Messiah family and friends,
We are so grateful to all of you, for your faith, your patience, and your resilience throughout the Covid pandemic. As you may be aware the past months have shown rapid growth of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. This has brought about the necessary reconsideration regarding the occupancy of our facility and church services. The Messiah Lutheran Church staff continues to meet weekly, paying close attention to the science and data about COVID-19, comparing notes with other churches throughout our region, and prayerfully considering best practices for the health and safety of our congregation.
We have received a communication from Bishop Jaech which states that each congregation can make their own decision about holding services and use of their facility. He goes on to state that from a medical standpoint, the safest option at this point is to worship and meet online, rather than in person. Many epidemiologists project that the Omicron virus will have peaked by the end of January. If this holds true, it will then be safer to return to in-person gatherings in early February. The Messiah executive council agrees with this assessment, we ask that you worship from home starting this Sunday, January 16th and we will revert to online services only starting on January 23rd. If you know people who attend services and may not have access to the Internet, please reach out to them to let them know of this change.
As we look ahead, we all need to embrace a mindset of flexibility and grace. You will receive communications from Messiah through the Messiah Weekly, including anticipated timeline, hours of operation for the church office, and safety protocols. These plans may continue to change depending on fluctuating virus positivity rates, as well as state and county guidelines. As circumstances change and decisions are made, we remain committed to communicating with you on a regular basis through the Messiah Weekly and Sunday morning worship. If you are not receiving our email messages, please contact the church office to share your email address with us.
We know that everyone (members, pastors, and staff) will miss seeing each other in person. We understand that and feel that loss profoundly. We recognize that worshiping online is not the same as gathering as the body of Christ. It is also true that we, over the last 18 months, have learned and are still learning new ways of worshipping and gathering in support of our mission.
We rejoice in the generosity that you have exhibited in caring for one another. The words of support from all of you to one another and to our leadership have provided both encouragement and hope. Our online worship services have continued to draw a wonderful diversity of people from a wide range of geographic locations. And as we are just starting the beginning of a new year, we are so excited for all the new ways we can participate in Christ’s work!
Please know that the grace of God remains visible in our community of faith, and that the vitality of our congregation continues during this unexpected and challenging time. Together, let us seek to discover the new things God is doing in our midst! We hold all of you in our prayers, and we request your prayers as well.
President Messiah Council