Response to coronavirus: Worship in person or watch live-streamed worship



Coronavirus Q&A

About worship 

We will continue to worship on Saturday evenings at 5:30 p.m. in Trinity Hall downstairs, and on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. both in person in our nave and online. While we are back in the building on Sundays, we continue to offer live-streamed worship on both our website,, and our Facebook page. for those who don’t yet feel safe in returning to in-person worship.

We will continue to offer daily Eucharist services in small groups of no more than 15 people for those who wish to return to the sacramental life of receiving Holy Communion without the risk of a larger gathering. Each week, we will worship on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. and Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. Please call the church office to schedule a time.

About singing and music during worship

Sadly, we are unable to sing at this time because the risk is too great.

However, Maidene has lined up cantors who will sing two hymns on Sunday mornings while we meditate on the words. We are thankful to those singers for adding to our worship in this way.

While the choir is unable to meet, Maidene has also sent the church’s handbells to the manufacturer in Philadelphia to be refurbished, and will be putting together a handbell choir to occasionally play during worship. Please see Maidene if you would like to be a part of this group.

Hymns are the song of God’s people, and God’s people have been lifting their voices in praise, prayer and lament for thousands of years. (Think of the psalms, the sung prayer of the ancient people of faith!) We look forward to the day when we can return to singing together safely. Until then, we thank Maidene for being creative in the use of cantors and handbells to lift up our song when we can’t use our voices.

Would you like to receive communion at home?

While many in our congregation have returned to in-person worship and the sacramental life, we know that some of you do not feel the situation is safe enough for you to attend.

We are working on ways to bring the sacrament to your homes so that you can also return to the sacramental life. If you are interested in having the bread consecrated during our weekend liturgies dropped off at your house, along with a sheet of paper that contains the words you say, please let Tammy know in the church office. We are compiling a list of people who would like to receive communion in this way.

Worship in our church building

We continue to use the best possible guidance from the CDC and our state health department to manage the risk as we gather in person.

Masks (except while communing) and social distancing will be required at all services during the week.

The liturgy at this time will be spoken only. There will be communion. There will be music, but we will be cautious and follow health guidelines about singing. If there is any singing, it will be minimal.

Other details for how we’ll worship on Sundays:

  • We ask you to use the front entrance to the church. Doors will be open so that door handles will not have to be touched. We ask that only people who need to use the lift or who need the smaller set of stairs use the Clinton Street entrance.
  • We will use full-service bulletins. Hymnals and all other materials have been removed from the pews.
  • There will be a location to place your offering as you enter the building.
  • We will keep a record of everyone in attendance so that if someone becomes exposed to the coronavirus, you can be notified and we can give information to health officials for proper contact tracing.
  • We ask that if you attend a service and become ill, you notify us and health officials immediately.
  • One restroom, by the drinking fountains, will be available for use, and will be wiped down after each use.

Other details for how we’ll worship on Saturdays:

  • We ask you to use the office entrance to the church and use the rear staircase to go down to Trinity Hall. We ask that only people who need to use the lift use the Clinton Street entrance.
  • We will use full-service bulletins.
  • A basket will be placed near the entrance to the room for your offering.
  • We ask you to use the restroom near the rear office door if needed.
  • We will keep a record of everyone in attendance so that if someone becomes exposed to the coronavirus, you can be notified and we can give information to health officials for proper contact tracing.
  • We ask that if you attend a service and become ill, you notify us and health officials immediately.

We continue to watch how the Covid-19 infection rates move in Mercer County with the opening of many offices, stores and restaurants, and we will adjust how we worship to minimize health risks as much as possible.

Weekday communion services

For those who do not feel safe being in a large group but want to return to receiving Holy Communion, we will continue offering daily services at which we will celebrate the sacrament. Services will be about 25 minutes. No more than 15 people can be in attendance at a service. 

We ask that you call Tammy in the church office, 724-588-8870, to reserve a slot, so that we can keep the number of those in attendance below 15.

As with the Sunday gatherings, in accordance with the CDC and other health guidelines, masks (except while communing) and social distancing will be required. 

We ask you to enter the church using the rear office entrance. Use the back hallway on the left (toward the sacristy) to enter the sanctuary. You will be directed where to sit. (We will be rotating where groups gather to make sure surfaces are cleaned.) If you use the elevator, we will open the Clinton Street door for any services for which the elevator will be needed.

Services have been scheduled for:

Each Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Each Thursday at 10 a.m.

Where’s the pastor? 

Pastor Brenda will be at the church on occasion, but will be working from home to isolate much of the time so that she can remain healthy for pastoral calls to hospitals or nursing homes or your homes if needed. If you need her, you can call, text or email. Her number is 814-881-8959 and her email is If you need a pastoral visit for any reason, please call. 

What about my offering? 

