St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania

Changes in Response to Coronavirus/COVID-19 Concerns

Updates – March 28th, 2020

You can now also view our weekly livestreamed service here on the Church website, or on Facebook.

Updates – March 24th, 2020

Please see here for details about the suspension of live worship through at least May 4th, and more. Also, please this Children & Youth Ministry update from Anthony.

Updates – March 21, 2020

While we are all saddened by our inability to gather as a community within our sanctuary to worship, that does not mean that we cannot worship together!  St. Matthew’s will livestream a service at 10:00 a.m. Sunday, March 22, on Facebook (see instructions here). You do not need a Facebook account to view this service.  Father Peter will preach, and both Martha Reynolds from the Arise band, and Phil Lefevre, our organist, will be on hand to provide our music.

Updates – March 18, 2020

Please see here for new information on online opportunities for prayer and study being offered by St. Matthew’s this week.

Updates – March 17, 2020

  1. On Sunday, March 22nd we will be livestreaming the Eucharist on Facebook at 10:00 am with music, homily and prayers for you all. We will email instructions on Saturday. You do not need a Facebook account to participate. 
  2. Tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18th) at noon we will be offering Noonday Prayer at 12:00 also by streaming on Facebook.  You’ll be able to join us by visiting the parish Facebook page. If you need instructions, please email Joe Buesgen.
  3. Thursday, Morning Prayer will be offered at 9:00 via Zoom.  If you would like to attend, contact Karen Sawyer so she can send information about how to get on to the site.
  4. Ftr. Peter is going to offer the Lenten Study on Zoom.  If you want to be part of this let him know and he will send you the link with instructions about how to use it.

Changes Effective March 14, 2020

On the advice of Bishop Gutierrez, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Sunday services on March 15 and 22. For more information, please see this notice.

Changes Effective March 13, 2020

The changes below were announced in this notice.

  • We will offer only 1 service on the next two Sundays, March 15 and 22, at 10 a.m. – a combined 9:00/10:30 service (Communion wafer only, no physical contact during the Peace, hand sanitizer available, we will wipe all surfaces with disinfectant). (Please note: These two services have since been canceled, please see here for more information.)
  • There will be no coffee hour.
  • We encourage all at-risk people to stay home during the 2 weeks, as the Governor has recommended.   
  • It is our intent to stream the services so you can attend virtually.  We will send out information on the link when we have it. 
  • St. Matthew’s Nursery School will be closed as of Friday, March 13.
  • Sunday School will be suspended for two weeks.
  • Healing Litany and Holy Eucharist will be offered at noon Wednesdays
  • Noonday Prayer & Lunch on Tuesdays, and Morning Prayer on Thursdays, will be suspended for the two weeks.
  • All weekly gatherings at the church will be canceled for the two weeks (Christian Formation Programs, Lenten Studies, rehearsals, etc.).  If meetings need to be held, call-in meetings or video conferences may be organized.
  • Staff will keep office hours, but perhaps on a reduced schedule.  They are available by phone and email.
  • Carolyn Bedics has instructed our cleaning crew to do deeper cleaning and sanitizing of the facilities during this time of the coronavirus.
  • The Chili Bingo social and Youth Fireside Chat, which fall during the two-week window, will need to be moved to later dates.
  • We will evaluate the health risk environment daily and inform you of any changes.

Changes Effective March 6, 2020

With the flu season upon us and with growing concern about the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, we want to be mindful of best practices to prevent the spread of contagious disease in our church. Here are some simple things you can do to help everyone.

  • Wash your hands frequently. This is still one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce the spread of communicable diseases. Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance to the church.
  • Stay at home if you are not feeling well. You are not helping anyone by coming to church with a cold or the flu to tough it out. Clergy or lay ministers can bring the Sacrament to you and/or provide pastoral care by phone as appropriate. 
  • It’s not too late to get your flu shot. While many are worried about the COVID19 virus spreading, this is already a bad flu season. If you have not had a flu vaccine, there’s still time before the expected second wave of seasonal flu infections.

The Peace:  Physical contact during the Peace will be discontinued for now. (Updated March 6th, 2020)

Ministers of Communion: All Eucharistic Ministers and clergy have been instructed to wash their hands prior to the start of the Liturgy and to use hand sanitizer just prior to administering the cup or the bread. Eucharistic visits to homes will be restricted to ordained persons for now. (Updated March 6, 2020)

Intinction: The practice of dipping bread into the wine is not a sanitary substitute for drinking from the chalice.  Intinction risks unclean hands being dipped in the wine and is a transmission route, as well as creates risk for those with certain allergies.  Intinction will not be an option at St. Matthew’s until the risk associated with the spread of COVID-19 has passed.

The Common Cup: There is little evidence of the risk of infection associated with the shared Communion cup, which means that each person needs to make up their own mind about drinking from the chalice. Do not drink from the chalice if you have a cold or are not feeling well. Church teaching is clear that Christ is fully present in the bread and the wine and a communicant receives the full benefit of Communion by receiving only bread or only wine.

Collection: We will not be passing a collection plate during the services. A basket will be placed on the table at the back of the church. We ask that you place your envelopes, including Feed the Hungry donations, in that basket. (Updated March 6, 2020)

Additional information and links may be found on the Episcopal Relief & Development web page, “Faith-Based Response to Epidemics.”