Dear Church Family and Friends,
We have much to give thanks for as a congregation. The Lord’s care and protection upon us has been evident. While some of us have who have loved ones in assisted living facilities still have cause for concern, the Lord has remarkably preserved our congregation from COVID-19 infection so far. Many of us have been grateful for the additional time that we have been able to spend with our families during the present stay-at-home order.
Yet, we also look forward to getting back together. Back to church, back to work, and back to seeing people outside of our families face-to-face. While our state and local governments are sending out mixed messages, it appears that there may be some relaxation of the stay-at-home orders soon.
Adult Sunday School: We had our first Zoom Adult Sunday School class with Pastor Julian Zugg this past week. It went off with relatively minor hitches. Julian and I are watching videos and learning more about Zoom to improve the experience. Watch your email for the link to this week’s class.
Live-streamed Worship: Many thanks to our deacons for their service in being the production team for our live-streamed service. The church was able to upgrade our internet service this past week. From what I hear, it made a great difference in the worship experience. We continue to work to improve week-by-week.
Resuming in-person worship: The officers are working on plans to resume in-person public worship services when this becomes feasible. We will have to adhere to social distancing guidelines, as well as follow other regulations, such as wearing face coverings. We are blessed to have a large sanctuary that can accommodate small, in-person gatherings while maintaining social distancing.
We will encourage people who are risk for contracting COVID-19 to stay home, and respect and support the liberty of those who choose to stay home for reasons of conscience or caution.
To aid in this, we plan to continue to livestream and record our worship services. We will keep you informed of developments and let you know what you can expect as specifics develop.
As we contemplate this step, we understand that people will express many opinions about the propriety of taking this step, and the measures involved. Among the officers, several different perspectives have been advanced, and full and frank discussions are taking place. As we work through these matters, we must all seek God’s grace to exercise patience and forbearance towards one another as we seek to advance the peace, unity, and purity of the church.
I’ve expressed to some that this re-opening “is going to be like a wedding. Nobody will get everything they want.” But we will move forward together toward the common goal of physically worshipping together as a congregation once again.
Most likely, it will be some time before we can resume administering the sacraments. We’re moving one step at a time. Our desire is to continue to move forward while exercising all necessary caution.
We don’t yet have the data to determine when we will be able to provide nursery, Sunday school, fellowship meals, or any activity that would violate social distancing measures. Our first objective is to make attending in-person public worship as safe and feasible as going to Trader Joe’s. So, we really need for you to pray that the Lord would give us wisdom in all of this.
We continue to offer livestream service at 11 AM and 5 PM here. If you find that there are still starts and stops and gaps in the livestream service, you may access the recorded service, which is available shortly after the conclusion of the livestream. This should eliminate those difficulties. If neither of these works well, our audio sermons are available at Sermon Audio.
Watch your email for the Zoom links to Adult Sunday School, which runs from 10:00-10:45 and the Zoom chat after Evening Worship, which begins around 6:15.
During this time, I am very grateful for the leadership, care and the hard work of our officers. It’s such a blessing to see each man put his gifts into action, and for us to all work together to care for our congregation. If you need anything, please contact one of the pastors, your shepherding elder, or deacon. We want to pray with and for you, and help you with any spiritual or material needs that you have. Especially, please let us know if you are sick, have a specific need, are out of work, or have a reduced income from COVID-19 circumstances. This is the time for the Body of Christ to all work together and in dependence on him, to pull through this situation, and come out of it with greater unity and maturity in Christ.
Personally, I have greatly missed seeing each one of you, and the conversations that we’ re able to have by just showing up. And I really miss my Sunday School class and the children of the church, and look forward to seeing them back soon!
Love in Christ,