Do any churches continue to display length measures?

Do any churches continue to display length measures?

In 864, Charles the Bald issued what is today known as the Edict of Pistres.

One of his demands was that copies of the standards of measurements (e.g. versions of a foot) were to be displayed on the outside of churches and monasteries. This was the completion of a movement that Charlemagne started 6 decades earlier.

Often these copies were made in stone, directly as part of the buildings. My question is if there are any of these remaining somewhere in France or Germany?


Yes. These ell standards on churches were installed to prevent trade disputes, especially with tailors. The churches whose ells are pictured here are the St. Walpurgis-Kirche in Apfelstädt and Domkirche St. Stephan zu Wien. It is not clear to me if they had anything at all to do with the Edict of Pîtres, but here are the ells.


‘I Have a Dream’ Speech

The “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. before a crowd of some 250,000 people at the 1963 March on Washington, remains one of the most famous speeches in history. Weaving in references to the country’s Founding Fathers and the Bible, King used universal themes to depict the struggles of African Americans before closing with an improvised riff on his dreams of equality. The eloquent speech was immediately recognized as a highlight of the successful protest, and has endured as one of the signature moments of the civil rights movement.


Do any churches continue to display length measures? - History

Read part two here, part three here, and part four here.

Those two words can bring a multitude of feelings and images to the reader who has had any experience with it. Frequently, people associate church discipline with "church hurt," evoking negative emotions of harsh, judgmental treatment which can cause division and church splits. On the other side, believers see discipline as something that Scripture speaks about, yet it is mainly absent from their local congregation in actual practice.

To the everyday Christian, "discipline" seems harmful and unnecessary when we worship a God who is full of grace and love (Eph 2:8-9 1 Pet 5:10 1 Jn 4:8). To push someone out of the church could seem the opposite of what God wants to do, bringing all people to himself (Col 1:20).

However, Jesus in the Gospel of Luke paints a different picture for us to consider, the image of a shepherd.

Responding to the accusation that He enjoys the company of sinful people Jesus tells a parable about a shepherd who leaves ninety-nine sheep to bring one sheep back to its fold (Luke 15:1&ndash7). When the shepherd finds his stray sheep, he calls all his friends together and says, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost!" Jesus then explains that this parable portrays God's joy in repentance and restoration.

This parable isn't the first time the Bible depicts God as a shepherd, however. Jesus is elaborating on a foundational depiction of the character of God. Throughout the Psalms (23 80) and the prophets (Isaiah 40:11 Ezekiel 34:11&ndash24), we see God as a shepherd. This image so vividly captures who God is and what God does that Jesus also asserts that he is the Good Shepherd who lays his life down for His sheep (John 10:11&ndash16).

The shepherd imagery doesn't stop there, though&mdashwe also see the leaders of God's people compared to shepherds. [1] At times, the prophets condemn these leaders for their failure to be godly shepherds to the people (Ezekiel 34:1&ndash10 Jeremiah 25:34&ndash35). Peter picks up this depiction of leaders as shepherds and encourages the elders of the diaspora churches to be godly shepherds so that they will receive crowns of glory when God, the chief Shepherd, returns (1 Peter 5:2&ndash4). These elders must assume the pastoral posture of a shepherd, imitating the work and character of the Good Shepherd. As under-shepherds of Good Shepherd, these leaders should seek to bind the wounds of the injured and retrieve the lost, just as the Good Shepherd does (Luke 19:10).

This article is the first of a five-part series on church discipline. In this first article, we would like to suggest that the image of a shepherd is foundational to grasping the heart of discipline and the role church discipline plays in the life of a local flock. Just as the Good Shepherd pursues the strayed sheep, cares for their wounds, and judges between the sheep (Ezekiel 34:16), the pastor shepherding a flock must also attempt to seek the wandering, heal the hurt, and discern between sheep as he seeks restorative discipline in the church.

Our goal in this article is to lay a biblical foundation of church discipline from Ezekiel 34:1&ndash24, which then lays the groundwork for understanding the reason for discipline, practical application of church discipline, translation to non-church contexts, and individual's responsibility in church discipline.

