Hebrews 12: 1b-3
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,    fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.    Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Dear Pastors, Deacons, SAMs and Lay Leaders, 

I’m writing this shortly after Gov. Tony Evers announced the  Safer at Home  order beginning Wednesday, March 25 at 8:00 a.m. until Friday, April 24 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is an order for all of us to stay at home and limit all travel to essential personal, business and government needs. As I read it, worship leaders can still gather to livestream or record worship services in their church buildings but must maintain a six foot physical distance and gather in very small groups of 10 or less. I suggest 2 or 3.  See sections 13:G,H, I of the order .

In addition, the Wisconsin Council of Churches sent out recommendations for church leaders. They suggest that rostered leaders and SAMs model  Safer at Home  behavior by staying home and recording or livestreaming worship from your living room. There is wisdom in that suggestion - our actions speak louder than words.  The WCC document also contains helpful suggestions for church business and administration during this crisis.

Remember to check the synod website for additional resources and updates. Share the  Hearts at Home , or one of the other worship resources Laura Ramlow has created and curated with your members by email. Consider how you will stay in touch with your members and provide resources for those who are not connected to the internet or email.  

Without a doubt this pandemic will cause some financial stress in your congregation and your family. Please check out the  Stewardship in Difficult Times  video Erin Nelson created on the synod website. 

This is a marathon, not a sprint! All of the uncertainty and additional stress can take its toll. Take care of yourself; sleep, eat, pray, exercise, talk to colleagues and friends.  We are hosting a noon lunch Zoom gathering for rostered leaders on March 25 & 26 and April 1 & 2 --please join us as we support one another, share resources and offer a space where it is okay to NOT be okay Wednesday, March 25th at 12:00 p.m.       Thursday, March 26th at 12:00 p.m.

Holy Week and Easter is a marathon under the best of circumstances. This year it might feel even longer! In an attempt to accompany you, I’m planning to record two sermons, one that you may choose to use for Maundy Thursday or Good Friday and one that you may use for the Sunday after Easter. I’m hoping that might give you a little break from preaching and a chance to catch your breath. 

Take care of yourselves; take care of your people, take care of your neighbors.    You are all in my prayers,

~Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson