Consistory: Minutes May 5, 2020

Meeting Opened at 7:05 p.m.
In Attendance:
Rev. George Heberling,  Minda H., Debra S., Craig L., Wayne B., Bob V., Tom D., Jay J.

Opening Devotions: Pastor George


Worship Schedule:
As Pennsylvania moves to gradually re-open regions of the state (perhaps by county) as Covid-19 virus statistics allow, Consistory is carefully considering information from the Penn Central Conference regarding opening of churches. Consistory agrees that, with a majority of Zion’s congregation over the age of 55, it needs to proceed cautiously. Pastor George Heberling and Consistory President Wayne B. have attended numerous virtual meetings concerning this topic. A recent zoom meeting with Rev. Dr. Carrie Call was very helpful with a chart of what the PCC recommends in each of the three colored phases of re-opening. While our area is in the red phase, there is no gathering in the sanctuary or elsewhere. If our area meets yellow phase requirements, there is still a maximum of 25 people allowed with social distancing and masks as well as other limits. Entering the green phase would allow Zion’s congregation to again meet in church. It was recommended that each congregation form a Corona Virus Task Force to address and monitor the needed steps in the process of gathering again for worship. While the Task Force needs to ensure cleaning requirements are met for eventual re-opening, it was noted that if NO ONE has entered the sanctuary for a week, disinfecting is unnecessary.

After discussion, Consistory decided to establish Zion’s Covid-19 Task Group now so members can familiarize themselves with the requirements and parameters. It was suggested that church members with a medical or public health background would be good choices for the group. Craig L. agreed to chair the group. Wayne will contact Fred M., Meagan W., and Dana B. (guidelines for Sunday School differ from regular church attendance) and invite them to serve. George will set up a Zoom meeting for the Group at a later date.

Once our area is in the yellow phase, Consistory may consider outdoor worship behind Zion House and on the parking lot, with members providing their own lawn chairs and maintaining 6 feet of separation. To offer options for all levels of comfort concerning gathering, bulletins and sermons would still be sent by email blast, the recorded sermon would still be uploaded to youtube, and it is likely that Zoom worship would also continue (Zoom worship begins this Sunday, May 10th).

Other Business: Jay J.will contact Zion’s insurance carrier to clarify liability concerning the Covid-19 virus. Minda H., who has enjoyed ringing the church bell on Easter and for community unity events, alerted Consistory that she has noticed a change in the tone and sound of the bell when it strikes on the one side. Perhaps the Property Committee may want to check the bell at some point.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m. The next regular consistory meeting will be on May 18, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.