Dear Our Saviour’s Congregation and Community,
We love you. God loves you. And we want to do our best to be proactive in our care for you and for the public. Your pastors and council, as it turns out, have never been in leadership during a pandemic before, so we ask for your grace and mercy. We ask for your patience and kindness. We know we will make mistakes and we know that we don’t know everything at this time. We also know that the Holy Spirit is present and active at all times and especially during times of uncertainty and unrest. In full faith in God and in one another we will walk in this situation with grace and wisdom.
Our council met last night, Thursday March 12, 2020 and had long, prayerful, faithful conversation that was not fear based, but based on the information we currently know. In our conversation we discussed several options. At this point, the council and pastors, based on recommendations by our medical community at OSLC, have determined that the most faithful response we can have to our community and public health is to refrain from large gatherings, including worship, for a short period of time. Therefore Our Saviour’s will be closed to all community meetings, all OSLC meetings and all face to face worship starting at 5pm today, March 13, 2020. We will be offering an online worship service this Sunday and following Sundays at 10:30 am. If you have questions about your group or meeting please call or email the office.
We are not taking this lightly and other ELCA churches and other denominations are closing as well. Our Bishop will be on a conference call with Governor Polis this afternoon and we presume he will be asking us all to take measures to help in slowing the spread of the virus.
Taking Care of One another:
Your pastors, staff and council are concerned about your well being and spiritual connections. We will be continuing to work during this time via phone calls, emails and prayer. Please email or call the office with any needs. You can also fill out this form to let us know how you can be connected: https://forms.gle/Mxepd8C7uKZ4YTEf9
Worship: Worship will happen this Sunday and following Sundays via Facebook live stream. We are working to make this Simple and Easy for all. You do NOT need a Facebook account in order to watch the service. Simply go to our website www.our-saviours.org on your phone or computer and click on the link that says Facebook Live Streaming to connect. We will also have the bulletin available for download for you to follow along. Facebook may ask you if you want to create an account but you can say no and still view the service. Worship will be different! And we will be connected in prayer together at that time.
Pastoral Care: Pastoral Care is an important part of our community as well. You are welcome to arrange a pastoral visit by telephone or video with our pastors. We are also available by phone and in certain circumstances can make arrangements for a one on one appointment. Right now UC Health hospitals are only allowing two visitors per day. If you would like a pastor to be one of those two, just let us know.
Pastor Leta Arndt Behrens: firstname.lastname@example.org 970-232-8932
Pastor Michael Stadtmueller: email@example.com 970-412-2504
Intern Pastor Jon Fry: firstname.lastname@example.org 515-669-4665
Home Alone or Need assistance? If you would like to have a phone call check in person please email or call the office email@example.com 970-484-3133 or fill out the google form. https://forms.gle/Mxepd8C7uKZ4YTEf9
Connecting: We will be in touch with other ways we can connect! It is important for people to not feel alone at this time and we will find ways to create community. We will also continue to be in touch as information unfolds.
Stewardship: In terms of giving to the church we hope you will continue to help and support the ministry and mission of the church. If you would like to be assisted in learning how to set up online giving to support the ministry of the church please contact the office or fill out the google form: https://forms.gle/Mxepd8C7uKZ4YTEf9
One person on the medical team reminded us that part of the reason there is strong love and respect for our congregation is because we take the lead in doing what is good and wise even when it is really, really difficult to do. We realize this feels like shaky ground and that it feels ominous. And really, all the closures, all the precautions from all the places that need to take them, is an act of social solidarity. We are giving something up, profoundly in this time of Lent, and we are doing so in order that our medical community and our most vulnerable have a chance at making a difference. This hurts. It is difficult and sad and disappointing to not gather together as we normally do and we are living the hope that it is an act of great love.
Remember the church is not shut down-you are the church and your pastors and leadership are here to walk with you. Help us in being a non-anxious presence and surround people in our community and beyond with love and support. Please look for updates and connection points online. Our hope is that we will grow as a community in ways we could not imagine.
A devotion and prayer for today:
From Isaiah 43
1 Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia[a] and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my sight,
and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you;
We are reminded that whenever you hear the words “Do not fear,” it is usually spoken because there is genuinely something to fear. The People of God in the time of Isaiah were being scattered across the continent. Forced away from each other by a conquering country that divided the nation and spread them out in an attempt to destroy their oneness.
As we are being forced away from coming together as one people, we can echo the words of Isaiah. God is with you. We long to be together, and we will be together, but for now we remember that the God we trust in through Jesus Christ will not abandon us. Chaos as it hits our world will subside but as it hits our world we will not fear. We will bring the light of Christ into the world that needs it. Help us to do that.
Let us pray: Gracious God in this time when there is real concern in our community, raise up your people as pillars in our community to act in Grace and Justice for others. Be with the medical community and strengthen our church. Amen.
Pastor Michael Stadtmueller, Pastor Leta Arndt Behrens and the OSLC Church Council