Rogue Shepherds: Ezekiel 34:1&ndash10

He entrusted his people to certain leaders in Israel, and these leaders have failed him.[2] Ezekiel addresses these leaders as shepherds, although little of their work ever measure up to the job description.

These leaders even surrendered their role as shepherds to became predators against their own flock (34:3).[3]

They domineered the sheep and failed to attend to even their most needs (34:4).

The sheep that did not starve or succumb to injury fled, only to face the predators of the wilderness (34:5).

With no shepherd to guard or to guide them, the sheep wandered endlessly (34:6).

Outraged by this blatant spurning of the authority he granted them, God promises to rescue the sheep and hold the shepherds accountable (34:7&ndash10).

Where did these shepherds go wrong? They shirked accountability of the authority granted by God to lead his people. [4] Rather than submitting to God's authority as the Good Shepherd, they acted on their own authority. The results of a shepherd deciding to no longer imitate the work and character of God are devastating and can be detrimental to the vitality of a church. These leaders abandon the weak in faith, forget the lost or straying believers, and tear down the strong among them&mdashit is the exact opposite of the work of a pastor.

The Mission of the Shepherd: Ezekiel 34:11&ndash16

Next, God sets the expectations for what a shepherd should do as he enters the scene to take over the job. God will search out each sheep and bring them back to peaceful land and safety under his protection (34:11&ndash15). Rogue shepherds might have driven unaware sheep out of the flock, and others may have left willingly to explore other options. Regardless, the Good Shepherd follows them through deserts, valleys, thickets, and fields to bring them back under his care.

Regrettably, after wandering through the rough terrain of the wilderness and encountering various predators along the way, many sheep will return to the flock with injuries. Additionally, their journey without a shepherd probably led them away from fertile pastures. Injured and emaciated, these sheep are weak. Placing each stray sheep on his shoulders, the Good Shepherd promises to bind their wounds and renew their strength (34:16).

This picture is a crucial aspect of assuming the pastoral posture of an under-shepherd&mdashso much so that it should inform the shepherd's practice of discipline (34:17&ndash22). A pastor who will not seek those who depart from the congregation or help heal the wounds of their people cannot practice church discipline because they will not achieve its goal: restoration. Whenever a sheep leaves its flock, the shepherd's goal is to return the sheep in good health back to their fold.

Practically, this means that a pastor cannot abandon those who leave the church (especially those under discipline) or fail to build up those in the congregation whose faith falters in such a way that may endanger them of leaving the faith. Failing to do so thwarts God's example as a shepherd, and as a result, the pastor begins to resemble a predator (34:1&ndash10) more than a shepherd (34:11&ndash16).

The Discernment of a Shepherd: Ezekiel 34:17&ndash24

Lastly, we see that the Good Shepherd will judge between sheep.

Some sheep in the fold prevent others from being adequately nourished (34:18&ndash19) and push weaker sheep outside of the flock (34:21). But it&rsquos not their role to determine who remains under the shepherd's care, and their actions distort the peace provided by the shepherd's watch.

God makes it clear that He alone will judge which sheep will remain in his flock (34:17, 20).[5]

As their Shepherd, he alone is responsible for the care of each sheep and will determine which sheep pose a threat to his work and his flock. Pastors, likewise, as shepherds of their flock under God's authority, should lead the process of any church discipline and intervene at times when congregants seem to have taken disciplinary matters into their own hands.

The purpose of this discernment between sheep is to determine which sheep may be hurting or hindering the flock. By allowing these sheep to leave the herd and the shepherd's guidance and protection, the shepherd hopes that the sheep will realize its reliance upon his care and nourishment and then accept the shepherd's invitation back into the flock. As pastors, it is essential to remember that we are under-shepherds. The congregants who may part ways with the church do not need us first and foremost, but they need the grace and forgiveness found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.

God finishes his promise by announcing the arrival of one to come through the line of David, who will be Shepherd over all his people (34:22&ndash24).[6] We know this one to be Jesus, the Good Shepherd who laid his life down to save his sheep (John 10:11&ndash16).

So, church disciple starts by understanding the person and role of the shepherd.

More on church discipline tomorrow.

[1] Eugene E. Carpenter and Philip W. Comfort, Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 170.

[2] Lamar E. Cooper, Ezekiel (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 298.

[3] Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 25-48 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998), 283

[4] Jeremy Pierre, &ldquoAn Overlooked Help: Church Discipline and the Protection of Women,&rdquo Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Spring 2013.

Ed Stetzer is professor and dean at Wheaton College, where he also serves as executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center.


Free Newsletters

First, we have a better understanding about how the virus spreads.

Contrary to our initial assumptions, we now know that COVID-19 can be transmitted before a person develops symptoms. This explains why the virus spreads so easily and stealthily, and it greatly complicates efforts to contain its spread.

We also know that not every infected person will infect another person. Other factors are needed to facilitate transmission. They include:

  • Infectiousness of a COVID-19 patient
  • Actions that increase the release of respiratory droplets and aerosols into the surrounding air
  • Proximity to an infected person (within six feet is considered high risk)
  • Enclosed environment with limited ventilation to the outside
  • Amount of time spent with an infected person
  • Type of social network, e.g. inter-generational mixing

The more these factors are present, the higher is the risk of transmission. But the more we can mitigate these factors, the lower the risk of transmission. (see table below).

There is growing evidence that younger people and children are less susceptible to COVID-19. Children are also less likely to display symptoms when infected with the coronavirus. However, the quantity of viruses they harbor and their ability to spread to others may not be different. Because older people are more susceptible to getting COVID-19, the implication is that intergenerational contact should be minimized to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

Second, we know much more about harmful effects of COVID-19.

Initially, most of the attention about the danger of COVID-19 focused on the elderly because they have a much higher case-fatality rate. Then we learned that younger adults with common chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes also have an increased risk of serious complications. In fact, nearly 60 percent of COVID-19 hospital admissions in the US are for those less than 65 years old.

A recent study reported that 45 percent of American adults have factors that place them at risk for serious COVID-19 complications. Because those attending churches are on average older than the general population, an even higher proportion of church congregants are at risk for serious COVID-19 complications.

Third, we have a better understanding of what control measures work.

Testing, contact tracing, and quarantining of cases and contacts can mitigate the COVID-19 epidemic without a major lockdown. However, such actions must be taken very rapidly and effectively. South Korea and Taiwan have done this successfully. Within two or three days from symptom onset, COVID-19 patients are tested and most of their contacts are effectively quarantined. This has worked because South Korea and Taiwan have some of the highest testing rates in the world and a well-trained cadre of contact tracers to quickly locate contacts and implement quarantine. They also use some electronic tracking, which may not be acceptable in other countries.

There is good evidence that using a face mask substantially reduces the release of respiratory droplets and aerosols into the surrounding air, even when a person coughs or shouts. The primary benefit from using a face mask is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 from the source of infection&mdashan infected person. Homemade masks are less effective than surgical masks but still helpful. In addition, wearing a face mask prevents an infected person from rubbing her nose and then depositing viruses on surfaces that she touches. Face mask users also get limited protection from COVID-19 infection.

Fourth, experts agree that COVID-19 will be in the US for the foreseeable future, with fluctuating levels of infection in the community.

Several states have started to lift stay-at-home orders, even though their COVID-19 case counts remain high or have just started to decline. This will lead to an increase in transmission and new cases. This increase can be mitigated by extensive testing, effective contact tracing, and quarantining of contacts. But no state yet has the testing capacity and the trained personnel to carry out effective tracing and quarantining.

Then there is the challenge of COVID-19 spreading from one state to another. As long as one part of the country has a poorly controlled epidemic, states that have significantly reduced their cases will remain vulnerable to COVID-19 spread from those areas. The same can be said of spread from one country to another. A prime example of this is Singapore, which controlled the first wave of infection from China only to experience a second wave of infection from Europe.

Making a science-based plan

The church is a high-risk setting for COVID-19 transmission. Church activities contain multiple factors that facilitate airborne COVID-19 spread (see table below). In addition, our congregants are at greater risk for serious complications from COVID-19. Therefore, churches should carefully consider when and how to resume in-person ministries and have a clear plan to do so. This plan should achieve the following:

  • Mitigate the risk of airborne COVID-19 transmission during church activities.
  • Be able to dial up and dial down church activities as COVID-19 infection in the community waxes and wanes.
  • Be able to rapidly identify contacts with an infected person and help trace them if necessary.
  • Resume in-person church activities only when there is clear evidence of a declining and low level of infection in the community.

A step-by-step approach to resume in-person ministries

I have developed a four-step plan with modified activities that churches can use. This plan can be dialed up or dialed down depending on the level of infection in the community.

During this pandemic, the plan aims to help churches:

  • Live out their missional calling
  • Meet social, emotional, and spiritual needs
  • Provide protection against COVID-19
  • Support the broader effort to contain COVID-19

When adapting this plan to your church, it is very important to adhere to local government guidelines. Therefore, the number of people allowed to gather in your plan may differ from this plan due to local restrictions. The table only includes some of the more common church activities. When making decisions on how other activities can be implemented safely, consider the factors in the first table and where modified activities should be placed in the second table.

Living out our missional calling through small group gatherings

As stay-at-home restrictions are loosened, gathering in small numbers will frequently be allowed first. Therefore, small group gatherings should be the first activity to be implemented. We should be excited about this because small group gatherings are a wonderful way to live out God&rsquos call for us. In small groups, we can build deeper relationships with each other, grow in God&rsquos Word, foster a safer environment for mutual accountability, and encourage one another to love and good works. These groups can reach out to many who would not want to enter a church building but would accept an invitation to a home. They can also help prepare for the start of in-person worship services by gathering each week for worship and then joining with other small groups to attend in-person worship when it resumes.

Like the persecuted Christians in Acts 8, who were scattered beyond Jerusalem, our ministries have been scattered from the confines of our church buildings. By building strong small groups in our communities and organizing around them for return, we are building a solid and flexible foundation for eventual church ministry all together.

The risk for COVID-19 transmission in these groups is low. The risk can be further reduced by keeping group members constant and within the same age group. When infection in the community is still high, use of face masks provides an added layer of protection. Because members know each other, they can quickly inform each other if a person develops COVID-19 symptoms. This will facilitate rapid self-quarantine by other group members.

Meeting social, emotional, and spiritual needs

We all need human contact, but sometimes contacts feel superficial. This pandemic offers a chance to build deeper relationships. To reduce the risk of infection, we should reduce the number of people we are in contact with. But meeting with the same people all the time and meeting only with people in our age group also reduce the risk of getting infected. Gathering with the same group of people who are at the same life stage can also better meet our social, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Imagine the strategy as creating small bubbles of safety across the church. The more congregants stay within their bubble, the safer everyone in the congregation will be while infection in the community remains.

Providing protection against COVID-19

When in-person ministries in the church resume, it is essential to observe a physical distance of at least six feet. Although physical distancing is usually observed at the individual level, it can be observed at the level of a social unit. For instance, those who live together as one social unit do not need to be physically separated at church. As a unit they can be physically separated from other social units.

Use of face masks can be very helpful. Because anyone who walks into a church could be an asymptomatic spreader, putting a face mask on everyone entering the church can reduce the spread of the virus. To increase the proportion of face mask users, ask everyone to use them. This takes away the stigma and employs peer pressure to encourage use.

Because face masks, especially homemade ones, will not prevent all transmission, they should not replace other approaches to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing is usually not practical for small group gatherings in a home, so using face masks there is important while there is still a high level of infection in the community.

Supporting the broader effort to contain COVID-19

Because COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future, transmission of this virus could occur during the resumption of in-person church activities. Therefore, for the safety of the whole congregation as well as their friends and neighbors, churches should be prepared to assist public health departments to identify and find the contacts of people who discover they are infected.

The first task is to rapidly identify all the contacts to a COVID-19 patient who attended the church. Then, if requested, churches should be prepared to quickly notify these contacts so they can self-quarantine and be evaluated for COVID-19. In this way, even if these contacts were infected, any transmission onward can be minimized.

Remember, speed is of the essence when it comes to contact identification and tracing. Therefore, your church should set up a system to collect information for all participants. The following are some suggestions for doing this:

  • Keep a log of where every person sits. Assign seat and row number (or table number) to your sanctuary and meeting rooms.
  • Register everyone entering a meeting. Record name, contact information, and where they are sitting. For each household, only one person needs to register but should list the number of people in group.
  • Maintain the record for at least three weeks.
  • Have a designated person in the church responsible for maintaining the meeting registration, liaising with public health department, and helping to identify and notify contacts if necessary.

When to move into different phases

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of using this step-by-step approach is deciding when to move from one step to another&mdashwhether to dial up or dial down a church&rsquos activities.

There are many factors to consider. One of the most important factors to consider is the needs of church members. When a real need exists that is best met or can only be met face-to-face, we should find a way to resume in-person ministries more quickly.

Church should closely monitor the level of infection in its community. If it is going up or is still high, it is not the right time to resume in-person ministries. But if the level of infection is going down and is low, then it is safe to move into step 1 of my plan. Specifically, a consistent downward trend in COVID-19 cases and deaths for at least three weeks is one metric to use before considering step 1 of this plan.

But a downward trend is not enough, we also must have a low level of infection. This is where it gets tricky because, without extensive testing, we don&rsquot know the true number of infections in our communities. Until testing gets ramped up, we can only make a guess based on the number of cases and deaths reported. But this is not ideal.

For now, with a downward trend and a low number of reported deaths and cases, we can consider other factors that may move us into step 1 earlier or later. Engaging our church leadership and the general congregation throughout this process is important. Having a clear plan will help our congregants understand why and how we are making these decisions.

As an example, for a population like King County, Washington, where I live (2.2 million people), and with a consistent decline in reported deaths and cases as the foundation, one set of criteria might look like this (using rolling averages over three days):

  • Step 1: Consistently <5 deaths per day for 3 consecutive weeks
  • Step 2: Consistently <1 death per day for 3 consecutive weeks
  • Step 3: Consistently <5 cases per day for 3 consecutive weeks
  • Step 4: Consistently <1 case per day for 3 consecutive weeks

As testing increases and we learn more about COVID-19, churches can develop more precise guidance on when to move from one step to another. Because the COVID-19 pandemic will wax and wane, an increase in the reported number of cases and deaths can be used to move back a step if necessary.

Living our calling

This pandemic has dramatically changed our lives and has turned our world upside down. We are just a couple of months into this pandemic, but the pain and anxieties around us are so real. To serve those in our community, the desire to open our church doors as soon as possible to serve those in our community is understandable.

Our churches can use biblical truths and the available scientific knowledge to guide decisions on when to resume in-person ministries and how to do it safely. As knowledge accumulates, we will be able to make better decisions and the plan that I have proposed can be improved.

Churches in other parts of the world face the same challenges as government-mandated lockdowns eases. The step-by-step plan as described is not hard or expensive to implement and can help ensure a safe environment for congregants around the world.

In closing, I want to remind us of one certainty. The COVID-19 pandemic in its present form will pass. One day we will look back on this time and see clearly that God was with us and was working in our midst for good. Knowing this, we can turn to him today and ask him to give us the discernment, compassion, and faith to make the right decisions for our churches at this time.

My prayer is that this article will help your church live out its missional calling, meet the needs of your congregants, and protect the health of those in your church and community at this critical time.

Daniel Chin is a physician trained in pulmonary and critical care medicine and epidemiology with 25 years of global public health experience. In 2003, he led much of WHO&rsquos support to China to contain the SARS epidemic.

Editor&rsquos note: Want to read or share this article in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese (Simplified or Traditional), Korean, Indonesian, Arabic, Russian, or Filipino? Now you can!

You can also now follow articles like this on our new Telegram channel. Come join us!


3. Style

It seems the likes and dislikes of Christians run deep and wide these days.

We have opinions on everything from the coffee we serve to the color of the paint to the flooring in the auditorium to what we call the auditorium (“It’s a sanctuary, people!” he said, loudly) to the color shirt the greeting team wears.

Christians seriously leave churches and try to divide churches over issues like that?

You know what that is? It’s pettiness.

Obviously, at some level, all those things matter.

But instead of running it through a filter of what you like, run it instead through a filter of whether what you do is effective in reaching the people you’re trying to reach.

And church leaders, you need to choose who you focus on: members or those not yet coming to your church.

I agree with my friend Reggie Joiner who says leaders should focus on who they want to reach, not who they want to keep.


You Asked: Do Religious People Live Longer?

