Temporary Ministry Modifications – March 2020
Grace Lutheran Church—Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
March 15, 2020
With the rise of COVID-19 concerns, there have been questions regarding how Grace is addressing concerns. The best way is by basic hygiene, (wash your hands with hot water for 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer, don’t touch your mouth, etc.). In addition, the Church Council met on Sunday, March 15th and determined to make the following temporary adjustments.
The following schedule and practices will remain in place at least through Easter Sunday, April 12th, 2020.
If situations require a continuation of these temporary practices, we will keep you informed.
General Congregation Scheduling: Due to concerns for the health and well-being of our congregation and the community in which we serve and live, it was decided that, with the exception of our worship services; all meetings, Bible Studies, Confirmation Classes, and community events (Community Lenten Suppers and Ladies Guild “Spring Fling”) will be cancelled or postponed.
Gathering for Worship: Unless and until we are required by law to stop gathering for worship, Grace will have all their scheduled worship services. We gather around Word and Sacrament and in prayer for the community to best equip ourselves to serve neighbors times of concern like this. If a community or regional quarantine is put in place, we will seek to provide ministry in other ways. We will make sure that we keep you as updated as possible.
Handshaking: Pastor will continue greeting people before and after worship. However, he will not force the issue with anyone. Pastor will not initiate any sort of physical contact unless you first extend your hand.
Otherwise, he will greet you with a smile and warm greeting! In greeting each other, we ask that you be respectful of others. If someone does not feel comfortable shaking hands, please don't be offended. We will not be greeting each other before the service begins in the sanctuary.
The Lord's Supper: We will continue our practice of 2nd & 4th Sundays with communion and the preceding Thursday, using both the chalice and individual cups. There has been study after study showing no link between use of the chalice and infection. Here is a helpful link:
https://www.ntnl.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Common-Cup-CDC.pdf. If you feel more comfortable shifting to the use of the individual cup at this time, please do.
In preparing the Sacrament, the Altar Guild will wear protective gloves. They will also leave space between the individual cups in each tray.
We will continue to receive communion at the rail, however, we will be communing only 6 per table (vs. 12). This is so we can maintain a safe “social distance” while gathered at the rail. We ask that you remain standing to lessen the hand contact with the communion rail.
The Elders and Pastor will take extra precautions as well in the distribution of the Sacrament of the Altar.
While some of the practices are changed slightly, what is most important is that you are receiving the "medicine of immortality" curing sin and death that comes in the Lord's Supper.
Communication: Because situations can change quickly, it is a good idea to make sure that your contact information is up to date with the office. If you are unsure whether or not we have your correct e-mail and mailing address, please contact the church office to make sure we do.
As in any situation, use good judgment. If you are in a situation where you have an impaired immune system, extra precautions might be in order. If you are ill, especially with a fever, for the sake of your brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps staying at home and having Pastor call on you might be the best option.
Our good and gracious Lord has it all under control! Now is a time for prayer, not panic. It is a time for faith and not fear. His promise to us is sure!
Rev. Peter M. Peitsch
Grace Lutheran Church