Dear loved ones in Christ,
With coronavirus now being reported in Oakland county I’d like us to consider some precautionary guidelines to assist in keeping our Faith family healthy and safe as we gather to receive our Lord’s comfort and mercy.
- Please wash your hands regularly. I cannot stress this enough. Hand sanitizer is good. Soap is best.
- Cover cough and sneeze into arm, not hands. A tissue is even better. Remember to wash afterwards.
- Avoid touching face (eyes, nose, mouth) as much as possible. Wash your hands after doing so.
- Respect other’s decisions for limited physical contact (I.e. handshaking, hugs, etc.)
- If you are sick, please stay home and tend to your symptoms. The elders and I are willing to take appropriate measure to visit you with the mercy and comfort of our Lord’s Word and Sacrament.
- If your current physical condition puts you at greater risk, please stay home. I am willing to take every necessary precaution to bring God’s comfort and mercy to you.
- Wash your hands again.
- Put down your phone/step away from the computer and go wash your hands. Do it now, please.
With the closing of schools in Michigan through April 5 we are limiting church activity to Sunday Morning Worship and Midweek Lent services. This means that Sunday School, Bible Study, Midweek dinners and other weekly gatherings at the church facility are suspended for as long as schools remain closed, out of an abundance of caution and to support efforts to slow the spread of infection
Weekly Sunday Worship will only be cancelled as a last resort. It is absolutely vital that the physical means of grace are maintained for the comfort and care of God’s people especially in times of uncertainty and crisis. So long as a healthy congregation and leader are available to meet in a space where infection risk can be managed, the church will endeavor to gather. In the meantime, we are implementing the following precautions:
- Use of hymnals, shared books, and children’s activity kits are to be avoided. All necessary elements will be printed in a disposable bulletin.
- Offering taken at the door to avoid passing of plates.
- Attendance taken at entry to avoid passing of fellowship record.
- Counters and ushers encouraged to wear protective gloves when undertaking their tasks.
- Communion direct-to-mouth is discouraged.
Other procedures and practices may be implemented as we learn of them.
Through all this we have great opportunity to love our neighbor as Christ commanded. This means not acting recklessly and infecting others, but also to comfort those who are ill and suffering. Just because our programming and social lives may be on hiatus, Christian care and compassion are not. Use the time to take a break from social media hysteria and spend that time in prayer. Use your Lent Devotion Books to guide some extra reading of God's Word, especially out loud with your household. Consider the neighbor next door, the neighbor from your pew, and the friend who has not been at Faith for awhile. Catch up over the phone, pray for one another, run errands for those who are especially at risk from going out in public (don't forget to wash your hands!) Care for your spouse, protect your children, aid your parents, and also love and serve your neighbor.
If you are in need, do not hesitate to call on your Faith family. You are not a bother. You are loved. And we cherish the opportunity to prove it.
Beyond all that: live like you are baptized. Baptism is not a magical aura that keeps Christians safe. The armor of God is not worn to mitigate all illness and tragedy. It defends from the schemes of the evil one. And baptism unites you to Christ and His resurrection. You live like you are baptized when you believe nothing separates you from God’s love for you in Christ Jesus. You live in baptism when you laugh at the devil’s attempts to induce you to fear and dread. It means not fearing virus or any calamity more than you fear love and trust in God.
In all things, keep your eyes on Jesus. Hear the Word. Confess your sin. Receive forgiveness. Receive the “pure, wholesome, comforting remedy that grants salvation and comfort” in the Lord’s Supper. And in all circumstance pray, praise, and give thanks.
God grant us mercy.