Important Message to the People of St. Paul Lutheran Church regarding Worship Services during Health Emergency Crisis
St. Paul to Re-Open for Worship Services
Sunday, June 7, 2020 is the date St. Paul will again gather in person for worship services in the church sanctuary. Worship services will be offered at 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM. Holy Communion will be offered at both worship services to allow all to end their fast from the Lord’s Supper.
We all look forward to returning to worship, to see one another, care for each other, be encouraged by friends, and receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in Holy Communion. We have to realize, however, that something very significant has happened in all of our lives, and even our congregation will be changed. We all will have to adapt to the reality that some things we do at church will have to remain suspended for a while because of the threat of the coronavirus. We also will have to adopt some new routines.
What will it be like when we re-gather for worship on Sunday, June 7th?
- If you are uncomfortable returning to the worship gathering immediately due to any health concerns, please know that if you miss worship you may continue to view St Paul’s worship service each week at the church website (www.stpaulamherst.com) and on St. Paul’s Facebook page.
- You may give your offerings through the church website also.
- If you will be remaining home for a while, please notify the church office so that we can make arrangements to for you to receive Communion.
- If you are sick or have symptoms of coronavirus, please stay home until your doctor gives you permission to be in public gatherings such as worship services.
- For those returning to worship services, we strongly urge everyone attending will be asked to bring their facemask and wear it. We will have face masks available for anyone who needs one. While we can’t force anyone to do this, still Christian love for our neighbor moves every one of us to do this simple act which may save a person from illness or death.
- Every-other pew will be closed off to allow for social distancing. We request that parties or families sitting in the same pew allow 6 feet of space between the next party or family. Warning: this might mean that some of us may not be able to sit in “their pew.” Also, please do not sit at the end of a pew, but move 6 feet in, to allow social distance between you and the people passing in the aisles.
- Hymnals, pencils, pew cushions have been removed to allow for all surfaces to be sanitized between worship services.
- Communion will be served in a walking manner on the main floor. We will ask everyone to keep 6 feet of distance as we come forward to receive Communion, and we will mark the floor as in the supermarket checkout lines. Pastor and Elder will give the bread while wearing facemasks and medical gloves.
- Hand sanitizing stations with Clorox wipes will be placed at every entry door and at restroom doors.
- Bulletins will be offered to worshippers, and we ask worshippers to take them with them or dispose of unwanted bulletins in the recycling container. We do not want used bulletins to be reused for the next worship service. We will have some bulletins printed with the music treble cleft for those who read the music while singing the hymns.
- At the conclusion of each worship services, ushers will release people row by row to exit. This is to avoid the congestion of people in the aisles, to keep social distance of 6 feet between parties/family units.
- Hand shaking will be suspended.
- Fellowship with other attenders will occur, while keeping 6 feet of distance between parties. Due to space limitations in the lobby/narthex, we encourage conversations to take place outdoors.
What will be unchanged?
- God’s grace will be celebrated with joy, hymns sung, sins forgiven.
- Jesus will be personally offered to you in Holy Communion, reassuring you of His love, forgiveness, and hope.
- God’s people will gather to rejoice with one another, comfort and encourage one another, and just catch up on what’s happening in each other’s lives.
- The familiar sights and sounds of the music and the worship sanctuary will feel like home and bring back memories of God’s grace.
- We will still be moved to lay before God our gifts of time, talent, and treasure to extend His kingdom.
In the meantime until Sunday, June 7th, please continue to keep faith in Jesus strong as you join us every week online at www.stpaulamherst.com
Original Closure Message
Thursday March 19, 2020 (Updated 5/8/2020)
Dear Members and Friends of St. Paul Lutheran Church & Preschool,
Grace, Mercy, and Peace be to you in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Who of us would have imagined the amount of change in the past week? All of our lives have been impacted in many ways due to the spreading of an infectious and deadly little virus. Times like this cause concern for all of us, anxiety for most of us, and fear for many of us.
Jesus has promised us that we do not need to be fearful or worried. We are always in His loving and powerful hands. We know that all His promises are true. So we hold on to His words in confident trust, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” John 14:27. Christians are different than others. We are people of HOPE, even in the darkest hours. By His death and resurrection, Jesus has taken care of our greatest need by overcoming sin, and winning a certain future in heaven for you. The best is always yet to come for those who trust Christ!
