Our Statement on being the Church in this time of isolation:
Dear Members of Hope Lutheran Church,
We all know the Church (Capital C) is not a building but all believers in Jesus Christ, true God, crucified and risen for the free salvation of all who believe. But we confess (article VII of the Augsburg Confession) this Church manifests itself around the world properly in the gathering (ecclesia) of the people of God around 1. The Word of God rightly proclaimed and 2. The Sacraments (Baptism and Communion) rightly administered. So how can we be the Church when we are encouraged not to meet in large groups by the governing authorities, which we are called to honor (The Fourth Commandment; Romans 13:1)?
Well the first part of being the Church, rightly proclaiming the Word of God, we are able to do with modern technology. Sunday services will be posted online, and you may also see a few confirmation and bible classes crop up. These will be on our Facebook page* and our Church website (www.allabouthope.org). Pastor and the elders will also be calling the members to make sure those who are not tech savvy can get copies of the sermon.
The second part of being the Church, the Sacraments rightly administered, is admittedly more problematic. There is no digital or drive-thru medium for reverently distributing the Sacrament of the Altar, which our Lord has told us to take. So, hearkening back to the “good ol’ days” of Communion registration, we are providing times on Sunday (or any day by appointment) for groups of less than 10, and family units, to register to come receive Communion. Pastor will share a 20-minute service with registrants while heightened hygienic policies will be enacted (no passing of the peace or offering, spreading out when all possible, strict hand-washing by Pastor, and sanitizing of hymnals, Communion ware, pews, etc.). Time slots will be every half hour from 9am to 1pm on Sundays. Appointment requests should be sent by phone or by email to the Church office (email@example.com ; 208-529-8080). We ask that appointments be requested by Saturday noon: any request after will be scheduled for the following week. We ask that those in high-risk demographics think seriously about whether they wish to participate – there will be no judgment on anyone who wishes to self-isolate and not participate.
We plan on enacting this process until such time as it is deemed safe to gather in larger groups. The Board of Elders will reevaluate regularly. Boards and Groups are still able to use the building, but we ask they give thought to CDC guidelines about capacity and hygiene.
We feel this strategy honors the Third Commandment, to take time for God’s Word and gifts, the Fourth Commandment, to honor the authorities, and the Fifth Commandment, to not bring harm to our neighbor. We understand that some may think these measures too drastic, others not drastic enough, we ask that you bear with us in Christian charity as we seek to be faithful in this complex time. We are hoping to stand on brave but reasoned ground. If you have any questions or criticisms feel free to contact your elder or Pastor.
Pastor Pay and the Board of Elders