With the significant decrease in COVID-19 cases in our community, and the continued rise in vaccinations, the Gift Team Board as decided to end our current masks for all protocol and now ask you make the personal decision to unmask or remain masked, as is best for you and your family. If the situation changes, we will continue to assess the needed practices to support public health.
Personally, as a parent of a young child, I will likely continue to mask in some situations. This decision is not a reflection of trust for anyone, but is a statement of the continuing changing nature of the pandemic and the health of the unvaccinated and vulnerable.
Masks and sanitizer stations will continue to be available in the church if you would like them for yourself or your family. Communion and the passing of the peace will continue to be done in the pews, and physical distancing is still encouraged. We will not be checking or asking for vaccination, but continue to encourage everyone who can, to vaccinate when possible.
There are still many in our community who are vulnerable for various reasons, and this decision may create a level of stress for you. If you are concerned and would like to talk more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected you and your family, please reach out to me at any time.
As has always been the case, we will continue to provide multiple paths to engagement in worship, education and fellowship, as best we can. We continue to evaluate and modify our systems and technology to encourage your participation. If there is a way of engaging with the church that you need assistance with, please contact me, the office or the Gift Team Board to discuss your needs.
In this time of public health awareness, we are also encouraging everyone to be thoughtful about what is meaningful, safe and best practice to maintain a healthy community, which is more than pandemic protocols. Our faith tells us that God seeks our wholeness and wholehearted attention, and so the health of our bodies, our spirits, our mental health, a fulfilling social life and an ability to live in the present moment are part of living into God’s faithful attention. This year, this month, this week, this day, I pray that you find the Divine presence in the presence of your community supporting you.
May you be well.
- Pastor Beth
“I’m praying that all is well with you and that you enjoy good health in the same way that you prosper spiritually.”
3rd Letter of John 1:2
I am sure by now you have seen or heard about the changes at the government level for COVID-19 mitigation here in PA and across the country. As has been the case for the last year, some changes happen quickly, and some take time to roll out. The same has been true of our congregation. Firstly, I want to express my gratitude for all of you who have done everything in your power to remain connected to each other, to navigate new worlds of digital life, and support the congregation for more than a year now! You have shown yourselves to be not just a place of worship, but a people who embody the church in the world. And secondly, I want to update you to the new protocols our Gift Team Board has discerned will fit our congregation and will be the best practice for all in our congregation, including our most vulnerable.
At the May Gift Team Board Meeting, it was decided that given current science and guidance, we will continue to mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status, to ensure that those who are unable to be vaccinated due to age or immune complications are still protected. This decision also ensures that we are not creating a discriminatory welcome to our community to feel the need to prove a vaccination status.
However, we will return to open seating throughout the sanctuary and will not structure the church for distancing but encourage you to make your own choices about with who and where to sit. We will also return to allowing singing for the hymns rather than humming as the CDC guidance allows singing for vaccinated individuals with masks on.
Bulletins will be available near the entry doors for you to pick up before finding your seat. If you prefer to continue to use your phone or tablet for the digital version, you are welcome to do so and leave the paper bulletins for others.
On communion Sundays, the church will provide self contained gluten free/ juice combinations to pick up near the bulletins. If you struggle with the packaging of the individual cups, please speak with an usher for a small plate and assistance with the wrapping. If you prefer to bring your own, you are still welcome to do so.
We will continue to not pass the offering plate, but will leave it accessible at the entry and exit doors for receiving our giving.
Faith Formation hour before church will resume June 6th, with discussion and conversation time in Keller Hall lead by Bill Shumway. However, the intergenerational, all ages group, will continue to be on hold for the time being. If you have an interest in the intergenerational group and would like to discuss leadership and programming possibilities, talk with Pastor Beth to see how and when we can begin to offer this opportunity once again.
In a spirit of acceptance and courtesy to all and the needs of individual families, we ask that everyone be prepared with a mask when engaging in outdoor events, but leave it up to the event leader or the individuals to decide when to wear them. Some of us will continue to mask, and when in conversations with those wearing masks, we encourage you to show mutual respect and mask as well.
Our current pattern of worship streamed to Facebook Live will continue forward, however, as our music shifts, there may be times where the projector and screen in the sanctuary is not used, and other times that it will be. The cameras for both the congregation view and the altar view will continue to be used. If you have concerns about having your image shown online, please talk with the office. We are envisioning a continued hybrid existence for our community that will allow for engagement in worship outside of the traditional worship hour, so the livestream, archived worship on YouTube and weekly sermon podcasts will continue to serve as ways to connect our community beyond Sunday. We encourage you to continue to recommend them to others, check in on them yourself, or share with those seeking worship resources.
In all these changes, I want to say that making the decisions to engage in our shared ministry can feel like a lot of pressure, or very stressful decisions if there are individuals in your family with specific concerns. So remember that each of us, as disciples, has made a covenant to stand with you and support you in making the right choice for yourself and family.
This is an opportunity for all of us to practice patience and respectful dialogue as we navigate a middle ground of vaccinated, unvaccinated, and not eligible realities for our entire congregation. In this middle ground, there is still a lot of fear and hurt within us and it is our job as disciples of a God who chose LOVE above all, to find ways to encourage and share that love with each person we meet. Let us continue to be a Small Church, with a Big Heart that accepts the road forward will not be simple but knows it will be walked in mutual respect and love.
If you have questions or thoughts on this process, please reach out to us by leaving a message with the office, emailing your thoughts, or by call or text to Pastor Beth.
Pastor Beth and the Gift Team Board
email@example.com / office: 717-566-8893
Once again, I get to say to you that change is coming. At the most recent Gift Team Board Meeting, the
decision was made to return to our Hybrid model of worship starting April 11th, 2021. Given the current rates
and the continuing roll out of the vaccine, the Gift Team Board and I feel we are ready now to thoughtfully
move forward with in person worship and gathering again.
As we make this change, we acknowledge that for some who are further down the vaccine timeline, or
with vulnerable communities outside the church, the time will still not be right for returning. But as we did in the fall of 2020, we will offer worship space, while still following the same mitigation factors we set in place,
distanced pews, masks, and fellowship outside the building following service.
NOT READY TO RETURN? For those who do not feel comfortable returning at this point due to increased personal or family risk, please note that our current Facebook Live worship will continue. We will continue to stream our services for the foreseeable future, and encourage you to continue to share them with family and friends in several different formats. Check out the Worship Page for more information.
READY TO GATHER? For those who are excited by the opportunity to be in the building, read on for more
about the changes implemented to worship so that when we gather in person, we do our best to limit
everyone’s risk of exposure.
We have a responsibility to care for the health and well-being of all in our
community, including our most vulnerable populations. As we embark upon this process, we ask you
to focus on this commitment to all disciples and friends of the congregation by following through, and helping others to do the same.
Remember what Jesus said when asked about the Greatest Commandment, “Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself”. Let us show our love for all.
As rates of COVID-19 have risen in the last few weeks so quickly, the Gift Team Board and leadership of the United Church of Christ of Hummelstown have decided that we will suspend all in person worship and gatherings starting November 29th.
As we have done for the last nine months, we will continue to stream every worship service on Sunday at 10:30 am, and ensure they are available after that time for those who are not able to “attend” at that specific time.
This live stream will continue to be shared at the toll-free call-in phone number, for those without internet. For details, please call the church office If you are not currently on the mailing list and would like to be, please call the office and request that you be placed on that list. If you are not currently on our email list, or are having issues with your email delivery of the weekly bulletin and information, please also contact us to ensure you are able to receive the weekly updates, especially in this time of such quick change and uncertainty.
What will be done digitally and how do I access it?
Watch the video: Scroll down the home page to the video and click to make full screen. The first video listed should be the one upcoming/current. Stream goes live at 10:20 approximately to allow for time to get in and settled before worship begins.
How long will this last?
We aren’t clear how long we will be suspending in person worship. We will do our best to be transparent and allow as much time as possible to get updates to you as we can. We will continue to follow CDC and medical recommendations as we continue through this time together, yet apart.
How can you continue to engage with the church when we aren’t meeting in person?