As a church family, we stand with you in this time. We are praying for you, and we want to help in any practical ways we can. Please let the church office (440/988-4157, ) or Pastor (586/201-3302, know if you have any need. Our Elders will be reaching out by phone to assist all our members.
SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES @ ST. PAUL CANCELLED
Our Board of Elders have met and taken this health crisis very seriously and prayerfully. Due to the very quickly increasing threat of this situation, the Board of Elders have decided to cancel worship services and all events held in-person within the building and grounds of St. Paul Lutheran Church. This is a temporary measure at least through Sunday, April 12th.
The Elders did not make this decision lightly. Instead, we believe this is the God-pleasing action we must take at this time. Jesus has commanded us to love others. His love to us is shown in our love to other people. To temporarily stop in-person worship is a loving act to protect the safety, and even the lives, of people to whom we may be spreading a deadly virus.
HOW YOU MAY WORSHIP FROM HOME
At times like this our awareness of our need for God goes up. We are more hungry for the strength and comfort God gives in His Word. We do not want to leave you without Jesus’ forgiveness and strength. At St. Paul we are putting in place ways that actually increase your access to worship services. We encourage you to worship every week at home with your family or individually. Find the worship option that works best for you on the next page.
FIND YOUR WAY TO WORSHIP
- Worship Online – On Sunday morning every week St. Paul’s worship service will be posted on line in a video. You will find the video at both our website (stpaulamherst.com ) and our Facebook page. Click on the link there. The video will include a full worship service, music, and sermon. It will remain up online so that you can access it anytime. The latest news from the church will also be posted there so that you can read it. If you can worship online over the internet, please email or call the church office so that we know your worship needs are taken care of. ( , 440/988-4157)
- Worship Audio – We realize that not everyone has access to, or uses, a computer connected to the internet. We would like to drop off on your doorstep a recording of the week’s worship service. We can deliver a flash drive that plugs into a USB port on your computer or TV. We can also drop off a cassette tape with the week’s worship service. You can choose what works best for you in your home. Please call the church office to let us know if you need an audio recording, and whether you can use a flash drive, or cassette tape at home. Please be sure we have your name and current address.
- Written Transcript – Perhaps a video on line or a recording dropped at your doorstep aren’t options that work for you. Then, how about a written transcript of the worship service and sermon? We will happily mail you a copy. You may choose regular or large print. We’ll include the week’s news from the church too. Please call the church office, or tell an elder who contacts you by phone, if this is the choice that works best for you.
PRAYER REQUESTS may be submitted prior to worship services. You may either place your prayer request on the “Prayer Wall” at St. Paul’s web site (https://www.stpaulamherst.com/prayer-wall/ ), you may email your prayer request prior to worship services to Pastor ( ) or call Pastor (586/201-3302).
HOLY COMMUNION - While Communion is a very personal way God gives Jesus’ forgiveness of sins, God’s promises in His Word, the Bible, also deliver Christ’s forgiveness. During this time we will cling to Christ’s Word. We will resume Communion after the imminent danger of the coronavirus has passed. We pray that will celebrate Communion again in May.
GIVING YOUR OFFERINGS TO GOD – No matter what the circumstance in our lives, generosity to God expresses our love and thankfulness to Him. Church expenses remain constant during this time and your gifts remain vital to the ongoing ministry of St. Paul. If you are absent from worship, you may give your offerings in these ways: (1) mail in your regular offering envelopes; (2) by credit card through the church website; and (3) by automatic debit using our Simply Giving program. We are happy to mail a Simply Giving enrollment form. Just let the church office know.
CHURCH OFFICE HOURS – The Governor has shuttered businesses, and St. Paul’s Church Office will only be staffed when we are producing materials for worship services. You may always leave a voice message and calls are being returned promptly.
PASTORAL CARE – Pastor Paul remains available to serve you for counseling and private visits. Pastor is using phone and video calls whenever possible. Contact Pastor by phone or email (; 586/201-3302).
YOUTH & FAMILY MINISTRY – Kendis Bender is continuing youth ministry through virtual meeting on line. Kendis will be reaching out to you once she gets it squared away. You can reach out to her by email ().
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