St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church
980 Bridle Path Rd Bethlehem, PA. 18017
Orthodox Church in America

Below is a list of annoucements that have been emailed to our distribution list, with the most recent announcement at the top.  Our Frequently Asked Questions Section can be found at the bottom of the page.

Diocesan Directive Coronavirus Mitigation Guidance

(Email sent 05/06/2021 at 4:00 pm)

Dear St. Nicholas Parish –

Please review the new Diocesan Directive Coronavirus Mitigation guidance from His Eminence Archbishop Mark

The new Diocesan guidance will be in effective immediately.  Therefore RSVPs will no longer be required. 

Diocesan Guidance:

 Given the availability of the vaccine, availability of effective treatments and our faithful’s understanding and practice of proper protocols, as well as the constant reminders in the public sphere, I am making the following Archpastoral changes to our Diocesan Protocols out of love and care for the faithful:

  1. Parishioners are no longer to be asked about COVID symptoms or have temperature checks at the parish.
  2. All tape or barriers delineating social distancing is to be removed from the floors and pews.
  3. All barriers blocking pews are to be removed.
  4. No one is required to wear two masks in any parish of the Diocese, nor are they to be told to do so.
  5. Parishes are to begin using the communion cloth. The mouths should only be wiped if needed.
  6. Council members must not be overly zealous in policing the faithful as they have already proven themselves responsible over the last year.
  7. Parishes may begin to pass the offering basket if so desired.
  8. Parish Halls are to be opened after services for those who would like time for fellowship.

All parishioners will still be required to wear a mask while attending church functions until further notification.

Fr. Matthew Joyner

Please click here for a pdf copy of the Updated Directive Coronavirus Mitigation.



Week of May 3, 2021 Updates from St. Nicholas

(Email sent 05/02/2021 at 11:50 am)

Parish Faithful,

CHRIST IS RISEN!  INDEED HE IS RISEN!!

Below please find a summary of services & events for the upcoming week.

Please note that you must RSVP if you are planning to bring your children to receive communion only.  Please arrive at the church at 10:30 am on Sunday if you will not be attending the full liturgy but wish for your children to receive communion.

 (All Parishioners must review and follow the St. Nicholas Church Reopening Guidance when attending services in person.)

Monday, May 3, 2021 - Bright Monday

          8:50 am – Reading of the Hours

          9:00 am – Divine Liturgy

          10:00 am – Communion for Parish Children (RSVP Required)

 Thursday, May 6, 2021

          12:00 pm – Deadline to RSVP for services on the upcoming Saturday, Sunday & Monday

Saturday, May 8, 2021

          6:00 pm - Great Vespers

Sunday, May 9, 2021 - St. Thomas Sunday

          9:10 am – Reading of the Hours

          9:30 am – Divine Liturgy

          10:00 am – Communion for Parish Children (RSVP Required)

          Sunday School Easter Egg Hunt after Liturgy (rain date May 16)

          2:00 pm - Blessing of the Graves

***Live Stream will also be available for all services.***

In Christ,

Jennifer N. Bzik

Administrative Assistant



St. Nicholas Reactivation Update 04-22-2021

(Email sent 04/23/2021 at 2:50 pm)

Dear St. Nicholas Parishioners,

The St. Nicholas Reactivation Team continues to monitor the COVID-19 recommendations of state and federal health advisors in order to adjust guidelines and to eventually return to our customary worship and church activities.   As we continue to update and adapt the St. Nicholas Reactivation guidance, it is approached in a thoughtful and deliberate manner in order to protect the safety and wellbeing of our laity and clergy. 

 Updates to the Reactivation Protocols, as of April 22nd 2021, include:

 1. New church seating configuration

 Starting Sunday, April 25th, the seating in the pews on the left side (as you face the iconostas) will be arranged for individual seating.  The new design will allow for additional parishioners to attend Divine Liturgy in the church while maintain sensible social distancing.  The pews on the right side of the church will remain as is.

We ask for patience from all parishioners as we continue through this unusual time.  As attendance to services continues to increase, parishioners may be asked to occasionally attend services in the church hall.

 2. Changes in Health Questionnaire upon entering the church facility

 The church health questions will no longer be required as you enter the church.  We ask that all members self-check before attending church services to ensure they do not have symptoms or have not been recently exposed to someone who is ill.  Temperature checks and recording of attendance will be maintained.

3. Use of Narthex during services for parents with young children

 Parents with small children can temporarily exit the church and enter the narthex as needed to ensure the comfort and care of the child.  Social distancing and safety protocols must be followed.  Please see a staff member if assistance is needed.

4. Nicholas Church Choir return to choir loft. (limited to 10 choir members)

 The St. Nicholas Church Choir will return to the choir loft in a limited fashion.  10 members of the choir will be allowed into the choir loft during church services.  The choir members will stand in the back half of the choir loft, away from the loft railing, and will remain socially distanced.  Microphones will be set up in the loft to ensure those attending the services remotely will hear the choir. 

