April 30, 2020
A word from St. Paul President Dan Nielsen and Pastor Brian Mortenson regarding future worship at St. Paul Lutheran Church
Greetings to you, Sisters and Brothers in Christ!
We want to update you on our current plans as relates to anticipated coming together for in-person worship at St. Paul Lutheran Church.
As you may know, the Governor has lifted legal restrictions on religious gatherings for the State of Iowa, citing constitutional liberties afforded to religious organizations. While it is certainly good for us to celebrate our freedom to gather for worship in this country, we believe that it is good to wait a bit before we do so once again!
Earlier this week an ecumenical statement came out from 21 Christian leaders from across the state of Iowa including our own Bishop Michael Burke of the Southeastern Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This letter strongly advises that congregations should refrain from in-person gatherings for the time being. This counsel comes in keeping with what we know to be our mission, described by the following: “It is by our faith that we are compelled to love our neighbor. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that love comes to expression by remaining physically apart. Loving our neighbor, and thereby the whole community, includes putting public health and the well-being of others ahead of the natural desire to be physically present together in community and in worship.”
Even today as we write this letter to you, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state of Iowa continues to be on the rise. This public health crisis has led to the death of over 60,000 people in this country. We wish for our contribution to the cause to be more about the needs of our neighbors than our own. Thus our current decision to continue to wait until scheduling our in-person together time of worship is based upon what is most respectful, loving and life-giving for others.
Having stated this, we are all hopeful that the downward trend of the virus will be just around the corner. And at that time, we will soon be able to project a timeline for our in-person worship “re-entry”.
As we consider the weeks to come, please be assured that we will:
- Continue to learn from and be advised by expert scientific, public health, synodical and governmental leadership in our decision making and plans to move forward.
- We also wish to give full assurance that when we ultimately do come together for worship once again, that we intend to be well prepared to carry out a meaningful worship experience with health, safety and care being paramount. All of the requirements for the public openings of other public venues will be applied in our planning and practice, in order that all will feel safe and confident in coming to worship.
In the meantime, bless you and your daily walk with God. Keep reading (and writing!) the EPISTLES to St. Paul. Keep tuning in to special messages on Sunday morning. Keep reaching out to care for one another virtually. And keep the faith! (Oh yes, and thank you for your consistency in your offerings in order that we can pay the bills and support the various mission entities which are so dependent upon our support!)
Peace to you, in Jesus.
Dan Nielsen, President
Brian Mortenson, Interim Pastor
Church office phone: 515-462-4270
Church office email: StPaulLutheranChurch@hotmail.com
Pastor Brian Mortenson email: StPaulPastor1941@gmail.com
Pastoral Emergencies: 605-351-0867