FoC Covid19 Update

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Family of Christ continues to offer LIVESTREAM worship Sundays at 10am (see below), in-person outdoor worship Wednesdays at 7pm (see below) as well as ZOOM Sunday School & Christos (email Teri Burns for more info) and many unique ways to stay connected (read our Family Newsletter below).

 

FAMILY OF CHRIST YOUTUBE CHANNEL-   Weekly worship and other devotional videos are being posted to our church’s YouTube Channel.  If supplemental materials are available for the services (song sheets, bulletins, etc.) they will be posted below in the “Worship” section of this page.  Also, we ask that you please take the time to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
“CLOSING TIME” EMAILS-    Along with our weekly Friday morning Ponderings, we are sending out devotions we are calling “Closing Time”.  These emails are sent out at 5:05pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  If you know someone who would like to be receiving these communications but aren’t, have them text “FAMILYOFCHRIST” to 22828 or email Lynn Winkleman, Media Communications, and ask to be added to the email list.
PASTORAL CARE & SUPPORT: CONTACT THE PASTORS-   Reach out to Pastor Josh or Pastor Kimberly.  If there is something we can do to help you, we sure will try, and that goes for the church staff and the church council too.  Use our emails, or text us, or leave a message on the church phone (952-934-5659) and we will get back to you.
TAKE OUR “CHECKING-IN SURVEY”-   Do you need help or have help to give?  This survey will let us know how to best serve the needs of our community. By working together, we can continue our mission of “making disciples, making a difference”.

MENTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS PAGE– Please check out our new Mental Health & Wellness page on our website where we list a variety of resources.  We will be updating and adding to this page often so be sure to check back to see what may be new.

Take-Care-Tuesdays

TAKE CARE TUESDAY (care for self, care for others) is our way of emphasizing the need to take care during this pandemic. We will post a short devotional, tip, exercise or prayer that can help you frame your day in a positive light. The morning post will be on FB, Twitter and Instagram (search #takecaretuesday). In addition to the Tuesday morning posts we will focus our Closing Time Devotional on Mental and Spiritual Health taking it to a deeper level.

WORSHIP:

SUNDAY- July 12   Livestream worship on our YouTube Channel at 10 am

HOLY COMMUNION will next be celebrated on July 19.  Please prepare a special bread and special wine/grape juice on those Sundays to share with those in your home who regularly commune.

 

“SIMPLY SUMMER” WEDNESDAY WORSHIP

JULY 8 at 7pm– AND YOU ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND!

Bring your lawn chairs, or a blanket, and maybe some bug spray.  We’ll have hand sanitizer and we encourage masks and sitting in family groups with physical distancing.  But yes, you are invited to come and worship in person.  After worship, stay for a treat and some fellowship (youth are invited to stay for a bonfire).  If you cannot attend in person, we will also continue to post the service live on Facebook at 7pm.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ATTEND OUTDOOR WORSHIP 

1-We continue to follow Minnesota’s recommendations for plenty of physical distancing, allowing people to sit together in family groups, but sitting apart from others.  This will be easier to do outdoors.

2-You are encouraged to wear masks.

3-You will be welcomed to sing a couple of songs, but otherwise, musicians will provide the rest of our music.

4-Out of love and care for any who are in higher risk categories (such as the elderly, those dealing with underlying conditions, or who do not feel well), we encourage them to refrain from attending these services at this time.

5-When it comes time for receive Holy Communion, you will be ushered to the communion station where you will then help yourself to the bread and the wine/grapejuice.  We are striving to lessen any crowding or bottlenecking.

6-Offerings are encouraged to be given electronically or through the mail, though a donation box will be provided as people exit.

7-You can stay and enjoy fellowship and refreshments afterwards, but please continue to observe plenty of physical distancing.

