Know Jesus. Grow in Faith. Go Serve.

St. John’s Current Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

In-person worship at St. John’s Church will resume on Sunday, June 7!

Please note! The letter below is two pages. Please click on the down arrow at the top or bottom left corner of page one to read page two.

Yellow-Phase-Letter

May 14, 2020

Dear St. John’s Family,

As you may know, based on the governor’s decision, 13 additional counties in Pennsylvania will officially enter the “Yellow Phase” of PA’s COVID-19 Phased Reopening Plan tomorrow.  The governor has decided that Lebanon County is not one of them.  The current decision of church leadership (subject to future review) is that St. John’s will resume in-person worship (with multiple services and limited capacity per service) only when Lebanon County is officially in the “Yellow Phase” as designated by the governor and when appropriate church policies and procedures are in place.  More details will be announced once an opening date has been determined.  Thank you for your continued prayers for our church leadership, our church family, and our plans regarding the physical reopening of our facilities.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Jeff

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May 7, 2020

Dear St. John’s Family,

As you may know, 24 counties in Pennsylvania will enter the “Yellow Phase” of PA’s COVID-19 Phased Reopening Plan tomorrow.  Lebanon County is not one of them.  St. John’s will resume in-person worship (with multiple services and limited capacity per service) only when Lebanon County is in the “Yellow Phase.”  More details will be announced once an opening date has been determined.  Thank you for your continued prayers for our church leadership, our church family, and our plans regarding the physical reopening of our facilities.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Jeff

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May 1, 2020

Dear St. John’s Family,

Out of an abundance of caution and in compliance with current PA regulations, VBS will be postponed until 2021.  A one-day kids fun event may be planned later in the summer if possible.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Jeff

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April 23, 2020

Dear St. John’s Family,

Out of an abundance of caution and in compliance with current PA, KY, and federal regulations, there will be no Big Creek Missions trip this summer. Please pray for God’s provision for BCM during this financially challenging time.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Jeff

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April 8, 2020

Dear St. John’s Family,

Out of an abundance of caution and in compliance with current PA regulations, there will be no Maundy Thursday communion service on Thursday, April 9.  Due to the unique nature of a communion service, there will be no “Church @ Home” live-streaming.  Families with faith in Christ are welcome to celebrate communion at home with Pastor Jeff’s support and blessing.  For suggested Scripture and ideas, please click HERE.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Jeff

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March 25, 2020

Dear St. John’s Family,

Out of an abundance of caution and in compliance with current PA regulations, the Twin Pines Spring Fling Children’s Retreat April 24-26 has been cancelled.  As of now, summer camp programming is still planned as scheduled.  Please pray for God’s provision for Twin Pines during this financially challenging time.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Jeff

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March 18, 2020

Dear St. John’s Family,

St. John’s Church will suspend all in-person services, classes, events, and activities from Wednesday, March 18, 2020 until further notice.  This decision is not made out of fear, but out of an abundance of caution for the care and well-being of our church family.  It is also consistent with the ever-changing societal response to COVID-19.  Because this situation is ever-changing, we will provide regular updates.

We have three ways for our church family to remain connected!

(1) Our “Church @ Home” live-streaming worship experience will begin on Sunday, March 22 at 10:30 am.  (You can even wear your PJs if you want to.  Don’t worry, Pastor Jeff will not!)  It is available on the home page of our website (www.ilovestjohns.org).  As always, you can watch the previous Sunday morning worship service anytime that week and can access an archive of sermons on our website as well.

(2) Our “Daily Encouragement by Text” has begun.  Join our texting list to receive an encouraging text each day from Pastor Jeff.  It might be a Bible verse, a photo, or even a video!  To be added to our texting list, (1) text JohnEC to 84576 and (2) follow the instructions sent to you.  (Why not tell a friend about it?)

(3) Our “Weekly Encouragement by Phone” will begin on Wednesday, March 25.  Join our Wednesday night 30-minute conference call at 7:00 pm for a brief story and prayer time led by Pastor Jeff.  (Jesus liked stories!)  To join a Wednesday night conference call, (1) dial 712-451-0011 and (2) enter access code 395586 when prompted.  (The beauty of a conference call is it doesn’t matter how your hair looks!)

