A Word from the Pastors | 5-26-2022

READY TO OPEN THE (PHYSICAL) DOORS OF THE CHURCH!

The Church Council of St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, your elected servant-leaders, gathered for a special Zoom meeting on Monday, May 23. We believe that, after two long, different, and difficult COVID-19 years, we are now ready to resume gathering in our Sanctuary for weekly Sunday worship. Our “Video Equipment Project” has been purchased, installed, adjusted, tested, and practiced.  We feel prepared enough to begin. And while coronavirus infections and deaths continue (currently about 325 deaths per day in the United States… we are still the world leader in total infections and deaths over the two years), our nation and the global community are adjusting to this disease (not unlike the flu each year or like HIV several decades now) where we are aware of some risks but not bound by regulations, guidelines, and anxiety in order to live our lives in a more normal way.

Hybrid worship” will begin on Sunday, June 19 at 10:00AM. Persons are invited to gather as “in-person” worshipers in the sanctuary for worship. Others may continue to gather with us online (Zoom or Facebook) as “remote” worshipers from their homes or other locations both near and far away. We believe we have prepared for connection and interaction between our “in-person” worshipers and our “remote” worshipers. We want to continue having recruited volunteers leading or reading or singing or praying from distant locations. We anticipate that there will be a few snafus as we adjust to another new way, just as there were adjustments these past two years to Zoom issues that arose.

Some guidelines to “in-person” worship:

  • We strongly encourage, but do not require, persons to be vaccinated. Vaccinations related to COVID have become so politicized and surrounded by misinformation, and sometimes we have completely lost the notion that my vaccination is not just to protect me but also to protect you. Christians seek to always have the welfare of the other person in their heart and mind and actions. [And a recent medical statistic: Two years later, the persons who are currently filling the ICUs of hospitals are 95% unvaccinated.]
  • If our city, county, or state government officials are requiring masks indoors, or if the medical authorities are requiring or advising them, then please wear a mask. When this is not the situation, then we will be “mask optional” but also “mask friendly”.
  • We do not intend to start with designated “social distance” markers in the sanctuary (such as roped off pews, etc.). Let’s try to be respectful of one another’s comfort zone regarding interacting with others.
  • We anticipate not having a robust and “hands-on” sharing of the peace during worship, something that has been treasured here at St. Peter’s. Yes, this will be a difficult adjustment even for the Pastors.
  • We will offer Holy Communion with individual wafers and pouring chalice (but not the “common cup”). We’ll not stand or kneel at the altar to receive Holy Communion but will have a continuous standing distribution. This might be adjusted over time.
  • We will probably wait a few weeks into our “hybrid worship” before we start meeting downstairs for fellowship after worship.
  • We will seek to ventilate our worship area through lots of fans, opened windows, and perhaps opened outside doors.
  • Over the two years of this strange COVID experience, the “risk” has now shifted to individual decision and personal responsibility regarding attendance, masking (unless orders are in effect), social distancing, etc. Immunocompromised individuals (such things as cancer; diabetes; HIV; heart conditions; chronic kidney, liver, and lung diseases, etc.) who have concerns or questions should consult with their healthcare providers. And we should remember that, other than the unvaccinated, the only other significant vulnerability as a group is the “under 5 years of age” population.
  • At one time, people were complimented and admired (and, truth be told, sometimes expected and forced!) by others for showing up and pressing on when they didn’t feel well that day. But this has changed. Now the schools, the jobs, the dentists, the organizations, the  stores, the relatives, and the churches all say:

IF YOU JUST DO NOT FEEL WELL, STAY HOME.

This all is so new and exciting, perhaps a little scary. Do we understand yet what the “new normal” is and will become? We’ll learn and grow through the process. We are grateful to you all for gathering on Sunday mornings by computer and phone over these two years. Some of you will continue to be with us from short and long distances. We are thankful to you all for your witness to others in word and in deed, we praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for leading and guiding you in your servanthood, in your attitude of gratitude, in your stewardship of money and time and ability given both through St. Peter’s and right where God has placed you.

Let’s journey on together!

And let’s rejoice that the risen and living Christ continues to be present in our worship and in our lives!

Dear friends, we have a message to hear and a story to tell!

Let sorrow turn to joy,

let shadows turn to light,

let fear turn to faith,

let doubt turn to assurance,

let cowardice turn to courage,

let hesitation turn to proclamation

let death turn to life,

and let there be hope when hope is gone!

We are – only by God’s grace – EASTER people, always rising! Because HE died, YOU are alive!

 

KEEP THE FAITH… BUT NOT TO YOURSELF.

       Pastor Neil & Pastor Gwen 

Upcoming Events

Jul
14
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jul 14 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
17
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 17 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jul
21
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jul 21 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
28
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jul 28 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
31
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 31 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.