Congregation Update 1 – 2020-03-14

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

You are likely well aware of the latest updates and cancellations in our community due to the spreading coronavirus. As of now, we are planning to hold worship as scheduled but to make changes, detailed below, related to social distancing and protecting people who are more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. In doing so, we want to take this disease seriously, as our society is doing, but also demonstrate proper trust in the Lord, who is the maker of heaven and earth. These plans may certainly change over the next weeks or months.

We encourage that if you are ill with any viral infection, or if you are at risk of serious effects from COVID-19, you remain home from worship. Please watch the live stream if you are able, and please contact the church office if you need pastoral care in person or over the phone.

We will continue weekly worship at this time for those who are able so that we “do not give up meeting together, but rather encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25) and so that we may hear God’s comfort and receive God’s strength in Word and Sacrament. In Psalm 46, we are reminded that it is God who is our refuge and strength, and our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, let us not fear, but with confidence use this opportunity also to be the hands and feet of Jesus through our prayers and our care for others. 

What changes. For the next few weeks we are planning:

  • To avoid shaking hands by pastors, greeters, and ushers. Waves, nods, smiles, and verbal greetings are most welcome!
  • To avoid passing offering plates and friendship registers. Offering baskets will be available in the narthex or you may use online giving.
  • To suspend the use of shared children’s busy bags. Parents, please bring your own materials if desired.
  • To suspend choir and handbell rehearsals and participation in worship for at least two weeks, including the choir’s scheduled singing on March 21.
  • To suspend Sunday School for at least two weeks. We may be able to make lessons available to parents online.

What continues. For the next few weeks we are planning:

  • To continue all regular weekend and midweek Lenten worship as usual.
  • To continue celebrating communion on scheduled weekends. Please receive the bread with an open hand only. Please choose the common cup or an individual cup as you feel appropriate. Those distributing communion will sanitize their hands before each table and as needed.
  • To ensure that a live stream or recorded broadcast of our worship is available at youtube.com/martinlutheroshkosh for those who cannot make it to church or who feel that it is wiser to stay home. We are still working on technical details but hope to have at least the 8:00 a.m. service live streamed each Sunday. We will give an update in a future communication.

Information on other events and activities will be shared in future communications.

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This update is also available as a PDF document.