In-Person Worship Guidelines

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Trinity and our sister congregation St. Francis in Youngsville, PA both are offering in-person worship as an option, starting May 2nd. To participate, please note the following:

  • You must call the church office the week prior to the service to reserve a space. Trinity’s office phone is 814-723-9360. Leave a message on the main office phone. Please do not email or call Father Matthew. We will call you if we reach capacity and need to find alternatives.
  • You must wear a mask at all times during the service and practice social distancing.
  • Please come no sooner than 10 minutes before the service and leave promptly after the dismissal. We look forward to once again hosting fellowship activities before and after worship, but we are not quite there yet.

Communion will be offered by the priest bringing the bread to you in your pew. The wine will not be offered as per diocesan guidelines.

A verdict and a morning of snow

The morning after the verdict was announced in the trial of the officer now convicted of murdering George Floyd opens with snow on the ground. The common occurrence of late Spring snow in this beautiful part of God’s creation is a fitting metaphor for an all-too-common pattern that we must resist as we lay claim to Christ’s call for the justice worthy of his kingdom. We must not allow this small dusting of the partial purity of human justice to cover over the far deeper work of the emerging call to beloved community springing up throughout our corporate lives.

George Floyd’s death, and the courageous witness of the bystanders who gathered around the scene of his murder, opened so many eyes to the work of healing the long, long brokenness in our human community. Healing human community often requires painful work. In a single human body we might think of surgeries, toxic cancer treatments, grueling physical therapies, and a host of other difficult work necessary to heal a broken body. So too then we should expect that when healing a broken body of a people. We should encounter similar pains and difficult treatments to endure. The paroxisms of the last year bear witness to the body of the American people taking up the difficult work. Peaceful protests of tens of thousands, often facing officers of the peace feeling forced to use less and peaceful measures to restore their vision of calm communities. The evils of rioters and looters taking advantage of the situation, yet even their presence giving voice to anger that for too long has had nowhere to go. Legislators with twisted intent looking to restrict human rights in short-sighted attempts to maintain their version of the status quo. Families motivated by love but entrenched into opposing camps forced to awkward silence at even the most poignant of family milestone celebrations. The pain of the work is real.

And now, a verdict long awaited as we have more or less patiently waited for due process in the work of human justice is received. It would be all too easy now to give thanks for this pure light of hope after a long year of waiting and hurting as therapies have forced their way onto the body of our communities, and then, having received what we so desperately want to think is a cure to our ills, turn back to our visions of calm and peace that so often meant turning our backs on the long lasting evils still undermining the daily lives of our brothers and sisters.

Let the effect of the sunshine of tomorrow be a visual reminder of the right thing, the right path, the right next steps for all of us. Justice has begun to spring up in our lives. Hope, real hope, has begun to grow, and it points to something far greater than just a temporary victory through the courts of human justice. Once our immediate relief and joy melt away, let us take up with increased vigor the continued work of healing the body of our corporate humanity scared and shamed by racial injustice that has lasted centuries. Our congregations, through our work over the last year that include the Sacred Ground curriculum, has raised the minds and hearts of 12 congregants and your clergy person to just some of the scope of the work ahead. Already it has inspired 2 members of other Christian communities to take the classes, and more are expressing interest. Plans are underway to host more sessions this summer and fall. Hear the call to open your mind and heart to what following the call of Jesus to work for the Beloved Community truly entails as it grapples with America’s long, long stain of racial injustice.