During this time of crisis, we are asking that the members of the congregation to continue your faithful stewardship, as the work of Holy Trinity is changing, but not ceasing and we need your support. A plate will be placed in the narthex on Sundays, and in the sanctuary during weekday liturgies. We are exploring opportunities for online giving on our website, and there is also the US Mail. 

Will the church office be open? 

Yes, we continue to be open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays but we ask that you come to the office sparingly as we try to keep Tammy safe and at work. Please call Tammy if you have any needs or questions. 

Will the church building be open?

Yes. But we continue to try to severely limit access to the building, to keep those safe who are at work. We ask you to follow the following protocols so that we can track where people are in the building, and clean areas as appropriate. 

We want Holy Trinity to be a sanctuary for people who need sacred space where they can feel safe. We are allowing people into the building to pray as long as it’s safe to continue this practice, but have established protocols to do this. The building is open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. If you would like to come into the church to pray, even if you have a key or fob, we ask that you call Tammy to tell her you’ll be arriving. Ring the buzzer at the back and she will open the door. (Or you can use your key or fob, if you have one, to get in.) There will be a sign-in sheet at the back. Please sign in with date and time. There will be sanitizing wipes there as well. Please take one. (We know that you will want to go down the hall to say hello to Tammy. Out of an abundance of caution, we ask you to not do that.) Please enter the chancel area via the back hallway. Lights will already be on in the chancel. Sit in one of the choir pews or kneel at the altar. Take as much time as you need. Wipe down whatever surfaces you touch. We know that this might sound extreme, but we have many people in our congregation who are in high-risk categories, including those who are immunosuppressed. We want them to feel safe, as well, if they wish to come to the sanctuary for prayer. 

If you have something to drop off at the church, please call Tammy and let her know your plans. She will buzz you in and have you drop something off at the back door, or she will meet you to accept it. 

We know that many people are working from home or going to school from home. Sometimes our home WIFI suddenly goes out or isn’t providing the bandwidth for the computer work we need to do. If that should happen, and you need quick access during office hours, we invite you to come to the church to use our WIFI for work or school. We will manage where you are in the building, so that you have privacy, but so we can keep those areas cleaned. If you need access, please call Tammy. 

We have invited our AA groups to continue to use the building at this time, although they know this could change if we are directed in the future to close the building to all uses. Beginning in September, we will also be hosting a GED class twice a week, and beginning in October, we will host workshops about Medicare once a week for eight weeks. All of the groups using our building are following protocols that we established so that everyone can remain as safe as possible.




March 13, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are living in very uncertain times, with things changing regarding COVID-19 every minute, every hour.

Because we at Holy Trinity wish to be proactive, rather than reactive, the leadership and staff have been monitoring the situation in Pennsylvania and nearby Ohio, trying to discern what is best for our congregation in terms of worship and service.

Tonight, we made the decision to cancel our primary weekend worship services, our entire Lent calendar of daily worship, our Wednesday meal and Bible study, choir practices, all other scheduled events and all committee meetings. The only meeting still on the schedule is a congregational council meeting, so that leaders can take further steps in managing Holy Trinity’s response. We are also allowing outside support groups to continue using our building if they agree to certain protocols.

This cancellation of the schedule will be in effect for two weeks.

Beginning on Sunday morning, we will offer “virtual worship” at 9:30 a.m. on our Facebook page. We are hoping it will also be accessible from our website, For those who cannot gather in front of a computer or iPad or phone, we ask that you spend that time Sunday morning still gathering with us in your homes, in prayer for the world, for the nation, for those who have contracted this virus, for those who are separated from their faith communities, for all those grappling with the consequences of this threat.

For those able to gather with us virtually, I am, honestly, not sure exactly what this will mean. This is a new to us, and it will likely be an evolving process. But to begin with, it means that we will be leading a worship service live on Facebook with a distant congregation — you. We hope to have music, the Word, and prayers. 

We will be reevaluating this decision until it is safe to gather again.

Worship is a vital part of who we are as people of faith, and we need it now, more than ever. But, as the text for this Sunday reminds us, we don’t worship God in just one place. In the story of the woman at the well, Jesus says to the woman “Believe me, the hour is coming where you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…. God is spirit and those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21, 24) We will come to understand this text more in the days ahead as we gather on Sunday to worship God AS Holy Trinity even though we will not be AT Holy Trinity. We trust that God will be with us as we worship where we are with our hearts and minds.

Beyond virtual worship, we will be figuring how we will continue to attend to some of our other ministries, namely, our commitment to continue providing food to the Good Shepherd Center, as well as the special Easter items that the Center asked us to provide.

We will be exploring the ways in which we can also minister to our community and its needs in this time in faithful ways that also ensure our health and safety. 

We will also be looking for ways to care for and support each other during a time when there may well be a great deal of social isolation. Our social ministry committee has already been talking about this task. If you know of anyone who needs help with pharmacy and grocery pick-ups, please call the church office. We hope to have volunteers helping with this task.

