Beloved in Christ, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea…. “Be still and know that I am God!” Psalm 46: 1-2, 10
We cling to the promise of God’s Word even as we see things unfolding in our world. God will not abandon us. God’s love is so complete that while we may not understand the unfolding crisis today, we do know that in the gift of Jesus Christ, God is merciful, self-giving, and wants only the best for us. God does not send pandemic life-threatening disease to test us or to punish. The suffering Christ of Lent is with us in all things. Therefore, our fears will not overpower us for in the stillness, we know that God is with us!
Our congregational leadership and your pastor have heeded the direction of civil and spiritual leaders in regard to the spread of the COVID-19 Virus. We have made the decision to cancel all worship gatherings and all ministry in which we gather together. That action will be in place until further notice. We will monitor and heed the direction of national, state, local, and our religious leaders eagerly waiting for the day that we may continue in our normal ministry life. If you need to enter the church building for personal items, please contact the church office to set up a time to enter. Please honor this process regarding “social distancing” in your faith practice and all of life.
We are blessed to live in an age of digital technology. For us “social distancing” can be better defined as “physical distancing.” While we heed the direction of our civic and medical leadership, we can gather in virtual reality. We will worship online in live and prerecorded modes, starting Sunday, March 22, at 10:30 AM. We will gather in “Zoom.” Zoom Video Communications is a remote conferencing services company. This platform is used by over 40 million people worldwide. You may learn more about using Zoom by entering Zoom.us into your browser. Pastor Flater will facilitate our use of this powerful tool. You are encouraged to set up a free basic account. That free subscription will give you the ability to better interact in the present ministry here at First Lutheran. If you do not have internet and a working computer, there are two phone numbers and a “Meeting ID” code that you can call on any phone, mobile or landline, and listen to the worship services or other ministry gatherings. Two numbers are available 301 715-8592 or 312 626-6799. (Please note that these are NOT toll free.) The “Meeting ID” for FELC Sunday Worship is 241 289 936 followed by the # sign. You need not enter a Participant ID when asked, just press # a second time and you should be able to hear the worship service.
Our Christian Caring Committee at First Lutheran is now making plans to connect our members in proper “social distancing” to serve and be served. Elderly persons are encouraged to contact a committee member, Pastor Flater, and/or Ellie at the church office for doorstep delivery of basic needs. The people who are willing to help in this new ministry will not enter homes or interact directly with anyone. Please do not break the rules brought forward by our national and local leaders in this process. In Christian caring, we want to help anyone in need. The chairperson of our CCC group, Lindsay Singer, is eager to receive calls to sign up volunteers and those who have needs for delivery. She may be reached on her mobile phone at (308) 641-6913. Betty Knepke-Hamit may also be contacted on her mobile phone 308-660-2709. There will be online information for this new ministry process.
As always, if you are able, follow our Facebook page and visit our web page at http://firstevlutheran-np.com Enclosed please find an envelope for your offering. There are, of course, the regular ongoing expenses in our ministry. We are eager to stay connected in various ways and pray for health and safety for all.