5. Changes post service cleaning protocol and church facility staffing.

 Based upon the latest information from the CDC, social distancing, wearing mask and proper ventilation are the most important ways to reduce the exposure to the respiratory droplets that carry the COVID 19 virus.  Disinfecting surfaces may not be necessary and the use of soaps and detergent is enough to reduce risk.  Therefore the cleaning protocol will be modified to less stringent guidance.

Church signage will also be modified to focus primarily on reinforcing safety recommendations such as wearing a mask and effective hand washing.

6. Church Library open for all Parishioner

 All Parishioners are welcome to check out books from the St. Nicholas library to take home and read.  The following information will need to be recorded; name, book title, and date of check-out.  When the books are returned, they will be placed in a box marked for library returns.  Once the book is returned, record the date of return in the library check-out log.  Please maintain proper social distancing and wear a mask while using the library.

Church Attendance Precautions

Due to the continued need for social distancing, the hall will continue to have seating available and the service will be remotely projected.

The church Administrative Assistant will continue to send an email for you to continue to sign up for church services the Monday before the weekend services.  You must RSVP to indicate if you will attend Vespers on Saturday and / or Divine Liturgy on Sunday.  Provide your name and the names of all family members that will attend by noon, on Thursday, of that week.  All RSVP’s will receive a confirmation to attend services by Friday or Saturday.

Having the opportunity to gather for worship again has been a truly wonderful experience, and it is truly something to give thanks to God for.

To help mitigate community exposure to COVID-19, continue these best practice measures when attending church:

 Before attending services, all parishioners must self-check to ensure they do not have symptoms or have not been recently exposed to someone who is ill.

  1. Please arrive at the church before the start of services to check in.
  2. Wear a mask.
  3. Practice social distancing before, during and after services.
  4. Follow the guidance of the Parish Council members staffing the church service.

As an additional precaution, if you have attended a church service and later require a COVID test, we ask that you inform the Parish Council President so that proper safety steps may be taken.

While we follow these temporary guidelines, our continued hope and prayer is to return to normal participation in liturgical worship and parish life.

You will receive updated communications as protocols change.  Please direct questions to the Administrative Assistant at Assistant4StNicholas@outlook.com.

Yours in Christ,

St. Nicholas Parish Council

Reactivation Committee

Please click here for a PDF of the St. Nicholas Reactivation Update 04-22-2021





February 2021 Reactivation Update

(Email sent 03/01/2021 at 11:25 am)

Dear St. Nicholas Parishioners,

The St. Nicholas Reactivation Team continues to monitor the COVID-19 recommendations of state and federal health advisors in order to adjust guidelines and to eventually return to our customary worship and church activities.   As we continue to update and adapt the St. Nicholas Reactivation guidance, it is approached in a thoughtful and deliberate manner in order to protect the safety and wellbeing of our laity and clergy. 

Updates to the current protocols, as of February 26th 2021, include: 

1. St. Nicholas Church Choir return to choir loft.  (limited to 5 choir members)

Starting, Saturday March 6th, the St. Nicholas Church Choir will return to the choir loft in a limited fashion.  5 members of the choir will be allowed into the choir loft during church services.  The choir members will stand in the back half of the choir loft, away from the loft railing, and will remain socially distanced.  Microphones will be set up in the loft to ensure those attending the services remotely will hear the choir.

2. Church Library open for Parishioner Children to check out books

Parents may now assist their children in picking out St. Nicholas library books to take home and read.  The bookshelves, with the children’s books, will be located in the hallway near the church offices.  Parents must be present during the selection process and in turn will record the books being borrowed in the library check-out logbook. The following information will need to be recorded; name, book title, and date of check-out.  When the books are returned, they will be placed in a box marked for library returns.  Once the book is returned, record the date of return in the library check-out log.

Church Attendance Precautions

Due to the continued need for social distancing, the hall will continue to have seating available and the service will be projected.

The church Administrative Assistant will continue to send an email for you to continue to sign up for church services the Monday before the weekend services.  You must RSVP to indicate if you will attend Vespers on Saturday and / or Divine Liturgy on  Sunday.  Provide your name and the names of all family members that will attend by noon, on Thursday, of that week.  All RSVP’s will receive a confirmation to attend services by Friday or Saturday.  If you do not receive a confirmation, do not attend services.

Having the opportunity to gather for worship again has been a truly wonderful experience, and it is truly something to give thanks to God for.

To help mitigate community exposure to COVID-19, continue these best practice measures when attending church:

  1. Please arrive at the church before the start of services to participate in a temperature and health screening check.   The church doors will lock at the beginning of Divine Liturgy and Vespers.
  2. Wear a mask.
  3. Practice social distancing before, during and after services.
  4. Follow the guidance of the Parish Council members staffing the church service.

As an additional precaution, if you have attended a church service and later require a COVID test, we ask that you inform the Parish Council President so that proper safety steps may be taken.

While we follow these temporary guidelines for as long as necessary, our continued hope and prayer is to return to normal participation in liturgical worship and parish life.

You will receive updated communications as protocols change.  Please direct questions to the Administrative Assistant at Assistant4StNicholas@outlook.com.

Yours in Christ,

St. Nicholas Parish Council

Reactivation Committee

Please click here for a pdf copy of the February 2021 Reactivation Update



December 2020 Reactivation Update



St. Nicholas Reactivation Update 08-28-2020



Green Phase Updates from St. Nicholas



St. Nicholas Reopening Guidance



Helping Our Parishioners

(Email sent 04/24/2020 at 2:40 pm)  

Chris is Risen!

Dear Faithful of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Parish,

Like many across the nation, our community continues to abide by the PA state to stay at home and socially distance ourselves to help prevent the further outbreak of COVID-19.

We realize these recommendations impact most everyone’s daily comings and goings, from healthy individuals, to those that are the least healthy.  While many in our church community have nearby friends and family to assist them during times of need, we do not want any of our parishioners to be overlooked if a need for food arises during the corona virus outbreak.

As a reminder, if a parishioner is not able to obtain food and/or does not have the ability to prepare it on his/her own, please contact Guliana Holobeny to make your needs known and to request assistance.  We will make every effort to help during these uncertain times, but please know, there may some situations that we may not be able to assist.

Christ is in our Midst.

Bryan Distefano



Frequently Asked Questions about Covid-19 Precautions at St. Nicholas

(Originally posted April 2020, Updated October 2020)

Parish Faithful,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

In this time of uncertainty and stress, it is a blessing and a joy to be able to maintain our relationship with our parish family.

You may be asking how you might be able to do that while not being physically present for services, and what you might do to maintain participation in the life of the church.

Here we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers. I pray that they are helpful to you, and that they assist in your continued devotion to our Lord.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Covid-19 Precautions at St. Nicholas

 

Where can I find current information about Covid-19 topics relating to St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church?

We have established a dedicated page on our website for Covid-19 Information.  This page includes this FAQs document, as well as copies of the informational emails that are sent to our parish distribution list.  The FAQs will appear at the top of the page, with emailed announcements to follow.

 

How can I stay connected?

If you would like to be added to our parish email distribution list, please send your name and email address to Assistant4StNicholas@outlook.com.  Please also be sure to add that email address to your “safe senders” list so that our messages are not flagged as junk by your email provider.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact Fr. Matthew, or the parish Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Bzik.  Please keep in mind that during this unusual time, response times may be slightly delayed.

 

How can I participate in liturgical services? 

Please refer to the St. Nicholas Reactivation Update 08-28-2020.

 

Is the Bulletin still available?

Yes, you may view or print the bulletin for each Liturgy as well as service books for our other liturgical services on the Bulletins Page of our website.  The bulletin will include the hymns and scripture readings for that service, along with our customary prayer lists, announcements, etc.  If you wish to have an announcement included in the bulletin, please provide the information to the Adminstrative Assistant by noon on Thursday for inclusion on Sunday.

 

Which services are being live streamed?

We plan to live stream the following services:

  • Readers Vespers on Wednesday evenings beginning at 7:00 pm
  • Great Vespers on Saturday evenings beginning at 6:00 pm
  • Divine Liturgy on Sunday mornings with the Hours beginning at 9:10 am and Liturgy beginning at 9:30 am

Please check our website Calendar Page for current information about services.

 

How can I receive the sacrament of Confession during this time?

During this challenging time, Archbishop Mark has given his blessing for Fr. Matthew to hear confessions remotely using a variety of technology including phone or video conferencing.  Please contact Fr. Matthew directly to make arrangements for confession.

 

How can I continue my Stewardship during this time of COVID-19?

Thank you to those who are continuing to give of their time, talent and treasure during this remarkable time.  Our community continues to reach out to fellow parishioners to provide assistance and to send their financial contribution to St. Nicholas.

COVID-19 is changing the way the world interacts and the church is not immune to those changes. Amid social distancing and shelter in place orders, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church has moved liturgical services to a virtual form of worship.  As active parish members, it is important that we continue to pray, participate in worship, and continue to be stewards of the church and church community. 

During this time, it is important that we sustain financial stewardship.  The church continues to have financial obligations and despite virtual worship, your financial offering is essential to support the operational requirements of St. Nicholas.  

All financial offerings should be sent to:

          St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church

          980 Bridle Path Road

          Bethlehem, PA 18017

To simplify sending your offering, consider donating bi-monthly or monthly.  Deposits will be made either once or twice a month so please allow additional time for your check to clear. 

 

Is there anything I can do to help?

Yes.  During these unique circumstances, it is important for us to:

  • Renew our faith and hope in God through prayer and fasting
  • Be of service to our fellow parishioners by reaching out to check in and have a conversation
  • Help those in our church community that may have special needs and request for support

An email was sent to the parish on Tuesday, March 24th regarding providing support for parishioners in need.  “While many in our church community have nearby friends and family to assist them during times of need, we do not want any of our parishioners to be overlooked if a need for food arises during the corona virus outbreak. 

Therefore, if a parishioner is not able to obtain food and/or does not have the ability to prepare it on his/her own, please contact Guliana Holobeny to make your needs known and to request assistance.

We will make every effort to help during these uncertain times, but please know, there may some situations that we may not be able to assist.”

 

With Love In Christ,

 

Rev. Matthew R. Joyner, M.Div

Rector

 

Bryan Distefano

Parish Council President