In order to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our church members and community, the Emory UMC building will be closed until further notice. All in-person meetings, activities, and worship services have been canceled.
A Message from Pastor Erin 5/24/2020
Dear Emory Friends,
I greet you on this Ascension Sunday and Memorial Day weekend. I want to address the recent news debating the reopening of churches which has been surrounding us in these recent days. As I seek to make wise decisions as your pastor, I find myself returning to John Wesley’s three simple rules: Do no harm. Do all the good you can. Stay in love with God. These sentiments have guided me in the past and continue to be a frame for me.
First, I have been proud of the way Emory UMC has stood through this pandemic. The faithfulness of this congregation in caring for each other, worshiping online, continuing to give generously, and finding creative ways to carry on has proved that it has merely been our building that has been closed. God’s church, truly the faithful worshipers who make up the body of Christ here, has not been closed. Together, we have surely been doing good and staying in love with God.
That being said, I miss you and I know you miss each other. I understand the desire to be together in person with one another for worship and I share that desire. Soon, we will gather again. What we will not do is cause harm. We will not irresponsibly risk the safety and lives of others by assembling in person at this stage of the pandemic. If we come together in a building with singing and all these things that experts are telling us not to do, I strongly feel that is doing us harm and even risking doing harm to others around us by spreading this virus.
It is challenging to put a time frame on our process of reopening the building because so much depends on the results of our efforts as a community to control the outbreak of the virus among us. There is going to be a phased reopening process for our community and for our church. Our county has just entered the yellow phase on Friday, May 22nd and is cautiously watching the safety of using social distancing precautions to resume business and small social gatherings. We can hope for the success of our caution to result in safer conditions for all. Let us pray as we progress into the green phase, possibly in a few weeks. As we continue to watch these results and follow the advice from physicians and health experts who are guiding us through this pandemic, we will also be getting ready to prepare our building for the time when it is possible for us to be safe in a physical gathering again. That day is coming. Let us pray for it together.
Pastor Erin Wheeler
A Message from Bishop Park 4/7/2020
A Message from Pastor Erin 4/8/2020
Hello Emory Friends,
What a joy it has been to hear from some of you about the worship service last week. It has been exciting for me to see that it has been viewed over 60 times! The plan for now is to continue offering these videos each Sunday.
Our Leadership team had a video-call meeting last night. We had a productive conversation about managing things at Emory through the time our building must remain closed. Our ministry continues as we begin to find meaningful alternatives that are working for us.
Offering has been arriving at church. To those of you who have been able to continue to make an offering, THANK YOU! I am grateful that you are continuing to support Emory and I am grateful for your faithfulness and stewardship. May your giving be a blessing unto you and the Lord. There have been some questions about giving cash offerings. If it is helpful to you, we want to provide you with another option for giving. As an alternative to mailing your check to 35 Center Square, New Oxford, PA, 17350, you may prepare a cash offering labeled in an envelope which you drop-off in our securely locked mailbox at the church. The mailbox is mounted on the wall and located next to the office door. A third option is to set up electronic payments through your bank. Please email Wendy Wetzel at emorynewoxford.org for more information.
I am glad to invite you to worship online tomorrow and Friday evening at the Emory website under the Alternative Worship Resources tab. If you have a smart TV with the YouTube ap, you can search for the worship video by name on YouTube and view it on your tv.
Here is a direct link you use: https://www.emorynewoxford.org/alternative-worship-resources/
HOLY WEEK SERVICES
On Thursday evening, we remember the last supper and celebrate communion together. You are invited to participate in communion from your home as you view the worship service. Bishop Park has given special permission to all churches in the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church for this celebration of communion during this global pandemic. Please gather your own elements for communion and have them ready and with you when you begin the worship video. You may use bread or crackers and juice or wine that you have in your home. I have a seat for you. On this night, my kitchen table and yours become the table of the Lord as we return to the upper room with Jesus.