I f a long life is what you’re after, going to church may be the answer to your prayers.

A number of studies have shown associations between attending religious services and living a long time. One of the most comprehensive, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2016, found that women who went to any kind of religious service more than once a week had a 33% lower chance than their secular peers of dying during the 16-year study-follow-up period. Another study, published last year in PLOS One, found that regular service attendance was linked to reductions in the body’s stress responses and even in mortality–so much so that worshippers were 55% less likely to die during the up to 18-year follow-up period than people who didn’t frequent the temple, church or mosque.

You don’t have to become a nun to get these health benefits, however. The simple act of congregating with a like-minded community might deserve much of the credit. Tyler VanderWeele, one of the authors of the JAMA study and a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says factors related to churchgoing–like having a network of social support, an optimistic attitude, better self-control and a sense of purpose in life–may account for the long-life benefits seen in his study and others.

Indeed, it’s also the values drawn from religious tradition–such as “respect, compassion, gratitude, charity, humility, harmony, meditation and preservation of health”–that seem to predict longevity, not the dogma preached at the altar, says Howard Friedman, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and co-author of the book The Longevity Project.

Fostering these qualities may even affect rates of chronic disease, says Marino Bruce, a co-author of the PLOS One study and a research associate professor of medicine, health and society at Vanderbilt University. “Having that sense that you’re not in the world alone, that you are part of a power larger than oneself, can give one confidence to deal with the issues of life,” Bruce says. “Biologically, if that reduces stress, then that means you’re less likely to have high blood pressure or diabetes or things that can increase mortality.”

But what if organized religion isn’t your style? Can solo prayer–or even a more abstract sense of faith or spirituality–provide the same payoff?

It’s difficult to say with certainty, because going to church is easier to measure than the intimate, individual way a person might practice religion. And the research on praying has been mixed. Some studies have found that prayer can improve disease outcomes and prolong survival, while others have been less conclusive. One 2006 study published in the American Heart Journal even found that people who knew they were being prayed for before undergoing heart surgery were more likely to experience complications than people who didn’t know whether they were in others’ prayers.

But prayer has been shown to be powerful, in at least one way. It triggers the relaxation response, a state of mind-body rest that has been shown to decrease stress, heart rate and blood pressure alleviate chronic disease symptoms and even change gene expression. This state is typically linked to activities like meditation and yoga, and research suggests it can also be found through praying.

Given that uncertainty and the accumulating evidence supporting communal religious participation, VanderWeele says solitary practitioners might want to consider congregating every once in a while.

“Might you be missing out on something–the power of religion and spirituality–by not participating communally?” VanderWeele says. “That’s not saying, ‘You should have religious beliefs to live longer.’ That’s saying, ‘You already hold these beliefs. Maybe it would be worthwhile to consider communal participation.'”


Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvanians age 12 and over are now eligible for the COVID vaccine and more and more Pennsylvanians are getting vaccinated every day.

Here are resources to help individuals, families, and businesses follow safety guidance and get vaccinated.

If somebody has taken drugs and becomes unresponsive, call 911 immediately. These resources are intended for preventive measures only.

Popular Resources

Get Vaccinated

Pennsylvanians age 12 and over are now eligible for the COVID vaccine. Adolescents ages 12-15 can receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Find a Vaccine

Use the vaccine provider map to find a place to schedule your vaccine.

If you received the Moderna or Pfizer COVID vaccines, don’t forget to go back for your second dose. If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are fully protected after one dose.

Track Pennsylvania’s Progress

Check out the COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard to track the progress of vaccine distribution in Pennsylvania.

Why Vaccines?

Vaccines are safe and are the best way to protect yourself and those around you from serious illnesses.

The COVID-19 vaccine can keep you from getting COVID-19, and may even lessen symptoms if you do contract the virus.

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.

What If I’ve Already Had COVID?

Because experts don’t know how long immunity lasts after someone get sick with COVID-19, a vaccine would still offer important protection to Pennsylvanians who have already had COVID.

How Much Do Vaccines Cost?

Vaccine doses purchased with American dollars will be provided by the federal government at no cost.

Learn More

Get the latest vaccine updates and answers to frequently asked questions from the Department of Health. If you have questions about the vaccination process in Pennsylvania, please call the Pennsylvania Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.

