March 29 Grace Notes

Click here to read the March 29, 2020 edition of Grace Notes. In this week’s edition:

  • Updates on coronavirus measures
  • Reduction in office hours
  • Welcome Center
  • Infant Moses Ministry
  • March 29 readings and sermon
  • Birthdays
  • Prayer list
  • Coping with stress

Worship in a Time of Coronavirus

UPDATE: Worship services beginning March 22 will be streamed on our Facebook page only. In keeping with strong recommendations from state and federal health officials and synod offices, Grace Lutheran will not open our doors for worshipers to congregate in the building.

A more detailed announcement will be posted here shortly.

PREVIOUS POST: As a precaution against the Coronavirus you will notice the following differences:

  • Hand Sanitizer placed on the ledge leading into the sanctuary
  • We ask that you maintain spacing of three feet with those around you
  • During the passing of the peace we all will avoid contact and use gestures instead
  • We will not kneel at the communion rail but rather all stand
  • We will make our hands into a bowl/cup as we receive the communion wafer
  • The communion trays are half full to avoid touching other people’s cups

Thank you for helping to keep your neighbor healthy!

Pastor Jonathan Barker,Grace Lutheran Church

Bishop Erickson on COVID-19

The following is a pastoral message from Greater Milwaukee Synod Bishop Paul Erickson on how congregations can deal with the novel coronavirus. You may also want to check out this newsletter from the wellness ministry of our sister congregation, Trinity Lutheran Church.

Pastoral Message from Bishop Paul Erickson Regarding the Coronavirus

March 3, 2020

As we have all watched the news recently and seen the spread of a novel coronavirus, COVID- 19, around the world, many people have expressed concerns over this disease and the potential for it to disrupt our normal, daily lives. As the church, we are called to not give into fear, but to equip ourselves with knowledge so that we can be prepared to respond appropriately should the need arise.

The most important recommendation to share is that if you are sick, regardless of why you are sick, you are encouraged to stay home and go see your primary care physician. In addition to COVID-19, we are experiencing a bad flu season and many of our congregants have pre-existing conditions which could make them susceptible to any illness. Taking proper care of ourselves also helps us take care of one another.

Some have expressed concern about how this new disease might impact our worship services.

At this time, there is no evidence to support radical changes to our worship service or to encourage altering worship practices. There are, however, some practices that are always a good idea to consider when thinking about worship. For example, the use of hand sanitizer after the passing of the peace and before communion are easy ways to help limit the spread of illness in general. Congregations may wish to review their communion practices, perhaps avoiding intinction, the most susceptible to contamination, or having the communion minister dip the bread into the wine and hand it to the worshipper. Additionally, some may choose to only receive communion through the bread, a perfectly acceptable practice in the Lutheran tradition. When it comes to passing the peace, some individuals may choose to do so verbally or with gestures instead of shaking hands.

Again, we want to stress that we should not give into fear. As Bishop Eaton has so often reminded us, we are called to be church together. Our identity in Christ is fundamentally communal and as there are more cases, we should not push away those who are sick or may have been exposed. While there are proper precautions that should be taken, we should continue to love and support our siblings in the faith and not stigmatize them. Instead we should identify how to continue to minister and support them through prayer, phone calls, and material support if they are being asked to self-isolate.

There are many things we still do not know about this new disease, but we should continue to work to be prepared and to support our siblings who are being impacted as well as supporting those who are working to address this disease.

Here are some other resources you might wish to consider when discerning your next most faithful step regarding the coronavirus: