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Church in the Pandemic

Dear Church family ,

The short message: we are suspending services tomorrow,March 15, 2020. Please share with friends who might not read FB or their emails.

In an email yesterday I said that we will have services tomorrow. I cautioned that this might change due to the fluidity of the Pandemic.

It HAS changed. Here’s why.

We are now living in a new reality. State and national emergencies have been declared, new cases of Covid 19 are popping up daily in Wisconsin. Because of the present unprecedented events that are unfolding around us, our District Superintendent has suggested that all churches consider suspending services this week. I agree.

We do this for several reasons; to preserve the health of our many members of all ages who have compromised immune systems, and for all who fall into the most vulnerable over 60 category.

If even one person attends one of our services and is diagnosed positive for Covid 19, all in attendance at both churches would have to go into a 14 day quarantine.

Our effort to stay healthy is also our effort to guarantee that our local hospitals, doctors and nurses are not overwhelmed. We suspend services in the public interest, for the greater good.

Does this mean we stop being the Church? Absolutely not! This is when we CONTINUE being the church. We are, like many of our Old Testament readings during Lent, finding our way through a wilderness. We are now on a journey of discovery. How do we “do church” in this new reality?

One easy thing is to maintain contact with each other. Tomorrow morning, make a few phone calls to folks in the congregation. I am convinced that with God’s Amazing Grace and all of our prayers we may come out of this desert stronger than when we entered.

I am working with my tech savvy daughter to have a sermon on line for you tomorrow. I will also send out the readings and questions related to the readings for your consideration.

This does not mean that I’m taking off for the duration and taking the first slow boat off to Mongolia to go fly fishing. That would be silly, Mongolia is landlocked. My plan is to continue with office hours as usual. I am available for prayer and conversation.

Now is our time to truly discover our identity as disciples OUTSIDE the walls of our church buildings. Remember that the same God who spoke into being all of creation out of chaos, the same God who has been reaching out in reconciliation to a broken world since the first family stepped out of Eden, the same God who defeated death through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, this same God loves YOU and will not forsake YOU.

Through the grace of our loving Creator we will prevail in this current desert reality.

May God richly bless you now and always.

Pastor Rob

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