COVID-19 News & Updates

Give to the
Shalom Mutual Aid Fund

  • “Keep loving each other like family.”
    (Hebrews 13:1, CEB)

    What is the Shalom Fund?

    Eastern District & Franconia Conference has started a Shalom Fund to support pastors, congregations, and ministries in direct response to the Coronavirus and the ensuing economic crisis.   We are seeking to raise $100,000 to respond to the most vulnerable within our membership and neighborhoods by empowering local ministries to meet real needs with Christ’s love and generosity in a time of fear and anxiety.

    Who is being helped?

    Our first wave of resources are being shared with Eastern District & Franconia congregations who are already distributing food in their South Philadelphia neighborhoods, beginning with eggs and potatoes to supplement canned meat that has been provided by Mennonite Central Committee.  Shalom Fund distributions are also immediately going to Ripple Community Inc (a Conference Related Ministry (CRM) in Allentown that serves adults who are experiencing homelessness, living with mental illness, or have other conditions or experiences that can leave them isolated and alone), and Crossroad Community Center (a CRM which has been operating for nearly 60 years as a witness to Jesus by providing for the physical and spiritual needs of one of the most difficult neighborhoods in Philadelphia).

    Just today, we have received projected initial needs of $50,000 for our congregations and these two CRMs alone to assist pastoral incomes, building mortgages, and mutual aid within the congregation and neighborhoods.  These needs have been identified across our Conference and are immediate.

    Who Can Give?

    Everyone!  If you have wanted a way to help others during this difficult and confusing time but didn’t know how, this is the fund for you.  Whether you are an individual or family, a business owner, a youth group, someone who likes to run fundraisers, or a congregation with special or endowed funds, your contributions are vital.

  • During this time of responding to the public health emergency of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Conference leadership has encouraged localized decision-making that prioritizes both love of God and love of neighbor.

    Many of our congregations have chosen to experiment with new technologies (and many have successfully been using these technologies for a while now!). As you experience God in the challenges and inspiration of these creative worship spaces, please share your stories by emailing communication@franconiaconference.org or posting on our Facebook page!

    ***

    (Updated as of March 26, 2020 at 10:00am EST)

    Congregations:

    • Alpha (Alpha, NJ) – shared, at-home worship service
    • Ambler (Ambler, PA; Montgomery Co.) – worship service by Zoom (or join by phone at
      312-626-6799)
    • Bally (Bally, PA; Berks Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Bethany (Bridgewater Corners, VT) – worship services canceled
    • Bethany Elevation (Queens, NYC) – online streaming
    • Blooming Glen (Blooming Glen, PA; Bucks Co.) – worship service recorded and posted on website; 4/4 Easter Egg Hunt is cancelled; 4/5 Pathways, Passion and Promise is cancelled
    • Boyertown (Boyertown, PA; Berks Co) – worship services canceled
    • Centro de Alabanza (Philadelphia, PA) – live streaming worship service
    • Christ Fellowship (Allentown, PA; Lehigh Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Church of the Good Samaritans (Holland, PA; Bucks Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Covenant Community Fellowship (Lansdale, PA; Montgomery Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Deep Run East (Perkasie, PA; Bucks Co.) – online worship service
    • Deep Run West (Perkasie, PA; Bucks Co.) – Facebook Live
    • Doylestown (Doylestown, PA; Bucks Co.) – March 29 service cancelled; 4/5 Sam Sandler presentation cancelled; 4/12 Easter breakfast cancelled
    • Ebenezer (Souderton, PA; Montgomery Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Fairfield (Fairfield, PA; Adams Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Finland (Pennsburg, PA; Montgomery Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Franconia (Telford, PA: Montgomery Co.) – Scriptures, prayers, & sermon posted online
    • Frederick (Frederick, PA; Montgomery Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Garden Chapel (Dover, NJ) – worship service by Zoom
    • Indonesian Community Christian Fellowship (Colton, CA) – worship services canceled
    • Indonesian Light Church (Philadelphia, Pa) – online streaming
    • International Worship Church (San Gabriel, CA) – worship services canceled
    • Jemaat Kristen Indonesia Anugerah (Sierra Madre, CA) – streaming sermon
    • Lakeview (Susquehanna, PA; Susquehanna Co.) – Zoom worship service
    • Line Lexington (Line Lexington, PA; Bucks Co.) – live streaming, via YouTube; all activities cancelled until further notice
    • Mennonite Bible Fellowship (Morris, PA; Tioga Co) – worship services canceled
    • Methacton (Norristown, PA; Montgomery Co.) – shared, at-home devotionals
    • Nations Worship Center (Philadelphia, PA) – Facebook Live
    • Nueva Vida Norristown New Life (Norristown, PA; Montgomery Co)
    • Perkasie (Perkasie, PA; Bucks Co.) – Zoom worship service
    • Perkiomenville (Perkiomenville, PA; Montgomery Co.) will livestream services on Facebook at 10:15 am
    • Philadelphia Praise Center (Philadelphia, PA) – dispersed worship
    • Plains (Hatfield, PA; Montgomery Co.) – recording of worship service online, connecting through Zoom on Wednesday, March 25 at 2:00 pm
    • Providence (Collegeville, PA; Montgomery Co.) – Zoom worship service
    • Rocky Ridge (Quakertown, PA; Bucks Co.) – virtual worship with interactive blog
    • Salem (Quakertown, PA; Bucks Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Salford (Harleysville, PA; Montgomery Co.) – simulcasting online with children’s activities
    • San Francisco Chinese (San Francisco, CA) – YouTube sermon
    • Souderton (Souderton, PA; Montgomery Co.) – live streaming
    • Spring Mount (Spring Mount, PA: Montgomery Co.) – Facebook Live
    • Swamp (Quakertown, PA; Bucks Co.) – all activities canceled through May 3
    • Taftsville Chapel (Taftsville, VT) – Zoom worship service
    • Towamencin (Kulpsville, PA; Montgomery Co.) – live streaming on website
    • Upper Milford (Old Zionsville, PA; Lehigh Co) – Zoom worship service
    • Vietnamese Gospel (Allentown, Pa; Lehigh Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Vincent (Spring City, PA; Chester Co.) – worship service on Facebook Live (10am)
    • Wellspring Church of Skippack (Skippack, PA; Montgomery Co.) – Zoom worship
    • West Swamp (Quakertown, PA; Bucks Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Whitehall (Whitehall, PA; Lehigh Co.) – Facebook Live
    • Zion (Souderton, PA; Montgomery Co.) – live streaming (9am)

