Welcome to Christ Lutheran e-news, a weekly electronic newsletter which highlights programs and activities of our congregation. Feel free to .

Being Church Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Twenty four musicians and other worshipers gathered--but not too closely--on Sunday for "Land and Seasons" worship.  A video of the service is now available on the Christ Lutheran Church Facebook, although it's difficult to understand much of the spoken word. 
The decision to to hold worship while the COVID-19 crisis hovers was a difficult one, and members with pre-existing conditions or of an age that put them at higher risk were urged to stay home. For the coming Sundays, and indeed the intervening days, no such call needs to be made; worship and all other activities in the building have been suspended until further notice. The Council will confer as the situation unfolds and re-opening may be considered.
On Sundays there will be some kind of virtual worship, probably via Facebook Live. We are still newbies at this, and reluctant newbies at that, so please be patient and understanding as we make our best efforts!
In-person pastoral visits will be limited to true emergencies, but Pr. Bourret will be available by email and phone, and will spend some time each day checking in on members. All are encouraged to check in with one another by phone, email, or any other means that allows safe distancing, and to pray for one another! 
And you will say in that day:
Give thanks to the Lord,
    call on his name;
make known his deeds among the nations;
    proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
    let this be known  in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
    for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 12:4-6 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)  
Music Notes
Tom Berryman, Music Director
A reminder and link for SING FOR JOY appear each week at the end of E-News.  While it's no substitute for being physically present for congregational worship, in these times of cancelled services, it's a thoughtful, uplifting reminder about the weekly scriptures with musical selections that comment on the appointed readings.  This week's edition for Lent III of SING FOR JOY features music by Copland, Haydn, Rachmaninoff performed by the St. Olaf Choir, the Augsburg Choir, the Gustavus Choir, the Luther College Nordic Choir and others. Have a listen

The CLC Choir had hoped to sing the opening chorus from the Bach Cantata "Was Gott Tut das Ist Wohlgetan" this coming Sunday, March 22, Lent IV, with  Anne Weaver playing the virtuoso flute solo. We'll sing it later, but in the meantime listen to this splendid performance from the Stiftskirche in Stuttgart.

Tom Berryman, Music Director
Adult Formation
                                                    CLC BOOK GROUP

Last evening we were unable to meet, as planned, to discuss How to Be an Anti-Racist . Is there someone willing to set up a Zoom meeting or other virtual gathering  so that we can reschedule the conversation?

Although we won't be able to gather for Lenten mid-week prayer, perhaps you are already using a personal Lenten devotional. Here's a Lenten devotional from Lutheran Seminary if you're looking for one.                                  
Call to Action

Foundational to our faith is the trust that God always provides what we need. The psalm appointed for this Sunday is the 23 rd , in which the psalmist confidently maintains, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."
That holds true, even in the midst of the novel corona virus pandemic. God has given to us, collectively, all that we need to respond responsibly and combat its menace.
Here are two sets of tips, one for coping with staying home in order to take care of yourself, your family, and your community, and a second for ways to reach out, figuratively speaking, to care for neighbors in need:
Stay at home as much as possible, even if you have no symptoms. That means avoiding play dates, sleepovers, bars, restaurants, parties, or houses of worship. 
What can you do instead?
Connect with nature . Even if you're avoiding crowds and events in enclosed spaces, you're probably safe in the great outdoors, as long as you follow hygiene precautions like washing your hands thoroughly after touching things others might touch, and staying home if you feel sick. So go for a stroll in a park, a hike in the woods or a walk around the block to reduce stress. Sit in the sun or shade in the yard, patio or balcony. Plant a garden, whether it's in the ground, a raised bed, in containers such as large flowerpots, or on a windowsill.
Stay connected in other ways . Check in on your loved ones and friends frequently.
Be a neat freak. Keep everything as clean as possible.
Use art, music and exercise to distract yourself and relieve stress. As  public spaces for entertainment and exercise are closing temporarily, that needn't stop you from cranking up your favorite music at home or while out walking. And many community arts organizations , yoga studios, gyms and other recreational organizations are creating online-only activities and feeds that you can enjoy from home. Take this time to explore new online radio stations and exercise apps, or to make art or music or work out at home. 
Wash your hands: Early, often, thoroughly.
If you're going to spread anything, spread help, compassion, and humor.  This is uncharted territory for all of us, from health care workers to store clerks to teachers to neighbors. Use and share  stress-reducing techniques anxiety-reducing exercises breathing techniques , and more. 
Above all, do not panic. Remember: Like all outbreaks, this too will eventually end.
If you've been infected and recovered already, you are highly likely to be immune. If so, you can serve your community in public spaces where others can't.  
How can I help?
Give blood, if you can . Or spread the word about the need for donations if you aren't able to give. Either way, you'll help blood banks nationwide meet the need for blood, platelets and plasma, which hasn't gone down even though many blood drives have been canceled in areas where coronavirus cases are more common. And an important note: Coronavirus has not been shown to be transmitted through blood transfusion. Visit the Red Cross to find a blood drive near you, and read the latest Red Cross  guidance for donating blood during the coronavirus pandemic .
Give money or food to food banks.
People with low incomes, or whose work is being interrupted by cancellations of events, travel, or education due to corona virus, will need more help than ever. CLC regularly partners with the Natick Service Council's food bank on Cottage Street, which could use donations of food, toiletries or money, and possibly volunteers. 
Buy online gift certificates to your favorite local stores and restaurants, and use them when this is over. Small businesses and their hourly employees are already disproportionately feeling the economic pain of this crisis. Help nonprofit organizations and small businesses weather the financial storm by making a donation, buying a gift card, or spreading the word on social media about them by writing a positive review or sharing their posts.
Help people who shouldn't leave home: Older adults, and people with serious illness or disability, should avoid public settings as much as possible because they're more vulnerable to getting seriously ill from corona virus. But they still need food and human interaction.

