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Zion Lutheran Church Next Steps MOVINH FORWARD AS A JESUS STRONG, BIBLE TRUE CHURCH

“Let us not neglect meeting together, (...) but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:25

The current concern regarding COVID-19 is not unique – nor is the fear and hysteria it has produced. During the Black Death, Martin Luther addressed how a Christian ought to respond in his letter Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague. Luther gives us a range of options – none are based on fear but rather stand on faith, charity, and reason.

Your health and safety is our priority. For this reason, we have laid out guidelines below that we believe are necessary to be followed based on the information given to us by state government and health officials. These guidelines will be amended as needed moving forward. Thank you for following these guidelines for your safety, as well as the safety of others!

We’re looking forward to see you again. While we haven’t missed opportunities to worship and connect digitally, we have missed gathering as a family in person.

First "in person" service will be Pentecost Sunday, May 31st at 10:30 AM (new time). For the time being, we will only resume Sunday morning services; Saturday services will resume in the future.

As to reason, Luther calls people not to tempt God by being foolhardy, but to take reasonable precautions. He suggests the isolation of the sick and urges – according to the understanding of the day – sanitary measures.

We know our bodies are not ours – they belong to God, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” As we would not unite our bodies with a sexual immorality we do not foolishly expose them to disease. As such, please follow the health directives that are widely available, wash your hands frequently, and stay home if you are feeling sick.

In these times of uncertainty, this is the kind of Church we want to be: a church of Faith, Charity, and Reason

Here is what this will look like:

Serving the Body of Christ

With faith, charity, and reason, Zion will continue to minister to the needs of our congregants by holding regular worship. However, in compliance with authorities' guidelines, we will be doing worship differently, taking full advantage of technology. We will celebrate God as a church, only not in person but online. Join us on Sunday for that new world worship service! We will also be uploading the weekly sermons to our website, so you are not missing out even if you cannot join us. If the situation grants it, and for emergencies, I will be available for visitation – do not hesitate to ask.

Meeting the Needs of our Neighbors

While our ministries will be reassessed on a weekly basis, the Community Dinner will continue as planned, only in a take-out only form. The Solid Rock Free Store will be opened on a case by case, one on one basis, in order to continue providing for our neighbors in need while applying good health precautions. As always, if anyone needs assistance in attending to tasks such as running errands or shopping, your brothers and sisters in Christ are ready to help – again do not hesitate to ask.

We are Prepared

At Zion, we have implemented recommended precautions. Our custodian has increased the frequency for cleaning common areas – to include the door knobs, light switches, bathrooms, pew backs and the communion rail. But first and foremost, we will gather virtually instead of physically, making the celebration of our Faith safer for everyone, especially the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.

At the Community Dinner volunteers will be required to sanitize their hands upon entry - this will be monitored to ensure compliance. Community Dinner volunteers will have takeout boxes ready for our guests to enjoy the meal safely and in the comfort of their home, and no indoor access will be offered to guests until after the crisis is resolved.

The Free Store will halt its regular hours, but will remain available to individual who contact us with specific, urgent needs.

As schools have curtailed operation we too are putting Zion Club (our Sunday School) on hold for the time being. We will reevaluate weekly until further notice.

Remain faithful. Be courageous. Be of service.

Be Jesus Strong, Bible True.

In Christ, Pastor Johnsen

(You can reach me at 440-357-6411 or pastor@zionlutheranfh.org)

Credits:

Created with images by Jad Limcaco - "untitled image" • Kelly Sikkema - "Hands holding a large bottle of hand sanitizer " • Tony Eight Media - "God is Faithful" • Curology - "untitled image"