As we navigate our way through the current COVID-19 pandemic we have been following mandates Gov. Holcomb has issued. His stay-at-home order, in response to the corona virus is in effect through May 1. This order could be extended if the outbreak warrants it.
In response to this directive we have been broadcasting our Sunday service live on radio station WZBD and live-streaming the service on social media. We will continue this format through Sunday, May 3 to secure the health and safety of our community. I would encourage you to join us remotely to hear God’s Word and to pray with your sisters and brother in Christ. Home based distance learning continues at our Wyneken School through the remainder of the current school year.
Our parish leadership is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, May 5 at which time we will attempt to address how we will move forward. We will seek to the best practices available to serve you. We are navigating unchartered waters. Yet our Captain Christ our Savior has promised to direct us. I am confident we will see this through together.
A perspective from our own history might be helpful. Pastor Jesse Hoover was transferred into the Kingdom of Glory on May 24, 1838. He was just twenty-eight year old at the time of his passing. He’s buried at the old Concordia Cemetery in downtown Ft. Wayne.
Pastor Hoover is credited for organizing the first church in Ft. Wayne (known as “the city of churches”) and our parish on February 28, 1838. He died – just three months into his pastorate. The Lord was with this young fledgling congregation then. He is certainly with us now.
Under his pastoral guidance fifty-six persons gathered to sign our congregation’s charter becoming the first Christian congregation in Adams County. It was Pr. Hoover which gave us the name Friedheim. Through the years the Lord had directed us to remain a house of peace, a safe haven and a harbor of hope in this world. May the Lord continue to bless our Friedheim family to remain this house of peace.
This epidemic, this virulent disease reminds us that we are living in a fallen world – outside of Eden. We’ve weathered storms of crisis before – a Civil War, Two World Wars, a Great Depression, extreme weather related storms and droughts, an influenza outbreak one hundred years ago which claimed the lives of members young and old alike.
We are not given to panic but to confidently listen to our Shepherd’s voice as He orders our days and direct our path. My encouragement for you is continue; continue in the faith given you. Continue to listen to and read God’s Word. Continue to pray for your family members, friends and especially those who are in harm’s way of this virus. Pray for our leaders and medical experts who make decisions and give guidance for the public’s welfare. As you are able, care for each other especially those who are vulnerable, the unemployed and the sorrowful. This is your time – to be a sermon in shoes!
I’ll close with the following Evening Prayer -
"Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give Thine angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for Thy love's sake. Amen."