***UPDATE…We will post a recording of the live worship service on our YouTube channel for you to watch if cannot join us in the parking lot this Sunday at 9am. Click the link for our YouTube channel below at around 10:30 am. Then click the top video to see the video of our parking lot worship service. Hope you can check us out! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPxlG-fiCoj83-H5AaUDLwA/featured
As many of you have heard, the Virginia State Government has banned any personal gathering of more than 10 people. We have been given the okay to do worship in the parking lot because we will all be in our individual vehicles. With the exception of the Food Pantry, which as been deemed an essential service for the community, all other church events within the building are not allowed until further notice. This does not, however, prevent us from “meeting” on the internet. The Middle School Class is gathering online daily and it has been a positive way to stay grounded during this uncertain time. If you would like to have a join the Middle Schoolers, start a new group meeting or even fellowship group, please email me at email@example.com.
Join us this Sunday for live worship, with Holy Communion, at St. Peter’s, in the parking lot! We have obtained an FM transmitter and other equipment so that worship will be held with the Altar and Pulpit placed under the porch cover by the entrance doors, and the worship participants sitting in their cars, with their radio tuned to a specific frequency, so they can listen to what is being said. Communion will be delivered to each car at the appropriate time. We will take every sanitary precaution when preparing the host. If you do not want to receive communion, please leave your car windows closed. When you enter the parking lot, ushers will greet you with a bulletin and give you parking directions. If it rains Sunday morning, we will still meet, but we will change the procedures for how we distribute communion. We hope to see you this weekend!
Hello everyone! Hope you are staying home and staying healthy. We will not have worship on Sunday, March 22nd, but if you check this page at 9am tomorrow morning, there will be a message from Pastor Paul. We are excited to hear your comments and questions!
A Video Pastoral Message from Bishop Humphrey Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27 NRSV) These are extraordinary times. There is so much anxiety about the future in general as well as for our individual lives. The well-being of millions as well as the world’s economy are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hour by hour the situation changes as new information and additional restrictions are imposed or recommended. Our leaders and members alike are concerned, to say the least. It seems like such times would be the most important time for the church to gather for prayer, hymns and to receive God’s Holy Sacraments and the support of our communities of faith. Of course!… I wish such in-person gatherings did not carry with them the very danger we are all trying our best to avoid. I wish such gatherings would not potentially transmit this deadly disease to those we love back home or at work or school or the grocery store. If only… But, the risk is real… and the need to do what we can, right now, to help slow and prevent the spread of the virus is urgent. This why we, along with many of our ecumenical siblings, have strongly advised we not gather in-person until we know it is reasonably safe to do so. Currently, government and medical professionals estimate that we will need to practice physical distancing for at least the next 8 weeks… That would mean a new target date to resume gathering for worship is May 17 th , 2020. Of course, that could change as we monitor the spread of this virus. Like you, I feel heartbroken to realize we should not gather to celebrate the highest festival on our Church Calendar – Easter! The Resurrection of our Lord! It seems unbelievable and somehow wrong. But, based on available information from public health officials, ELCA leaders, including me, are convinced that – for the time being – and for the sake of our communities, especially those most vulnerable – not only worship, but ALL direct in-person contact should be avoided – at church; at work; in the store, etc. The only way we can slow the spread of this virus is to avoid being in close proximity. The Virginia Synod Office of the Bishop staff will follow our own advice. We are closing the physical offices and working remotely as much as possible. We have cancelled or postponed meetings and events or moved them to online formats. Travel and in-person contact are restricted and we are closely monitoring and communicating news and resources for your use as we receive them on our website and in emails. We are trying to stay connected to our Rostered Ministers and praying for all of you! Be assured we are all still available through email, text and phone calls. Of this I am confident: Together, led by the Holy Spirit, we can… not only survive, but serve and support one another! In Jesus name and followingGod’s example, we can indeed strive to be FAITHFUL + BOLD + SERVING… for the sake of the Gospel;… for the sake of the world… Of this I am sure… Christ’s Peace will be with and guide us all… Amen! Peace, The Rev. Robert F. HumphreyBishopVirginia Synod, ELCA Bishop Humphrey’s Pastoral Message for March 18, 2020Virginia Synod COVID-19 Resources and Information WebpageVirginia Synod | vasynod.org | 540.389.1000 | 757.622.9421
Greetings to you and I pray you are safe and well. That really is the priority right now. The current crisis has changed the way we all are living our live and that change has reached the church community. As we continue through this together we will find all of the ways we can support each other, our community, and our spiritual needs. As for worship, this is what we are planning. This Sunday there will be a brief Prayers and Proclamation with Pastor Paul video that will either go out live on Facebook (or some other format) or we will post a recorded video. Please have patience with us as the IT team figures out the best way to do this. But, in more exciting news… Next Sunday we plan to hold live worship, with Holy Communion, at St. Peter’s, in the parking lot! We have obtained an FM transmitter and other equipment so that worship will be held with the Altar and Pulpit placed under the porch cover by the entrance doors, and the worship participants sitting in their cars, with their radio tuned to a specific frequency, so they can listen to what is being said. Communion will be delivered to each car at the appropriate time. We do not yet know if and how music will play a part in this, but we hope to come together as a community in the safest ways possible. Small groups are allowed to meet in the church as necessary, following CDC guidelines and making sure there is appropriate distance between participants. Thankful Thursdays will not take place until we have a better understanding of what is acceptable to do. Staffing at church is sporadic and office hours may be minimal for the next couple of weeks as we work from home. Our hope and prayer is that we will be able to meet normally for Holy Week and Easter. The situation in Stafford and the world is unprecedented and unique. I ask in prayer to Christ that we have the patience and understanding to trust in God’s love and look out for each other so that we all make our way through this.
In light of questions concerning COVID-19 (Corona Virus), which have naturally arisen, we want to assure you that the Church Council and Staff are taking this matter very seriously. We have been closely monitoring guidance from state and local authorities and agencies in order to determine our course of action. At this time, we will continue to hold Thankful Thursday Dinners. Servers will wear gloves and we will have individually wrapped utensils for each diner. Saturday and Sunday Worship Services will continue at their regularly scheduled times. We have, however, switched to individual serving cups for Holy Communion. The Disaster Reception Training event on March 16th will also continue as planned.
We have canceled our March 17th Young at Heart lunch in accordance with CDC recommendations that those in higher risk categories stay home and avoid public gatherings as much as possible. Micah Ministries has also canceled all community meals until further notice. We are collecting meal items to bring down to Micah, so that some form of meal can be served. Please contact the church if you would like more information on how to help out with this effort.
Please know that we understand that our church family is very important. That being said, no one will think less of or place any “Lutheran Guilt” on those who feel it necessary to stay home. Likewise, if you are sick, please take time to recover before attending worship or other events, so we can all stay healthy. We will continue to assess the situation and pass along updates via email, our website, and social media as soon as they become available.