God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, thought the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea . . .
Dear Friends in Christ,
This is a second installment of a Christ Lutheran - Corona/COVID-19 Virus information letter. Our hope is to keep you updated with the best information we have received and the decisions we are making on the basis of that information. Since the last communication earlier this week much has changed, but most importantly for us the following:
- All public schools in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties will be closed through April 24th.
- Many faith communities, both large and small (falling under the 250 people limit mandated by Govenor Inslee) have suspended their worship services for the near future.
Last night our Executive Committee and staff met together to discuss what ought to be the Christ Lutheran response. I can tell you this was a great meeting led by folks who are deeply committed to Christ Lutheran, its mission and ministries, and who want to do what is best for the health of all those (both members and the community at-large) connected to our church. With prayer and our best thinking this is what we've decided:
Through April 24th we will suspend all worship services (Sunday & Thursday) and activities that are connected to Christ Lutheran. This applies to: Sunday School, Sunday and Thursday adult education, 6th Grade Rocks and Confirmation, quilters, small groups/Bible study groups/prayer groups/women's circles. Our preschool will also discontinue for the time being.
This decision was made with heavy hearts but also with a confidence that it is prudent, wise, and respectful of the leadership of our public officials.
As a service and outreach to our community, we will continue to offer Latchkey (we'll off care from 6am - 6pm, Monday-Friday). We will modify how this ministry is operated, especially being sure to limit the numbers of kids in groups. Lyndi and Sarah are working on a plan that might use something of a VBS rotation model. We're offering this because families are frantic with the issue of what to do with their children through the day while the parents are at work. We believe this will be a Godsend to those families.
One of our central concerns as we talked is how to continue to be the church, even if we're not doing church (i.e., worship). How do we help maintain a connection both with God and one another?
Here's what we're proposing:
- Christ Lutheran is open for business, just not business as normal! Our staff will be here, Monday through Friday, engaged in ministry and mission. We have just finished a capital campaign that we called 'Beyond the Building', and already now we are having to think hard on what that might look like. Most importantly we want you to know - Please call or contact us with any needs that you have! We are not required to be quarantined from one another. Our staff is available to talk, pray, or simply be with you. If you or others you know have physical needs (getting groceries, medications, getting to an appointment, doing yard work) call us! We are pulling together a group of volunteers who want to service in these ways. But we can't help if we don't know.
- On Sunday mornings our sanctuary will be from 8-10:30am for prayer, meditation, and solitude. Come and spend some time here in prayer . Bring your Lenten devotional and do that. Write on a rock. Send a greeting to someone who is shut in. There is a great need for prayer and pray-ers in this moment! Other people will be there but we don't see this principally as a time to visit together. We can be together alone. During this time there will be cards and a basket for you to let us know of special needs or prayer requests. Our staff will also be available for prayer.
We would love to see you Sunday mornings but remember: If you are feeling in any way health compromised, please stay at home and watch the live feed!
We also want to remind you that those who are most susceptible to the COVID-19 virus are people aged 60 plus and/or people with extenuating health concerns. We're encouraging you to use great caution in your decisions about going out and coming on Sunday mornings.
- At 10:45am, we will offer a livestream of a modified worship service, which will be posted on our website and Facebook page. We are working on the best ways to do this - be patient with us! The service will include music, readings, a sermon and children's sermon, and prayers. We'll also use the Lenten slideshow that you've seen the past 2 weeks.
- We will also livestream the Wednesday Lenten service each week at 7pm. We'll then post it on Facebook and our website as well. We have great speakers in the coming weeks so you'll want to follow along!
- Without knowing how long this will all last we also ask that you continue to be faithful in terms of your financial support of Christ Lutheran. Many of you give electronically, but others give when they come. Please find a way to continue to do this. We'll have an offering plate out on Sunday mornings. You can mail in your gifts or drop them by the church through the week. This will be critical for us in the coming weeks. We also are being made aware of the increased needs that food banks are experiencing. Bring some food items when you come. This is one way we can care for our neighbors in greatest need.
These are certainly challenging and anxiety producing times! But how many times has this been the case through 2000 years of Christian history? The earliest Christians faced multiple waves of the plague and other sicknesses, and they became renowned for their love and concern for one another and for their neighbors. This is a unique moment to demonstrate to a fearful culture what it means to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, and he can be trusted!
Join us in this chapter of doing mission and ministry in new ways but always with the same goal - that others would experience the life-changing love of Jesus Christ!
On Christ the Solid Rock We Stand!
Kris Peterson - Congregational President
Lindsay Johnston, Hannah Engstrom, Karie Hamilton, Jeff Hansen - Executive Committee members
Sarah McGhinnis, Lyndi Reed, Evin Lambert, Matthew Fulcher - Staff present at meeting
Pastor Ralf Kalms