March 17 – Coronavirus update for our congregation and community

To our Saint Trinity family,
This has certainly been a tumultuous week in the life of our country, our state, and our church community. The current recommendation from our state governor is to limit gatherings to less than 50 people, and we are hearing the recommendation from the federal level that all gatherings should be less than 10. Restaurants, gyms, theaters, bars, schools and the like have all been closed in the interest of flattening the infection curve and slowing down the spread of the coronavirus. I know that some folks think that this in an over-reaction and completely unnecessary, but the reality is that we have no idea how long, or how severe, this situation may be. It is foolish to put others at risk simply because we choose to put our own wants and desires over the well-being of our neighbors.
As God’s own children, we must first and foremost respond in faith. Yes, God is still in control. He is still holding us in His mighty hands and there is nothing in all of creation that can remove us from His hands or separate us from His love and care. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, overcomes our panic and soothes our anxieties. Yes, there are a lot of unknowns at the moment when it comes to our health, our employment, our finances, etc. but even in the midst of all of this, God is still in control. He is our ever-present help in times of trouble, He is our rock and our refuge.
Your leadership and I have had to make some difficult decisions in the last couple of days regarding our worship and our activities at the church given the recommendations from the CDC, our local and national governments, and in consultation with both our Michigan District and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod officials. Effective immediately, all onsite activities have been canceled until further notice. This includes, but is not limited to, meetings, Bible studies, youth activities, quilters, and the choirs. Our office will continue to be open during regular hours for now, but please do not stop by the office for anything that could be handled by phone or email.
We have also had to make the very difficult decision to suspend all in-person worship services through at least Wednesday, April 1st. Our services will now be available via livestreaming on our Saint Trinity YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/sttrintylcms/featured at their regularly scheduled times, midweek Lenten services on Wednesdays at 7 PM and our regular Sunday morning services at 9:30 AM. These services will also still be recorded and available for watching afterwards.
An important part of our lives as God’s children is the stewardship of His gifts. Many folks have already asked me about giving their regular offerings if we aren’t gathering for worship. We are in the process of adding the ability to give via several new avenues, on-line, through an app, or by text. We will pass along the pertinent information for those options as it becomes available. You can also feel free to simply mail your regular offerings to the church.
Next week we will be making available appointments for individuals and families to come by the church to receive the Lord’s Supper. The sacrament is a vital part of our lives of faith as it feeds, nourishes, and strengthens us to live as God’s own people.
In the interest of full transparency, I do want to make folks aware that due to my wife’s position as a healthcare worker in a local hospital it is likely a matter of when, not if, the virus comes into my household. This is not meant to cause anyone further worry or concern, but rather to underscore how seriously we are taking this.
In Service to Christ,
Pastor Paul