A Letter from Pastor Travis
Dear People of Peace,
Grace to you and Peace in the name of Jesus.
As we continue our Lenten journey toward Holy Week and Easter, there are growing concerns about COVID-19, the coronavirus. As people of faith who are instructed more than any other directive in the Bible to fear not, we take courage and consolation in Christ “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:4). This is a steadfast assurance that also gives witness to God’s requirement that we go the extra mile to defend the most vulnerable in our midst. So, while we should not be alarmist in responding to this current health concern, we must be prudent by taking measures to protect those in our congregation for whom this virus could be life-threatening.
This week, Kristen had contact though a 3rd party with those who recently had traveled abroad. After a week’s quarantine, she returned home assuming her cough was allergy related (par for the course this time of year). Her cough became worse and she developed pneumatic symptoms. Following medical directives we went to ER where we were immediately quarantined. After running all the standard tests and diagnosing her with human metapnuemovirus, the medical team determined Covid-19 testing was warranted. We are now self quarantined for the next 2 weeks. We are in no way concerned of further health complications regardless of results, for ourselves. We are however committed to protecting our family, congregation, and community through containment and social distancing.
In the last two days, we have received numerous email notifications from ELCA Bishops and Pastors around the country announcing the temporary cancellations of all worship, activities, and events in their respective congregations. We believe their actions rightly convey the urgency needed in responding to this alarming pandemic.
In order to be proactive in protecting the People of Peace and our many guests, we are announcing the immediate cancellation of all Sunday worship services and Sunday School classes, Tuesday morning Bible studies, our evening Lenten Dinner Church, and all other weekday and evening activities and events at least through March 23rd. All other groups who use our campus with be asked to suspend their activities under same guidelines. All cancellations are effective as of today. We will proceed on a week-by-week basis after that, giving you regular updates on when we plan to resume our regular worship schedule and activities.
Meanwhile, if you are sick, please stay home. We are trying to protect the most vulnerable in our midst. If you are quarantined and wish to be added to the email prayer list, or if you need food or medicine brought to you, please contact the church office: firstname.lastname@example.org, (979) 693-4403.
We will continue to update the congregation as more information becomes available.
Finally, keep washing your hands and then clasp them in prayer with our church family…
Good and gracious God, you are our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in times of trouble. So, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. For you are our firm foundation in this current storm and every storm we go through in this precarious and beautiful life. So, as we, as a community of faith, navigate these new waters that are elevating with chaos every day, help us to look to Jesus who was calm enough to sleep in a boat being tossed this way and that on turbulent waters and who awoke from peaceful slumber to ask, “Where is your faith?” Empower us to be faithful but prudent in our deeds, calm but vigilant in our actions that advocate for the least of these and that seek to defend the most vulnerable in our midst. Grant us wisdom and courage to face this present unknown, O God, and pour the strength of your Spirit upon us so that we might be the non-anxious presence that our congregation and our wider community need right now. As we have so often sung at the conclusion of our worship services, “You are a light on a hill, O people,” help us to be that beacon of light for one another and for whoever needs hope, peace, and consolation in these days that we know will pass, O God. In the name of the Christ on whom our eyes are fixed we pray. Amen.
With Faithfulness and Hope,
Pastor Travis Meier