May 18th Update - COVID-19 Information

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

I pray you are doing well.  I wanted to take a minute and give an update as to our plans for reopening the church building when the time comes as well as share some general information.

Adjustments when we return
As I mentioned in the last update, we will have to make several adjustments to the way we do things in order to be safe.  These changes are outlined in detail in the last update (which is still available to read here: April 15th update) and they will give a great deal of information regarding our response to COVID-19.  Additionally, we will have to make some adjustments to our children’s ministry offerings on Sunday mornings.

Children’s ministries
While we hope to return to our building in the next several weeks, we will not be able to restart our children’s ministries right away.  This applies to children’s church and other during-service care that has been provided in the past.  The reason for this is children cannot keep distance from one another and, while they have been shown to be relatively robust when it comes to coronavirus, they could carry it unknowingly.  That, mixed with the nature of a closed-room environment, makes for a higher level of risk. This will not be permanent and I hope to see our children’s ministries return to normal function when school resumes but for now it is what we have to do.

Outdoor services
We plan on continuing outdoor services every Sunday at 11:00 am.  The outdoors has been shown to be very safe with regards to viral spread.  Published research and medical writings show the UV light kills coronavirus quickly, minimizing spread.  Also, since we are outside, any infected air quickly dissipates, further lowering risk. While we cannot fully protect ourselves from coronavirus (or any other infection for that matter), and we do encourage people to wear whatever protective equipment they feel is needed, the nature of the outdoors provides a relatively safe way of enjoying some aspect of normal living.

All that being said, it is our intention to continue outdoor worship (weather dependent, of course) until we can re-enter the building.  Bathrooms are available but we are asking only one person enter at a time.  We are also asking, out of respect for others who may be more concerned, that everyone walk in love and grace, and keep a polite distance from those not in your family.  If weather proves too hazardous, we will call off the service for that week and instead will live stream on the website, the app, and Facebook.  Outdoor services are also live-streamed.

Daily devotions
Just as it is our intention to continue worshiping in any way possible, it is the intention to continue with our live devotions Monday – Saturday, at 10:30 am.  The devotions have provided a sense of consistency for many along with an opportunity for us to grow in our faith together, pray for one another through requests, and to provide updates on the church.

Cooperation with our leaders
I want to clarify that it is our intention (and mine) to be faithful to our Lord and His command to gather in Jesus’ name, AND to cooperate with our elected officials.  To that end, so long as we are not asked to violate our faith, we should do everything we can to abide by the wishes of our leaders, much like Daniel did in Babylon. 

I understand there are churches in other parts of the country that are dealing with very different situations where they have been deemed “non-essential” and, in some cases, de facto ‘irrelevant.’  It is a fact that First Amendment Rights have been violated in some places and that some have been forced to turn to the courts. Some churches have been threatened with arrest for gathering in any capacity, including drive-in services.  Fortunately, the federal courts have been ruling in support of the church but those are struggles of an unprecedented level, and I encourage everyone to pray for our brothers and sisters in those places. 

I do not believe that has happened here, however. While there has been a great deal of pressure placed upon the church to not meet, the governor’s order exempted churches from the very beginning.  That means each church has been free to choose for themselves what they will and will not do.  Most have chosen to cooperate, as we have. 

Church information

Even though the building has been closed, the ministry continues.  We recently started a food pantry style ministry that has provided bags of grocery supplies to those in need.  We have given out close to $1000 in food over the past several weeks and it has been a blessing.  Thank you to all who continue to donate, shop, and spread the word to those who may benefit from this.

The Lord has been faithful through the generosity of the church and we have been able to meet all of our financial obligations throughout this crisis.  Thank you to everyone who has given to support the work here!

And we need it to continue. To that end, you can give a number of ways, including online through the website or the mobile app, you can mail, or even personally deliver your gift, or you can give at our outdoor Sunday service. Whatever way you choose to give, thank you.

While it might be hard to believe, we have added to our church family during this time.  We have seen new faces on Sundays and online, and we are starting new members classes with several people already on the schedule.  These classes are held throughout the week at a time suitable for the person.  Classes are also one-on-one so that we don’t accumulate a group, but we have been blessed to continue in that area as well.

We will continue posting these updates as the need arises so check back often.  Also, and as always, if you have any questions about anything going on, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I will be happy to answer any questions anyone may have.  These can be confusing times and I want to make sure everyone has all the information they need to stay informed and up to date.  And if you know someone who is not able to get these through the website, please consider sharing with them.  We are aware not everyone will be able to stay as up to date as everyone else, and so we need your help to keep people informed.        


Thank you for your continued prayers and support!


Pastor Collin

About Shepherd of the Hills

Shepherd of the Hills is a loving, friendly church located in Bechtelsville, PA (Pennsylvania), serving Berks, Montgomery and surrounding counties.

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527 Hoffmansville Road
Bechtelsville, PA


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