Dear Members and Friends of Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church,
While we appreciate the White House’s recent acknowledgment that houses of worship are ‘essential’ to the lives of individuals and to the life of our community, we continue to offer ‘on-line worship’ as our primary worship experience at this time. We will resume some form of ‘in-person’ corporate worship as soon as our congregational leadership team determines it is safe for us to do so.
Please be aware that we – as your pastors – along with the elected leaders of our congregation – are closely monitoring developments as regards these matters. Among the factors under their consideration are:
• legally-binding orders from county, state and national officials,
• recommendations from our congregational insurer,
• insights from medically-trained personnel within our own congregation, and
• guidance from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and NIH (National Institutes of Health).
Any decision to resume in-person / on-campus activities will be made by the Church Council. In electing them into such roles of leadership, we have entrusted them with the responsibility to make decisions like this. (Even though, when they were elected, none of us would have guessed they would be entrusted with decisions exactly like this!!)
One of the things which is so very challenging about the pandemic we currently face is that our behaviors and our actions may have direct impact upon the well-being of our neighbors. Self-restricting our mobility and our interactions has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the well-being of others. As Martin Luther himself noted in the face of a pandemic 500 years ago: “If you wish to serve Christ and to wait on him, very well, you have your sick neighbor close at hand. Go to your neighbor. Serve your neighbor. For you will find Christ in your neighbor. ‘For as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.’” ‘Loving our neighbors’ as best we can may mean sitting tight for a little while longer. Returning to in-person community is important to who we are as a community of faith. But we also value preserving life, ensuring health, and being good citizens.
Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as we walk together through these challenging days – and know that we look forward to days when we will again be able to gather together and raise our voices in praise of the goodness of the One who give us life in abundance.
In faith, hope and love,
Pastor John Valentine and Pastor Pam Schaefer Dawson