Notes of Joy for the Week of March 22, 2020
Our Mission Statement

We of Joy Lutheran Church foster 
grace-filled relationships with Christ
through worship, fellowship, and service. 
Gospel: John 9:1-41
Baptism is sometimes called enlightenment. The gospel for this Sunday is the story of the man born blind healed by Christ. “I was blind, now I see,” declares the man. In baptism God opens our eyes to see the truth of who we are: God’s beloved children. As David was anointed king of Israel, in baptism God anoints our head with oil, and calls us to bear witness to the light of Christ in our daily lives.
From Our Council President

It isn’t until something is taken away that I realize how important it is.  I enjoy going to church on Sunday morning and worshiping with familiar faces and comforting services. There is a ritual about the process that feels right to me on Sunday mornings. I know there are times I’m just “going thru the motions” but even in spite of myself, I come away renewed because God was there. “Where two or more are gathered in My Name, I will be there” is a promise fulfilled at every service. 

We cannot hold services because of the Covid-19 virus. We are in the middle of Lent and Easter will be here soon. Not gathering together feels like a violation to me by an invisible evil and I’m anxious and frustrated. We are told to physically distance ourselves from each other and not touch. This seems directly opposite of Jesus’ teaching. However, I remind myself why we are asked to do this and it is to stop the spread of this evil and look to the health and wellbeing of all. That  is  what Jesus taught us.

Maybe a shakeup is good for me. Instead of allowing myself to just go thru the motions I am given the chance to focus on Christ’s message. As Pastor Karen has pointed out, we will have the opportunity to do church differently. Depending on how long we need to suspend our regular services, we will explore ways to stay connected in Christ. Maybe Easter service will be celebrated in our cars in the parking lot with Pastor Karen preaching from a bullhorn! Wouldn’t the neighbors love that!! No matter our situation, Easter will come and we will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. 

Pastor Karen and the Council will be looking for creative ways for us to worship. Part of worship is our offerings where we remind ourselves that everything we have, we have received from God. During this time please consider signing up for online giving (there is a link on the website at  or click on the donate button at the bottom of this email) or mailing your offering. 

Christ is with us and nothing will defeat that. We remain a family of faith and we will support each other during this time and come out stronger. Please feel free to email suggestions, needs or concerns to the office, Pastor Karen or any of the council members. 

Sue Weimer
Joy Lutheran Church Council President
From Our Pastor

Dear Friends in Christ,

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.  Psalm 46: 1

Due to the onset of the Covid19 virus and mandated precautions,  we have cancelled all church activities  including in-person Worship through the end of March.  The Church Council and I have not reached this decision lightly.  Love of neighbor is our motive

On Sunday mornings by 9:30 am, a pre-recorded Devotion or mini-worship service will be sent to you via email/ Constant Contact.  (If we do not have your email address, please send it to us at  This Devotion will also be made available  on Joy Lutheran’s Facebook  page .  It may not be “LIVE” yet, but we will re-evaluate and make improvements along the way.  FYI I also will send out assignments to our Confirmation Class students. 

Together we are attempting to slow the virus’ spread. If we have a huge surge of patients our hospitals will be overwhelmed.    We seek to protect those at higher risk of death.  God is giving us this opportunity to interfere with the normal course of this virus.  

During this time of “social distancing” (or as some have said “social caring”), we are still the Church ! As the song goes, “The Church is not a building….the Church is not a steeple…..the Church is a people!” Rather than focusing on “gathering” together in person, perhaps God is giving us a time to re-think Church. How can we worship “alternatively”, lift each other up regularly in prayer, support one another in Spirit, give to those on the edge? 

Here at Joy Lutheran Church as staff and leaders we will be putting our heads together on these very concerns. Worship is a source of solace and a healing balm.  We also trust that God is where we are at. God will lift us up and use us even as we are scattered. God is in control amid all these changes, creating us anew.

At this point of time I ask you to:

Follow Public Health advisors’ guidance.   Here in Alaska people who have travelled anywhere Outside are asked to isolate themselves for 14 days .   I urge you to follow all protocols. 

Pray.  Pray for health care workers throughout the world and everyone keeping hospitals going; all workers keeping our infrastructure going – delivery and supply chain, utilities, groceries, airlines, prisons, law enforcement - the list goes on; leaders in each level of government; child care workers and all education staff;  people who have lost their jobs; those who are homeless.