This makes local Meals on Wheels programs more important than ever, and may mean that these programs will have more demand than ever.  Look up the program near you  to find out how to donate to supplement the funds they get from the government, or how to volunteer.
Help others at high risk avoid unnecessary trips to settings where they could be exposed to corona virus, while still having human interaction. This includes your neighbors, relatives and friends who are elderly, or have a compromised immune system, a chronic condition or a disability.
Help set up technology for those who can't leave home: Technology can go a long way to easing the loneliness of being stuck at home to avoid corona virus exposure. But not everyone is equally comfortable setting up technologies such as smartphone and tablet apps, video chat, streaming video entertainment, or telephone visits with doctors or other health providers. If you're technologically savvy, offer to help a neighbor, friend or relative get set up, and act as their "tech support" hotline. 
Help young children in need : More than a third of children in America are part of low-income families, and corona virus-related closings and cancellations hit them hard. Find a  diaper bank  such as A Place to Turn on Hartford Street to give money or diapers and wipes to, so families with infants, toddlers and children with disabilities don't have to spend as much on these essentials. 
Share information responsibly, and support those who create good information: Help trustworthy stories and explanations related to corona virus reach more people, by seeking them out from reputable sources such as major media outlets, government agencies such as the CDC, hospitals and nonprofit health organizations.
Be wary of claims that sound too good to be true, or that are only being made on one site. Check the dates and origins of articles, videos and memes, and look at fact-checker sites before sharing something. 
If you don't yet pay to subscribe to a local media organization, or donate to support a nonprofit news organization such as public radio or television, consider doing so. This will help them continue to offer local coverage as the pandemic continues - and cover other stories in your local community.

Family Promise

In light of all that is happening with COVID-19, we have been faced with the challenge of what is best to do for our families, volunteers, congregations, and staff. After much consideration, we have decided to move our families tomorrow into a local hotel for the next 30 days.

As our families confront this unprecedented challenge, we need your support more than ever. If you would like to ensure a stable future for our families, please either send a check to Family Promise Metrowest, 6 Mulligan Street, Natick, MA 01760 or to donate to the CLC team online.

While we are all feeling powerless during this difficult time, please know your contributions will have an immediate impact on our families and ensure a bright future for all.

Calling all knitters and crochet-ers:

The chaplain at Metrowest Medical Center, Tiffany Spigarolo, has requested prayer shawls, whether knitted or crocheted, to provide to patients at the hospital who are facing death. They should be of a size large enough to wrap around a person's shoulders. 

Directions for crocheted shawls.
Directions for knitted shawls.

Even tied fleece blankets would be welcome! Of course, you are welcome to use a different pattern. What better way to spend your time while you're socially isolating. If you can help, please speak with Pastor. Thanks!
Looking Ahead
"Looking ahead" becomes wise counsel in days like these. This pandemic will come to an end, and we will come together again as a community of faith. As Paul wrote to the church at Rome in last Sunday's reading,  "...W e also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. "
READINGS FOR THIS WEEK - Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 22, 2020

Last week the salvation that Christ offers the world was likened to water, and this coming week God's mercy is likened to light. What is the "darkness" in your life? Tune in to e-worship to celebrate the light that is Christ in you.

            First Reading                          Psalm                     Second Reading                     Gospel
    1 Sam 16:1-13                          Ps 23                          Eph 5: 8-14                     John 9: 1 - 41
Sing For Joy
Enhance your understanding of the weekly scripture readings by listening to Sing For Joy  from St. Olaf College.  The Sing For Joy radio program, produced by St. Olaf College , has a simple mission: to explore the weekly themes of Christian worship by providing the best in sacred choral music and thoughtful commentary. The musical performances eloquently "do the talking," while the concise remarks from host Pastor Bruce Benson illuminate the meaning of the texts.
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