Sunday Morning Worship Services
Online at 10am
There will be no in person worship at this time. Our services are live streamed on YouTube. Links are shared on Facebook to view the service videos, and service videos are also available on this website under the VIDEOS tab.
January 12, 2021
Dear Church Family (Including – Members, Worshipping Friends, Preschool Staff and Parents, Scouts and Scout Volunteers and Parents) – Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: (Romans 1:7)
You are receiving this pastoral letter in place of what would be the January/February 2021 edition of “The Steeple,” our church newsletter. The purpose is to remind all in our church family of God’s presence through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit for 2021. Here are some updates:
- Through January 8, the infection/virus transmission infection rate was measured as “Substantial” in all 67 counties in PA, including Clearfield. So at least for the near future, the church closure policies continue as approved by Session December 9, 2020. Prior to any partial or full reopening, we will keep everyone informed via additional pastoral letters and announcements via video and the internet. The closure policies as approved in December are attached with this pastoral letter.
No one wants the closure of the church facility to continue any longer than necessary, but infection rates continue to climb aided by new variants of the virus that are more contagious. Remember Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you… May we practice these words with continued social distancing, hand-washing, and wearing of masks.
The church, meanwhile, is always ready to reach out to any in our church family who may have questions, need assistance obtaining information about the Covid pandemic here in PA and our regions, internet/computer assistance and answering questions on how to view worship services and other media postings on line. Remember to use You Tube if you have difficulty viewing worship and other postings through Facebook Live – a link to You Tube is found on both the church’s web site: www.ClearfieldPresbyterian.org or the church’s Facebook page: “Clearfield Presbyterian.”
Please continue to use the Prayer Chain or contact the church office for prayer requests or other pastoral care or assistance that the church office and/or the pastor may be able to provide; and, you may also contact the pastor or church office to add names to the office prayer board for Sunday worship and to request prayer in person with the pastor, 10:00 am – 12:00 Noon on Sundays and between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm Monday through Thursday as long as the facility remains closed. If there is an immediate urgency for prayer and the office is closed, you can contact the pastor anytime via his cell phone: (814) 496-8874.
For more information on the Covid virus in PA, there is an app that can be downloaded to most cell phones called: CovidAlertPA.
- The annual meeting of the congregation – which usually is held late January or the first Sunday in February – is currently postponed until in-person worship starts again. But the printed annual report is being compiled and will be printed as soon as possible. Postage costs prohibit mailing for such a large document – but we will alert the congregation when the reports are ready and can be picked up from the church office or delivered if requested,
Thank you to all who participated in returning your voting sheets back to the church office which elected new elders and deacons and affirmed the church budget for 2021. Session Members elected are: Class of 2021: Judi Bookhamer; Class of 2022: Judy Billotte; Class of 2023: Chris Frye, Steve Popson – to be ordained, Grace Swanson, and Ann Wood. Deacons elected are: Class of 2022: Brenda Grice; Class of 2023: Pam Redden (to be ordained); Marty Fletcher (to be ordained); Jodi Addleman; Cindy Peterson. Trustees elected, Class of 2023: Howard Hunt, Cynthia Irwin, Bill Mackereth. We give thanks for all of these individuals who have answered God’s call to serve through the voice of this congregation.
- Worship and Music Committee had its first meeting for 2021 and approved communion dates for the rest of the year; a devotional book for Lent to be mailed/distributed to the congregation was chosen to be recommended to Session for approval. Possible alternatives for Ash Wednesday worship and communion were discussed from in-person to virtual only for worship, taking communion, and “at home” imposition of ashes; also discussed was the possibility of church family members and friends “driving by” the church and having the imposition of ashes done without having to leave their cars.
- So as plans continue to be made for the seasons of Lent and Easter, the office is planning for a special addition of The Steeple to be published for the seasons of Lent and Easter. It will be printed and mailed to the congregation prior to Ash Wednesday which this year is February 17, and cover the period through Easter Sunday, April 4.
- Here are recent concerns for intercession and prayer in our church family: Kim Catherman – surgery, January 12; Bill Polkinghorn – other health issue temporarily halting chemo treatments; Scott McKenzie – recent hospitalization for heart procedure – home; Joe Popson – Steve Popson’s dad – recovering from stroke and is now home; Chet Dale – fell January 12 – currently in hospital in Altoona as of this writing; Gary and Barb Jewert – friends of PCC – both diagnosed with Covid – Gary at home and Barb had to be in the hospital but is also now home – Gary is the Commissioned Lay Pastor in Curwensville and Barb is a member of Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry; Hank Wilson – recent tests and diagnosis but encouraging outlook for the present; Mary Parks – recent out-patient hospital visit for knee that replacement in recent months – no need for additional surgery, though, will be treated with medication; In Our Father’s House – Christa Small – January 8, 2021 – mother of Betsy Wilson, private family services were held, I believe January 11: We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living (Romans 14:7-9).
Again, please also find a couple of attachments with this letter for your reading and information. My prayer and blessing for each of you as members and friends of PCC and for your loved ones and our church family as a whole is found in the book of the prophet Zephaniah 3:17:
The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.
Now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the encouraging presence of the Holy Spirit be with you all; love in Christ,
Church Closure Guidelines – Approved By Session December 8/9, 2020
Many of these guidelines look the same at the ones we adopted in the spring. However, through our previous closure we have learned some valuable insights to help clarify and simplify the guidelines.
- There will be no in person worship services. Services will be available online Sunday mornings at 10am and are a hybrid of the praise and traditional services. Church staff, musicians, and special guests will be the only people allowed in the building on Sunday mornings.
- Preschool will begin virtual instruction only effective 12/14/2020. Preschool staff will have building access Monday through Friday 8am to 4pm. No support service staff will be allowed building access after 12/11/2020.
- All chartered Scout organizations will suspend in person meetings effective 12/13/2020. All building use requests are suspended until further notice. In addition, the Trustees request that no one enter the basement without staff or trustee accompaniment due to current phase of construction. Access, with accompaniment, will be granted Monday through Thursday 8am to 4pm or Sunday 9am to 10am. Due to the delicate nature of the construction project, there will be no exceptions.
- All building requests from all groups are suspended until further notice effective 12/14/2020.
- The church building will be open 9am to 4pm Monday through Thursday for anyone needing to complete church business or pastoral counseling (additional pastoral counseling appointments may be available at the discretion of the pastor). All FOBs, with the exception of church staff, preschool staff, and officers of the corporation, will be deactivated 12/13/2020.
- Session and Board of Trustees should be allowed to meet in person as needed (wearing masks and social distancing) in order to continue the business of the church. Committees should only meet in person if necessary and are encouraged to meet virtually or by phone if possible.
- The church building should remain closed as long as our county is in the “substantial” category (see information on opposite page). The building should reopen once Clearfield County has been labeled as “moderate” or “low” for a period of two weeks.
Basis for Church Closure
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has made the following guidelines for the Department of Education to determine whether services should be provided in person or online:
If the county of residence has been labeled as “substantial” for two weeks or greater, services should be provided online only. Once the county of residence has returned to “moderate” or “low” rating for two weeks, services may resume in person while following best practices of wearing masks, social distancing, and cleanliness. Substantial, moderate, and low ratings will be assigned to counties based on the following factors and will be updated once a week, on Mondays, on the Department of Health website.
|Level||Incidence rate per 100,000 over previous 7 days||PCR % Positivity over the previous 7 days|
|Moderate||10 to <100||5% to 10%|
Clearfield County’s incidence rate per 100,000 over the previous 7 days (November 27 to December 3) is 570.6 and our PCR % positivity for the same time frame is 16.2%. We are in the substantial category, and have been since the week ending November 13th.
Historically, PCC has followed the local school district in regards to weather related closures. At this point, Clearfield Area School District is using a hybrid model to continue half time in person classes. However, given the median age of our congregation and known preexisting conditions among our congregation, we must consider whether it is responsible to continue in person services.
Following the Department of Health guidelines detailed above would give us clear direction about when to close and reopen. The data is updated weekly and can be linked to our Facebook and website to allow our congregants to follow the tools for our decision making.