And then know that even this work is but a painful first step. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. identified four steps necessary toward taking up the non-violent direct action for which his campaign for racial justice was so well known. May we not need to take all these steps as we work for the Beloved Community he dreamed of, but may we also have courage to do so if the road leads toward such ends. The first step is to truly identify the wrongs that must be made right. The Sacred Ground curriculum may be considered a part of this work, of raising our awareness to the scope of injustice and the current status of our national intransigence. For us here in Warren County, truly identifying what specific wrongs must be made right still remains for us. And then, taking up the next steps, asking in love for justice, purifying ourselves, and then direct action if necessary, will be our course we continue the work we have begun.

this work, here in Warren County, may be the most critical of all in the work of national healing. For we have every excuse to remain blind and beset by racial injustice. With so few Black Americans living among us (a strange circumstance in itself since the children of slavery account for almost 15% of the population of our nation), we are sorely tempted to turn a blind eye and say the problem is not ours with which to contend. Yet this lack of direct interaction with those whose bodies and souls that have borne the scars of our national shame in fact blinds us, who in many ways represent the rest of America, from the hurts such separation and exploitation inflict upon ourselves. To benefit from such a system of exclusion and exploitation inflicts untold psychic harms on us, and it denies us twice the access to the path toward the Beloved Community to which God calls us. First in that we benefit passively by the system that rewards non-Black citizens for living apart, and second in that it blinds us from even being aware. We are being hurt, too, but we may so rather choose this hurt over the hurts involved in seeing true justice bless us with the flowers of the beloved community to which God desires us to go.

This is why our work, the work of us predominantly white communities throughout the nation, may be the most important of all. For it will be from us, who could so easily ignore the real problems and then turn our backs again, that choosing the courageous course will mean the greatest good of all. George Floyd’s death is but one tragedy in a centuries-long history of tragedy. Tragedies that continue apace, we should note. May the human justice of today be but a temporary celebration, like a brief spring dusting of snow, that quickly melts away and reveals the ground ready for the hard yet joyful work of tilling the spring ground so that it might yield the great bounty of a harvest of true justice.

Holy Week 2021

We remain online as we wait for continued improvement in the pandemic situation before opening for in-person worship later this spring. Below are some of the many online opportunities hosted through our social media options (Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom) and that our diocese is hosting:

Palm Sunday                                       March 28       

  • 10:30AM Live-steamed service with Father Matthew
  • 11:30AM Zoom Coffee Hour

Holy Wednesday March 31

  • 12Noon Live-streamed service with Father Matthew

Maundy Thursday and Good Friday  April 1 and 2

          Daily online vigils, hosted by the diocese. More information will be posted closer to the event. Father Matthew will be leading the Diocesan Good Friday vigil from 1:30 to 2PM.

Holy Saturday                                     April 3

  • Holiday Hot Meals Ministry from 6AM to Noon
  • 8PM Easter Vigil Live-streamed service with Father Matthew

Easter Sunday                                     April 4

  • 10:30AM Live-streamed service with Father Matthew

Links for joining us for worship services and coffee hour are here.

Ash Wednesday and Lent

We gather online on Wednesday, February 17th, with Episcopalians throughout the diocese to mark the beginning of Lent with the Ash Wednesday Observance. Online opportunities for prayer and worship continue throughout the day. https://episcopalpartnership.org/ash-wednesday-lent/

We encourage everyone to take on a spiritual or religious discipline this year in place of what many think of as the traditional fasting practices. Don’t give anything up! COVID continues to force us to give up many of the comforts and joys of life. Instead, adopt a new prayer practice, challenge yourself to read the Gospels or the first five books of the Bible, or join others in reading a daily reflection from A Spring in the Desert by Frank and Victoria Logue (copies available online or from Father Matthew while supplies last). Discussions during Sunday Zoom Coffee Hour will feature readings from this book.

Also, we will be intentionally praying together at our worship services throughout Lent. Any prayers submitted during our online worship services or directly through email or Facebook will be compiled, printed in the Friday E-News, and prayed aloud during worship.

Prayer Resources for Times of National Crisis

Drawing from many sections of our Book of Common Prayer, here are a collection of prayer resources. These are intended for use by individuals and groups as we all move through the days and weeks ahead. The most recent unrest in Washington, DC and throughout our country stir complex emotions and troubling thoughts for most, and these resources are meant as a place to seek connection to God as our first and most vital step.