COVID-19 Dashboard

Check out the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Dashboard to see up-to-date data on case counts and demographics, hospital preparedness, and testing.

COVID Mitigation in Pennsylvania

COVID-19 mitigation measures have been lifted in Pennsylvania.

The masking order will be lifted on June 28 or when 70 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, whichever comes first.

Fully vaccinated Pennsylvanians may choose not to wear a mask, unless they are required by a business or organization.

Businesses and individuals are encouraged to follow CDC safety guidance.

Local Guidelines

Municipalities and school districts may ​continue to implement stricter mitigation efforts.

The Wolf Administration supports local officials who choose to maintain additional restrictions. The following counties are under additional local guidelines:

COVID Mitigation Orders

Get Help

Businesses

To help navigate through the potential financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Pennsylvania businesses, the state and federal government are offering loans to help offset the revenue lost.

Check the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development website for the most up-to-date information on resources and loans for businesses.

Unemployment Compensation

If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation (UC) or Workers’ Compensation (WC) benefits.

Check out the guide to unemployment benefits to learn more.

Other Financial Help

Credit Cards

If you have seen a reduction in pay due to COVID-19 and are struggling to make your credit card or loan payments, contact your lender right away. Regulatory agencies have encouraged financial institutions to work with customers impacted by the coronavirus. For guidance, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or contact a credit counselor near you.

Mortgage, Rent, and Utilities

If you can’t cover your mortgage payment or rent, contact your lender or landlord immediately. Do not wait until you’re behind on payments. Some lenders may work out an agreement with you to waive late fees, set up a repayment plan or offer loan forbearance.

If you are at risk for eviction or loss of utility service help is now available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Pennsylvanians can submit applications online at compass.state.pa.us.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chairman has also put protections in place for low-income Pennsylvanians. Learn more about these protections.

Home heating help is available through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Learn more and apply for the program.

Food Assistance

Pennsylvanians out of work and without pay, or with significantly reduced hours as a result of COVID-19, are eligible to receive state and federally sourced foods from Pennsylvania’s food banks and pantries. Find a pantry near you, then give them a call to make arrangements.

There are many other food assistance resources available. Find a comprehensive list on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture website.

Mental Health Resources

It’s normal to feel stress around COVID-19. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not an indication of weakness.

Use the Mental Health Resources guide to find more help and information available to Pennsylvanians


Indications for referral [1]

Further investigations are rarely necessary in otherwise healthy females with lower tract infections, as underlying renal tract abnormalities are uncommon even in those patients with recurrent infections.

Referral for imaging or cystoscopy should be considered in patients who:

  • Have persistently not responded to treatment.
  • Have a history of renal tract disease or anomaly.
  • Have haematuria.
  • Are women with recurrent infections who are not responding to preventative measures, or men with two or more episodes in three months

In addition to the above criteria, referral should be considered for men who have any suggestion of obstruction along the urinary tract - eg, enlarged prostate, or who have had signs of upper UTI.

Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for suspecting cancer in 2015 advise [7] :

  • Consider a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal examination (DRE) to assess for prostate cancer in men with lower urinary tract symptoms (such as nocturia, urinary frequency, hesitancy, urgency or retention) or visible haematuria.
  • Refer under the two-week wait rule if a person aged 45 or over has:
    • Unexplained visible haematuria without UTI or
    • Visible haematuria which persists or recurs after successful treatment of UTI.

    Editor's note

    In September 2020 and again in January 2021, NICE released updated guidance on suspected cancer recognition and referral. However, no changes in these updates relate to those suspected cancers mentioned in this article [7] .


    Furniture Sizes and Placement

    When it comes to living room furniture, size matters.

