Property Projects Contribution Designation

Jacob’s Well Family,

At the Duly Called Business Meeting this past Sunday, the plan for property improvements was presented. These plans include:

Demolishing the house

Installation of a concrete pad for multipurpose use (in place of the house):

·     A base for a storage shed

·     A base for missionaries to park their RV’s

·     A play space for the church

Fellowship Hall Renovations:

·     Kitchen remodel

·     Remodeling of bathrooms

·     New flooring throughout

·     Teen class expansion

Projects will be completed as funds become available. The total cost of these property improvements is estimated at $107,000.00. If you would like to designate funds to these projects, you may do so by writing “Property Projects” in the “other” box on the giving envelope or by choosing that option in RebelGive.

Thank you for your continued generosity.

The Sr. Pastoral Team


James D. Beardsley Celebration of Life Day Details

Jacob’s Well Family,

Please carefully read the information below in preparation for the Celebration of Life service for James D. Beardsley:



We are expecting a large number of attendees. Therefore, we are asking that those of you without walking limitations, park next door at the Church of Christ and walk carefully over to our building. There is parking on every side of their building. This will allow guests, those less familiar with our area, and those with walking limitations the ability to park closer to the church. BE CAREFUL ON SALEM CHURCH ROAD!



If you are bringing food for the repast, please drop food off directly at the Church of Christ on your way into the service or as early as 8:45 a.m.


Viewing the body will end promptly at 10:30 a.m. At that time the family will enter, have their time of viewing, and be seated. Please allow them to enter without interruption so that they can have their time and so that the service can take place in a timely fashion. You will have plenty of time to express your love and visit with them at the repast immediately following the service. Since viewing will end at 10:30 a.m. sharp, please plan to arrive early enough to view the body and be seated.


Once the service has ended, attendees will be dismissed in a specific fashion. Please be prepared to gather your things (personal belongs, coats, kids, etc.) and take them with you as you leave the building. The Funeral Director and staff will provide specific instructions at the end of the service.

Thank you.

The Sr. Pastoral Team


Duly Called Business Meeting

Friday, November 15, 2023

Dear Church Family,

A duly called business meeting regarding building and property renovations will be held on Sunday, December 17, 2023, at 6:00 p.m.

Please plan to attend this very important meeting.

Thank you.

Sr. Pastoral Team


Bro. Beardsley Update

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Jacob’s Well family,

Please see the communication below that Steve posted this morning:

“Family and friends,

Dad has taken a further turn for the worse. Today we made the decision to begin hospice care. He seems to understand more than he can communicate. He does best in responding to yes/no questions. While we do not know how long this phase of the journey will be, we have definitely moved toward the end. He is ready to go. He has preached this good news for over 50 years and is assured that his Master and Savior has him securely in His hands.

Your prayers and care are so appreciated during this season.”

Obviously, we are saddened by this news as we have all been blessed directly or indirectly by Bro. Beardsley’s ministry and we love him dearly. But, he lived with heaven as his goal and at this moment his goal is nearer for him than ever. His “hope of glory” is within reach! Knowing this is a comfort for us and I pray that even as you grieve, this knowledge will comfort you as well.

We will keep you posted as information is made available. Pray for the Beardsley family and pray for one another.


The Sr. Pastoral Team



FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2023

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Easter is Sunday, April 9th. Children ages 2-11 are invited to sing in the kid's choir “Lord We Lift Your Name on High” along with hand motions as part of our Easter Sunday morning service. 

On the following Sundays, March 12th and April 2nd, our kids’ worship leader, Steve Lanciano, will practice the song and motion with the kids during our regularly scheduled Sunday school. 

Click here for the YouTube link with the song and the accompanying motions. Please play it and practice it with your children. 

Keep our Sunday school classes in prayer, and pray for our children to develop a heart of worship! 

You may contact me with any questions.

Thank you,

Meg Ahmadpour 

Director of Children and Youth 

Jacob's Well


Registration for NJ/DE Junior Camp


Are you excited for Junior Camp on July 15th & 16th? This camp is a two-day event for ages 7-11 (6 & under with an adult). It will be held at New Life Worship Center in Pennsville, NJ (80 S. Hook Rd, Pennsville Township, NJ, 08070).

Friday night begins at 7:00 pm with a kids’ service. Then come back on Saturday at 10:00 am for some summer fun!

