Category Archives: News

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Church and Coronavirus | Things You Should Know

It’s been a crazy week, hasn’t it?  Headline after headline about the coronavirus.  Schools closing.  Events being cancelled.  The stock market plummeting.  What’s a Christian supposed to make of all this?  What’s a church supposed to do about all of this?  What do you need to know before coming to church on Sunday?

 

What God Says

There is a lot of information going around right now; some of it is accurate and some is not.  Instead of refreshing your newsfeed every 30 seconds to hear what people say about the coronavirus, take a moment to be refreshed by what God says about it.

God is in control.  Psalm 46:10 | “Be still, and know that I am God.”

God loves us and promises to help us.  Isaiah 41:10 | “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

God promises there will be trouble in the world, and he promises to be with us through it. Isaiah 43:1-3 | “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

God promises to use all things for our good.  Romans 8:28 | “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

God cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 | “Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you.”

God wants to use us to reflect his love to others.  Matthew 5:14,16 | “You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise their Father in heaven.”

God’s got us, and the whole world, in the palm of his hand.  Things are going to be OK. Times of anxiety, worry, stress, and trouble often prove to be the best times to be a light of God’s hope, strength, and promises. Look for opportunities in your life to reflect the light of God’s love out to those around you!

A few great resources for you:

Praying through a Pandemic (from our sister church, Illumine, Seattle)

How Should A Christian Act During a Deadly Epidemic? (By Martin Luther)

Coronavirus: Coming out of the Crowd (a fantastic devotional blog written by Jonathan Bourman of Peace Lutheran in Aiken, originally written March 2nd)

If you do not feel comfortable attending church because of health concerns, please check our church website for worship and devotional resources. Stay connected to God Word. Now is a great time to reinvest in family devotions.

 

Practical Things
Gathering for worship

  • During times of fear and uncertainty, it is more important than ever for Christians to meet together for mutual encouragement and strengthening in God’s Word.
  • We will continue to hold worship on Sundays, 7:15 AM at St. Paul’s, 9:00 AM at St. John’s, and 11:00 AM at St. Mark’s.  Bible study will continue on at St. Mark’s on Sunday at 12:00 PM, at St. Paul’s (meeting at Lynn Kahl’s house) on Tuesdays at 9:00 AM, and at St. John’s on Wednesdays at 10:00 AM.  Midweek Lenten Services will also continue on Wednesdays at 4:00 PM at St. Mark’s and at 6:00 PM at St. John’s.

Wise precautions

  • Please follow the same common-sense steps at church that you’re being encouraged to follow in other areas of your life. Here is a list from the CDC:
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick (yes, this even applies to coming to worship; and no need to feel guilty about it)
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. (like we said–all common sense)
  • We will clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces before Sunday, and will continue to do so.
  • I will not shake hands with you (or cough or sneeze on you)–a simple wave and a jovial, “Hey there, Good to see you!” will do just fine 🙂
  • Hand sanitizer will be available on the counter for when you enter and leave – and we’ll have plenty of soap in the bathrooms.

Health of members

  • If you get sick (and not merely with coronavirus–any and every time you get sick), please let the church office know so we can pray for you and provide pastoral care.  This will also allow our leaders to make wise decisions about group gatherings at church.
  • At this time, we are not aware that there is anyone in the extended community of our TriParish who is sick with coronavirus.  If and when that changes, we will certainly let you know.

Potential future steps

  • So far we have heard nothing from our government leaders that would indicate it is unsafe to meet for worship.
  • However, if the outbreak reaches the point where even small public gatherings are deemed to be unwise, we may consider gathering online instead of in person until the outbreak is over.
  • We are already blessed with a strong online presence – you can watch sermons and find devotions on our Facebook page.

May God bless all of you with health, strength, and productivity this week, as you work to share his love with a world that needs it now more than ever. If you have concerns you’d like to talk about, don’t hesitate to give me a call or text at 586.651.7304. The church office number is 715.528.3337. Can’t wait to see you this weekend!

– Pastor Jason Liebenow

 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

P.S. Thank you to other churches for much of what was written above!

 

Why Go to Church?

We’ve started a new Bible study on why we as Christians go to church.  Is it necessary?  What’s the benefit of it?  We’ll dig into all these questions from the Bible.

If you’re not able to make it to our regular Bible study time, feel free to watch the Bible study videos on YouTube.

Click HERE to see the full playlist.

Christmas Open House & Child Care Offered

St. John’s on Olive Ave. in Florence is opening its doors this Saturday December 1 for an open house from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. It is also offering free child care for those shopping at “Christmas in Florence” at Florence High School. Feel free to drop off your children, ages 1 – 11, at St. John’s while you shop. Playtime, story time and refreshments will be provided. St. John’s is located next to the high school and library.

Tri-Parish Farewell Service

May 29th will be Rev Zeratsky’s last Sunday conducting regular worship for the Tri-Parish.  The churches have agreed to have one joint service at St. John’s in Florence at 9:00 am with a meal to follow.  We hope to see you there!

Invitation to Ascension Worship on Thursday, May 5th

The public is invited to join St. John’s and Mt. Olive Lutheran Churches for a joint meal and worship service to celebrate the ascension of Christ.  Please come to St. John’s, Florence on Thursday, May 5th.  All are welcome to join in the meal to be served at 5:30 pm with worship to follow at 6:30 pm.  The guest preacher will be Pastor Stephen Lehman.  We look forward to seeing you there!