    • Sofa and Chairs - These are often the big-ticket items, so it's important that they suit the space. The most important thing to do is measure the space before buying any of these pieces. You don't want them to be too big or too small, so it's best if you draw up a floor plan ahead of time. Sketch out the room on a piece of graph paper using all the appropriate measurements. Try putting the sofa and chairs in a few different spots and see what works best visually and in terms of leaving space to accommodate traffic flow.
    • Rug – Using area rugs is a great way to define seating areas, but the number one mistake people make in the living room is using an area rug that's too small. Remember that all of the furniture should be able to comfortably sit on the carpet. If space doesn't allow it, make sure that at least the front legs of any large upholstered pieces are on the rug.
    • Coffee Table - Coffee tables are practical pieces that are often found in the center of conversation areas. If you choose to use, one remember that the height should be slightly lower than the seat height of the sofa and chairs around it. The length of the table should also be roughly one half to two thirds the length of the sofa. If you don't want to use a coffee table you can try using a couple of smaller tables or benches to achieve the same look. Just make sure they're not too small. People sitting around them should be able to lean over to put down or pick up a drink without having to get up from their seat. At the same time be sure to leave enough leg room between seats and tables: 14 to 18 inches should do the trick.
    • Side Tables - Side tables tend to be an afterthought, but they're important. The number you need will depend on how much seating you have. Everyone should be able to comfortably set down a drink without having to get up and walk over to a table. Try to have one on either side of the sofa, and between pairs of chairs. The key is to have enough surface space without overcrowding the room. The tables should be approximately the same height as the arm of the chair or sofa they're next to.​


    The Hopeful, Heartbreaking Ads Placed by Formerly Enslaved People in Search of Lost Family

    After emancipation, many freedpeople used newspaper advertisements to try to contact their family members. The Historic New Orleans Collection has made available a digital collection of more than 300 “Lost Friends” advertisements that appeared in the city’s Methodist Southwestern Christian Advocate newspaper between November 1879 and December 1880. The collection is searchable by name or location, but you can also browse advertisements at random.

    In her book, Help Me To Find My People: The African-American Search for Family Lost in Slavery, historian Heather Williams writes that advertisements like these were an ad hoc community measure made necessary because the federal government was largely unprepared to help separated families reunite during Reconstruction. (Willliams was a guest on episode 4 of our Slate Academy podcast, the History of American Slavery a few weeks ago, Slatepublished an excerpt from her book.)

    Some agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau did work to help people find family, but there were many obstacles to the project, including a lack of financial resources to conduct searches and the scanty documentation kept by slave traders. The result was that many people were unable to reunite and placed newspaper ads for years after the end of the war—sometimes seeking relatives they hadn’t seen in decades.

    Historic New Orleans Collection/Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries.

    The Southwestern Christian Advocate prefaced each Lost Friends column with this announcement. Pastors expanded the reach of the printed advertisements by reading them in church. The 50-cent charge for the ad would have been no small matter. “Even at 50 cents,” Williams writes, “placing an ad required a significant monetary investment, as a recently freed person in the South could expect to earn between $5 and $25 a month as a field hand working six days per week.”

    Historic New Orleans Collection/Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries.

    This advertisement shows how the prerogative of slaveholders, which allowed them to name and rename people at will, made it even harder to find separated relatives.

    Historic New Orleans Collection/Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries.

    Henry Tibbs included an unusually detailed separation story in his ad. Williams writes that the placements seemed to serve two purposes—a way to find relatives and a “public airing of freedpeople’s memories and hopes.”

    Historic New Orleans Collection/Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries.

    Crecy Stepto was looking for a husband last seen more than three decades before—a circumstance not unusual among those who chose to advertise. “It is likely that those who searched after a long time had created other significant relationships in their lives,” writes Williams. “They may have remarried or had other children, but the memories and the caring lingered.”

    Historic New Orleans Collection/Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries.

    Rufus Rollins’ ad tells of a family separation that took place right before the war. He writes that he was “run to Texas”—an expression that might refer to the practice of “refugeeing” enslaved people during the war, or removing them to places far away from the reach of the Union Army.

    Historic New Orleans Collection/Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries.

    Williams writes that she was able to find only a few instances of successful reunions coming from the placement of a newspaper ad. Every once in a while, however, it worked. The Christian Advocate wrote about one such result in 1877. “We published in this column a letter from Charity Thompson, of Hawkins, Texas,” the editors reported in March of that year. “The letter … was read in the First Church Houston, and as the reading proceeded a well-known member of the Church … broke into tears and cried out ‘That is my sister and I have not seen her for thirty three years.’ The mother is still living and in a few days the happy family will be once more re-united.”