I wish I could give you clear answers to the many questions you might have, in keeping with the Catechism, “What does this mean?” Honestly, I am not sure. But I do believe that we are doing the faithful thing for the whole community by modeling the kind of behavior we need as we respond to this pandemic. This may be more extreme than what other churches are doing, but the leaders of the church believe we need a prophetic response. We need to model behavior that prioritizes the well-being of all.

During this time of crisis, we are hoping that the members of the congregation will continue your faithful stewardship, as the work of Holy Trinity is changing, but not ceasing and we need your support. Although we won’t be passing the plate, we are exploring opportunities for online giving on our website, and there is also the US Mail.

Our office will remain open unless circumstances change.

The Bible tells us repeatedly, “Do not fear,” and that is a message to which we can cling today and always. We are not doing this to be fearful, but rather faithful to what science and public health professionals tell us about the importance of trying to keep people from spreading the virus during this phase of mitigation. The God who has told us not to fear is the same God who will be present with us in the days and weeks ahead. We are unsure of what the future holds, but we know who holds the future, and from that we are able to find comfort and strength.

Do not hesitate to reach out for support during this time, or to share with us ideas about how we can support one another. In the days ahead I will continue to update you on what we are doing and how we are being church together, even if we aren’t physically in the same space,

May you know God’s peace in turbulent times.

Pastor Brenda


POSTED MARCH 10. Our staff and the executive committee for our congregational council have talked about coronavirus and how it might affect us at Holy Trinity. Here are the key points to remember.

1. There is no need to panic, because panic is counterproductive. It narrows our view and keeps us from thinking clearly about things.

2. The facts are that coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it is being called, is spread like the cold and influenza, by tiny droplets in the air from person to person, or by touching surfaces on which the virus has landed and then touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth.

3. Coronavirus is generally mild, but in about 14 percent of cases it can become severe. Mortality rate is a little over 2 percent for the general population, and higher in the elderly.

4. The greatest risk for COVID-19 is in people older than 50 years of age who have preexisting medical conditions. We do not have any “herd” immunity to this virus, and currently there is no vaccine and no medicine specific to treat it, although both are being developed.

5. There are not very many cases in the US, and most of them are recovering. Several have died. Most of their cases can be traced back to contact with someone having it, but in some cases, we do not know how they got the virus. In Europe, this kind of community spread of the virus is becoming common. We are likely to see more cases in the U.S. and it is possible that day-to-day life may be affected.

6. We have many members of the congregation who have, who are and who will be visiting other areas of the country and the world, and who might come into contact with someone who has been in contact with the virus. We also have many members of our congregation who have had recent medical procedures or have procedures scheduled, who are receiving medical treatment that compromises their immune systems, or who are otherwise in groups that are most at risk of becoming dangerously ill if they contract the virus. We are therefore erring on the side of caution in taking steps for the sake of safety of all of our members and visitors.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following:

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

3. Stay home when you are sick.

4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw out the tissue.

5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects using a regular household cleaner.

6. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms to help prevent spread disease to others. They are also needed for healthcare workers and people caring for others who have been diagnosed with the illness. People who are well do not need a face mask.

7. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available.

8. It is logical to keep a 2-week supply of nonperishable food, fever reducing medicine, and prescription medicine at home in case you become ill and are unable to get out.

9. There are travel restrictions and recommendations on the CDC website for those planning to go outside the country.

Steps we are taking at Holy Trinity:

1. In order to keep each other safe, please be aware of each other’s comings and goings, particularly in the case of people living alone.

2. When entering and leaving the church, do greet the pastor and one another with a smile and wave, but we will not be shaking hands at this time.

3. At the sign of peace, bow, smile, wave, make a peace sign with your hands, say a word of peace to your neighbors, but we will not be shaking hands or bumping fists.

4. At Holy Communion, we will use disposable cups for wine at every liturgy. Cups will be disposed of in a trash can as you exit the chancel area.

5. Extra steps have been taken by the Altar Guild to limit the amount of contact with hosts and wine before you receive them.

6. At the Saturday night liturgy, we will also receive wine in glasses, rather than by intinction placed on your tongue. This is the most extreme change in our normal practices.

7. At the time of the offering, the pastor will wash her hands with soap and water immediately before presiding at the table.

8. Extra steps are being taken before weekend liturgies to wipe down all handrails at steps, the altar rail, and other frequently-handled surfaces, including various door handles and restroom surfaces.

9. Hand sanitizer is being added at the steps leading to the chancel on both the pulpit and lecturn sides so that it can be used, if you wish, before and after receiving communion.

10. We know that many people dip their hands in the font and bless themselves upon entering the church or after receiving communion. We will continue to have water in the font, and leave it to your judgment and knowledge of your medical risks whether you will continue this practice at this time.

11. If you are not feeling well, stay home; if you have cough and fever, or difficulty breathing, please seek medical help.

We are hoping these steps will be of short duration. If the coronavirus spread reaches our area or reaches a crisis level nationally, we will consider other steps.