An Update Regarding COVID-19 for the SCA Family

Updated: May 23, 2020

Saturday, May 23, 2020


Dear SCA Family,
 

By now most of you have heard the President’s announcement regarding places of worship being considered essential and receiving permission to open.  Additionally, it was announced yesterday that Centre County will move to the green phase of reopening on Friday, June 5.

 

From the very beginning of the US outbreak, both local and state leadership have declared that churches are considered essential, but to be wise in how we go about ministering to our congregations.  I also know that in past weeks, both at the beginning of the US outbreak and as recent as last week, religious gatherings have become spread points for the virus.  My desire through all of this, not just this season with COVID-19 but also every season, is to move with wisdom, be Christ like, and honor those above us as leaders, and those around us as neighbors and friends.

 

In the past some have asked me how we as Christians put into practice the promise of God in Psalm 91:3 that says, “…he will save you…from the deadly pestilence.”  Their question is asked in sincerity, wanting to live out faith in God’s provision and protection, but also with a desire to be wise in what they do.  My answer has been to direct them to Psalm 91:13 that says, “You will tread on the lion…” and then tell them I doubt any of us would rush to the zoo with our families if we knew the lions were loose. God gives us both promise of protection as well as wisdom to use, and He intends for us to use both.

 

I know not everyone will agree with this, but we’re not planning to start physical gatherings this weekend.  There are a lot of things to consider and the elders, pastors and I have been and continue to pray, talk, plan, and then pray some more. We have already started working on a re-gathering plan and a potential timeline of what that could look like.  My hope is to give you a more defined date in the next week or so as to when we will physically gather again, as well as some different things to expect in those first few weeks back.  It is our hope and desire to have services resume in the very near future.

 

For now, if you’ve been thinking the church is closed, I encourage you to change your perspective. Our method has been different for a season, but the Church and its mission move forward.  You are the Church.  I am the Church.  Let’s let His Spirit fill us and guide us as together we seek to lift Jesus up in the State College Area and beyond.

 

Trisa and I, along with the leadership team, look forward to our re-gather date with great anticipation!

 

Love,

Pastor Steve

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


Dear SCA Family,


By now, you’ve most likely heard that Governor Wolf has announced for portions of Pennsylvania to reopen, beginning this Friday, May 8. While Centre County is included in the counties of Pennsylvania that can move out of the stay-at-home order, there are certain guidelines he has given to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Among those guidelines is a limitation on large group gatherings. While we do look forward to the day we can meet again as a church family, we realize the current guidelines do not yet allow us to safely gather as we normally would for services on Sunday or Wednesday.


Until that day comes, we do plan to continue offering all of the online services and resources that are available through the church Facebook page. Remember, you can access the church Facebook page even if you do not have a Facebook account. Please visit the church website (www.scassembly.org) for a full schedule of all the weekly postings.


Beginning on Monday, May 11, the church office will again be open. I am also working with the leaders to create opportunities for us as a church family to periodically pray together, while maintaining the recommended social distancing guidelines. I will announce the dates and details of these opportunities during our Sunday morning live stream and mid week video update.


While we continue to wait and look forward to our day of re gathering, please continue to pray from your homes on Wednesdays from 7-8 PM. Use this time to call out to God for the healing our land and for Him to send revival to our nation.


Recently I have been reminded of Paul’s words in Romans 8:18, where he writes, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Elsewhere he calls our current struggles “light and momentary” (2 Cor. 4:17). It’s very easy to get focused on our current situation and forget that it is light, momentary, and not even worth comparing to the glory and work that God is bringing about through it. As I have said before, these are interesting times! But let’s continue to keep our eyes and hearts focused heavenward, looking for ways we can each let Jesus shine through us in this current season.


Trisa and I, along with the entire SCA leadership team, love you, we’re praying for you, and we look forward to gathering with you again soon.


Many Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Tuesday, March 31, 2020


Dear SCA Family,

As we continue to operate within the guidelines for our community in regards to the COVID-19 concerns, my hope was to resume our Sunday gatherings by Sunday, April 5. However, due to the current restrictions and recommendations, we are unable to restart our regular schedule of services on that date. Until a date is determined for us to gather publicly again, please be intentional to tune in to the following weekly opportunities. All of these are available through either the church Facebook page or the respective ministries Facebook pages:


Sunday 10 am - Livestream of service | SCA FB page

Tuesday 9 am - SCA Kids lessons | SCA Kids FB group

Wednesday Connections:

  • 9 am - Video update/prayer focus | SCA FB page
  • 10 am - SCA Youth devotional | SCA Youth FB pageIGTV
  • 6 pm - Worship session | SCA FB page
  • 7 pm - All church prayer & communion time | individual homes
  • 8 pm - Chi Alpha Zoom gathering | access code emailed weekly

Thursday 9 am - SCA Kids devotional | SCA Kids FB page


If you are unable to connect online, please communicate with the church office through email (info@scassembly.org) or leave a message at the church office (814.238.3800), and one of the staff will contact you. Additionally, if you have any needs that you’re unable to meet (ex. groceries, RX refill), or anything we can join you in praying for, please let the church office know.


