Suspension of Worship Services, Events, and Gatherings

March 17, 2020

“Yet I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God who saves me.  My God will hear me” Micah 7:7

Dear people of St. Paul,

As you are aware, these are difficult, anxious times due to the news and instructions regarding our response to the corona virus.  I trust you are getting the news; if you are like me, you are getting even more news than you need!

I am writing to give you spiritual support and encouragement, as your pastor (or as Stacey Altiere has called me, “The Shepherd Mama”—a little levity is a good thing.)

According to Bishop Allende’s recommendation of March 16, we will not be gathering in person for our worship, at least until after April 1st (and until further notice).  For those of you who have a computer or a smart phone, you will be able to go to the Facebook page for St. Paul Warren Oh, and click on the video tab.  There you will find a very small group of us from St. Paul who are leading a worship time for you at home.  We can send out worship bulletins and sermons to those who cannot connect on the internet.  Let me know if you wish to receive written materials by mail.  For those without computer or Facebook access, there are also other options, such as television broadcasts.

The important thing for us as a congregation is to remain connected in whatever ways we can.  I will be in regular contact with you by letters that will come in the mail or by email.  We will follow the same practice as we do for sending our monthly newsletters.  Lynn and I will have our hands full in keeping our website and communications up to date, but do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions about the church.  Phone: (330) 394-5741.

Likewise, several people in the congregation are standing ready to help others who need help getting groceries, medicine, or other necessities.  Most of us have good social networks at this time, and as time passes, we will continue to be ready to help each other.

There has been lots of talk about social distancing, and that is all well and good; but very little talk about spiritual connection.  At times like these, spiritual connection is crucial to our well-being.  Let us pray always for our nation, our world, and one another.  And let’s reach out to one another for spiritual connection in prayer and worship of God.  Use the phone!

I offer this prayer that Bishop Allende made available on the synod website.  The author is Cameron Bellm, a blogger who lives in Seattle, Washington.

Prayer for a Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
Let us choose love.

 

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.  Amen.

With love and care,
Pastor Ann Marie