Epistle #4 – Friday updates – Next weeks Epistles, worship, blood drive & other news

1) Thank you for reading EPISTLES TO ST PAUL!   Next week there will be some interesting reading, to include a message from our Call Committee Chair, Ann Bartelt who will bring encouragement to us all, as well as a committee update. Also, special guest Epistle writer, my mother!

This  EPISTLES TO ST PAUL series is a new venture for us of course, and we are very interested in your feedback and suggestions on how we can use this tool as a vehicle to help maintain our sense of Christian community in a challenging world. I shared with someone today that I surely must have missed that day in class at Seminary when they taught us how to pastor a congregation during a pandemic. I should see if Amazon has that book available. In the meantime (and this most certainly is a mean time) please feel free to share thoughts to the office email address, care of Meisha Sible, our Office Manager, at: stpaullutheranchurch@hotmail.com or to me at stpaulpastor1941@gmail.com.

2) Thank you for the nice response to our EPISTLE #2 of last week. A number of you provided encouragement and offered volunteer support to make certain that our communications reach will extend to all of those who don’t have electronic access, by providing front door delivery of hard copies. If there is someone that you have this concern for, don’t hesitate to let us know their name, and we will follow up to insure that they either do have proper access electronically, or that they will be added to the “special delivery” listing.

3) Worship Services.   We now know of course, that it will be an extended time before we will be able to come together as a congregation for worship once again. The risks are too great, and we want to protect everyone from the possibility of getting sick until public health officials declare it to be safe, with all of this behind us. In the meantime (there is that word again!) we want to encourage you to find an online worship opportunity if you have access to do so. You will find encouragement, support and meaning in this opportunity to participate in a worship experience. Not to mention, respect and honor the Lord’s Sabbath in this way!

We here at St. Paul are not currently equipped with the technology or other resources required to provide an online worship experience of the scope or quality that would be most meaningful.  But we do want to encourage you, whether as an individual, a couple or as a family, to worship in this way.

One option that I would encourage you to consider is to worship via Lutheran Church Of Hope‘s online streaming worship service. ( www.lutheranchurchofhope.org ),  Some of you are aware that a number  of our St. Paul leaders have met with representatives from Hope to consider possible partnership with them on certain ministries (at this time, specific to children and youth program activities). Thus there may be some sense of relationship or intrigue there for some of you. Others of you may be aware of, or have historic relationship with other churches that provide worship alternatives as well. In seeking out this opportunity, I would encourage you to seek out options that provide a good sense of “as if you were there“, during this important time. It’s one thing to offer a reflection, or a devotional type of message. But that is not the same as a worship experience. Let us continue to worship during this time of seeking and wondering and waiting.  In this day of media savvy-ness (on the part of some!) and amazing technology, we are blessed to have this opportunity provided by others until we can gather together again here at 1120 N. Eighth Street in Winterset!

4) Blood Drive.   The previously scheduled blood drive set for this coming Tuesday, March 24th remains on, as scheduled. However, no St. Paul volunteers for hosting, providing refreshments, etc will be participating! The need for blood donations is as critical as ever. LifeServe Blood Center has ramped up their preparation and cleaning process and protocols so that if you are scheduled to come and donate blood, you are encouraged to continue to plan on donating if you are comfortable doing so. However, once again, the LifeServe staff team will manage all activities of set up, and operational flow of the day, with no volunteer involvement of our membership, for everyones safety. Thank you!

5) Financial Upheaval.  Some of you have suddenly found yourselves to be in disrupted, unexpected economic circumstances that are frightening and cause great instability in your personal situation. To you we wish to extend love and prayers, and more than that, needed resources. As you know, St. Paul has always been a leadership church in this region as relates to providing support for our community supportive services of CRISP, Matura, and others. We intend to continue to assist these important community agencies as they carry out our love and generosity in and through their supportive distribution services for so many in need.

In order for St. Paul to continue providing this support, we are entirely dependent upon the ongoing, or perhaps even “upgraded” generosity from those of us whose situation continues to allow for our giving to take place. We will remain dependent upon weekly offerings in order to pay our bills and fund all of our ministry operating expenses, and ask during this time that you who are able would send your offerings or make your contribution online through the churches website.

6) Public health information resources.  As we all know, there are loads of articles and sources of information available out there providing information and direction.  It is hard to know for certain what is reputable, not to mention the most current information available.  Some of our members who are health care professionals have provided guidance in identifying qualified resources that we can count on.  We will soon post these resource links on our website.  Look for “COVID-19 Resources”.

7) Please be reminded of this: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35; 37-39

Peace and love, in Jesus –
Pastor Brian Mortenson

Church office phone:  515-462-4270
Church office email:  StPaulLutheranChurch@hotmail.com
Pastor Brian Mortenson email: StPaulPastor1941@gmail.com
Pastoral Emergencies:  605-351-0867