Family News Logo

A Pastoral Letter to Family of Christ

by Pastor Josh Nelson 6/11/20
Beloved friends and members of Family of Christ,
As the state of Minnesota has begun reopening businesses and restaurants, malls and theaters, churches have been given the go-ahead to start the process of incrementally reopening as well. In our efforts to provide more on-site and in-person ministries, it will continue to be our goal to lower the risks of Covid-19 infection in as many ways as we can, and we’ll utilize the guidelines that the Minnesota Department of Health has provided for faith communities. We will also rely on the guidance of our own synod, who has put together a “Pandemic Preparedness Team,” dedicated to keeping up-to-date with public health.
We will continue to encourage people to practice physical distancing, and to make their best decisions in regards to attending a Bible Study, a Worship Service, a youth event, or a meeting at Family of Christ. And in fact, in most cases, we will have the capability for you to tune in to our events online. So know that if you choose to stay home, you’ll still be able to participate online in our ministries! That is my first encouragement to you – if you are unwell, or have an underlying condition, or are feeling anxious, please do stay home and tune in. We want you to be fully engaged with the ministry we share, but most of all, the staff and the church council want you to feel as safe and secure as you can.
With that said, we are now opening our doors a little at a time to more and more activities. We are listening to both our state and our synod as we adhere to their guidelines, and if we receive advice to dial things back, we will certainly do so. As part of the re-opening, we are ready to now list our open office hours as well as hold outdoor worship services, and hopefully later this summer, indoor worship services can begin too, with managed crowd sizes. See below for some key dates and times for your consideration.
When at church, there will be plenty of hand sanitizer available, plus know that we are utilizing a sanitizing spray in any areas that have heavier usage. We strongly encourage the wearing of masks. We will help people keep a physical distance in the ways we set up our worship and meeting space. And for communion, we will utilize unique communion cups that are self-serve and disposable. When we have any larger gathering, we will release people in small groups so as to not create any bottlenecks at the doorways. We will also limit fellowship time, and we will not be providing in-person Sunday School for the summer. Again, all of these efforts are intended to lower the health risks for us all. Though zero risk cannot be guaranteed, we can and will strive to be as safe as we can in our contacts with each other.
When I wrote to you about closing things down last March, I ended by saying “Jesus is with us on this journey.” I continue to proclaim that, and we can all trust in God to continue making both our virtual ministry and our in-person ministry meaningful for us all. We now begin to take our first careful steps back toward being together, loving each other, caring for each other’s safety, and striving always to journey forward in faith. God’s abiding peace be with you all!
With love,
Pastor Josh Nelson

Figuring Out When to More Widely Re-open FOC

by Pastor Josh Nelson 5/26/20

As we are all wishing and wanting to regroup at church, in person, we do want you to know that your staff and lay leaders are working on this issue.  We all pray for that day when we can get back to a semblance of normal, and worship again in person.  But many of us, me included, are hesitant to more widely re-open until the risk for getting together as a group has been lowered to a more demonstrable level.

You deserve to know that I am, by nature, a rule-follower and will definitely be listening to our Bishop and Synod, as well as local, state, and national government leaders, as well as epidemiologists such as fellow Lutheran, Dr. Michael Osterholm. Though we are starting to regroup and regather, there are many precautions which need to be set in place.  In the first part of June, the FOC elected lay-leaders and our church staff will continue studying and learning to determine when the right time will be for us to start re-grouping in person.  We hope to learn a great deal over the next few weeks as to how to safely do this, while keeping our risk as low as possible.

Throughout our own congregation, there will likely be a wide variety of opinions on this matter, with some desiring a return to our regular worship experiences more quickly than others.  But it is important for you to know that I won’t be among the religious leaders who will be the first to encourage congregating in person.  We want to mitigate the risk as much as possible, not only for our staff and volunteers, but also for any of the more vulnerable members of our faith family.  We want them to feel safe, and to keep taking good care of themselves throughout this summer.

Do note that, even with our restrictions in place, we are still being the church.  We’ve never truly closed.  We’ve changed the ways we are expressing our faith, yes, that is true.  But we are still being believers who are creatively enacting their faith.  We may not be gathering in large assemblies as we were a few months ago, yet we are still able to do so many of the things that are meaningful to us as disciples of Jesus.  We can pray, all of us, at any time.  We are not kept from prayer, but I trust and hope that you are daily praying for a whole host of concerns embedded in your hearts.  We can praise, and we can and do worship.  We are having communion.  We can serve others within restrictions, and we can live out our generosity, our kindness, our forgiveness and our love.  O sure I wish we could do that together and in person, and that time will come again.  But in the meantime, we can keep being faithful followers of Jesus.  You are still able to be a believing person, and walk in joyful discipleship.  Yes, we are being the church, even in this frightening time of pandemic.  In that sense, we have never closed, have we?

Do look at both of these links to learn more about the encouragements that faith communities are being asked to follow:

Minnesota Guidance for Faith Based Communities:  https://mn.gov/deed/assets/worship-guidance-ACC_tcm1045-433301.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0Oy88jA6x9JTv6SACvrqGv-LAxYNnv0Qw8vB-UaQ4ZHWnCH4xzpL1-Ask

CDC Guidance for Communities of Faith:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/faith-based.html?fbclid=IwAR1TByPCiBMmwo_xhqC8Jw8paTNR_487KzbKRyDEz-BoraA7xshhYtF8mgg