Month: January 2021

Letter to the Congregation – 01/21/2021

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The Congregation Council met on January 17th to primarily discuss the church closure, but we also discussed replacement of the worship space roof.

1) The Roof. Just to be clear, while there is some repair to the flat roof by the kitchen entrance, the roof that is being replaced is the roof over the worship space. The existing slate roof will be removed and replaced with a 50-year asphalt shingle. This includes replacing the slate that is on the base of the steeple. The work is planned for start on January 27 and is anticipated to last 5 days. If you drive by the church building you might see the roofer’s equipment on the small parking lot adjacent to Freemansburg Ave as well as dumpsters on either side of the worship space.
Farina & Farina will be doing the work and the cost is estimated to be $18,945.00. The money will come from the building fund.

2) The Nursery School. It was decided that St. Andrew’s Nursery School would reopen as of February 1st. All our teachers are scheduled to receive their vaccines and the same protocols that were practiced previously will still be in place when the school reopens in February.

3) In Person Worship. It was decided to put off opening the church for worship until at such time the pastor can receive the vaccine. Of course, that means that the pastor must receive the first and second dose of the vaccine. For those who are missing In Person Worship, the Council and the Pastor offer their apologies. This is a decision to try and keep everyone safe.
The good news is that the Pastor did receive the first vaccine on 01/20/2021 and is scheduled to receive the second vaccine on 02/16/2021. So please watch for updates.

Remember the Council meets on a more frequent schedule to discuss the church closure. All members are welcome to join Council meetings. Please access the Zoom log on info in the calendar here on the church website.

Letter to the Congregation – 01/12/2021

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The Congregation Council met on January 11 for their monthly meeting. This was the first time the Council met with eleven members; indeed it was a joy to have more input and energy in the Zoom room. What follows are some of the highlights from the meeting.

1. It was reported during the financial reports that the congregation ended 2020 in the black! This is very significant as we are all struggling through the pandemic and, as a rule, the first year a full-time pastor is back on staff, congregations can struggle to meet the budget due to the increased expense of paying a full-time pastor. Thank you for your financial support of St. Andrew’s!

2. Pastor Neel reported that our average worship attendance for 2020 was approximately 115 per Sunday. Again, this has been a different type of year, Council viewed this as a positive response from the congregation.

3. Please do not forget to attend the Annual meeting on February 7th, immediately following worship. The Annual reports will be e-mailed to those who have e-mail capability. For those who do not, paper copies of the reports will be ready by Monday, January 25 and can be picked up at Hope House.

4. Looking forward to Lent:
– If the church building is closed, we will hold only one service on Ash Wednesday at 7:00PM.
– For Wednesday in Lent everyone is asked to think about a “Question of Faith.” So, we are asking that you share any questions that you might have, concerning the Bible or Lutheran Theology, with Pastor or the church office. Pastor will compile your responses and the meditations on Wednesdays in Lent will address these questions.

5. The Roof: The Council has approved a proposal to replace the church roof and repair the roof by the church entrance at the kitchen. The cost is just under $19,000.00. The project will be paid for with the funds that we already have in the building fund, so there will be no need for a congregational appeal.

6. The Property Committee solicited multiple bids and this bid from Farina & Farina was the best. We have worked with Farina & Farina in the past and have been very pleased with the quality of their work.

7. A shout out to Chuck Bleice who did the Lion’s share of the leg work so that Property Committee could make its decision.

8. You will have opportunity to ask questions about this project at the Congregational Meeting on February 7th.

Letter to the Congregation – 01/04/2021

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Greetings to you, prayers and thoughts for a blessed 2021. We all have lots of hope that 2021 will be different than 2020. To be sure that a full and complete end of the pandemic would be great, 2021 won’t bring a magical end, but rather a gradual end. I ask for patience, because safety still must be a high priority, and I ask for respect as we will not all agree as how to more forward. But, just as God has been with us in 2020 God will be with us in 2021. We can depend on God and that is how we can move forward.

The Congregation Council met on January 3rd. A large part of the discussion centered around keeping the church closed or opening the church up for activities, namely Nursery School and Worship. Before that discussion we welcomed four new members to Council, It was absolutely wonderful to have a fuller Council table, welcome to Sharon, Nancy, Terry and Debbie!

So, when will we open the church building again? We still are not sure. But we did decide to keep the church building closed through and including the 31st of January. Not everyone will agree with that decision. That is understood, but please understand that the Council made the decision with the safety of the congregation and nursery children in mind.

While the Council is educated by what the school districts are doing, what other churches are doing and what the COVID-19 case numbers are looking like, in the end the decision is made from a core sense of what is safest.

You have our promise that we will continue to meet on a weekly basis to discuss this matter, and that you are welcome to join any of the Council meetings to express your concerns. (we meet by Zoom, please access the church website, go to the calendar and you will find a link to the meeting, or call the church office for help).

Wishing you God Peace
Pastor Neel and Your Congregation Council

Church Council Officers for 2021
April Shaheen – President
Blair Miers – Vice President
Jonathan Bleice -Treasurer
Sharon Wasmer – Secretary