Reach out.   Call up, “email” or even write someone. Offer words of encouragement. Listen to one another. Pray over the phone with each other. 

Give.  When you go to the store, don’t forget the Food Bank. They will be overwhelmed I’m sure at this time. Many people in our society cannot “stock up” on any food or cleaning items. 

Do you have children at home?  Perhaps they could make cards or a little “ picture ” for someone in our congregation or your extended family who is older and would really appreciate it! Need an address?  Contact us.

Finally, if you have a pastoral care concern, call me (907-434-1862) or the Church!  We will be checking messages.  I am available and will want to know if you are sick or in the hospital or need to talk or pray. 

In Christ’s love,
Interim Pastor Karen Sonray
Worship This Sunday - 9:30 am
  • Listen to a prerecorded message and abbreviated service
  • How? We will post the message on Joy's Facebook page
Confirmation Students
Pastor Karen will be sending an assignment via email. Parents, please watch for it! 
In-person Midweek Lent worship is cancelled for the rest of March 
The March 18 Lenten message is available on Joy's Facebook page. It's a 12-minute service from Holden Evening Prayer . Check it out!

You can still view our Facebook page, even if you do not have a Facebook account. Click the link above. Ignore the bar at the bottom when it opens asking you to sign-in or create an account. You are still able to scroll down through our page without doing either of those. Also, there may be a pop-up screen that appears. You need to click "not now" when it again asks you to sign up, then it will go away - - hope that helps!! :-)
The Readings for Sunday Worship
First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Samuel anointed David even though he was the eighth-oldest son of Jesse and did not match his brothers in height or other physical characteristics. With the anointing came endowment with the Spirit of the Lord, designating David as the Lord’s chosen successor to Saul.

Psalm 23
You anoint my head with oil.  (Ps. 23:5)

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not be in want.
2 The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters.
3 You restore my soul, O Lord,
and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake.
4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
Because we now live in the divine light which is Jesus Christ, we conduct our lives in ways that reflect the light of Christ, so that our activity is truly pleasing to God.
Shopping Needed? We can help!
If you need assistance shopping, we might be able to help. A couple of our members are willing to do grocery shopping for vulnerable folks trying to avoid germ exposure during the COVID-19 onset. 

Please let the church office, Pastor or Kathie Adams know if we can assist you! 
Thank you.
Thank you for not forgetting your church during vacation time or during COVID-19!

Thank You...

for your outreach, especially to the Chugiak Eagle River Food Pantry!
JCDC Playground Equipment Fundraiser
Joy Child Development Center has a account now. 

They are in need of new playground equipment! This center has served the Eagle River and Chugiak community since 1979, providing quality care for children. It is one of few centers/ preschools offering healthy meals to children and is constantly working to improve the early education experience for our kids. Unfortunately, the playground equipment had to be removed due to safety concerns and the kids need and deserve a new source of play and exploration! We all know the importance of play and would appreciate very much your investment in this playground that in turn directly affects youth!

OR , write a check to JCDC (for “playground”), and we will make sure it gets there!
Joy of Reading Book Club
The Joy of Reading Book Club meets the 3rd Monday of every month and gets started around 6:30 PM. Even if you haven’t read the book of the month you are still welcome to join us. It’s a fun evening of discussion, sharing of ideas and respectful listening. And lots of socializing and laughter!

  • March 16 – Book Club cancelled - but the book is postponed until June.
  • April 20 – The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri. Karen Johnson is hosting.
  • May 18 – We are Called to Rise by Laura McBride at the home of Mona Mitton.
  • June 5 – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. This is also Book Club’s 10th Anniversary Celebration! Once again our anniversary party/sleepover will be at the beautiful lake home of Gerry Norene on Nancy Lake.
  • August 17 – Overstory by Richard Powers
2020 Alaska Synod Assembly has been postponed until October 9-11th.
National Youth Gathering planning meeting is coming up! Stay tuned!
Joy Church Council Members
Sue Weimer -
Scooter Bentson -
Tom Bird -
Debby Bird -
Corrine Finnie -
Kelly Mullin -
Heather Slocum -
Clarke Hemphill, Treasurer -

The next church council meeting is
Tuesday, April 14th
at 7:00pm.