Please use the Children’s Ministry link on Eventbrite to register. Children are $25/each (With a $75 cap for families with more than three children). Each family is responsible for their own transportation and registration.

You won’t want to miss it! Please message me with any questions at

Meg Ahmadpour

NUPC Children & Youth Director


Information regardING CHILDREN & YOUTH


Greetings Newark family,

NUPC Sunday School & Youth Classes (ages 4-18) will be held on May 8th & May 22nd from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm. If you haven't yet registered your children, please click here.

See you there! 

The Children and Youth Team


Letter concerning Children & Youth


Greetings Newark family,

We are excited to kick-off our children and youth program on Sunday, April 10th! Our Children & Youth team has been diligently planning and preparing for this day.  

To make everything run as smoothly as possible, please register your children at by Sunday, April 10th.  Select the “Learn” card and fill out the “Children and Youth Consent Form.”  

What to Expect: Kids

All Children (ages 4-11) and Youth Classes (ages 12-18) will be held on the 2nd and 4th Sunday every month from 2 pm – 3 pm. in the fellowship hall. A light snack with be served, but please make sure your children have eaten prior to our noon worship service. All children must be toilet trained to participate in our Sunday school program.

What to Expect: Parents/Guardians

Following service, please walk your child/ren over to the fellowship hall where you will sign them in. The designated parent/guardian must sign in - out their own children. Siblings cannot pick up in place of a parent/guardian. Pick up time is 3 pm promptly in the fellowship hall. 

We look forward to making disciples of all children as we worship, learn, serve, and play together.

See you there!

The Children and Youth Team


Next step: Team specific Orientations

Dear Newark Volunteers,

First and foremost, we want to thank each of you for showing up, listening, and responding. You are incredible! Thank you!

Over the next few weeks, we will be sorting and organizing your submissions and working with team leaders to prepare for team-specific orientations. Stay tuned for more information.

In the meantime, allow us to address a few questions that have come to our attention following the refresh event regarding the ministry covenants. One, you will sign an official copy of the ministry covenant at your team-specific orientation. The copy provided was just for review. Two, you may fill a role even if you can only do part of the responsibilities. That’s the beauty of a team! What one may not be able to do, another can. Together, we can accomplish the goal. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

We are looking forward to serving with our “why” firmly in place and to giving God and this community our second version!

May God bless and keep you.

The Pastoral Team


Early Start: 4th Quarter Small Group Schedule

Dear Small Group Members,

Due to General Conference (October 5 – 8), small groups will start next week which is one week earlier than originally planned. The schedule will remain the same thereafter which includes having the week of Thanksgiving off. To avoid confusion, the 2021 fourth quarter small group schedule will be as follows (using Sunday as the start of the week):

Week 1: September 26

Week 2: October 17

Week 3: October 31

Week 4: November 14

Week 5: November 28

Week 6: December 12

The next two quarters will be about our vision frame. This quarter will focus on our mission and the following quarter will focus on our core values. These lessons are central to who we are and how we as disciples at Newark will operate. These lessons (12 in all) will fulfill the “new members class” requirement on the Ministry Covenants that were introduced at the Volunteer Refresh. You get to fulfill that requirement in your small group. In the future, a new members class will be offered on Sundays.

Please make time to engage with us so that we are all on one accord. Exciting things are ahead!

In His Service,

The Pastoral team


Volunteer Refresh Follow-up

Dear Newark Church Family,

I don’t know about you, but we had a blast at the Volunteer Refresh event! We thank all of you who came out, listened, and responded. If you missed this event and want to participate, there is still time. 

Please watch the video and then go to the Serving the Church card and choose an area to serve in. See links below. You will receive a copy of the correlating Ministry Covenant via email for further consideration.

Volunteer Refresh video:

Serving the Church:

We encourage you to make your choice by Sunday, September 26, 2021, as we are set to begin building teams immediately thereafter. Two areas of service were not available for sign-up at the Refresh event – the Prayer Team and the Special Events Set-up and Breakdown Team. Those of you who were looking for those may make your selection now.

As Worship, Learn, Serve, and Play together, we all have the potential to grow into God’s will for each of us and to fulfill his will for Newark. Let’s do it!


