Special Pastoral Letter Concerning Reopening

June 10th, 2020


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

            I hope that this letter finds you well, staying healthy and safe as we are now in our fourth month of change due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  I have missed our weekly gatherings, getting to talk to you before and after services, and the many opportunities for fun and fellowship we normally experience—particularly at this time of year.  In keeping with CDC, State Dept. of Health, and United Methodist guidance, we felt the need to cancel in-person services in order to keep people safe.

            Following that same guidance, your Rocherty Church leadership has gathered (by video meetings) twice this week to discuss what re-opening our church will look like.  After consulting with one another and the latest forecasts, we have decided to resume in-person gatherings Sunday, July 12th at 9:00 am.

            But what will our gatherings look like and how will we stay safe as we are not yet free of the risk of COVID-19?   The following outlines some of what we will be doing:

  • Worship Services will take place outdoors around our bandshell to allow for maximum airflow (in a cleared and cleaned pavilion in case of rain).

  • Worshippers will bring their own lawn chairs to sit on to reduce cross-contamination.

  • We will socially distance each family unit by spreading out our seating at least 6ft. between groups

  • We will request that masks be worn at all times (if you do not have one, please let us know, we can provide one for you for free)

  • We will reduce or eliminate congregational singing, depending on the latest guidance from the health authorities concerning safety

  • We will offer several hand sanitizer stations and free access to indoor restrooms for handwashing

We understand that not everyone will feel safe coming back to church right away for any number of reasons.  With that in mind, we will be working on ways to stay connected as a congregation and share the messages with everyone through a variety of technologies.  No one is obligated to attend any event if you feel unsafe.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding our plan, please contact me, Pastor Jason, by email or a phone call at (717) 781-4056.

            In light of our current situation, we have made the tough decision to cancel this year’s Rocherty Picnic and replace it with a Drive-Through Soup Sale.  This will be held Saturday, July 25th from 11:00 am-3:00 pm.  We are currently seeking volunteers to prepare the soup on Thursday the 23rd and to help us sell soup the day of the sale.  If you are interested in helping, please contact Alvin Light by email or a phone call at (717) 272-1608.

            In related news, we were asked to provide food for Joe Hoke’s Auction that will be taking place on Saturday July 18th.  We are looking for volunteers to prepare and sell food, make prepackaged baked goods like cookies or brownies, and five volunteers to make hamburger barbecue to feed 20 people each.  If you are interested in helping with this, please contact Betsy Wise by email or a phone call at (717) 274-0176.

It has been my privilege to be your pastor this past year, and I look forward to the many good things that God will do in and through Rocherty Church in the upcoming year.  If you have not heard yet, I am happy to share with you that my appointment at Rocherty has been extended to ¾ time.  I will be with you longer, and more often, and working even harder to support the life and ministry of our congregation.  I look forward to seeing you all once again in a few short weeks.  Between now and then, please feel free to reach out to me at any time!


            Rev. Jason M. Armold