March 16, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of St. John’s Lutheran Church,
You, dear Christians, have been hearing and believing this message steadily these days: “God is our refuge and strength.” Psalm 46:1 We trust God. We love neighbors.
Out of love for our neighbors, and in light of the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, we have made the decision to cancel our in-person worship Services on a week-by-week basis. At present, this means we will not have Services on Wednesdays, Saturdays, or Sundays, through March 25. We will notify you if we are able to resume Services on March 28. In compliance with our nation’s recommendations, and in love for others, we believe this is the prudent choice.
While this was a difficult decision for us, we can all rejoice. God’s Word is not bound by these temporary changes. Here’s some of what we are doing as a congregation:
- The Word of God is lively when you’re reading it together at home. This is an opportunity to increase our time in home devotions.
- Pastor Burdick and Pastor Fortkamp are available to give you the Lord’s Supper in individual Services, as we have for those who have been home-bound. Contact the Church office (217-342-4334) and we’ll make arrangements. We could meet with you in the Sanctuary and have a brief Service of Communion. For others, we’ll do all we can to bring the Lord’s Supper to you.
- We will post devotions on our St. John’s Facebook page (St.JohnsEffingham), and our website (www.stjohnsLCMS.net).
- Many of our recent worship services are available on our website already. We will prepare to post new Services there in the coming days.
- Sunday’s Service will continue to be broadcast on our local MediaComm channel #81 at 10:00am on Sunday, though it will be recorded without the congregation present.
- From home, hundreds of our members and friends are united in prayer daily, confidently praying like this ….
“Gracious Father in heaven, your Son taught us to be anxious about nothing and to let the day’s cares be sufficient for the day. These days have been hard and full of anxiety. Quiet our minds and hearts, we pray. Grant us nights of restful sleep and refreshment. Watch over us, our families, our neighbors, our communities, our nation, and all the nations of the world. Preserve us from discord and strife. Endow our leaders with wisdom and sound judgment. Protect us from every evil of body and soul. And remind us of your ever good and gracious will to save and to bless. As you have reconciled the world and all things to yourself in the death of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, so grant to us all a measure of your peace. For your Name’s sake, we pray. Amen.”
We know these changes are temporary, and that God will bring good from this opportunity. He never wastes one! After all, He is our sole refuge and strength. We can still rejoice.
– Pastor Mike Burdick and the Board of Elders