“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my right hand.”
– Isaiah 41:10
March 13, 2020
Dear Woodlake Lutheran Church,
As we have continued to monitor and assess the situation regarding the coronavirus over the last few days, we have decided to make the difficult—but we believe faithful and responsible—decision to temporarily suspend all church activities at Woodlake Lutheran Church, including worship.
We are taking this step not out of fear, but rather as a way to be a proactive and responsible community leader attempting to do our part to “flatten the curve” of transmission and limit the spread of the virus. We believe taking this decisive action today allows us to most fully love our neighbor—especially the most vulnerable members of our community.
With the continued spread of illness caused by this novel coronavirus and the limited public health response, we are prioritizing our care for the community and each other over in-person gatherings. We will shift our shape – continuing to connect and care for each other in new and old ways meaning Sunday morning worship, Wednesday Matins and Lenten worship, religious education, choir and music rehearsals, and congregational meetings will all be suspended.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
- Beginning today, we are suspending all regularly scheduled large group ministries, including weekend and mid-week Lenten worship services, at least through March 27. We will continue to monitor the situation, and will reevaluate our next steps no later than March 27.
- We will live steam an abbreviated worship service at 10:00 a.m. for the next two Sundays. These services will also be available for replay on our YouTube account. We will also offer an abbreviated Wednesday Matins worship online as well as Wednesday Lenten worship online. Again, these services will be created for the sake of online viewing only. Please do not come to the church.
- The church offices will remain open during regular hours during the week, and pastors and staff will remain available for pastoral care and other needs. Staff and ministers will remain available by email and phone; we will work together to coordinate pastoral care, create online worship, and offer opportunities for virtual connections for all ages.
- We will be reaching out directly to lay leaders, group leaders, and religious education volunteers to make plans to reimagine how we make church happen in this time of change.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Pray for this entire situation—for those affected by the virus, and for those who will be asked to care for them.
- Be safe. Continue to follow recommendations to remain healthy by washing your hands and by staying home if you are not feeling well. Here are tips from the CDC and WHO – and here specifically for children – for coping with stress during COVID-19 pandemic. Here are tips from the CDC regarding stopping the spread of germs.
- Please share information about Woodlake’s decision to temporarily suspend all church activities with others you know. We want to ensure that everyone gets this information in a timely manner.
- Continue to support the mission and ministry of Woodlake. Envelopes that would typically be given during worship can be mailed or dropped off during the week, or you can give online at our website or call the church office (612-866-8449).
- Let us know if you are sick or need resources (whether you suspect you have COVID-19 or not); put the church’s number in your phone to call if you have a pastoral emergency.
- Let us know if you need help with technology, like learning how to attend Sunday’s livestreaming event.
- Take gentle care of your body, your loved ones, and others, as you are able. Remember that small acts of self-care and community care, when done with attention and intention, are a form of spiritual practice.
- Stay connected with your church community by keeping an eye on your email and attending our online events
With you, we are keeping this entire situation in our loving prayers, and are also exploring ways that we can continue to be an effective and supportive community partner during this period. We will continue to communicate updates on our website, via email and our social media platforms. In the meantime, feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns, and thank you, as always, for making Woodlake such a vital, healthy and beautiful community of faith.
Neal Cannon, Co-Pastor
Micah Pearson, Co-Pastor
Executive Leadership Board
Scott Dahlquist, President
Karen Nilsen, Vice-President
Augie Schauer, Treasurer
Anne Schauer, Secretary
A Video Message from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
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