Dear Friends in Christ,


            We live in a time of COVID-19/Corona Virus. Daily, sometimes hourly we hear of more cases of the virus and more cases of cancellations of events, and more closings of schools. 

This is a time of disruption. It is also a time to live and act as a faithful people of God. This pandemic and need for physical distancing come at the time of Lent—a time for more intentional prayer, reflection, worship and scripture study.  Circumstances are forming a change in our behavior, but we can see this as an opportunity to pause and reflect about what it means to be the Body of Christ.  How do we stay connected when gathering is discouraged?  How do we care for our neighbors? 


Congregations, Synods, and the larger ELCA Church wide organization are developing creative ways for people to worship. We as a congregation, as of today, Friday, March 13th 2020 will plan to have worship this weekend. We will continue to do so unless there are confirmed cases in our area, at which time, we will act according to the recommendation of the CDC and the Health Department. Please continue to watch the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Facebook page and the Good Shepherd Website  for continual updates and opportunities to stay connected.  If there is a time when it is not prudent or safe to gather physically for worship, we will consider a ‘COMMON PRAYER TIME’ where we can pray together even though not gathered in person. Let us remember that in a time where physical distancing may be required, this does not mean social distancing. We are all members of one another in Jesus Christ.  Fasting is also a discipline during Lent. Perhaps this Lent we may need to fast from physical touch and even Holy Communion for a while.


As the Pastor, Church Council, staff and congregation, we are taking care to follow the CDC and Health Department guidelines for COVID-19 Corona Virus, as well as receive guidelines from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Lutheran Synod and the ELCA. We are taking additional precautions to keep all areas clean as per health department guidelines.  If you are sick or have a fever, please stay home from worship and other church activities.  Consider signing up to receive text alerts with me. (724) 858-7816. Simply text me and ask to be added to the group text alert.

While you’re presence is important and you are always missed when we as a church family gather, Whenever we cannot be physically present together, it is time to remember that we are united to one another in prayer.  Please feel free to contact me. I care very deeply about your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  With the lack of hand sanitizer in stores, please bring it with you to worship. We will be moving from handshakes and physical contact for the passing of the peace, to kind nods and smiles and words of peace to one another.  To our seniors—I understand that you are perhaps the most vulnerable of the population for the Corona Virus. Please care for yourself and make decisions that keep your well-being in mind. Please keep in mind that the work of ministry continues 24/7 and your financial support is vital even when you cannot be present to place your monetary contribution in the offering plate.  Please consider signing up for ON-LINE GIVING.  Please contact our Office Manager, Jenny Luffy at the church office- (724) 834-1940 for information and help with ON-LINE GIVING. 


Helpful Guidelines to follow…

People most at risk of contracting COVID-19/  Corona Virus are those who traveled to places where the virus is occurring. Certain people will have an increased risk of infection such as healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19/ Corona Virus. Others are the elderly or those with underlying health conditions and compromised immune systems. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. If no tissue is available, cough and sneeze into an elbow sleeve.  Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Go a bit longer and say The Lord’s Prayer while washing-approximately 25-29 seconds… Be careful to do this after going to the bathroom, before eating or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.  Avoid shaking hands.  Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects. High touch surface areas include: counters, table tops, door knobs, bathroom fixtures, toilet, phones and cell phones, keyboards, and tablets…



            Please keep in prayer medical personnel, government leaders throughout the world, decision makers and those who are suffering from the virus. This is a most difficult time for all.

Respect the disease. Don’t take un-necessary risks, make good use of medical aid, WASH YOUR HANDS. Remember, when looking out for yourself and your family, we are all part of a larger human family. Provide for the needs of others especially the most vulnerable.


And finally remember, we are not alone. Jesus said, “Remember, I am with you always until the end of the age.” [Matthew 28:20.]



                                                The Peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you all.


                                                Pastor Frank Podolinski Jr.