The Pastoral Team


COVID-19 UPDATE - sunday, september 12


Good morning, my brothers and sisters:

As you know we had multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our church community in the first week of September. As a result we moved our Sunday, September 5 service online to our digital campus. We had a great online service! If you missed it, you can watch/listen at

In our previous communication, I told you that we would take it week by week. As of this morning all confirmed cases have not been cleared and since my previous communication, another case has been confirmed. So, out of an abundance of caution, I have decided that we will meet on our digital campus for one more Sunday (September 12) and then resume in-person services on Sunday, September 19. 

Remember this is small groups week. Also, Sunday, September 19 will be our Volunteer Refresh from 6-8 pm. If you have not yet signed up, you can do so here. Good things ahead. 

So stay safe. Read your Bible. Be cautious. Don't worry about anything and pray about everything. Join us at noon on our digital campus for an online service. Join your small groups. And we will see you all in person on Sunday, September 19. We can do this together.

Pastor Steve


Volunteer Refresh Postponed


Newark family,

Due to the recent impact of COVID-19 on our Sunday Service, the Volunteer Refresh event will be delayed by one week. Instead of this Sunday, the Volunteer Refresh and Service Fair will be Sunday, September 19th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Please adjust your schedules accordingly. 

If you haven’t already registered, please do so at: Many who have registered so far, are those who are already serving. Thank you for your steadfast commitment! We appeal to you who are challenged by availability or with the value of your contribution to prayerfully consider the role of a disciple. Disciples serve just as their Master serves. Roles with varying skill levels and time commitments are available. Some are monthly while others are quarterly or even seasonal. Find your place and be faithful! You matter!

We look forward to sharing our vision for serving with each of you and to seeing what God will do when his Body is aligned with his mission!

With great anticipation,

The Pastoral Team


COVID-19 UPDATE - sunday, september 5


Good evening, my brothers and sisters.

What an awesome week we had grieving the departure of the Lugos but also celebrating them and sending them on their way with our prayers and support! Thank you for your faithfulness.

Since Sunday, we have received multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our church. This is no surprise to us. It was a matter of when, not if. Due to these confirmed cases, we are going to take our Sunday, September 5 service back to our digital campus @ 12 pm. By doing this we open the option of reconvening services on Sunday, September 12 with a 14 day gap between this past Sunday (August 29) and Sunday, September 12.

We will take this week by week and we will make it through. If you have symptoms, please get tested. Also, when we do return to in-person services, if you are not feeling well, stay home until the symptoms are gone. I expect us to be required to adjust several times over the next several months.

So, stay tuned and be patient. We have and will continue to weather this storm together!

Pastor Steve




Greetings family,

The Pastoral Team is continuing to prepare to minister to each of you and to all the new people we anticipate God is sending our way. We cannot do it alone! As members of the body of Christ, each of you are called to participate in God’s work. There is a place for every person to serve.

Several of you have registered already but many of you have not. We ask that you prayerfully consider becoming an active participant in reaching souls for Christ. Your smile, hospitality, cleaning, technical and administrative skills (just to name a few!) all impact those we serve. Your “yes” moves the Kingdom of God forward! Please click here to watch a short video and register here.

Please note that the date and time for this Volunteer Refresh event has changed. We are mindful of your busy lives and the need for a healthy work, family, church balance. With that in mind and our new Sunday schedule, the Volunteer Refresh event will be Sunday, September 12, from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Thank you, in advance, for your commitment to the mission - ALL Making Disciples of ALL!

In your service,

The Pastoral Team


Chair Delivery Update

TUESDAY, JULY 27, 2021

Finally! We have a date and time for when our new chairs will be delivered. Delivery is scheduled for this Thursday, July 29th between 4:30 pm and 5:00 pm. If you can help, please do your best to arrive at 4:30 so that we can remove the chairs promptly and send the truck on its way. If you have the ability to leave work a little early to arrive at 4:30, that would be much appreciated. There are 300 chairs, and we will need all available bodies and hand trucks. “Many hands make light work!”

Please email me at or text the church number at (302)738-7899 and let me know that you are available and if you are bringing a hand truck.

Thank you for making this a priority.


Lela Cooper

Executive Pastor


Sunday school delay

SUNDAY, JULY 25, 2021

Dear Church Family,

We hope that you are as excited as we are about returning to in-person services. Staff are working diligently to receive you. The orchestra is coordinating and practicing, audio and visual staff are dusting off equipment and ramping up software, and various other teams are preparing! We can’t wait to safely worship in-person with you!

