Friday, March 20, 2020
Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It seems that this tiny virus has sent the entire world into chaos. All of our plans are up in the air, markets are going crazy, entire countries are shutting down, and we have no clue what the future holds. …Or do we?
In Psalm 31:7, the Psalmist writes, “I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul….” If there is one thing I know for sure about times of trouble is how often God works through these to draw our attention away from ourselves and back to Him. And although the devil may attempt to use this tiny virus to discourage and disrupt our regular “meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25), the “Word of God is not bound” (2 Timothy 2:9). In fact, through these trying times, God gives us the tools and resources we need to think outside the box as ministry continues.
Question 1: What about Worship and Church Activities?
Church activities inside the church building will be very limited because of the state mandated restriction that no more than 10 people meet inside at a time. Starting this Sunday, March 22nd, we will be having an outdoor service at our regular time of 9:00 a.m. Parishioners are asked to stay inside their car and listen to the service broadcast on their FM radios. Communion will be offered car by car at the end of the service. An offering basket will be available. There will be no need to leave your car, however the church building will be open in case anyone needs to use the restroom. Sunday morning Bible study, Sunday School, and Midweek services are cancelled for now. If you are interested in participating in an online/interactive Bible study, please let Pastor know.
Question 2: What about Holy Week and Easter?
We will address this question in a later update. The recommended restrictions and status of the pandemic are everchanging. However, as Holy Week and Easter approaches we will continue to evaluate the situation and keep you updated.
Question 3: What about the Preschool/ECC?
From Sandy Ruback, Director:
I, along with the leaders of St. Andrew Lutheran Church and our ECC board members evaluated the recommendations by the state and our Washington County Health Department in regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and school closings. The decision was made to close our campus from March 16 to April 14 (15 school days and 5 days spring break). This was not an easy decision and my heart was heavy, but in order to do our best to protect our children, our families, and our community we felt it was necessary. We want to do our part to not overwhelm our health care facilities due to the spread of the virus. It is my sincere hope that our school doors will once again be opened on Tuesday, April 14th.
I will be extending our school year by adding 3 weeks/12 days in order to continue the education time that was lost. This extension of days was approved by my Licensing Specialist 2 days ago. The last day of school will now be June 5th. I sincerely pray that this will be possible. The teachers and I want to finish the school year on a positive note giving our students our very best.
In the past week things have changed minute by minute. Our families have been informed that if I cannot extend our school year, I will at that time, reimburse our families for payments given for field trips and for those that paid in full their tuition.
Please keep our teaching staff in your prayers, for a loss of income and employment is most certainly stressful and can be a hardship.
May God's will be done,
Question 4: Where do I send my Tithings and Offerings?
They may be dropped off at St. Andrew during normal office hours 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Mondays – Fridays. They may also be mailed in or received during regular outdoor worship services. Lutheran Church Extension Fund offers a program called Joyful Response that allows a tithe to be automatically sent from your bank account. If you are interested in enrolling, please see Pastor for a packet or you can download one for the electronic offering program at https://lcef.org/joyful-response/. Further details about this program will be available soon on the church website.
Question 5: Help!?
Pastor Jon is available and willing to make home visits if you would feel more comfortable with that during this time! Also, if you have a need for anything (toilet paper, food, ride to the doctor, someone to talk to), please let Pastor Jon know—we have members who are ready to help! If you have health questions or need simple medical help (ex. blood pressure check), Jodie Falk has offered her nursing assistance.
Please contact Pastor Jon and your elder if there is any way we may serve you.
During this time of state mandated restriction, office hours in which Cathy will be present include: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to noon.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Jon Vierkant