Most merciful God, we come to you in this time of anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19. As the sorrows of our heart and mind increase, we beseech you to save us from all trouble and fear. Cast away all works of darkness. Be our rock, a castle to keep us safe. For the Lord is our stronghold and sure defense. Amen ~prayer written by Michael Kurth
We are all affected by the impact of the coronavirus. Worship on Sunday was unusual—it reminded me of my preaching class at seminary where we had to imagine an audience. But I knew that many of you were present in spirit. Over 235 devices were tuned in to the Livestream, plus many that listened on the radio. What an absolute blessing it is for us to come together as the body of Christ while physically distancing ourselves!
But… now what? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending 8 weeks of isolating ourselves. Unless we hear otherwise, we brace for staying home and being vigilant with our physical distancing during that time. As a church, we will follow all CDC guidelines.
Let that sink in. This means we will have virtual worship for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter… and until at least Mother’s Day, May 10th. So, we adjust. “We are Easter people. We will rise together.”
How do we minister to our members who are isolated? Have YOU called someone to check in on them yet? If you are usually at Faith Break or talk to someone before or after church, have you talked to them yet?
How do we minister to our members who are financially impacted through loss of work for themselves or a spouse? How can we, as the church, pray for you, support you, and help you?
In this time of unknown, we are in this together. Yesterday, I had lunch and dinner “to go” from Forest Lake restaurants, in order to help support our local businesses. I won’t do this every day, but our local businesses appreciate our help. Are you able to help some of our neighbors out like this?
We are in communication with the school district to tell them that many of you reached out to run errands or be a driver. With so many places offering food, I want to make sure we’re connecting the kids in need with the resources. There is more to come as the schools are also working through logistics.
I appreciate the financial support from people who have the means to keep giving. Mark additional gifts as “direct assistance”, and we will assist people who are struggling financially right now. Please let us know if you need envelopes or assistance with online donation support. Just because church isn’t “normal” doesn’t mean that we don’t need your support. We are finding ways to be the church in impactful ways. I’m so impressed by your drive and care for one another. Thank you. We will make it through this, together.
The school districts are currently working on plans to provide educational opportunities from home and so are we. Our staff is diligently planning small groups, home Bible/book study, and family based educational opportunities. Some of these opportunities are already available—for example, you are welcome to watch our Streaming worship services. Thank you for your patience as we send out updates in the next few weeks.
On Friday, look for information about Sunday worship. It won’t be a “full” bulletin, but a guide on what worship will be when you are watching/listening. We appreciate all the ideas that you’ve had to make meaningful connection points in this unique time. Thank you to our tech team for creating instructions on how you can stream on your big screen if you have a Roku TV or streaming stick or box.
Got an idea or observation? Send it to . Know that you are being prayed for and that God is with us, walking alongside us in this difficult time.
God bless, Pastor John