Speaking of safety, we regret to inform you that the decision has been made to delay classes for children and youth until at least September 12, 2021. COVID numbers are up in most, if not all, of the 50 states and schools are struggling with how and when to open. Many have delayed re-opening. Our primary concern is children 11 years old and under who cannot be vaccinated. Our staff cannot ensure their safety. Children can attend our 12:00 pm worship service at their parent’s discretion and under parental supervision with whatever precautions their parents deem necessary. Sunday School classes for children and youth during this interim time will be held from 3:30 – 4:30 pm on Zoom beginning on Sunday, August 8, 2021. The Sunday School schedule for the remainder of the quarter as well as the information to join our Sunday School classes on Zoom can be found on our Kids Hub or our Youth Hub.

We will stay abreast of our local government’s direction and guidelines for schools and determine when to convene in-person classes for children and youth accordingly. We will keep you informed. During our Sunday Worship Service, the Pastoral Team will wear masks when not speaking. We will stand in solidarity with those of you who cannot be vaccinated and those who choose to be extra cautious. We understand. We will also have neon yellow wrist bands available in the lobby for everyone who does not want to be touched and wants to maintain space.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate these uncertain times. 


The Pastoral Team


Chair Unloading Update

TUESDAY, JULY 13, 2021

Church Family,

Due to shipping delays, our chairs will not arrive this week. We are hopeful it will be next week and our chair company is endeavoring to get us the delivery time by the end of this week.

Stay tuned.

Rev. Lela G. Cooper

Executive Pastor, Newark United Pentecostal Church

302.738.7899 Ext. 701  |

PO Box 9938, Newark, DE 19714-5038


Volunteer Refresh Event

SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2021

Greetings Newark UPC Church Family,

While we were off our physical campus, The Pastoral Team took the opportunity to rethink all areas of what we do and how we do them. Our volunteer teams are integral to the operations of the church and to all making disciples of all. We need each of you to be involved. Disciples serve. 

We have decided to provide a fresh start to those who have been serving in some volunteer capacity and to provide an opportunity for others to find their place to serve. We have a clearer vision for our volunteer program and will share that with you at a Volunteer Refresh event on Saturday, September 11, 2021, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm followed by lunch. Those who currently volunteer and those desiring to volunteer should plan to attend. Click here to R.S.V.P.

A few weeks following the Volunteer Refresh event, we will hold a Service Fair where each person can choose a specific area(s) of service within the church. We will share more about that on September 11th!

Because of this “refresh,” many of you may not be activated to serve immediately when we return in August. Given our new structure, the Pastoral Team will use that time to reevaluate current teams and potentially develop new ones. Hang with us. There is a place for all!

This is a very important step in our positioning to reach new people and for your personal spiritual growth. We ask you to please make this a priority.

Thank you,

The Pastoral Team


Sunday school

FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2021

Dear Newark UPC Church Family,

Our Kids and Youth teams are excited to minister to and interact with the children of our church and of our community in Sunday School! As our August 1st return date draws nearer, let's take a brief look at what we can expect from Sunday School at Newark UPC.

How and what will our children and youth learn in Sunday School during the remainder of the 2021 year?

  • Our Kids and Youth teams are working to provide fun and engaging environments in which our children can grow as they worship, learn, serve, and play. To accomplish this goal, our teams have planned out Sunday School Lesson Days and Play Days.
  • Lesson Days are focused on leading our children in learning the Word of God through age-specific lessons and activities that get students to create, discuss, enact, memorize, and play.
  • Play Days are focused on strengthening safe, godly relationships amongst students and our Kids and Youth teams through high-energy games and activities.
  • Our ages 4 - 11 group will continue learning from our All Aboard the Apostolic Express curriculum which explores the Book of Acts and encourages students to embrace and share the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Our ages 12 - 18 group will be learning primarily from a Youth Team generated series that examines love and relationships, discussing how our culture applies love to interpersonal relationships versus how love from a Biblical perspective should be applied, and how God views his relationship with us versus the different ways in which we may view our relationship with God.

What can be expected from the weekly Sunday School schedule?

  • Simply put, Sunday School meets each Sunday from 2:00 - 3:30 pm following the Worship Service. Our Sunday School Lesson Days take place on the weeks when Small Group lessons are taught. Our Sunday School Play Days take place on the weeks when we do not have a Small Group lesson but meet together to bond and fellowship with our Small Group members. If you would like to see the specific dates that correspond with Lesson Days and Play Days for the remainder of the quarter, please visit our Kids Hub and Youth Hub.
  • Check-in begins at 2:00 pm even if the Worship Service has dismissed before 2:00 pm. If the Worship Service dismisses after 2:00 pm, our Sunday School classes will run on an abbreviated schedule, ending always at 3:30 pm.
  • Check-out begins at 3:20 pm and ends at 3:30 pm. It is imperative that your children be picked up from Sunday School on time.

What can be expected when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions at our Sunday School classes?

  • The Kids and Youth teams are following the leadership of our Pastoral Team's decision for our weekly Worship Service. This means that restrictions will not be enforced in our Sunday School classes. Of course, members of our Kids and Youth teams and the families they serve are welcome to take any precautions they would like for themselves.

How can I help the Kids and Youth teams prepare for our first in-person Sunday School classes?

  • Please click HERE to let us know if you plan to have your children attend Sunday School upon our return.
  • Please make yourself available during Sunday School check-in to review a previous or to complete a new Health Information & Consent form for your children. We want to make certain that the information we have on file is up to date.
  • Agree with us in prayer that God would continue to guide our Kids and Youth teams in their various roles and that he would continue the work of transformation within our children.

Please contact me at with any questions pertaining to our Sunday School classes. The Kids Team, Youth Team, and I are very much looking forward to seeing you and being in closer community with you all once again.


Keiara Horn

Newark UPC Children & Youth Director


Campus Cleanup


Newark Church Family,


As you know, we are preparing for the “Grand Re-opening” of our physical campus. Our sanctuary has been beautifully renovated, and the Fellowship Hall has been spruced-up as well.  The new parking lot is stunning, but our flower beds are a mess! 


Your help is needed on Saturday, July 17, 2021, at 8:00 am until.  We will weed, trim, till, mulch, and plant flowers in the pots flanking the front entrance and around our sign. Also, we will clean-up debris from all areas of our external campus. 


Please let us know if you are willing to help. You may email or call the church number and leave a voicemail with that information. Also, if you have tools (rakes, hand shovels, etc.) please bring them. Thank you in advance, for making this a priority.



Rev. Lela G. Cooper

Executive Pastor, Newark United Pentecostal Church

302.738.7899 Ext. 701  |

PO Box 9938, Newark, DE 19714-5038


Grand Re-Opening Open House


sG Update

TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2021

Dear Small Group Members,


The next quarter for small groups will begin on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Groups will continue to meet online (Tuesdays and Thursdays) every other week, using the same Zoom meeting ID and passcode. Given our impending return to in person services, our online small groups will now meet at 7:00 pm and there will be no more online sG Connects. 


We appreciate your faithfulness and look forward to continuing to learn and grow with you.




The Pastoral Team


Grand Re-Opening

Greeting Newark Church Family,

The moment we have been waiting for has finally arrived! We will return to in-person services on Sunday, August 1, 2021. What a day that will be! With a renewed focus on our mission, we are introducing a new structure designed to give maximum attention to those who don’t know Christ and position the church to be more effective. The Sunday schedule will be as follows:

Worship Service        12:00 pm              

Sunday School             2:00 pm – 3:30 pm    

Sunday afternoon and evenings will be reserved for targeted activities such as membership and discipleship classes, leadership development, volunteer training, administrative work, etc. Expect to hear further details as things unfold. Also, look for further communication from our Director of Children and Youth, Kieara Horn, regarding Sunday School.

Considering that COVID-19 vaccines are available to all, except for those 11 years old and under, we will not have any restrictions in place. If you have chosen not to take the vaccine, or you cannot, you may take whatever precautions you feel are appropriate to protect yourself.

It has been a long and challenging year and a half, but we have made the most of it! We are looking forward to seeing and worshiping with you all. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you.


The Pastoral Team


New NJ/De District superintendenT Announcement

SUNDAY, MAY 9, 2021

Greetings Church Family!

This past Friday, May 7, 2021 the New Jersey-Delaware District of the United Pentecostal Church International held its annual conference. As you may know, it is at this conference that district officials are elected. Since there was no conference last year due to COVID-19, all positions were up for election this year, including District Superintendent.

