Reverberate 2020

“The harder it seems like the enemy hits, the greater the church becomes.”

Rev. John A. Knight | Brightside Baptist Church

God showed up Tuesday night across Lancaster county! With close to 1000 people in about 30 locations, the pandemic didn’t stop our community from coming together as one church body, united in praising God.

But even while united in worship, physically many stayed quite distant. Changing from one location – which took place at Spooky Nook Sports last year—dozens of locations stepped up to welcome neighbors into their homes and churches last Tuesday. Each location followed safety guidelines set for their unique space and congregation but joined a central broadcast of songs from local churches.

Throughout the evening, it was incredible to see how each group celebrated. At Westminster Presbyterian Church, attendees prayed for our country and community, for peace and justice throughout our land. At Calvary energetic praise filled the air, and at Gateway House of Prayer the audience danced along to Brightside Baptist’s gospel song.

It wasn’t just churches who joined in. Homes around the county tuned in to the broadcast, many connected alone with their family in quarantine, while others invited neighbors and friends to sing along in their backyard.

The message throughout the evening was clear: Despite our current situation, we can be more of the church than ever. Pastor Chris Walker from Westminster Presbyterian Church and Rev. John Knight from Brightside Baptist both recounted how their numbers have actually increased as more people have access to their online services.

Rev. Knight at Reverberate 2020

“On a regular Sunday morning when we would normally get a couple hundred people, thousands are tuning in. So God is doing some amazing things in this trying time,” explained Rev. Knight. Churches are becoming even more intentional in how they check in on community members and care for those affected by the current crisis. Just like Rev. Knight shared, “The harder it seems like the enemy hits, the greater the church becomes.”

We’ve seen that same spirit here at Water Street. Guests, staff, and volunteers are all showing their incredible heart to serve one another throughout tough circumstances. Gathering in our campus parking lot, staff and guests took a moment to celebrate what God has gotten us through over the last 6 months, and how no matter what gets paused, canceled, or reworked in this time, God’s plan for us remains steadfast.

We’re so grateful for the local businesses that played a key role in getting Reverberate off the ground. Willow Valley, the BCF Group, and DavCo Advertising, all came together to sponsor this event and help our community share an evening of praise! Thank you to all the churches, hosts, families, and attendees who made this night possible!

Willow Valley: https://willowvalley.com/

DavcoAdvertising:https://www.davcoadvertising.com/

BCF Group: https://bcfgroup.net/

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An Update from Jack 5/4/2020

12/17/2020

Dear Friends,

Throughout this season, we have encountered a number of challenges in operating our shelter safely. Thankfully we have been blessed to see no community spread among our guests. This is due not only to the work of our team, but also the ways that upgrades to our facilities came at just the right time.

For example, Providence Shelter, which opened in November 2019, provides additional spacing and a top-tier air filtration system. We have also been able to implement the same air filtration standards in our dining hall prior to the most recent wave of COVID.

Because a high percentage of our guests have preexisting health conditions, we have had to be diligent in our safety protocols, doing our best to ensure their safety. For us that has included implanting all CDC disinfecting, masking and social distancing from the very beginning. This has led to major changes in roles and responsibilities of staff. Staff have taken over disinfecting in shifts all over campus. They have also delivered much of our support services and programs through zoom, hosting counseling sessions and classes virtually and meeting in-person with plexi-glass dividers only when necessary.

For meals, we’ve changed preparation and delivery to help minimize interaction of guests who live in different facilities. At times that has meant delivering meals to certain Residential Floors so we can keep smaller groups in the dining hall. We have also had to restrict guests’ travel on and off campus to only essential trips such as going to work, the doctors, shopping etc., in order to minimize unnecessary exposure.

Another change in this season has been how we do intakes. Currently, the intake process requires new guests to be tested for COVID-19. They await their test results in a separate temporary shelter we have set up, before entering Providence Emergency Shelter.

All of these changes have been made while severely limiting the number of volunteers on campus. At one point, all volunteering was completely put on hold. Now, we are running with a third of our normal volunteers.

And it’s been tiring, for both staff and guests. We have had times where many staff were working remotely due to their own health risks. Other times where staff or guests have been quarantined due to exposures. But even with all of the schedule changes, increased overtime, and cross-shift working, our team has done an amazing job persevering through all of the challenges.

What to Expect This Winter Typically we have over 200 total guests on campus, over 100 in our Residential Programs over and 100 in our Emergency Shelters. Although our Residential capacity remains about the same, we have had to reduce the available beds in Providence Shelter to ensure safe spacing overnight from about 75 to 55.

Winter always presents its own challenges, so we anticipate this year will be no different. Women in our Providence Shelter have moved over to the shelter at St. Mary’s across the street, run by the Lancaster Food Hub. During their stay there they have full access to all of our services, including showers, food and staff support. Not only does having women shift to St. Mary’s enable us to free up additional beds for men, it will help us keep the shelter populations separate and limit the risk of spread.

Thank You We have been so encouraged by the support we have received this year. Without a community coming around us and our guests, we would not be able to keep our guests safe and continue to guide them in their restoration journeys. We truly couldn’t do what we do without you.

Jack Crowley

President