I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
8 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
I want to take a moment to let you know St. Peterís plan of action as we respond to the Coronavirus and the precautions recommended by our government, as they currently suggest gatherings of no more than 10 people at time.
Trusting in God, treasuring His gifts, and caring for our neighbors has required us to do a little thinking outside the box, in the military we say, ďSemper GumbyĒ Ė always be flexible.
We do not wish to silence our Lordís gifts of forgiveness or the Sacrament here at St. Peterís.
In fact, now it is even more necessary than ever to hear our Lordís Word, be strengthened in our faith, and receive the gifts of life and salvation which Christ offers to us freely as we partake of His body and blood.
We certainly desire to obey the authorities that God has placed over us, as it is good and proper to do so. But we also do not want to take away the precious gifts of Christ.
We also wish to mitigate any risk to you the people of God in the midst of this pandemic.
We at St. Peterís are taking the following steps.
For the next several weeks we will be cancelling the Lenten Wednesday night dinners. Regrettably weíll be missing out on some delicious food and lighthearted fellowship, but this is for the safety of us all.
Our Wednesday night Compline services will also be cancelled, although I will still come and do the Compline liturgy and preach, live streaming the service and sermon on Facebook live.
It is my hope that by Palm Sunday, April 5th, we will be able to meet again together and celebrate Holy Week as a family of believers.
As for our Sunday services, we will be making the following adjustments for the next few weeks. We still need our Lordís gifts of Confession and Absolution. We also need our Lordís gift of forgiveness, the strengthening of our faith, and the balm of eternal life that we receive as we partake of Christís body and blood in the Lordís Supper. These are things that just cannot be done online or electronically, therefore we have formulated a plan of action as follows.
-First off, if you are sick or immunocompromised, I encourage you to contact me to schedule either a home visit or office visit to see me for Private Confession and Absolution and Communion
-I will record my sermons and post it on Facebook on Sunday morning
-Our Facebook page and Prayer Chain email will include the readings for the day
-I will make available, print and digital copies of my sermons for those who prefer to read them. Drop me an email and let me know if youíd like me to send you a copy.
Here are the big adjustments that we will be making for Sunday morning:
-There will be no Sunday School or Adult Bible study, however we will make available a Sunday School devotion for families with young children. We can email it to you but we will also have paper copies available for you to take home. This will be very similar to the Sunday School opening worship that the children do each week.
Our Sunday morning Divine Services will be adjusted significantly as follows:
- The sanctuary is being disinfected professionally this Friday in preparation for the weekend.
- Starting at 7:45am and continuing until 12 noon, we will host a modified service of Confession and Absolution, along with a celebration of Holy Communion for 10 people at a time. This should take about 10 minutes and will limit person to person contact while following the CDC recommendation of no gatherings greater than 10 people.
-I ask that you please contact the church office to sign-up for a time slot, we will have 10 minute slots starting at 7:45am and continuing til 12 noon. Each time slot will be for 10 people. I will make myself available as long as necessary to deliver Christís gifts to you.
- An elder will be posted outside the Sanctuary door and outside the far fellowship hall door who will let in 10 people at a time to gather in the Sanctuary for Confession, Absolution, and Communion. We ask that you wait in your car until your time slot and you are waved into the sanctuary. Socializing outside the door will potentially create unnecessary risks. We ask your patience.
- The elder will open and close the door for you to limit your contact with surfaces in the church.
- Once inside the Sanctuary, I will direct you to stand at the step to the altar where I will walk you through this short service of Confession and Absolution and celebrate the Sacrament with you.
During this time frame, the church continues to have financial commitments and duties, so please bring your offerings on Sunday and leave it in the offering plate, or drop it in the office, or even mail it to the church. We are working on setting up online giving and will hopefully have that up and running soon, so that the work of the church can continue onward and you have the opportunity to exercise good stewardship in support of the Gospel ministry here at St. Peter's
We truly believe that these actions will both protect our members and also allow for you to receive Christís gifts.
If you have any questions, please contact me at the church office.
Our Lord Jesus declares, ďPeace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.Ē
May we continue to be bold and live not in fear, but in fervent trust. And may we, during this unique time, love God and find ways to serve our neighbors, that Christ may be proclaimed in all we say and do.
As always, please contact me if there are any pastoral care needs.
The Lord bless you and keep you until He gathers us again in this place to receive His gifts.
Peace be with you all.