St Paul Lutheran Church Worship Services – Important UPDATE in response to COVID-19
March 14, 2020
Dear St. Paul Lutheran Community,
We are a community of faith, rooted in the hope and love of Jesus Christ. Knowing that our God is a God of love and care for all people, we want to address the COVID-19 virus and St. Paul’s response and precaution.
We are listening carefully to governmental and public health officials who are issuing very strong recommendations to limit gatherings of people to whatever extent possible. I have been in conversation with our congregational President Dan Nielsen, and we have both been keeping a very close eye on key churches in the region.
With that being said, St. Paul will be cancelling our worship services for this Sunday, March 15, as well as programs and worship on Wednesday evening, March 18.
As of this writing we have had 17 cases reported in Iowa. While standard precautions request that “anyone with any symptoms” should stay at home, we have learned that with this particular virus, there are some who are “ silent carriers” or might be pre-symptomatic. Therefore, we wish to be proactive by limiting interaction for this time period in order to help prevent vulnerable individuals from being infected.
I believe God calls us to be socially responsible and to care for not only our own flock, but also the surrounding community.
Please know that we view this as a response not of fear or panic, but of precaution and common sense. If this is indeed a wave, as health officials expect, then we want to do our part in keeping that wave as small as possible.
We all need God all of the time. But as you know, in times of challenge, we feel a special compelling need of God. That’s why this decision to cancel worship services is such a difficult thing. However, we want to invite you to know of other important opportunities to stay close to God during this critical time.
Please make every effort to pursue the following in a very intentional manner:
1) Worship: Lutheran Church of Hope (the largest church in the ELCA, which just happens to be down the road from Winterset!) has just announced that they will not be holding public gatherings for worship. However they will be “holding” their worship services online, available to all through their website, which is lutheranchurchofhope.org Whether individually or as a couple or as a family, you will be blessed to come together and worship, perhaps in the home office or at the kitchen table as your sanctuary, with laptop, desk-top or iPad!
2) Personal Bible reading and prayer. I encourage you to read Scripture and pray as individuals and as families.
Please know that if there is need and you cannot come to church, your church will come to you. My email address, office phone, and cell phone are included below. Please let me know if you are sick or suffering, and are in need of specific prayer, a visit, or encouragement, whether in person or over the phone. I consider it a privilege to support and encourage you in God’s love and grace at all times, but especially during these challenging days.
I remind you that we remain dependent upon weekly offerings in order to pay the bills and fund daily and long-term ministry operating expenses, and ask that during this interesting time that you would send your offerings or make your contribution online through the churches website. As always, thank you for your faithful practice of generosity to the glory of God and the caring ministry of Jesus Christ.
The suspension of worship services and programs will be a week-by-week decision for now. We will bring update communications, targeting Wednesday, to touch base on status at that time.
A final word: Our presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has reminded us of Martin Luther’s response to the anxious citizens of Germany who, way back in 1527, were themselves facing the prospect of an epidemic. Luther wrote that above all else the Christian’s duty is to care for one’s neighbor. According to Luther, that included taking care of the most vulnerable, following the best medical advice available, and avoiding unnecessary risks. We are doing our best to heed Luther’s words and Christ’s call to love our neighbors.
I ask for your prayers for our Church, our Council, our Call Committee and for all within this congregation, as together we move forward in hope. And please pray for health professionals, first responders, civic leaders and for the most vulnerable among us. We are a people of a faith that casts out all fear. We ask that you will give your understanding and support to this and future decisions. And most of all, I pray you will be filled with the hope and peace that comes from Christ.
Together in the love and mission of Jesus,
Pastor Brian Mortenson
Introducing Our 2020 Lenten Weekday Worship Series
When Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, Jesus gave them what we now call “The Lord’s Prayer”, or some call it “The Our Father.” At our weekly worship services throughout the season of Lent, we will be taking a good look at this remarkable gift which Jesus offered, through a series of spoken messages which will be given by members of our church.
We will delight and grow together, as we expand our understanding of each of these extraordinary petitions which Jesus has taught us.
March 18th, Cancelled due to COVID-19 response
March 25th, speaker Peyton Dick – Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
April 1st, speaker Brenda Hollingsworth – Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Thursday, April 9th, speaker Ted Leonard – For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever and ever. AMEN.
April 10th– Good Friday Worship – Pastor Randall Lubbers will be preaching the sermon with a joint worship service with the First United Presbyterian Congregation here at St. Paul Lutheran at 7:00 pm.
Thank you for your very generous gifts to Our Faith in Film 2020 project! This is the second year of the ecumenical project, a partnership between Winterset churches and The Iowa Theater. Films are free to the public with a good will donation to CRISP or Matura Madison County.
Featured films shown on Sundays at 5:30 pm are:
March 29: Paul, Apostle of Christ (PG-13, 2018) is the story of Paul, imprisoned and awaiting his death sentence at the hands of Emporer Nero, and his friend Luke who risks his own life to visit Paul in prison. Another audience favorite, this movie is characterized as “An impressively made and portrayed story of forgiveness and faith during a time of fear and persecution.”
April 5: Jesus Christ Superstar (G, 1973) is the original film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s popular rock opera, starring the iconic Ted Neeley as Jesus Christ. The story tells the final weeks of Jesus’ life through unforgettable songs and imaginative staging.
UPCOMING CHANGE TO OFFICE HOURS
Office Manager, Meisha Sible will be travelling again and out of the office from March 19 – 31.
CRISP Movie Night! | Sunday, March 15th, 6:30pm
CRISP will be hosting a movie night fundraiser on Sunday, March 15th at 6:30 at The Iowa Theater here in Winterset. They will be showing Missing Link, an animated, comedy-adventure, great for the whole family. Admission is $5 per person. ALL proceeds will be returned to CRISP. The event is sponsored by American State Bank, Farmers & Merchants State Bank and Union State Bank.
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.
- Regular hand washing. with soap and water or alcohol solution.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your mouth with your upper arm if you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces that are often touched.
- We will be temporarily suspending passing the peace at both worship services.
- Be sure you have a flu shot. Do it for the herd.
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