18 March, A.D. 2020
RE: CARING FOR ONE ANOTHER AMIDST COVID-19
Dear Members of St. Paul’s,
Note: This is a slightly revised version of the letter emailed to the congregation on 17 March 2020.
A congregation which understands that Word and Sacrament ministry is an extension of Jesus’ incarnation does not easily cancel public worship. Yet, that is exactly what we must do for the time being.
We will—in faith—fear, love, and trust in God above all things (1st commandment). We will—in faith—uphold preaching and God’s Word and distribute Christ’s gifts (3rd commandment). We will—in faith—help and support one another in our physical needs (5th commandment). We will—in faith—honor and obey the governing authorities who are here to protect us (4th commandment).
Effective 17 March 2020 and through at least March 29, 2020 there will be no in-person worship services or classes. (We will provide a revised schedule during the last week of March and publish that schedule in the April Epistle.) A few key items:
- The Sunday 8am worship service that is on the radio will also be live-streamed and available for viewing online any time.
- You may borrow a hymnal if you like. Please contact the office. You can pick one up, or one will be delivered to you.
- The fully printed order of service will be posted on our website.
- Find links at www.splco.org for live-streaming, video, and worship materials.
- Wednesday Lenten services will be available online.
- Sunday School classes and all public gatherings at St. Paul’s are cancelled until further notice (Public school confirmation will be delivered online), with the following exceptions:
- Lord’s Cupboard and Swaddling Clothes will distribute at scheduled times, but one-by-one, not in a group.
- AA group is allowed to meet, but must observe legal meeting limitations.
- We would like to call a couple new teachers for the 2020-21 school year. We HOPE to have a voters’ meeting on March 29, 2020 at 9am. The gubernatorial order limiting meetings to less than 10 people makes this a challenge, but we will see what our legal options are. Stay tuned.
- The dinner auction is postponed. (date TBD)
Emergency pastoral care is available. This is our calling. This is what we do. However, to limit social contact for the sake of all, non-emergency pastoral care is on hiatus until at least the end of March.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
The pastors are developing a plan to distribute The Lord’s Supper should the public services need to remain cancelled further into April or beyond.
OFFERING ANNOUNCEMENT (Critical)
This summer St. Paul’s will have served 155 years in the Oconomowoc community. We have been through tough times before: anti-German (immigrant) laws, wars, the Great Depression, etc. God has called us to “receive and give the love and hope of Christ” in our community, and He has located us strategically for His service.
As with the generations before, difficult times call for sacrifice to ensure Christ’s ministry moves forward.
- To those who have income coming in, in the midst of our country’s current situation, we greatly appreciate your willingness to give.
- To those who have been affected financially by our country’s current situation, please be sure to care for your family. It is important to give something, but if that has to be reduced because of your situation, do so in God’s peace.
- You can contribute in the following ways:
- Mail your offering to the church.
- Online. Click in the upper right corner on orange offerings/donate button to set up an account.
- On your smartphone via the GivePlus app. Search your phone’s app store for “GivePlus Church” to download and give through the app.
We will make schedule decisions in two-week increments and communicate them electronically via our website and other media, and in print when possible. For example, in late March we will post the schedule through mid-April.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18a, ESV)
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Lance O’Donnell, Senior Pastor