We are pleased to announce that one of our very own, Pastor Roy Moss, was elected District Superintendent for the New Jersey-Delaware District! We look forward to his leadership and contribution to our district and wholeheartedly support him in this new role. He will also continue to serve this local congregation as a member of the Newark UPC Pastoral Team.

Please join us in congratulating Pastor Roy and pray for God’s leading in this new role.

The Pastoral Team


When Will We Return?

SUNDAY, APRIL 11, 2021


(The text of which can be found below)

 Through much prayer, study of examples from scripture, and frankly the still small voice of the Spirit, I have determined that not only are we to embrace this season to allow God to teach us but that also our actions should be taken in order to achieve the maximum possible protection of our church community from even contracting COVID-19. I do not have the authority to control each individual person and family and their choices. Some of these choices are unavoidable and others are avoidable. While I have my own personal opinions, they are just that—opinions. Each of you also have personal opinions and they are just that—opinions. Some have contracted the virus, many have not. We do not judge you, nor do we condemn you. But your personal opinions and choices cannot be determinative for our local church community.


And allow me to address bad theology (understanding of God) regarding death and free will. Many across our nation and the world have stated something similar to the following: I believe in God and God will not allow me to die until it is my time. This statement is false. Yes, I said this statement is false. It is false because it does not acknowledge the role of free will. Let me share two examples with you.


The first is the life of King Hezekiah. He was a good king, served the Lord, and was true to the God of Israel. At a certain point, God informed him that he was going to die. Hezekiah did not want to die and pleaded with the Lord to give him more time. He exercised his free will and God responded by extending his life. It is a perfect example of the sovereign will of God interacting with human free will. You can study out the story further, but during that extended period of time Hezekiah made many mistakes that tarnished his walk with God and his leadership as king. It was not God’s will for him to live longer but free will impacted what happened.


The second example is not from the Bible but from our Newark UPC story. Some of you may remember it. It is the story of Nelson Walstrum. Nelson was Elkton’s town drunk and he was known by the name Bunky. Through the faithfulness of a godly wife, Bunky ultimately was born again but only after he had destroyed his liver through drinking and his lungs through smoking. Bunky struggled with smoking until a very few months before his death. In fact, once my Dad visited him in the hospital and told him to tell the friends who were sneaking cigarettes into the hospital for him to smoke while on oxygen that Dad would break their legs if they kept it up. Bunky died not just when God willed it. Bunky died earlier than he had to in the hands of a loving God because Bunky’s choices to drink and smoke affected when he died. I loved Bunky, I loved his singing, his spunk, his personality. But I would have loved to had Bunky with us longer.


My point is that we cannot relieve ourselves of the responsibility of our choices exercised through free will by simply saying that God is in total control. He is in total control but he has shared that control with us through free will. Our choices matter.


My decisions are and will be to protect the church community and its members from an outbreak that spreads throughout the entire church. It is also to present a witness to our larger community about how we the church are caring for them by our actions. These decisions are not simply my opinions because they are my responsibility as stipulated within our local church government by-laws. I am doing my best to act in a manner consistent with the needs of the whole. The test of leadership is not how you act when everyone agrees. The test of leadership is how you act when there is disagreement. This season has been a season of massive miscommunication and a break down in national leadership. Newark UPC has experienced through this season clear communication and a consistent demonstration of leadership. We have not wavered and we will not waver. As I have stated before, you will have the opportunity to decide whether my actions were appropriate during the pandemic, but the expression of those opinions will only be possible (and appropriate) after the pandemic has ended.


Based upon prayer and my continued research and monitoring of our knowledge of the pandemic, it is my decision that we cannot safely return to in-person meetings until we have met one of the following conditions:

1.   The pandemic ends for the United States through infection and death rates plummeting - called a medical end

2.   Appropriate levels of vaccinations are met within our local context of New Castle County and the State of Delaware

3.   Appropriate levels of vaccinations within our local church community members are met so as to provide safety for both those vaccinated and those who cannot or choose not to be vaccinated.*

*We are waiting on the determination of whether a vaccinated person can still carry and transmit the virus to an unvaccinated person


Vaccines will be discussed. You are not required to vaccinate. Your decision to vaccinate should not pressure others to vaccinate. Your decision to not vaccinate should not pressure others to not vaccinate. Again, vaccines will be discussed because they are our most viable option for returning to in-person meetings. And vaccines will provide the necessary safety for both those who are vaccinated and those who are not vaccinated.


Allow me to clear up two misunderstandings regarding HIPAA being applied to a church and also the idea that a church is subject to the same constraints as a public entity.


The HIPAA Privacy Rule applies to disclosures made by employees, volunteers, and other members of a covered entity’s or business associate’s workforce. Covered entities are health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers who conduct one or more covered health care transactions electronically, such as transmitting health care claims to a health plan. Business associates generally are persons or entities (other than members of the workforce of a covered entity) that perform functions or activities on behalf of, or provide certain services to, a covered entity that involve creating, receiving, maintaining, or transmitting protected health information. Business associates also include subcontractors that create, receive, maintain, or transmit protected health information on behalf of another business associate.


Given this definition, employer-to-employee communications will most likely not be covered by HIPAA, and as such are not controlled by the HIPAA Privacy Regulations but other federal and state regulations may apply. This means also that a volunteer organization such as a church is also not covered by HIPAA.


Our church insurance, Brotherhood Mutual, also states that case law supports the notion that churches are not required to allow anyone to enter or remain on their property simply because their ministries are open to the public. We are not owned by the government but rather are governed by our own local church government by-laws. We are very much interested in welcoming the public but we are a private institution that operates according to it own by-laws.


My point in these two clarifications is simple. We are allowed to self-govern and self-determine according to the structure of our local church government by-laws. This is why I am making these decisions because the by-laws have made them my responsibility as pastor. This is also why we will not require you to vaccinate in order to attend church. But we will also not be opening our physical campus until we can do so safely.


We will be informally asking in general who has been vaccinated. You are not required to volunteer that information—ever. But the idea that vaccinations do not matter is false. Until we meet one of the above stated conditions, we cannot safely return. Vaccination is the most probable means of us returning to in-person meetings. For now, if you are willing to share that you have taken the vaccine, please let us know. At a later point, we may even send out an anonymous survey to gauge what percentage of our church community has been vaccinated. It will be anonymous. We will not be able to identify individual persons. This information is about us making an informed decision about when we have reached appropriate levels of vaccination within our local church community members so as to provide safety for both those vaccinated and those who cannot or choose not to be vaccinated. It is not about vaccination, it is about us returning to in-person meetings safely.


I am happy to meet with anyone who has questions or concerns. Please call the office and speak with our Executive Assistant, Joyce Allen. She will be happy to schedule a Zoom meeting with me where I can hear your concerns and answer your questions. Anyone who takes to the public forums of social media instead of speaking directly with me will not be responded to. This is not a correction of past interactions. It is direction for going forward. This is also not targeting any one person. If this applied to only one person, I would be speaking with that one person. I have never targeted individuals from the pulpit—physical or digital. Tonight applies to multiple inquiries and interactions and is relevant to the whole church and therefore is addressed to the whole church. In this ending phase of this season, it is critical that we not allow our weariness to distract us from our commitment to the body of Christ. Questions and concerns are welcomed, as they have always been. But they must be expressed in the appropriate manner and space.


While I have appreciated and used the wisdom and council of the pastoral team during this season, decisions regarding the pandemic and our response to it are wholly mine. I am responsible. I alone can answer for these decisions. And I do so willingly and gladly as I obey the instruction of the Lord through Peter to feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint but willingly, not for filthy lucre but of a ready mind. Church, the amount of stress, peril, criticism, and no-win situations that this season presents us with is without precedent. It is literally life and death. You could not pay me enough money to do this job. I serve you because He has asked me to.


So when will we return? I am hopeful that the July-August window will be possible. Our building renovations will be completed. But vaccines are the only way we can meet the July-August window. So what is your responsibility? Prayerfully and carefully decide whether you are willing to be vaccinated. If you are, do so as soon as possible. If you are not, pray for your brothers and sisters who are willing and then be patient. Give one another the freedom to choose in Christian liberty. In the meantime, stay faithful to the daily evening broadcasts. Attend your online small groups. Keep yourself and your family safe.


We will not grow weary in well doing. We will not faint. We will reap the rewards of this season. We will be Christians. We will continue to be a diverse community of believers who stay united through mutual submission one to another. Anything less than this is unacceptable. And when we fall short, we will call one another to step up, repent and forgive, and renew our commitment to being the Jesus-followers who are characterized by their love for each other.


Senior Pastor

Newark United Pentecostal Church


New Sg Structure