We will celebrate Good Friday with a Tenebrea service that guides us through scripture and the increasing darkness of death on the cross This service will feature voices from all over our conference. Pastors and leaders from churches we are connected to through our United Methodist connectional system have joined together to narrate this service. Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Let us bear witness to the crucifixion together.
I am looking forward to celebrating the resurrection with you in an online video service which will premiere on Sunday morning!
Continue to hold each other and the world in prayer.
Pastor Erin Wheeler
A Message from Pastor Erin 4/3/2020
Hello Emory friends,
In response to the stay-at-home order given for the entire state of Pennsylvania, Emory UMC will remain closed until further notice. You will continue to get updates and information from me over the coming weeks. I expect that we will be closed through the month of April at the least. As before, this means that all in-person meetings, activities, and worship services at Emory are canceled. Let us pray that this sacrifice is a witness to our care for others and a contribution to saving the lives of the most vulnerable among us.
We will not gather…but there is so much we can still do. I am so grateful for the creative ways that many of you, our Sunday School classes, and the youth group have continued to be together while apart. In such a time as this, when we are unable to go about business as usual, we are challenged to consider what is essential to the practice of our faith. Jesus was once questioned about essentials. In Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus is asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (NIV). How will you hold on to what is essential in this time?
You can still make an offering to God. You can support the ministry of Emory UMC by mailing offering to the church at 35 Center Square, New Oxford, PA 17350.
You can still care for each other. This church family is blessed to walk through this challenging time together. Phone calls and cards are touching hearts and bringing blessings these days. I encourage you to keep reaching out and to stay in touch with each other.
You can still pray together. Emory UMC has a prayer chain that is active all week, every week. You are welcome to share joys and concerns by emailing them to me or directly passing them on to the email group. Please get in touch with me for more information about getting connected with the prayer chain by email or by phone.
You can still worship. I encourage you to visit the church website at emorynewoxford.org in these coming weeks. There you can find more information and communication from me and Bishop Park. You can access resources dealing with COVID-19. Most importantly, there is a special page providing materials for worshiping at home called “Alternative Worship Resources.” I am continuing to add to this page each week. Keep coming back for new content, sermons, and music to help us worship through Holy Week, through this trying time, and through the communion of the Spirit which abides with us and unites us wherever we may be.
This Palm Sunday will certainly be different from those we have celebrated in the past. Let’s remember what we are marking with this special day of worship. Let’s remember that Palm Sunday was never about us coming together in a church building to wave palm branches and practice our beloved traditions. It was never about the excited crowds who lined up in the streets of Jerusalem. This Sunday is about our Lord Jesus Christ entering Jerusalem and coming to the people–the very crowds who would turn to reject him–yet still, He came and still He gave it all for them. This day, Palm Sunday, helps us remember that Jesus comes to us, wherever we are in life, in the journey of our faith, in the state of our relationship. Even while we are apart and at home, Jesus comes. Thanks be to God!
May the peace of Christ be with you and the love of God embrace you this week as you still live and walk as a disciple of Christ holding on to the essentials.
A Message from Bishop Park 3/27/2020
Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.”
Beloved Sisters and Brothers of the Susquehanna Conference,
Grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our Brokenness, and Hope of the World.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your hard work, creativity, flexibility, patience and prayers during these very difficult times. You continue to show your faithfulness and commitment to Christ and the people you serve. I thank God for the many ways you and your congregations continue to be in ministry even in these times.
As your bishop, I implore the Susquehanna Conference churches to continue to suspend all gatherings for worship and other non-essential activities until further notice. As the COVID-19 situation escalates, we must follow the best preventive practices and use utmost caution. We are closely monitoring the directives of Governor Wolf, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If any of the current limitations change, we will offer you guidance accordingly on how to comply.
