The following is the letter I sent to the congregation I serve, Spirit of Joy! Lutheran Church, concerning COVID-19 and our worship and ministry together.
COVID-19: Update on our Ministry
Dear Spirit of Joy! family,
In the last week, the unfolding Corona Virus Pandemic has only escalated. Just in the last four days, the maximum size for public gatherings recommended by health officials and the government has dropped from 250 to 10.
The word is overused right now, but no less true – this is an unprecedented situation.
Because we care deeply for each of you; because we would rather err on the side of caution rather than carelessness; and because we believe that God’s work is not confined to our building, the Spirit of Joy! Leadership Team has temporarily suspended in-person worship and gatherings of our ministry.
We have suspended in-person worship for the coming two Sundays and will re-assess after that.
There is real grief in this decision. Our time together is a treasure, and not being in the same space together will be hard.
But there is also a real opportunity here to explore other ways we can remain connected to one another.
Different. Not Gone.
We will still worship, just not at the church property.
Sunday morning at 10:00 am, I invite you to join me on the Spirit of Joy! Facebook page. We will gather there for Sunday morning time of devotions and worship together using Facebook live.
I have compiled a set of resources on our church website for regular devotion and growing in faith. Please bookmark this page and check back, as I will continue to update it during this time.
Faith formation will have to move out of the church building, outside of Sunday mornings, and back into our daily lives … where it belongs!
I will continue to post Sunday sermons to the church website. In addition, we have just started a new podcast called “6 Minute Faith” which is designed to give us little nuggets of faith formation. Links to both of those are on our new resources page.
I will also offer regular Bible Studies, using the video conferencing platform Zoom. Watch your email for those opportunities and instructions on how to participate.
Our Children of Joy! Preschool Ministry has a policy of following Conroe ISD’s closures. They will resume classes when CISD resumes.
Even though we won’t be passing the offering plates, our ministry together still has expenses and obligations to meet. As you are able to do so during this time, we urge you to continue your giving to our ministry. Our community has always been generous, and I have no doubt that will be true in this situation as it always has been.
Your generous offerings may be made through our online giving portal, or you may mail checks to our new mailing address (8000 Research Forest, Suite 115 – PMB #121, The Woodlands, TX, 77382).
Before I met with the Leadership Team tonight, I sat down with our directory and prayed for each of you by name. I commit to you that I will continue to pray for each of you every day until we gather again for worship.
The Psalmist reminds us that:
That is as true today as it has ever been. God is our strength and our hope.
Even as we step back and take “social distance,” you are not alone. This community is here for you. You are loved.
If you need anything at all during this time, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
It is well,