September 2nd Update - COVID-19 Information


Church family,

As we start looking to our Fall schedule, I wanted to share a little information with you to help you stay up to date with what we’re doing to keep everyone safe.

Outside Use:
As many of you know, our building is often used by outside groups for meetings. When the governor ordered gatherings to stop in the Spring, those groups stopped meeting at the church. As of recently, we have had inquiries from those groups about returning.

The elders, in speaking with the maintenance staff, determined any outside group wanting to meet in the church would need to sign a building use agreement. This agreement specifies the safety precautions needed in order for the group to return to the building. These include temperature checks, limits to group sizes, times of meeting, cleaning the room, masks, and other measures needed to keep the building ready for the church. These measures were not applied to our own groups, just those not affiliated with the church, that use the building.

Church Groups:
All church groups (i.e. Bible studies, small groups, fellowship groups) are allowed to use the building as needed and is available. We have been asking groups to use the larger of the rooms available to allow for better air flow and distancing.

Building Locked:
In order to keep the building safe and secure, we have had to begin locking it after weekday business hours. The police department has been given access and can respond as needed.

If a church group would like to use the building after hours, just contact the church to arrange access.

The weekday business hours for the church are Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:00. 

Service Schedule:
When we returned to indoor worship, we expanded from two to three services in order to provide more space for people to worship, and allow for social distancing. We also added seating in the parlor and outside in the prayer garden.

Sunday services are held at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00
Two Sunday school classes are held at 9:30

Masks and Distance:
On July 1st the governor issued a mandate that everyone wear masks when in public spaces if social distancing is not possible.  The CDC, governor and health department have also provided a list of exemptions to the mask mandate. Those claiming exemption are not required to provide the reason or documentation. Neither did the order require organizations challenge those not wearing masks.

Regarding this recent mask mandate, social distancing is possible in our church building. There are multiple aisles and entrances/exits, and each row of seating has been marked in >6 increments.  Additionally, seating is available in the parlor and outside. 

For these reasons, masks are available for anyone needing one but are not required in order to worship.  We ask that everyone respect others’ level of concern and desire for distance.  Please remember a person can be both compliant with the current order, and not wear a mask.

Safety Measures:
In addition to the added seating, we have also installed several hand sanitizer stations, moved to touchless offering boxes, pre-packaged communion, discontinued handshaking, open doors for air flow, clean throughout the week and between services, replace the air in the sanctuary with outside air every 45 minutes, livestream our 11:00 services for those not yet ready to return to in-person worship, and have moved to sealed food and drink options for after service snacks.

While there is much we are doing, nothing will ever completely remove all risk. For those with concerns or who are in a high-risk category, we recommend talking to your doctor prior to returning. 

Children’s Sunday School / Children’s Church:
We have started our children’s ministries on Sundays. At the 9:30 service, Children’s Sunday School will be in session for the entire hour. During the 11:00 service, Children’s Church, the Toddler Room and Nursery will begin after the praise portion of the worship service (about half-way through the service).

Children are asked to wash their hands at sinks installed in the classroom upon entering and prior to leaving for the day.

Further Information:
Please be sure and look for updates in our Sunday morning announcements, the weekly bulletin and online through the app, website, and Facebook.

As we continue in our reopening, we want to remind everyone to be both safe and faithful. As believers we do not deny Covid-19 is a serious problem and that, for some, can be very dangerous. We also do not let the enemy of our faith force us into a prison of fear. As Paul writes, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7).

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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