E-Voice: weekly news & updates
Note: anything that is underlined is a link you can click on!
Friday, July 29, 2021
UPDATED 07/27/21

ELC's Re-Opening Team met on July 27 to discuss current recommendations for gathering as a congregation. Despite several weeks of low rates in La Crosse County, cases are starting to climb among all age groups, especially among unvaccinated individuals, and the Delta variant is the most common.

The Center for Disease Control updated their mask wearing guidance on July 27 as well. Their recommendation states,
“To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” Currently, La Crosse County is in a level of moderate transmission, with 59% of the total population having received one or more vaccines. (64% of the eligible population are fully vaccinated.)

As previously stated, the church may need to go back to more universal mask wearing and other restrictions if local cases spike due to the more contagious variants like the Delta variant.

The following is recommended for worship and groups at ELC:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals are encouraged, but not required to wear a mask, unless the number of cases continue to increase, in which all will be required to wear one. Masks are required for unvaccinated individuals, including children under 12. Remember this recommendation is for the safety and protection of our most fragile members of our congregation: our unvaccinated children, and older adults with weaker immune systems.
  • We encourage worshippers to continue to sing softly, sit distanced in the sanctuary and within any group, and practice good hand hygiene.
  • The King Street doors (by the office and the Fellowship Hall entry) will continue be open to enter/exit for worship services.
  • Fellowship will continue to be held outside in the parking lot entry after Sunday worship, weather permitting. (Please avoid lingering in the sanctuary or narthex.)
  • We recommend that individuals stay home if COVID-like symptoms are present and continue to follow CDC safety guidelines (click here for more information).
  • There is no longer a need to sign in upon entry to the church, but anyone holding a meeting or group activity should keep attendance records for at least two weeks.

The Re-Opening Team continues to meet and respond to changing conditions. Plan on event modifications for many months to come. As much as we all long for a different truth, the pandemic is far from over. If you have any questions or concerns about English's re-opening plan, please contact a member of the Re-Opening Team: Pastor Glen Bickford, Pastor Becky Goche, Karl Green, David Bleidorn, Mary Mueller, Brenda Rooney, Mark Flaten, Jennifer Jones, or Niki Pohnl.
The Call Committee would like the congregation to know that they can contact either of the Co-Chairs, Pete Bemis or Greg Fenton if you wish to share some thoughts, concerns, or ideas about our call process for our next Senior Pastor.
Wondering about how advocacy fits into our Christian and Lutheran presence in policy discussions? Session 1 of ELCA Advocacy Summer School will paint a picture of what advocacy is and how advocacy is shaped with a faith foundation, especially as members and affiliates of the ELCA. With discussions, examples, and ways to connect, register for “What is faith-based advocacy?” today!

--Summer Edition: UN and State Updates - Read about “Lutheran Office for World Community, United Nations, New York, N.Y. –Dennis Frado, Director - The Generation Equality Forum concluded with concrete commitments to advance parity by 2026;” plus learn what’s going on in our own Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW).
As we open for services and begin to add in regular programming, we remind everyone that we need volunteers to assist! One of the things we have learned is that Sign Up Genius is a good system to use. We need ushers, lectors, tech booth assistants, and eventually by fall, communion servers and servers for coffee fellowship. During the summer, we ask that you utilize the online sign ups.

As we have been opening up more, the same members have graciously volunteered, but we need more of you to join us! Any questions, contact Carol at 784-9335. Thanks for your service!

Thank you for supporting Christ's mission as we re-open! Many members make generous contributions throughout the year, and we appreciate your gifts.

We know many travel over the summer (especially since everything was cancelled last year!) or have other commitments. If you'll miss services over the summer and want to keep current with your offering, consider signing up for recurring eGiving. It takes just a few minutes to set up, and your continuous gifts throughout the year helps sustain our mission, activities, and programs!

Click here to set it up yourself online. There is an option to give a one-time gift as well as set up recurring gifts. Or, download a Simply Giving form and return it to Jennifer at the church office.

We hope we can continue to count on your support this summer. Because of you, we’re able to fund the important work we do in our church, in our community, and in the world.
ELC's Cancer Support Group is always welcome to new group members. We meet the fourth Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm at church, starting again in August (no meeting in July). Please reach out to Irene TenEyck at 784-9335 x304 for more information.

This is an established, wonderful group of people from our own congregation that meet to pray together and support one another through difficult journeys.
Coffee Fellowship is back on Sundays following worship! Grab a cup of coffee or lemonade outside and visit with your church family. If you'd like to volunteer for Coffee Fellowship, contact Carol at the church office.

Please try not to linger in the narthex or sanctuary after worship. Our new HVAC system is still to be installed and it is safer to be outside to visit while COVID still persists.
Time to clean out your closets! As part of ELC’s Faith Milestone program, 3rd grade Sunday School students receive a new Bible in the fall. Sacred Sewers provide a handmade bible cover to each student, which they decorate and personalize. Sacred Sewers are in need of denim (or similar solid color, heavy fabric) for this project. If you have fabric to donate, please drop off in the church office. Thank you!
Pre-registration is required, and space is limited - click the picture to sign up! ELC is a proud partner of Habitat for Humanity's local #FaithBuild. Ages 5+ welcome!
#FaithBuild House update: trusses are up on garage, house is entirely framed, retaining wall is being built and Habitat for Humanity has raised $45,133.46!!

Amery Church is coming! This is a lovely Wisconsin church that puts together a build team each year and decides which Habitat in Wisconsin will benefit from a full work week of 15 volunteers. They are staying at First Congregational. Amery is also inviting Champions to a special Communion Service at the Faith Build site on Friday August 13th at 3pm. Please feel free to join us!
ELC's Ministry Council invites you all to help reach their goal of 820 LWR School Kits! Each week we report item numbers so you know what we still need. Thank you to those who are giving financial donations as well - those purchases are included below.

As of July 29, we have enough:
  • Notebooks (4) to fill 405 backpacks
  • Rulers (1) to fill 163 backpacks
  • Sharpeners (1) to fill 587 backpacks
  • Scissors (1) to fill 702 backpacks
  • Pencils (5) to fill 263 backpacks
  • Pens (5) to fill 299 backpacks
  • Crayons (1 box) to fill 198 backpacks
  • Erasers (1) to fill 397 backpacks

After church on Sunday, August 22, we will fill the backpacks with all the supplies!  It's always a fun family/intergenerational activity with a COVID-safe meal to follow. Click here to sign up or see the display in the narthex at church this weekend. This helps us plan for food, etc. THANK YOU! If you have questions, contact Bob & Kathy Weeks.
Could you use some support in your grief journey? We will be starting a group to support those who are grieving losses, no matter how recent. Days and times will be dependent on group needs. If you would be interested in joining such a group, please contact Irene TenEyck at 784.8876 x304.