Person Gatherings
Synod Staff Working From Home Through April 1; Assembly Postponed
March 16, 2020
Bishop Patricia A. Davenport announces several changes to operations in the Synod due to the coronavirus pandemic, based on updated guidance from health officials and the churchwide office, and consultation with staff.
“As your bishop, I recommend that we suspend our in-person gatherings until further notice,” the bishop said in a video message to the synod. Limiting public gatherings can slow the spread of the highly contagious virus, which protects those most vulnerable to the disease as well as the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and others who care for them.
The bishop announced several operational changes for synod staff and programs:
- Synod staff will be working from home until at least April 1, and the office will be closed. “Your synod staff is here, praying for and with you,” the bishop said. Staff will be available to you via email (preferred) or telephone, and will be coordinating with regular video calls.
- Synod Assembly will be postponed to a date to be determined. Registration is not available for the time being.
- Synod committees, teams and staff will not hold in-person meetings until May 18. Working groups will use written reports and audio- and videoconferencing to continue their work.
- The Chrism Service, First Call Retreat, Behavioral Interview training, and Tuscarora Youth Retreat are cancelled.
Amid the challenges posed by “shutdown” orders for much of the five-county area, the bishop praised the creativity and resilience shown by our congregations and leaders, both in moving worship and meetings online and in continuing to serve those who are vulnerable in our region.
(We will create a collection of stories of how you are adapting to this crisis, so we can learn from each other. Please send your stories of creative gathering or service to your neighbors to Pastor Bob Fisher at
“Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod serves her community so well,” the bishop said. “Yes, we’ve been shut down…but we have been encouraged in the midst of the change to hold on to our one consistent…that God is faithful.”
“In the midst of everything that is going on, we are reminded to watch and to pray. We’re reminded in all things that we should give thanks to God,” the bishop said. “So today, I give thanks to you. I give thanks for your heart, mind and desire to love God, to love your neighbor, and also to serve your neighbor.