Pastors Jeff and Jan continue to serve the St. John’s family and our community.  Feel free to text, call, or e-mail us.  Meetings essential to the care of our congregation and the ongoing mission of our church will be conducted.  For example, our Ministry Council will meet as needed.

Pastoral care to members who are homebound or in nursing homes will only take place by phone since these facilities are closed to the public. Pastoral care for hospitalized members is suspended in accordance with the restrictions adopted by the hospitals of Lebanon County.  Pastors Jeff and Jan will continue to minister by text, phone, and e-mail.  If you need us, please text, call, or e-mail us.

Pastor Jeff = 717-371-0840, jeff@ilovestjohns.org.  Pastor Jan = 717-679-1521, jan@ilovestjohns.org.

Please understand that even though our church building will be closed, the expenses and financial commitments of our church will continue.  While I understand that many will face financial challenges during the upcoming weeks and months, I am asking you to continue to worship through giving each week by either (1) giving online, or (2) mailing a check to the church (683 Steelstown Road, Annville, PA 17003).

We are following events closely and will re-establish our in-person services, classes, events, and activities as soon as we can.

One last thought for now, St. John’s Church is a people, not a place!  We are still the church, regardless of how we connect.  Please know that I am thankful for you and that I am praying for you!

Love in Christ,
Pastor Jeff

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March 13, 2020

Dear St. John’s Family,

At St. John’s, we care for all members of our church family, from our youngest worshipers to our oldest worshipers. With that in mind, we are asking everyone to take recommended precautions to keep yourself and others healthy, especially in light of recent developments with COVID-19 (coronavirus).

It’s important to remember that while many people may not feel that COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a personal major concern, there are people in our church family who, for varied reasons, are particularly vulnerable to such illnesses. It’s out of our Christlike love and compassion that we want to do our very best to demonstrate care by NOT being unknowing carriers of something that could be detrimental to their health. This is why we want to be prepared and to ensure that our most vulnerable worshipers are well-protected and cared for.

Therefore, in consultation with current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) protocols on this particular virus, we are making the following recommendations at the current time.

#1 – VULNERABLE POPULATIONS – You may be surprised to hear this (so sit down first if you must), but if you’re part of a vulnerable population who does not want to be in an environment where you could contract coronavirus, by all means: please feel free to stay home. The morning worship service is available by live-steam every Sunday at 10:30 am and anytime during the week at www.ilovestjohns.org (home page). You can also worship through giving by clicking on the green “Give Online” button at the top of the home page.

#2 – PRESENT SYMPTOMS – If you or your child has present symptoms associated with the flu or common cold (i.e. fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath), please stay home. We love you and want to see you, but we also must act in the best interest of our most vulnerable worshipers. Please take this seriously.

#3 – PHYSICAL CONTACT – We are asking people to refrain from hugging and shaking hands on Sunday mornings. (This would also be a bad time to resurrect the “holy kiss” spoken of in the New Testament). Yes, you might not be particularly at risk, but you also do not want to be an unknowing carrier to someone who is at risk. With that in mind, let’s stick to friendly smiles and hellos until the threat of the spread of harmful germs has passed. (You’re welcome, introverts!)

#4 – INCREASED CLEANING – We’re working hard to keep our environments at St. John’s clean and safe for you and your family. Some of the steps we are taking include offering hand sanitizer in the lobby, bathrooms, and throughout the building, as well as ramping up our efforts of cleaning and sanitizing commonly used surfaces.

These are just a few of the ways we are putting our best foot forward in doing our part to be prepared and to offer the safest environment possible for each of our worshipers. Furthermore, because of our commitment to Christlike compassion and care for one another, we will keep you apprised of other ways we may need to respond to the situation at hand.

While the uncertainty of this outbreak is creating a lot of anxiety in a lot of places, we, as followers of Jesus, can offer hope and compassion in a world that is desperate for it. Let’s not fear or panic, but let’s continue to look for opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities as we offer prayer, encouragement, and hope to the sick and the anxious around us.

Love in Christ,
Pastor Jeff