Family of Christ Cancels All Activities and Worship
Beloved friends and members of Family of Christ,
At the heart of our mission and ministry is the care and concern we offer for each other and for our neighbors. After much prayerful and careful consultation with staff and elected lay leaders, we have decided to cancel our Sunday and Wednesday worship services along with all church activities. This sadly includes the scheduled performances of “Cinderella” that had been planned for this very weekend.
Leaders in the government and among health professionals have been advocating the practice of “social distancing” for larger group gatherings, and as such a great many things have already been cancelled in our communities and in our state. Out of love for neighbor, and compassion for all, we will refrain from gathering together in accordance with recommendations of health officials at the CDC, Governor Walz, and per the recommendation of our ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. (You may by now be aware that earlier today, Gov. Walz gave an executive order declaring a peace time emergency for the state of Minnesota.)
In Luke 12:32, Jesus tells his listeners: “Have no fear, little flock, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” We do not make our decisions based on panic, fear, or hysteria. In all things we do trust in God, and are not overcome by fear. Still, we want to be responsible citizens and helpful neighbors. So we are striving to join the nationwide attempt to slow the spread of this virus, and give time to all the medical personnel to be able to both care for the ill, and provide longer-term solutions.
This does mean we will be creative in how we stay in communication and provide spiritual sustenance for the rest of this month. We are already working to provide a way for us to be connected for Sunday worship through use of either livestream or recorded video. We will further seek ways to reach out and stay in contact with each other, and provide assistance where that might be needed. Remember your own Lenten disciplines of prayer, scripture reading, and being generous by, for example, continuing to save up a special offering for MN March Foodshare.
Might you consider still sending in your usual donation to help us continue our ministry efforts as the staff will continue to work, either from home, or on a limited basis from the church offices? We will want to continue to compensate our staff at the same level they are used to, even if their hours are adjusted over these next few weeks.
We are in an unprecedented time. Let us commit ourselves, as Christ’s disciples, to be in prayer for our church, state, nation, and world. Let us continue to be a beacon of hope and strength. And though we close for a time, let us look forward to that day of reunion when we’ll be able to sing, pray, praise, celebrate and commune together as a faithful Family of Christ again. Breathe deeply in God’s unending grace to calm any fears.
Jesus is with us on this journey. I trust in God that doors will again be soon opened, and lights turned on! The band will play, the singers sing, and the communion servers will prepare the sacrament. And we will again enjoy the rhythm and song of our faith life together. God’s deep peace be with you all!
~ Pastor Josh
A prayer for these extraordinary times:
Gracious God, it is good for us to gather as your beloved in community. We treasure your presence with us in word and meal, song and prayer. Be with us in these days when gathering together as often as we would like is not possible. When we must be apart for reasons of safety, we trust that you surround us with your sheltering wings. Encourage us in connecting as we are able, reaching out to our neighbors in need and being persistent in prayer. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our constant companion. Amen