All Are Welcome

Welcome To St. John’s Lutheran Church

IN-PERSON WORSHIP UPDATE (as of 7/21/20)

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:1-5 NRSV)

At the writing of this article, Northampton County is currently in the Green Phase of Governor Wolf’s plan to combat COVID-19. Our church is following the advice of the CDC, PA Department of Health, the ELCA and other ecumenical partners as we gather. Following these guidelines ensures that, in humility, we look to the interests of others. They are meant for the sake of everyone’s health and safety. We, as a church, can set a positive example for the larger community.

I had hopes that by August we could begin to hold our Saturday evening services in the nave. This was not meant to be as cases continue to rise and the PA Department of Health has restricted indoor gatherings to no more than 25 people. As disappointing as this is, the church leadership has decided to follow this restriction and not meet in large groups indoors.

There are many restrictions placed on our worship experience together upon entering the sanctuary. We are working through those procedures and will inform you of those plans as they become clear. We are discussing procedures for seating such as being ushered to your pew, seating people from the front to the back, dismissing people from the back to the front, and using the Shepherd’s Room for overflow. These procedures will work to maintain proper physical distance.

Once we are indoors, ventilation is important to lower the risk of infection. During indoor worship, the plan is to turn on the exhaust fans in the kitchen and the fellowship hall and open the windows in the nave along Prospect Street to draw air through.

It is our plan to begin celebrating the Lord’s Supper once again on August 2nd, provided the supplies arrive in time. We will be using pre-filled communion sets. The grape juice and the wafer are prepackaged by the manufacturer into a communion cup that is double-sealed. The first seal when opened exposes the wafer. The second seal exposes the juice. When you arrive at worship, these pre-filled sets will be sitting out on a table. One person from your household should pick up enough for the household. When the time of distribution comes, you will remain at your seat to commune yourselves or members of households can commune each other. Please discard the trash or take it home with you. If you have children or others in your household not communing, a member of the household will be instructed to bless that person(s).

Unfortunately, we have not found a gluten free option. Those needing gluten free bread can bring their own bread and wine or grape juice. Anyone who wishes may bring their own bread and wine or grape juice as well if that would make you feel more comfortable.

For those watching at home, please have bread and wine or juice ready before the service begins. You may want to set up a home altar with a cross or perhaps a candle on which to set your communion elements. You may also drop by the church office to pick up pre-filled communion sets for your household.

On Sundays at 9:00 a.m. we will worship in person outdoors in the main parking lot. If you wish to attend in-person worship, we ask that you follow these guidelines.

Guidelines for Outdoor Worship at the Church:

  • Bring your own chair (as you are physically able) and sit as a household maintaining a physical distance of 6-feet from other households. Ushers will be on hand to guide and assist you. A limited number of chairs will be provided by the church.
  • Wear a mask unless you are under the age of 2 or have a medical reason for not wearing one (CDC guidelines). If you do not have a mask or forget to bring yours, we will have masks on hand that you will take home with you.
  • We also ask you to practice good hand hygiene. There will be hand sanitizer in the gathering space.
  • Parking will be available in the Main Lot, Miller Lot, Prospect Street (angled parking), Main Street Service Station (corner of Prospect and Main), and at the corner of Spruce and Walnut Streets (former Danner Accounting Parking Lot).
  • The church building will be open for restroom usage only. Use hand sanitizer upon entering the building. Only two people should be in the restroom at a time.
  • The weekly bulletin will be posted on our Facebook page and website. You are welcome to print it at home and bring it with you or look at it on your device during worship. We will have limited copies of the bulletin for you to use if needed.
  • Please limit your conversations with those outside of your household before and after the service.
  • We value the health and safety of all our members. Therefore, we ask that you stay home from in-person worship, especially if you are feeling ill or have preexisting conditions that make you a high-risk congregant. We invite you to watch the service online via Facebook or the website. CDs will continue to be mailed to those who have requested them. Please see the CDC guidelines for the list of Covid-19 symptoms.

In the case of inclement weather:

  • If church leadership sees that the forecast is for rain, in-person worship will be cancelled. We will post this on our Facebook page, website, and on WFMZ.
  • If we arrive at church and the weather changes, you will be asked to return home.
  • You can watch or listen to the prerecorded worship service in your home.

What to expect during in-person worship:

  • There will be no group singing, following National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) guidelines. Soloists, duets, or trios will sing the hymns as the congregation meditates on the words which will be printed in the bulletin.
  • Congregants will be asked to mouth, not speak aloud, the words of unison prayers and responses.
  • There will be offering plates placed around the worship area for you to place your offering as you enter or leave worship. You can also continue to give to the ministries of St. John’s through online giving, the mail, or your bank.
  • We will be using Hand Speak, sign gestures, waving, and other creative ways to pass the peace while remaining physically distanced from other congregants.
  • We will be outdoors. Be mindful of how you tolerate heat and humidity. Please make the best decision for yourself regarding attendance.
  • On Communion Sundays, please pick up your pre-filled communion sets as you enter the worship space.

We will continue to pre-record a worship service in the nave to be posted on YouTube, and our website at 5:30 pm on Saturdays and then on Facebook at 9 am on Sundays. For those of you who are used to attending worship on Saturdays the 5:30 pm posting is for you. For those who are used to attending on Sundays and enjoy the watch party feel of Facebook Premier the Sunday morning posting is for you. CDs of this worship service will continue to be mailed to those requesting them.

Christ’s Peace,
Pastor Scott


WELCOME

Welcome to Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, located in historic Nazareth, PA. We are pleased that you have found our website and would like to take this opportunity to invite you to visit with us soon. While you are here, please visit our web pages to learn about us and the things God is doing at Saint John’s.

Saint John’s Lutheran Church was established as a union church in 1859. Over the next fourteen decades, Saint John’s roots spread deep into the limestone rich earth and its trunk grew strong. The congregation flourished under the nurturing of eleven dedicated and gifted pastors who encouraged the laity to develop leadership skills.

We give thanks to God for our rich history, our magnificent building, and the legacy of faith handed down by those who have gone before us. We also give thanks for our life together at Saint John’s today.