These are interesting times, but they are also times in which Jesus can shine brightly through His church! As I mentioned on Sunday, March 15, as followers of Jesus, we choose: faith over fear, prayer over panic and hope over hopelessness.


Trisa and I, along with the entire SCA ministry team and staff, love you, we’re praying for you, and we look forward to gathering with you again soon.


Until then, may “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face towards you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26


Many Blessings,

Pastor Steve


Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Pastor Steve and Trisa released a video update on Facebook where they discussed how we as Christians may reach out to our world during this time. Click the link to listen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Pastor Steve released a video update on Facebook detailing things here at the church as well as a call to prayer on Wednesday nights from 7-8pm. Click the link to listen.

Saturday, March 14, 2020


Dear SCA family and friends,

 

After my previous communication with you this past Thursday regarding our current plans for service, Governor Tom Wolf issued a statement suggesting large gatherings of 250 people or more be postponed or canceled.  Additionally he asked religious leaders to use discretion to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in their congregations and communities.

 

I realize that State College is a global community.  With this weekend being the time that most travel home from spring break, the Elders and I believe it is in the best interest of our church family and community to heed our governor’s advice and not have our services on Sundays and Wednesdays as we normally do. We will still have service, but it will look slightly different for at least the next three Sundays.  We look forward to physically gathering with you again on Sunday, April 5, unless otherwise notified.

 

Starting tomorrow morning (March 15) at 10 AM, there will be a livestream on the church Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/StateCollegeAssembly/). The livestream will be the first thing that comes up on the page as you scroll down.  This can be accessed live even if you do not have a Facebook account and will be accessible after it is over through the media tab on the website.  The livestream will include a complete time of worship led by Pastor Melvin and the worship team, and I plan to speak as I normally would on a Sunday morning.  I strongly encourage you to join us by turning on the service and having those in your home join us as we worship and focus on God together.   Don’t sit and treat the live stream as a show or entertainment, but actively engage in worship as you would if you were in the SCA sanctuary. 

 

Parents, this is a great opportunity to lead your kids in learning who God is apart from just a church service.  Remind them that we are still worshipping as a church family.  Use this time to invest in the faith and biblical worldview of your children and teens. For those with children in the SCA Kids ministry, during this period of not publicly gathering, Pastor Melissa will email out curriculum each Monday for you to use with your children at home.  Please take time to do the lessons with your kids.

 

Currently the church office will still be open, so feel free to call (814.238.3800) with questions or for prayer.

 

Finally, above all things, remember to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

 

Many Blessings,

Pastor Steve and the Leadership Team

Thursday, March 12, 2020


Dear SCA family and friends,

 

Like you, we are trying to stay informed about the latest developments and impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including how it affects our local community and family of faith.  We will do our best to communicate with you about decisions we make that impact the SCA family.

 

First, I would encourage you to think as a follower of Christ with regard to all of the information you hear.  Psalm 91 reminds us of God’s constant care and the peace He gives as we allow our hearts and minds to be at rest and trust Him in all situations.  This means we make decisions based on faith, not fear.  Decisions based on faith are still wise, not reckless; they are still thought out, not careless.  However, the basis of how we approach life is faith in a God who is bigger and greater than all that we face.  This current situation gives us as followers of Jesus a great opportunity to let Jesus shine into our world that most often lives by anxious fear.

 

I ask you to pray for the global family of believers.  The SCA family is a global community with many different nations represented each time we gather.  Please take time to pray, not just for your immediate family, but also for our faith family. With Penn State University moving classes to online, some of our students will not be back to State College for a season.  Pray for provision, wisdom, peace, and protection for all who have been impacted. If you have family members being affected by the Coronavirus, please let us know at the SCA church office so we can join you in praying for them.

 

As this relates to our weekly gatherings, we will continue to assess things and make decisions as needed.  For the time being, we currently plan to have our regular Sunday and Wednesday gatherings.  If we reach a point in where we feel gathering is no longer the wisest option, we will communicate this with you through all of our regular channels (ex. Facebook, website, text/email blast).  Now would be a great time for you to make sure all of your contact information is up to date in the Elexio database.  This can happen by accessing your information directly or contacting the church office.

 

Additionally, we are giving extra care to ensure our facility is properly cleaned and sanitized before and after each of our gatherings.  As you have probably heard repeatedly by now, wash your hands with soap frequently, especially after contact with others and after sneezing or coughing.  If you are returning from out of town, I would encourage you to review the CDC recommendations for where you have traveled.  When we do gather we should minimize physical contact, which includes hugging and handshakes. If you are ill it is advisable to stay home and receive the proper care.  We can all do our part in being responsible.

 

Should we reach a point where we need to postpone a gathering, we intend to offer an online gathering that will include worship, the message, and the other key details you would find in one of our Sunday morning services.  Should that happen, we will communicate “how to” instructions at a later date.    Many of you already give online through the Elexio app or through recurring giving on the church website.  If you haven’t, you can easily access that at any time or use regular mail as well.  If you’re currently unable to join us for services, remember each week we post the message video and audio podcast on the church website under the tab labeled “media.”

 

We are doing our best to stay up to date and will continue to have conversations with those in the medical community for advice and input.  But most importantly, we pray, seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and look for His wisdom and peace in all situations.

 

Many Blessings,

Pastor Steve and the Leadership Team