The number one thing to think about is to stay connected, but to find new ways to do it! Pray for those affected by illness and for who this time of intentional isolation is hardest, as well as those who are still working in essential industries who are continuing to be exposed to large numbers of the public and are therefore at risk.
Call, email, send letters or postcards. As we are more separated, we will all begin to feel more lonely or discouraged. Take some extra time to check in by virtual means or send a letter saying hi to remind someone you are thinking of them.
In this time of fear, share the heart of who we are with the world, that the God we worship, and the life we celebrate is centered on love. God is present with us even when we are lonely. I invite you to find the ways that will calm your own anxieties, and find your center there. Speak up when you can to share a vision of unity with those who would sow divisiveness.
May you feel the presence and peace of love as we move into uncertainty and walk with one another in grace.
Pastor Beth Rogers
For more information about COVID-19 in Pennsylvania visit:
In-person worship option starts September 20th
Hello friends, this year has so far been a confusing, frustrating one, hasn’t it? And changes will continue to be coming at us. As the saying goes, the only constant is change.
Throughout the summer, the clarity of the science of the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to develop, and given the current situation, the Gift Team Board and I feel we are ready now to thoughtfully move toward in person worship and gathering again.
While this is comforting for some who are really feeling the lack of connection, it can also feel concerning to others and I want to make space in our community for both of those emotions to be heard. The Board has decided that we will begin to hold services in the building once again starting September 20th.
NOT READY TO RETURN? For those who do not feel comfortable returning at this point due to increased personal or family risk, please note that our current Facebook Live worship will continue. We will continue to stream our services for the foreseeable future, and encourage you to continue to share them with family and friends in several different formats. Check out the Digital Worship Page included here for more information.
READY TO GATHER? For those who are excited by the opportunity to be in the building, read on to the next few pages to read more about the changes implemented to worship so that when we gather in person, we do our best to limit everyone’s risk of exposure.
We have a responsibility to care for the health and well-being of all in our community, including our most vulnerable populations. As we embark upon this process, we ask you to focus on this commitment to all disciples and friends of the congregation by following through, and helping others to do the same.
Remember what Jesus said when asked about the Greatest Commandment, “Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself”. Let us show our love for all.
As we start to see more news stories about parts of our state reopening, we know that many of you are curious about how that will impact Hummelstown United Church of Christ. Pastor Beth and the members of the Gift Team Board are together working closely to review the most up-to-date information, relying on guidance from the Penn Central Conference of the UCC, the phased plan for reopening set forth by Pennsylvania’s Governor, and the CDC’s recommendations. We have not yet finalized the details of our church re-opening, or the date on which it may open, but we assure you that we will move forward carefully and thoughtfully with the health and safety of our church community as our first priority.
Currently, our county is in the Red Phase, which means that a stay at home order is in effect, and there is a ban on large gatherings. The next phase is Yellow, which lifts some restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. During this phase, gatherings cannot be larger than 25 people, and can only occur if strict cleaning protocols, social distancing, and mask rules are followed. The green phase represents a return to a “new normal”, with most restrictions lifted and a requirement to follow all CDC guidelines.
We will not resume church activities in person until we are sure we can do so safely. When in-person small groups and worship services do eventually start again (and they will), it’s important to realize that they may not be exactly as they were before. This situation has caused things to change, and it will continue to challenge our flexibility and resilience. You can expect to continue to hear from us as our path to re-opening becomes clearer.
Many of us are finding that we are approaching our limits of social isolation, changing expectations, and the stress caused by this pandemic. It’s hard. We all want it to be over, and we find ourselves questioning just how much more we can take. We don’t have easy answers to offer you, but what we can offer is our sincere love and concern for the people of Hummelstown UCC. Whether you have been a part of this church community for a lifetime or a short while, there is a circle of support here for you when you need it. Please reach out to the church office, check in on each other, and be a reflection of God’s love in the world. We love you, God loves you, and we will get through this together.
The Gift Team Board & Pastor Beth
Rev. Beth Rogers
On April 1, 2020, Governor Wolf extended the Stay at Home Order to include the entire state until at least April 30th. This means that our current online worship, blended with the mailing of weekly bulletins will continue until at least the end of April. Though we don’t know the exact timing of our return to in person worship, we will continue to monitor the situation and ask that you do the same. Please remain at home as much as possible so we can continue to slow the spread of this virus.
