Update 4/29/2020

 

Greetings members and friends!

 

The movie “Groundhog Day” has the lead character trapped in a small town where the same day repeats itself over and over again.  As time goes on, he changes things he did during the day or learns a new skill to see what impact it has when tomorrow (actually today) comes again.

 

That’s sort of where we are at right now.  The end of April has come and we still are quarantined and are living days that seem to be the same over and over again.

 

We have elected to comply with the Governor’s directive and not open Shenkel for normal business at this time.  As much as I’d love to see, hug, laugh, and cry with you; we just can’t right now.

 

Over the next week or so, watch for a questionnaire about how and when Shenkel can reopen when the restrictions are lifted.  When you receive it, I ask that you answer candidly since that will help guide our planning.

 

As Pastor Suzanne said in one of her recent sermons, we have gone from a time of “order” to “disorder” to ultimately “reorder”. That was extremely helpful to me in thinking about what comes next.

 

Our Wednesday night Zoom meeting ranges from 14-30 participants each week.  The “no-agenda” format gives everyone a chance to talk about whatever is important to them at the time.

 

I want to give special thanks to Kelly Strunk, Dave Derman, and Susan Royer for their efforts to make our Sunday video services meaningful and interesting.  We are blessed to have such talented people as members of our family.

 

I’d like to tell you we have progress on our CARES Act PPP Loan, but I can’t.  Even though we submitted our application early in the morning of the first day BB&T started their program, our application is still “In Review”.  If nothing else, the process has forced me to be patient.

 

I also want to thank everyone who has sent in their offerings either via mail or ACH.  Our ministries continue in a virtual format; but they still go on.

 

One bright note is that our water abatement efforts appear to be successful.  With all the rain we had over the past few weeks, our lower level remained bone dry.  Thank goodness for some happy news.

 

As we continue in our current state, I ask that you take time to reach out to another member of the Shenkel family.  A card, email, or phone call to see how they are doing can help us get through these frustrating times.  Let’s find ways to support each other over the next few weeks.

 

Randy Berriker

Consistory President

Update 4/3/2020

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Greetings members and friends!

 

Yogi Berra was right when he said, “It’s like déjà vu all over again”. Another week; another stay-at-home directive.  We will continue to honor the directives and be cancelling all Shenkel on-site activity through April 30th.  Even so, our ministries continue, just in a slightly different format.

 

Based on popular demand, we will continue our Wednesday 7pm Zoom congregational gathering. This past week we had 24 people make an appearance.  All ages are welcome!  Jacoby and Maddie shared jokes and we were happy to connect with Verna at our last meeting.

 

Holy Week Plans:

 

All of our Holy Week services will be on our YouTube channel.  FYI…we had 125 views of last Sunday’s service on that channel.  Special thanks go out to Kelly Strunk and Dave Derman for producing the videos.  We plan to add music to our recorded services this week for Palm Sunday.

 

Maundy Thursday will be a BYOC (bring your own communion) service video.  Good Friday will be a retelling of the Passion Story video.  Rumor has it that our Easter video will include music for “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today”.  Although we cannot physically be together for Holy Week; spiritually we can be one, united body.

 

SBA Loan:

 

Under the recently-passed CARES Act, Shenkel appears to be eligible for the Payroll Protection Program.  This is a forgiveable loan which can be used for staff salaries, health insurance premiums, pension contributions, and utilities.  The good news about the loan is that it becomes a grant (no repayment required) if we use it for those things during an 8-week period.  Consistory, in its authority under our Constitution and By-Laws, voted to apply for this loan.  We’re working with Treasurer Ken to complete the paperwork for this.

 

We also ask that you continue your financial stewardship to Shenkel during this time to the extent that you are able.  We intentionally have not reduced our staff nor our financial commitment to them.  Our utility and basic operating expenses have continued.  You can either mail your offerings or arrange for an ACH direct payment, whichever is easier for you.

 

Return Celebration:

 

When we are finally able to gather for worship in the sanctuary again, we plan to have a “Celebration Sunday”.  Initial plans are for an Easter-like service with hymns, choir anthems, and joyous reunion.  A possible pot-luck lunch would follow.  Please let Suzanne or any Consistory member know thoughts you may have to make this a great celebration.

 

Closing Thought:

 

The disruption of my normal routine has been very unsettling.  Being with people, sharing a meal, and laughing together are times I really enjoy.  This week I thought about the Israelites when they left Egypt and Pharoah’s rule.  Their entire lifestyle was overturned when they wandered in the wilderness.  For them it lasted 40 years; for us it’s been a few weeks.  There had to be times they were frustrated or angry or despondent.  Yet they still kept faith and trusted that better days were ahead.  Let us follow that example.

 

Randy Berriker

Consistory President

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