Epistle #2 – Who is in the St. Paul family?

Dear friends,
I know. You just received the very first of our pandemic pronouncements, and here already, another one! My apologies in advance, as there will be a quick flurry initially, but these are important questions to address at the start up of this process.  As you know, not all members of our church family and friends have access to email, Facebook or our website, which is where our Epistles to St. Paul communication series will be accessed.

Because this is the case, our plan during this pandemic shut down is to provide hard copy of these letters through personal delivery to the front door of those who otherwise would be without this special word coming from their church family.   As you “take your shoes off” and put yourself into the shoes of those who might live alone, be homebound or are particularly vulnerable with fragile health or old age, we come to realize that these folks are some of the same ones who may not have a computer or electronic communications access.  And so I ask you this:  Could you assist us with ensuring that we are able to touch each and every member of our St. Paul flock with our care, interest and communication connectivity during this critical time? (Note that official membership of St. Paul Lutheran is not the deciding factor on this, as we desire to embrace and be in community with members and nonmembers alike, who have any kind of affiliation or relationship with St Paul Lutheran Church of Winterset).

Please help us if you can as follows:
1) St. Paul member Georgine Bellamy has offered to coordinate a small team of volunteers, who will share in this “special delivery” privilege to these members of our extended family circle.  If you are able to assist in this important ministry outreach, it will mean that on the day that you would be on “duty”, that you would either print off the Epistle communication of the day or pick up the set of printed Epistles at the church office,  and then make delivery to the recipients addresses as assigned. As is required by these unique circumstances, these will not be up close and personal, face-to-face, hug or handshake kinds of interactions. (This may be a relief to some of us who are by nature rather stoic types of Lutherans!)  Rather, we anticipate that delivery will be to the recipients front door, whether in an envelope taped to the door, or slid underneath it.  On a good day, you might be privileged to have/bring a friendly conversation from 6 feet away through a screen door. Respecting this newly coined phenomenon of appropriate social distancing because we know that this bug can be shared even when too close in proximity and in simply speaking with one another.  If the delivering person does not have conversation with the recipient at the time of delivery, we will ask that you make a phone call upon delivery, in order to alert them that they have a communication from their church waiting for them at their door.

2) Secondly, while we have already assembled a listing of individuals whom we believe to be in this category of limited electronic access, please do not hesitate to drop an email or make a phone call to the church office in order to offer any other names that should be researched along these lines.

The kingdom of God, Jesus says, is like the shepherd who has 99 of his flock within the fold, but leaves them in order to search and find that single one who is out there somewhere, in order to embrace and bring them fully into the flock.  God is relentless in pursuit of that one who is off and alone.

Praise God for all of the caring and loving people, within our circle of faith community and beyond, who desire to reach out and show care with this same passion, in the name of Jesus.

Meisha, our St. Paul Office Manager will be receiving and compiling this information and working with Georgine to put this volunteer team, the delivery listing and distribution system together.

Thank you in advance, for helping us to bring epistles of care and good news during these days to these beloved children of God!

Peace to you all!
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



Epistle #1

Dearest friends,
I write today, in the midst of an extraordinary global pandemic shut-down, in order to introduce the first of a series of communications which we will call “Epistles to St. Paul”.  This series of Epistles will begin today, March 18, 2020 and will conclude on that day in which we shall meet gathered in community in the physical presence of one another in worship on Sunday morning! (The date for this, of course, remains to be determined.)

This word epistle simply means “a letter”. We are accustomed to hearing about and learning from the biblical Epistles FROM St. Paul. (These written to the Christian communities in Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, etc.) These epistles offer encouragement, support, direction, exhortation and news “updates” from the apostle Paul for life as Christian people in the midst of community, specific to that community.

Likewise, these present day epistles will also include words of encouragement, support, direction, exhortation and news updates.  However, these letters will be TO St. Paul. St. Paul the community, (which is currently the “virtual” community,) of our congregation, St. Paul Lutheran Church, of Winterset, Iowa.

Please look around you.  Is there anything of your normal day to day existence that does not feel totally “up in the air“ these days?  Because of how fluid our current environment, we do not have a fixed schedule for this plan.  Epistles will be sent out as needed, or as deemed beneficial. Some will be coming from me, your intentional interim pastor, and some will be coming from other Saint Paul church family members, including lay leadership.

Bottom line? We wish to make certain that we do not define Christian community with the shortsighted vision that it solely means those who come together physically on Sunday morning for worship. During these days, we see great need and opportunity to nurture this community of faith.  And yet we cannot be together.  But by being intentional in our communication and doing the very best we can connectivity-wise, we can be the church.

These are unprecedented times and circumstances, with unforeseeable outcomes. Accompanying these times and factors are a gamut of emotions, sufferings, challenges and yes… opportunities!  Let’s process these things, to the degree possible, together.

I look forward to sharing more thoughts on these things in the Epistles to come!

In the meantime, remember and relish the peace that only God can give. I pray today for you all, that amazing peacefulness in your heart and mind that is so profound that it even passes our own capacity to understand it.  And it comes from Jesus our Lord.

More to come very soon!
In Christs love,
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


Other Announcements pertaining to St. Paul

Blood Drive  |  Tuesday, March 24 ● 1:00 – 7:00 pm

Life Serve Blood Bank will be here March 24th from 1pm until 7 pm.  We always need cookie bakers and volunteers to help at the canteen. This is a very busy Blood Bank and we can always use more help. Its a fun afternoon visiting with members of our community who come to donate blood.

Covid-19 Common Sense

Common sense things you can do to remain healthy and protect those around you.

  1. Regular hand washing. with soap and water or alcohol solution.
  2. Stay home if you are sick.
  3. Cover your mouth with your upper arm if you cough or sneeze.
  4. Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  5. Clean and disinfect all surfaces that are often touched.
  6. We will be temporarily suspending passing the peace at both worship services.
  7. Be sure you have a flu shot. Do it for the herd.

Charles W. & Lois H. Taylor Scholarship

A reminder that the Charles W. & Lois H. Taylor Scholarship application forms are now available.  Only residents of Madison County, Iowa who are also graduates of a high school or equivalent located in Madison County are eligible to apply for financial assistance to attend any accredited technical school, community college, college, university, graduate or professional school.”

Contact:   First Christian Church
103 W. Green Street, Winterset

Deadline to submit applications is May 1, 2020