Carin & Pastor Beth will continue to offer online worship streamed from the Sanctuary until such a time as that is no longer feasible. We are grateful to offer the continuity of our regular worship space for everyone viewing from home.
If you are feeling a need for engagement, see below for some ideas…
Pray and be thankful for everyone engaged in the necessary public employment to keep our society functioning. If you are engaged in the essential jobs, we thank you for all you are doing.
Take a selfie of yourself and send it to the church or post on the Facebook page. I’d love to be able to share with everyone a few pages of all of our smiling faces. If you don’t have a camera or need help in taking a photo, contact Pastor Beth to come out and take a photo of you, from a distance, to share. If you are feeling especially creative, take a photo of yourself with your palm frond from the Palm Sunday worship, included in the Palm Sunday Bulletin, or available for download here. https://tinyurl.com/wavingpalm
Record yourself passing the peace. If we can get enough of the congregation to send in short videos of peace, we can knit them together to send out to homebound members.
Take time outside. Bring a favorite devotional, or an online bulletin with you and sit in the garden or walk along a trail to hear God’s breath around you in the stirring of the trees, the rustling of the grass and the still small voice of the church beside you. It is spring, and time to celebrate all that springs forth from the earth each year. What are you thankful for?
In Hope and Peace,
As we are all aware, our nation and world are facing the impact of the outbreak of COVID-19, also known as the Corona virus. We have been closely monitoring the situation including recommendations from our UCC leadership, the CDC, and medical professionals within our local community. The critical thing for our communities to do is to slow the rate of the epidemic so medical facilities are not overwhelmed. The most effective way to slow the spread of the virus is social distancing, or in other words, minimizing contact with others.
At this time, The Gift Team Board and leadership of the United Church of Christ of Hummelstown has suspended all worship and church based gatherings effective immediately through March 29th. We are in the process of setting up plans for continuing to celebrate Sunday worship online, with materials available in our regular weekly email. This suspension of activities includes Sunday worship, Faith Formation, Bible Study and Choir Rehearsals.
Plans are coming in for worship gathering online, and will be communicated this Thursday by our regular weekly email. I will be setting up an online meeting for Bible Study this week, where you can call in from your phone at home, or use
the video chat feature to join in as well.
Pastor Beth and Mary Lou will continue to work from the office, but are limiting public contact to minimum, and working as individually as possible. At this time, we both feel confident in this action, however, if this shifts, we will move to working at home. If you need to get a hold of anyone, or aren’t sure if anyone is in the office, please feel free to contact Pastor Beth on her cell phone at any time. Text, video chat and phone calls are all welcome.
What is being cancelled or postponed?
How long will this last?
We are currently planning a two week cancelation time and then will make another assessment as to the timing of a return to in person gatherings. We will continue to follow CDC and medical recommendations in the coming weeks.How can we continue to engage with the church when we aren’t meeting in person?
The number one thing to think about is to stay connected, but to find new ways to do it! Pray for those affected by illness and for who this time of intentional isolation is hardest, as well as those who are still working in “essential” industries who are continuing to be exposed to large numbers of the public and are therefore at risk.
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In this time of fear, share the heart of who we are with the world, that the God we worship, and the life we celebrate is centered on love. God is present with us even when we are lonely. So I invite you to find the ways that will calm your own anxieties, and find your center there. We must resist the urge to contributeto the xenophobia that has been sparked by the fear of this virus, and the anger of isolation. Speak up when you can to share a vision of unity with those who would sow divisiveness.
If you need a way to center yourself, you can even do it while contributing to health, by washing your hands with prayer on your mind. As we wash our hands, pick a favorite hymn, doxology, prayer, or scripture to sing or say (once or twice). Let’s join in a spiritual practice to relieve some anxiety. The verse that pops up for me right now is, “I look to the hills, from where does my help come, it comes from God.”
May you feel the presence and peace of love as we move into uncertainty and
walk with one another in grace.
Pastor Beth Rogers
For more information about the Coronavirus and how to keep safe visit: