All gatherings are cancelled through April.
In continuing to follow the updates on the COVID-19 pandemic and attempting to heed the advice of our governing authorities, we have made the decision to cancel all gatherings through the end of April. This includes all Sunday worship gatherings, Community Group gatherings and the Student Community Group.
This also includes our Good Friday and Easter gatherings. But we are working hard planning meaningful, whole church, virtual gatherings for both of those important days. Look for more information to come soon!
Should anything change with these plans, we will update you. But in this season, it is essential that we continue to do our part as members of this community to love our neighbors and to protect each other. We will continue to stream gatherings on Sunday and to offer a mid-week, whole church virtual gathering as well.
3/12/2020 - Evening Update
All gatherings for this weekend have been cancelled.
We have decided to cancel all Hope Alliance gatherings for this weekend. This includes the Prayer & Worship gathering on Friday, both Sunday worship gatherings, Ethan Davies’ Eagle Scout Ceremony and any Community Group gatherings. Since the email we sent out this morning, several things have transpired which has led us to make this decision.
1. We were contacted by the Bethlehem School District and the Nazareth Y&MCA letting us know that our leases have been temporarily suspended (likely through the end of this month).
2. Governor Wolf held a press conference urging even more stringent cautions be taken and that citizens make every effort to social distance themselves. He also asked religious leaders to use discretion and help prevent the virus’ spread.
3. There is now at least one confirmed COVID-19 case in Northampton County and already several school closures in our area.
While we could have scrambled to find an alternate location for this weekend, as a leadership team we felt it wise to simply cancel all gatherings. A church is not just an organization unto itself, but ought to be a blessing to its community as well. This decision is about taking precautions for each other as a church, but it is also about working with our community to prevent the spread of this virus.
We will continue to be in touch with you regularly as new details become available and/or as decisions are made. Please join us in praying for wisdom in making decisions regarding our gatherings for upcoming weeks since our leases have already been suspended. And also please join us in praying for the safety and well-being of our church family and our community.
Grace and Peace,
3/12/2020 - Morning Update
Hey Church Family,
I wanted to take a moment to write to you in regards to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and its potential impact on our region and our church. This is a bit of a long email, but please take a few minutes to read it in its entirety.
Something unexpected and significant like the emergence of this virus can cause a wide variety of reactions and responses. But as Christians, I think we need to be reminded of two important realities. First, we are not to be people governed by fear. Certainly an unknown like this can cause us some level of worry or trepidation. Nevertheless, we can’t and don’t allow our fears to order our lives. Second, we are to be people characterized by wisdom. In the face of an unknown virus, we are called to be people who respond thoughtfully and intentionally for ourselves, our families and our community. To be cavalier in any way would be short-sighted and foolish, not just personally but corporately and communally.
These two things being our guidelines, here are some important realities.
1. At this time all of our regular gatherings, including this Friday’s Prayer & Worship Gathering, will still take place as scheduled. Any and all decisions to cancel will be made as a leadership team in response to new information or directives from national, state or local officials. Additionally, as a church who rents meeting space, we are also beholden to both the Bethlehem School District and the Nazareth YMCA and will follow any and all decisions they make in regards to their facilities. Should we need to cancel any gathering(s), we will communicate it to you via email, social media and the website. Please check these sources regularly.
2. If you are sick or feeling sick in any way, we ask that you not attend Hope gatherings during your sickness. This is a request made out of an abundance of caution so as to not put anyone (including others who use the facilities we use) at risk of becoming sick or compromising their immune system in any way during this season. It is a way we can care well for each other and the organizations who allow us to use their facilities.
3. If you are a person who is at risk of serious illness from this virus, we ask that you use caution in your participation in our regular gatherings. Choosing to not attend is not a lack of faith, nor is it a sign of spiritual weakness. It is a sign of wisdom. The CDC lists those at greater risk as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html
4. We urge you to do your part in practicing everyday preventative actions. These include frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow and frequently cleaning regularly touched objects and surfaces. This is not to promote paranoia, but to realize that we are not just individuals, but part of a community. Preventive actions are not just personally helpful, but protect others as well.
5. When we gather, please be aware and respectful of people’s personal space. Hugs and handshakes are regular occurrences at our weekly gatherings and we love that! But they may not be welcome realities during this season. Let’s honor each other as we gather.
6. We realize that some in our church or in our spheres of influence might be in need, especially if cases multiply in our area. If you are in need of care or resources, please reach out to your congregational pastor and we will do everything we can to serve you or those close to you.
This outbreak is another example of the broken world we live in. And it presents another opportunity to be saturated in and shaped by the gospel. Let’s heed Paul’s words in Romans and not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We won’t be governed by fear, but we will respond with wisdom. And we will do it amongst a watching world, bringing glory to God.
Grace and Peace,