Anticipating changes from our state government, the Elders met November 15th, 2020 after Bible study to discuss the current data and to consider any changes that may be necessary in our practices. The following is a brief narrative born from that meeting. The goal is transparency with regard to the data being considered and the discussions being had.
An update from the Board of Elders regarding our response to the Covid 19 pandemic.
The Elders met with Pastor Thoma, Bishop Hardy, and Jeff Hoppe after Bible Study on Sunday to discuss the latest developments in the pandemic. As you may have heard in the news, cases of Covid 19 are on the rise. In order to take proper care of our congregation, we felt it prudent to discuss the latest data and consider plans to respond. The data indicates that the cases truly are dramatically on the rise. For example, using Oakland County data, new daily cases have increased by nearly ten times since October 1st (average cases per day are now 644 vs 66). Other counties, states, and even countries are having similar trends. When looking at the State of Michigan, new cases on Friday surpassed 7,000, which is roughly double what case numbers looked like in April. The silver lining at the moment is that while hospitalizations and deaths are also increasing again, it is not at nearly the same rate, indicating that at this point the ratio of acuity and mortality to new cases has significantly improved overall when compared to earlier in the year. These trends were confirmed by others in the meeting who have ties to our local medical community.
At this point, we plan to continue watching the situation while taking the following actions:
The congregation will add a second service effective November 29 if the trends continue. Our current plan is to maintain the 9:30am Divine Service followed by Bible Study, with a second Divine Service occurring at 12:30pm. The goal will be to allow Sunday morning worshippers the opportunity to spread out for greater social distancing if so desired.
PLEASE NOTE: THE 12:30 PM SERVICE WILL NOT OCCUR ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6 DUE TO SEVERAL PREVIOUSLY PLANNED EVENTS, A FEW OF WHICH INCLUDE BISHOP HARDY’S INSTALLATION AND THE QUARTERLY CONGREGATION MEETING THAT WILL FOLLOW.
Our other practices and precautions in response to the pandemic will continue as follows:
- We will continue with Holy Communion being served at the altar in smaller groups.
- We will maintain the Wednesday evening services as we have been doing for the last few months.
- The wearing of masks is still optional, but is very much encouraged for anyone who wishes to do so.
- Use of the narthex, Chapel, and the Choir loft will continue to be encouraged.
- If you are sick or have been exposed to others who are sick, please do not attend services.
- Please use the hand sanitizers stations provided in the narthex prior to entering the nave and continue to bear in mind the many government recommendations for protecting yourself.
We wish for everyone to be able to attend services to hear the Word and receive the Sacraments in relative safety. We will continue to be vigilant and adaptable while making adjustments where necessary.
Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, we ask for Your continued guidance and care in our pursuit of faithfulness to You. Grant us the wisdom of Your Holy Spirit that we would love as you love and serve as You would serve. Keep us in Your protective care as we go about life in this world, reminding us that You work all things for the good of those who love You, who are called according to Your purpose. Be with the families of our school and community. Protect our state and nation. Give an ear of care to our world. Namely, continue to plant the seeds of Your Gospel through us—by our words and deeds—that hearts would be rendered to You in faith. All of this we pray in Your holy name. Amen.
Continue to pray. Together, by God’s grace, we’ll weather this storm, and in the end most certainly be blessed.
In Jesus, Pastor Thoma+