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UPDATE, MARCH 17:
Friends in Christ,
Acting upon the advice from the White House and recommendations from the CDC, the Elders and I have decided to suspend all worship services at Hope Lutheran Church for the next three Wednesdays (March 18, 25, and April 1)and the next two Sundays (March 22and 29). The Elders and I will discuss the situation on March 30 and determine whether to extend or lift the suspension.
During the suspension, we will provideonline devotional videos each weekday and each Sunday, beginning this Sunday, on Hope's Facebook page. Please check the Facebook page or our website for updates. If you don't have good internet access, please let me know and we can make arrangements for you to join a household that does.
None of this is ideal, but we are going to try our best to bring God's Word to you throughout this time and, of course, when it is over as well.
If you are in need of immediate pastoral care please contact me. If you need help getting food or medicine, we have a whole bunch of members ready and willing to jump in and help. Simply let me know and we'll get you the help that you need.
You are all in my prayers. I ask that you pray for our federal, state, and local governments and health officials that they may do what is best for all of us.
In closing, here are words from Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The Lord be with you, protect you, and give you peace now and always!
March 17, 2020
CANCELLATIONS UPDATE, MARCH 14, 2020:
In seeking to do what is best for the community we are canceling for the time being:
-Sunday School and Confirmation classes
As things progress with regards to the Coronavirus we will assess when to restart the normal schedule.
We will continue with our normal service schedule, as two services will allow people to spread out.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
March 14, 2020
Out of Christian love for our neighbor (Mark 12:31), especially the elderly, during this time of uncertainty regarding the Coronavirus, the Board of Elders at Hope have decided the following:
All Sunday morning greeters and handshaking in the greeting line have been discontinued until further notice. We also recommend parishioners not shaking hands with each other either.
When a pandemic reaches Delaware County, Knox County, or surrounding counties, be prepared for the possibility of all non-essential church functions being cancelled including Soup Suppers, Living Hope, Anchored Kids, Quilting, home group Bible Studies, and Easter breakfast. Nothing has been canceled yet, but Elders will assess the situation as it develops under the advice of the governing authorities. (Remember that the Government is one of the means by which God protects us. See Rom. 13:1-4.)
Divine Service will continue until the time when a governing authority should tell us to stop assembling for public safety, OR if conditions in Delaware County, Knox County, or surrounding counties warrant a reason for the Board of Elders to cancel worship. However, please know that if you are elderly or have a reason to be concerned that you may be sick or have been exposed to the virus, it is OK to miss Church. Missing Church in these circumstances would not be “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” as Hebrews 10:25 warns. You would not be “despising preaching and His Word” (3rd Comm.) It is general practice to let your Pastor or Elders know if you are going to miss or have missed Church for the sake of pastoral care as it is. Please especially let them know in times like these!
As is always the case, all people experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay home. In this case, until we know more information about the virus, if anyone in your house has a fever, please stay home. Please DO NOT send any children to Sunday School if anyone in the house has a fever.
Regarding Holy Communion, there have been studies conducted for over 100 years regarding the transmission of diseases via the Lord’s Supper and there has never been any evidence that showing that there is any more risk in communing than standing in a greeting line. If we have worship, we will also offer the Sacrament in both kinds at Communion services unless a pastor is not there to administer it (see point 4). However, it must be stated, that if your conscience is burdened by the reception of the Sacrament, it is OK to withhold from taking it! We do not want anyone taking it out of fear or coercion, and that applies AT ALL TIMES! Those who continue to commune, however, should take Communion in both kinds, that is, both the body (bread) and blood (wine) of Jesus, as Christ instituted (See Matt. 26:26-27; also Augsburg Confession Art. XXII.)
In the event we cannot safely assemble for worship, sermons and Bible studies will be online. While heads of household are expected to lead worship at home in normal circumstances as Scripture teaches (Deut. 6:6-7, Prov. 22:6, Eph. 6:4) this may become even more important now! As resources for this have been available in the past from Pastor, they will continue to be available. More information will be forthcoming.
All communication will first happen via email blasts, as well as Hope’s Facebook site, and website. If you know of individuals who will not receive these, please contact them to pass along the information.
This is certainly no time to panic. It is precisely times like these when the Church has the opportunity to be a light in the darkness by teaching all the things that Jesus has commanded (Matt. 28:20). It is a great time to show the world how we put our fear, love, and trust in God alone (1st Comm.), and yet also submit to the wisdom of governing authorities when and where it benefits our neighbors. Everything will work out for good (Rom. 8:28). God is in control, and He will continue to provide all that we need in body and soul unto life everlasting as we confess in the Creed. God is with you. Abide in His love!
March 11, 2020
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