Message from Pastor Doug
A natural disaster like a rampant new virus and the suffering and death that occurs is NEVER a good thing and is NEVER sent by God. And still, humans have always witnessed ‘good’ that runs like a little stream out of and despite the bad and unfair.
Perhaps this is what we discover – that in the human heart hope springs eternal. And that in the Christian faith we celebrate the blest tie that binds. Italians sing and share meals on balconies despite social distance of 20-30 feet.The people of large Chinese cities see the sun and the blue sky for the first time in months because, with quarantine the pollution has dropped. And perhaps American businesses and American workaholics see working from home, simplifying life, praying at home and spending more time with their kids can replace the never stop moving, 70 hours a six day work week.
As for me the silence around me has led to some quieting of my own overactive mind, the chatter in my head. Gratefulness when things are good is much easier than gratefulness in difficult, hard times isn’t it?
I am grateful for all of YOU though I miss your physical presence very much.
I’m grateful that seven years ago I received First word of a Call open at Good Shepherd!
Remember to pray for all in our faith family and remember to find even a small thing to be grateful for.
Council President Update
Dear Fellow Members of the Flock,
Last week, I wrote to you about how we were dealing with the coronavirus so that we could safely worship together in the same space. So much has changed since then. Schools, restaurants, gyms, malls and churches are closed. Many people are working from home or have been furloughed from work. I am now writing to you about how we can continue to be church togetherwithout being in the same space. The church is not brick and mortar; it is the people who believe in the Risen Lord Jesus.
Here are a few ways that we can keep the church alive:
• Use technology to meet and be together, but physically-distanced.
o Church Council used ZOOM to video conference
o Finance Committee met via a conference call
o Perhaps, the bookclub can meet this way, so keep reading
• Join a new Facebook group: Good Shepherd – Monroe. This is a place to gather and share concerns, joys, funnyand spriritual messages. There are about 30 members so far.
• Call one another. Council members are calling every family to check-in and see how each family is and what the church can do for them.
• Read Pastor Doug’s sermon (it will be emailed to you and posted on the Good Shepherd web pages) and have church at home this week.
• Contine contributing to the church by mailing a check to the church. Tim Carlson, our treasurer, says that we have cash on-hand to pay for at least two months of expenses. We will have physically-distanced teams of counters at least twice a month.
Support food pantries and feeding programs. I’ve emailed the Monroe Food Pantry to see how we can continue to support them. I will let you know what I find out. You can support the virtual food drive at the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport (https://ccgb.org/CCGB/DonateToday
• Share the Peace of the Lord on Sunday morning via text, phone call, email (be creative) with your pew mates.
• Look for a video service for Sunday, March 29th.
• Pray. Pray for the church and the world
Yours in Christ,
God our refuge and our strength, be with us in this time of affliction and challenge.You are a very present help in time of trouble.Do not let us fail in the face of these events. Uphold us with your love and give us the strength we need.
Help us in our confusion and guide our actions.Console the anxious and the troubled, protect the innocent and helpless,and deliver any in peril. Be beside those who must work to heal and serve others.All for the sake of your name and your great mercy in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Pastoral Care, Augsburg)
The Council gathered electronically Monday night and planned Good Shepherd’s response to the COVID-19 emergency.
There will be NO SUNDAY WORSHIP for the next two weeks (at least).
Council members and I will be making calls to stay connected to each other as WE ARE A CHURCH FAMILY. No one is left behind or forgotten ! This week I will do something I haven’t ever done – I will WRITE a sermon !!! 😉
We will send out the sermon later in the week along with guides for you to pray and worship at home. The following week we hope to upload sermon and song for you to utilize if it helps your prayer. Although we cannot meet as a community for now – please do not fall away from the centering of our lives as Christians in Word, worship and prayer. Especially on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, set up a little Service for yourself or your family. Light a candle, read from your bible. Pray and pray for fellow members at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. YouTube has many hymns to listen to and sing with. Type in ELW and familiar hymns will pop up.
Our “exile” can be an opportunity for us to be especially creative, caring and intentional in our holy faith.
ALL meetings, classes and uses of the building are CANCELLED.
Please do not hesitate to call or text or email me for any reason.
Our ancestors in the faith knew our faith was for just such a time as this. Take care of one another. Follow precautions and recommendations. Stay safe. Know that I am praying for all of you.I give thanks every time I remember you !
March 13, 2020
Dear Fellow Members of the Flock,
I am writing to you about how Good Shepherd is dealing with the coronavirus threat and what you can do to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Your health and well-being is important to me and Pastor Doug.
- If you don’t feel well or have a fever, stay home and seek appropriate medical attention.
- If you are concerned about coming in contact with the coronavirus, stay home. Let us know that you are healthy but are limiting contact with others.
- If you are sick, let us know so that we can pray for you and help you get the services that you need.
- If you are an usher, wash your hands with soap and water before passing out bulletins.
- If you are a greeter, don’t shake hands with arriving people.
- If you are a communion assistant, use hand sanitizer prior to distributing communion wine; be sure to wipe the inside and outside of the common cup and turn it.
- When you take communion, make a wise decision for you about how to receive communion – common cup, individual cup, grape juice, or no wine. All of these choices are theologically sound.
- The Altar Guild will clean the chalices between services and all communion ware with antibacterial dish soap and hot water.
- The Altar Guild will wash the purificators (the cloth that is used to wipe the chalices) with bleach and hot water.
- Don’t hug or shake hands during the passing of the peace. Greet one another with folded hands and a bow and/or with words of peace.
- We will wipe down the pews after each service.
- There are bottles of hand sanitizer in the narthex for your use, if you can’t wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
We will continue to evaluate how to keep worship safe for all who attend. We will also work on how to keep our community together if you and others are not attending Sunday services.
I encourage you all to pray for Good Shepherd and the world at large as we face this crisis together. Here is a prayer from the ELCA:
God, our peace and our strength, we pray for our nation and the world as we face new uncertainties around coronavirus. Protect the most vulnerable among us, especially all who are currently sick or in isolation. Grant wisdom, patience, and clarity to health care workers, especially as their work caring for others puts them at great risk. Guide us as we consider how best to prepare and respond in our families, congregations, workplaces, and communities. Give us courage to face these days not with fear but with compassion, concern, and acts of service, trusting that you abide with us always; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Yours in Christ,
Donna Duessel, Council President