In Times Like These...
Thursday, March 19
In the last 48 hours, I’ve had time with Council, Leaders, local Lutheran pastors and the staff here at church (and yes, we did practice social distancing and made good use of conference calling and web services). I marvel at the hope, courage, innovation, compassion and clear-eyed attention from these blessed siblings in Christ. It’s good to face all this together!

There are some things you all need to know about our community and our congregation. We made some decisions and identified several priorities for the coming weeks and months. Pastor David.

Gathering is at the core of the life and mission of the Church. So, we have not cancelled services, but we have moved them “on-line.” That means our friends and members are asked to participate via cell phone, Facebook, computer and web enabled TV. It’s not the same, but it has been a happy experience so far. If you have missed those or have yet to share an invitation to a friend to join in, please go to the church website. You’ll see a link to You Tube/worship website. The room is empty, but hearts are full.
At this point, we have kept the Office open on a limited basis. A few staff are here to process mail, contributions, receive calls, share ministry and phone contact with members and manage web presence. We want to hear from folks! Your emails, calls, mail and texts are a gift. If you need to come to the building, let us know. If you know someone who does not have access to the internet, let us know. If you are aware of someone in trouble, we care about that too.
Classes have been postponed at least through April. Preschool staff are in contact with students and their families with encouragement and lessons for learning at home.  Mrs Cooper has an excellent team of talented teachers and assistants. Our neighborhood is blessed by the good work care we share.

Your help is needed. Pastoral Intern Deb and I have been exhausting cell phone batteries and blistering dialing fingers to try and connect with folks. We are not making hospital visits or going to nursing homes, but we are sharing voicemails, phone conversations and text messages at a rate I have never attempted. We are asking folks to be mindful of their neighbors and see if there are ways they may need your help. We can add them to the prayer list too.

Several groups, teams and committees in the congregation have figured out ways to meet or communicate via internet. Contact the group leader to see how to participate.
Wow! We are blessed with the thoughtful and generous support of many of you. People are mailing in offering, logging onto the website and contributing on the “Donate” page, stopping by the office with gifts and maintaining their automatic transfers. Soon, there will be a “text to give” option for those who can support us by phone. It all helps.

We have been cleaning! Volunteers and staffers have been wiping down surfaces and replenishing sanitizer. All onsite meetings are postponed. Thermostats and lights have been turned down or off. Volunteers are busy outside, spreading beauty bark and pulling weeds. (Without touching each other of course!) Contact Jim Hunt if you want to help with an outside project. It’s all very strangely quiet at church these days.

Now What?
People are wondering about Holy Week and Easter. When can we have meetings again? What about our partners in Local and Global Mission and the Synod? When can outside groups use our facilities again? How will we do Weddings, Memorials and Baptisms? When do we talk about the Sanctuary Lighting Campaign? What does this mean for the Associate Pastor Call process?

The truth is that there are more questions than answers right now. But, it’s also true that we have big hearts and strong leaders. God’s good love, sturdy hope and deep peace will sustain us for all that lays ahead.

In times like these, we hear the promise of Jesus, “…teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28.20

Be in touch. Love your neighbor. Stay home and wash your hands.

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