Prayer Resources for Times of National Crisis

Christmas Season 2020

Worship: Christmas Eve – 7PM

Our favorite carols, the Christmas Story, and a message of hope for all of us. Hosted live on Facebook and YouTube and available after.

Service: Christmas Day Holiday Hot Meals

Please email Father Matthew or call the office by Dec 20th if you can help. Pray for our driver, kitchen volunteers, and our recipients!

Worship: First Sunday of Christmas (Dec 27) – 10:30AM

Facebook and YouTube worship. No Coffee Hour.

Service: Diapers and Such distribution and Fellowship: YAC Online Gathering – Wednesday, Dec 30th

Diapers and Such distributes from 11AM to 12:30PM.

All youth are invited to gather at 12Noon in our Zoom Room to share lunch, games, and maybe even a lesson on the season. Please let Father Matthew know you are attending by Monday, Dec. 28th to get something special for the event.

Worship: Second Sunday of Christmas (Jan 3) – 10:30AM

Following online worship, drive-up communion will be available from 11:30AM-12:30PM on Poplar Street in Warren. See Trinity’s website for more information.

Bring some canned goods, a package of diapers, or a box of cereal as an offering.

No coffee hour due to communion distribution.

Service: Diapers and Such (11-12:30) and Worship: Epiphany (Wednesday, Jan 6) – 12Noon

Our Wednesday Noon livestream worship resumes with a special commemoration of this major feast of the church year.

Advent 2020 – Our Faith at Home

This year’s advent season, starting Sunday, November 29, will feature multiple options for engaging in faith practices at home. By now, we hope that members and participants in Trinity and our sister congregation St. Francis have received our Advent at Home kit, a mailed collection of ways to engage deeply in the gifts of this season. Click the links below or contact the office to receive your copy:

  • Four Advent cards, (Side 1) one for each week of Advent. The card has a prayer, scripture listings, and a church community activity.
  • A Manger Scene drawing page and instruction sheet. This is part of Week Four’s community activity.
  • A Kindness Chain – an Advent Calendar/prayer chain for you and your family.
  • Each day has a brief spiritual challenge for you to accept, all around the theme of extending love out to others. Cut them up into strips as you complete them and make a chain. Let’s make growing kindness a project of the whole community!
  • An updated church directory. You will use it often for the kindness chain and weekly activities.

Keep up with us on social media as we share each week in these practices.

2020 Thanksgiving Holiday Hot Meals and COVID

We are excited to be running our Holiday Hot Meals ministry this year. Even though COVID is challenging us in many ways, the chance to (safely) bring a big helping of love on the holidays to area shut-ins will happen.

Here are some of the precautions we are taking to make this a safe and successful ministry:

  1. All volunteers will wear facemasks that go over the nose for the entire ministry. If a volunteer has any symptoms, they will not be allowed to enter the facility or participate in any way.
  2. Instead of volunteer-made desserts, we are using commercially prepared ones to minimize food contact. Don’t worry, bakers, we’ll be back to offering your homemade goodness once we’re out of this situation!
  3. Volunteer staffing will be limited to no more than 10 people inside First Lutheran church. The kitchen will be limited to 4 volunteers and 1 dishwasher. The packing crew, who will stay out of the kitchen area, will be limited to 5 people.
  4. Drivers will stay in their cars in the parking lot. Our usual system has drivers coming into the dining room to check-in and then take their meals kits to their cars. This year drivers will arrive in the parking lot and call in to our check-in volunteer (the number will be posted on a sign). Volunteers will then bring the meal kits to the driver’s cars.
  5. Drivers will sanitize their hands (with provided sanitizer) prior to any time they want to touch the pre-packaged meals. This means hands will be sanitized prior to each stop on a route.
  6. Meals will be left at the door of recipients prior to knocking on the door/ringing the bell. Drivers can then back up 6-10 feet to greet recipients before leaving.