Saturday, March 14, 2020

A Pastoral Letter

A Pastoral Letter 
Concerning The Safety Of Our Members In Light of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dear saints, as our nation goes into containment mode in an attempt to slow the spread of Coronavirus, I am writing to you concerning some best practices that we will exercise here at Zion in the midst of this pandemic.

Worship/Sunday School and Bible Class. Services on Sunday mornings will take place at the scheduled time. 

We will provide enough individual cups for members. Pastor and assistants will exit the chancel to cleanse their hands before administration of the Sacrament to minimize infection. We will also not pass the Offering plates—drop your offering at the door in the plates provided.

Wyneken. We have an obligation under the Fourth Commandment to obey those in authority and cooperate with the directives of local, state, and national governments. Because East Allen Schools, Adams County Schools, and Ft. Wayne Community Schools have suspended in-person instruction, Wyneken is following suit. Our objective is always to serve our neighbors in love and prevent the unnecessary spread of COVID-19.

The school is not closed, however. Staff will be present (there are no confirmed cases at our school at the present time), and students will continue their education through home based instruction. A letter from Principal Gavrun was sent out to families earlier this week concerning school procedures. Contact me if you would like me to send you Principal Gavrun’s letter.

Youth Group. Because our youth meetings happen in public spaces, all youth events (both M.S. and H.S.) are cancelled until further notice.

Shaking Hands. Since shaking hands has been discouraged by health officials, we have an obligation under the Fourth Commandment to encourage the same. We discourage you from shaking hands before, during, or after the service. The Greeters Field workers and Pastor will not extend their hands, so please do not feel pressured to shake anyone’s hand today or for the foreseeable future.

Pastoral Care for the Sick. If you are sick or show symptoms of sickness in any way, please stay home. We have an obligation to serve our neighbors in love under the Fifth Commandment, and this includes watching that we keep ourselves from recklessness by unnecessarily spreading germs to others. If you are sick, your pastor is here to care for you through visitation. Please give me a call (223-0903) and the Church will minister to you. As your brothers and sisters in Christ, we are also here to assist you with any temporal concerns you may have. Please contact me and I will see you.

Having said that, if you are not sick, please come to the services of the Church and receive the Lord’s Supper with confidence. Those who are sick need your prayers, and those who gather for worship need the encouragement of your presence. Most importantly, we all need the comforting and life-giving balm of God’s Word and Holy Sacraments, and especially during such an uncertain season where our faith in God’s mercy is put to the test.

Nursing Homes. Because the Nursing Homes of Adams Woodcrest and Adams Heritage are taking the proper precautions to keep their elderly patients safe, the Divine Services at Woodcrest and Heritage have been postponed. However, the clergy are often given special privileges to visit members in critical or grave situations. If such is the case in your family, please contact me and I will gladly visit.

Confirmation. For now Examination is scheduled for April 26 and Confirmation May 3. Pastor will be in contact with members of the class as students prepare for this important milestone in their faith journey.

Lastly, take comfort in God’s Word and promises! All the crosses the Father lays upon us are designed to bring us closer to Jesus. The times are uncertain, but God’s love for us is not. He who did not spare his only Son for us will graciously give us all things. Christ is risen, ascended, and seated at the right hand of our Father in heaven. Nothing, not even Coronavirus, will be able to separate us from his love. The Day of his glorious return will mark the end of every plague and dread disease. These days are given to us to wait and pray, not in fretful panic, but in joyful and hope-filled confidence. We are God’s redeemed, ransomed, holy Easter people. And for us, he is coming soon!

Grace and peace in Christ

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