    Partners in Ministry:

    • 7 Ways Home Fellowship (Bowie, MD) – Zoom gatherings
    • Arise (Harleysville, PA; Montgomery Co.) – worship services canceled
    • Homestead Mennonite Church (Homestead, FL) – worship services canceled
    • Iglesia Evangelica Menonita Shalom (Tampa, FL) – gathering in small prayer groups
    • Iglesia Menonita Luz y Verdad (Lakeland, FL) – worship services canceled
    • Iglesia Menonita Seguidores de Cristo (Sarasota, FL) – YouTube worship service
    • Nueva Esperanza New Hope Fellowship (Alexandria, VA) – worship services canceled

    Conference Related Ministries:

    • Care & Share Thrift Shoppes (Souderton, PA) – closed through March 28
    • City School (Philadelphia, PA) – closed through March 30
    • Dock Mennonite Academy (Souderton & Lansdale, PA) – closed through March 30
    • MCC Material Resource Center (Harleysville, PA) – closed through March 30; MCC Meat Canning is cancelled
    • Mennonite Heritage Center – closed through March 30
    • Penn Foundation see info here
    • Quakertown Christian School – closed through March 30
    • Retirement Communities – Almost all retirement communities are restricting visitors and have cancelled any large group gatherings or services. If you plan to visit, please be sure to call ahead. Please call residents of the retirement communities to stay in contact with them rather than visiting during this time, if at all possible.
    • Spruce Lake/Pinebrook – closed until April 1

    Other Conference events that have been cancelled (rescheduled, TBA):

    • “Women of Remarkable Faith” Gathering (March 28)

    We know that this list will continue to grow and change. We hope to keep you updated as much as possible–if you have updates or changes to this list, please send them to communication@franconiaconference.org.

  • UPDATED: March 26, 9:30am EST

    We are in a very different time. Join together with other leaders from across our Conference in Zoom conversations this week. Feel free to pass this information on to youth leaders in your congregation.

    Are there other conversations that you would like to have? Or like to lead? Please let us know!


    Leading and Pastoring in a Time of Social Distancing

    Share, brainstorm, and support one another as we pastor during the Coronavirus epidemic. Potential topics for discussion include worship (planning and formats), pastoral care, communication, connection in isolation, self-care, partnership with congregations in the conference and in your community, supporting one another.