I am sure the question of how to celebrate Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter services is weighing on your mind. The District Superintendents have been telling me how many of you are already creatively planning for these sacred days in this new time when we worship together, yet at a distance. I would remind everyone that on the first Easter evening, Jesus appeared to his disciples even though the doors were locked. The next week, even though the door was shut, Jesus appeared to the disciples. Nothing can hold back our Risen Lord! Although we may not be physically
together in worship on Easter, the power of the Risen Christ does and will come to God’s people in their personal space, homes, and hearts.
Social distancing is a very challenging time for all of us. However, we know that it is the best way to flatten the curve. It saves lives. It’s about “doing no harm”. It’s also about “doing good”. More will live because we are doing it. During our Lenten journey through the Holy Week, social distancing can also be about “staying in love with God”. It can be a tremendously beneficial time to develop a closer and more intimate relationship with God. Please continue to pray. Prayer is vital in these times. Let us remain focused on God to ease our anxieties and give us strength to move to the other side of the current crisis soon. With God, we will.
Yours in Christ,
A Message From Pastor Erin 3/25/2020
As I’m sure you expected, we are making more changes to our schedule at Emory in order to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our church members and community. Due to more stringent recommendations from the White House, Gov. Wolf, our bishop, and district superintendent, we will extend the cancellation of all activities and worship services at Emory through April 4. I share the same sentiment that Gov. Wolf expressed today in his statement that we must take a measured approach to this epidemic. We will not do less than what is needed and we will not do more than what is needed. Future decisions about our ability to gather for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter services will be made as the situation is carefully monitored over the coming week.
What we are experiencing now is unusual and uncomfortable, but it is not more than we can endure. The Church has endured all kinds of challenges in its history. It has endured through persecution, famine, natural disaster, economic downturn, and even plague. God is with us, for us, and will see us through these strange times.
There are many aspects of worship we can continue to practice. This Sunday, you can visit Emory’s website to DISCOVER resources to help you worship from home. Let’s rely on our prayer chain to keep us CONNECTED in prayer for and with each other. I encourage you to email your joys and concerns to me (email@example.com) and they will be shared with the prayer chain. To continue in stewardship and SERVING the Lord by making an offering, you can mail your tithes and gifts to the church at 35 Center Square, New Oxford, PA, 17350.
If you are in need of pastoral care, please contact me on my cell phone at 717-542-4957. If you need help with picking up groceries, running errands, picking up prescriptions, please do not hesitate to ask for that help from your Emory family. Reach out to your church friends and neighbors during this time of increased isolation. Check on each other, stay in touch, support each other. This is an opportunity for us to prove that our church exists beyond our building.
God’s peace be with you,
A Message From Pastor Erin 3/15/2020
Emory UMC’s Response to Coronavirus Concerns
We believe God has called us to live wisely in this world. This means we will not be driven by fear, but we will take into account the health and well-being of others. Bishop Park and Governor Tom Wolf have advised churches to partner with the effort to practice social distancing and make the infection curve of this virus mild. Here at Emory, that means we will not be gathering for the next two weeks. All rehearsals and group meetings are canceled from March 16- 28. We will not gather for Sunday School or our Worship Service on March 22. Alternative worship will be offered—Please see details below. We will make this sacrifice in compassion for the safety of others. Our building may be empty for a number of days, but God is still with us and we are still the Church even when we are not gathered. Please pray for the hurting world as we put our hope and trust in our God who cares and heals.
Alternative Worship offered Sunday, March 22, 2020
As an alternative to gathering in our building, you are encouraged to participate in worship from home. Pastor Erin will be making personal phone calls for spiritual conversation and a time of prayer. Follow the instructions below to participate.
Our abundance of caution is a sacrifice we can make to care for others around us and around the world. Let’s look at this inconvenience of not being able to gather together next week as a gift. Let’s ask what this experience can teach us. We may be canceling our service; but we are not canceling worship or Church. This is an opportunity for us to be creative and faithful and compassionate. Let’s embrace it!
Do you want to engage in a special time of prayer with Pastor Erin on Sunday, March 22?
Expect a call during the hours that Emory is typically gathered on Sunday
(between 9AM and 12PM)