    • March 26, 9:30-11:00am EST and ongoing, led by Mary Nitzsche and Josh Meyer (English)
      The Zoom link to join this conversation is: https://zoom.us/j/525749584
    • April 2, 9pm EST/6pm PST and ongoing, led by Aldo Siahaan and Hendy Matahelemual (Indonesian)
      The Zoom link to join this conversation is: https://zoom.us/j/262849343

    Spiritual Formation for Youth in a Time of Social Distancing

    All youth leaders are welcome, we will be connecting, sharing, and praying for our ministry settings as we work with the Holy Spirit for creative community engagement. We can share ideas and practices and resource one another. We can also all just enjoy some time together.

    Prayer

    We will continue to look for opportunities and conversation together in new ways and formats over the next weeks.

  • Actualizado: Marzo 23, 10:30am EST

    Estamos en un tiempo bastante diferente. Únanse junto a otros líderes de toda nuestra Conferencia por medio de conversaciones en Zoom esta semana. Siéntanse libres de pasar esta información a los líderes de jóvenes en su congregación.

    ¿Hay otras conversaciones que les gustaría tener? ¿Cómo líderes? Por favor, ¡háganos saber!

    Liderando y pastoreando en un tiempo de distancia social

    Compartir, lluvia de ideas, y apoyarse unos a otros mientras pastoreamos durante la epidemia de coronavirus. Potenciales temas para adoración incluyen adoración (planeación y formatos), cuidado pastoral, comunicación, conexión y aislamiento, cuidado propio, apoyo con congregaciones en la conferencia y en su comunidad, soportándonos unos a otros.

    • April 2 y en curso, 4pm EST/1pm PST, liderado por Aldo Siahaan y Hendy Matahelemual (Indonesian)
      El link de Zoom para unirnos a la conversación es: https://zoom.us/j/803218849
    • Marzo 25, 7pm EST/4pm PST, liderado por Noel Santiago y Marco Güete (Español)
      El link de Zoom para unirnos a la conversación es: https://zoom.us/j/557606813

    Formación Espiritual para jóvenes en Tiempos de distancia social

    • Marzo 23, 7pm EST/4pm PST, liderado por Brooke Martin y Danilo Sánchez
      El link de Zoom para unirnos a la conversación es: https://zoom.us/j/805850881

    Oración de intercesión

    Continuaremos buscando oportunidades y conversaciones juntos en nuevos caminos y formatos sobre la siguiente semana.

  • (Updated March 26, 2:00pm EST)

    If you know of other reputable sources for information of ways to help, please send them to communication@franconiaconference.org.

    Shalom Fund

    Eastern District & Franconia Conference has started a mutual aid fund to support pastors, congregations, and ministries in direct response to the Coronavirus and the ensuing economic crisis.   We will seek to respond to the most vulnerable within our membership and neighborhoods by empowering local ministries to meet real needs with Christ’s love and generosity in a time of fear and anxiety.  Give now.

    Blood Donation

    Blood donations are seriously needed as many blood drives have been canceled. To find a blood drive near you follow the links below:

    1. Miller-Keystone Blood Center:  https://www.giveapint.org/blood-donor-center-locations/.  St. Lukes Hospital in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania is sponsoring a blood drive the first week of April (more information here).
    2. American Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html.  For those near Lansdale, PA, there is a drive being held this week (last week of March) at Towamencin congregation (Facebook Event Page).

    Food Banks

    From PBS NewsHour: “Due to panic surrounding the virus, donations to many local food banks are down significantly. This is the case in Washington state, where dozens have already died from the virus, and states like Ohio, where food banks have seen volunteers cancel shifts. Supermarket chain Harris Teeter on Friday said that key items in its stores may be out of stock due to high customer demand, and some food banks in Washington state have reported that people have come to their facilities for the first time because their regular grocery stores don’t have what they’re looking for….  Organizations like Feed America allow you to search for food banks in your area. Many food banks across the U.S. are now putting their resources toward dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak directly.”

    1. Feeding America Directory of Food Banks
    2. A list of organizations offering direct services related to COVID-19.
    3. Donate to Ripple Community, Inc, a Conference Related Ministry that is providing food and services to the homeless in Allentown, PA while other local organizations have closed.

    Medical Supply Donations

    The St. Lukes Hospital Network in Pennsylvania is one of many hospitals that is currently receiving donations of medical equipment and accepting homemade masks or the supplies to make them.  For the full list of what you can donate and drop-off locations, check out this page.  For instructions on how to sew the masks, download this pdf.