Covid-19 Update from the Pastor

As the coronavirus continues to spike in our country, I’m beginning to get word of members who are sick with the disease, and one is currently hospitalized. It’s been heartening to hear that relief is on the way in the form of at least three effective vaccines. But we know it will take time to receive that relief and in the meantime, people are getting sick some to the point of hospitalization and even death. Our hearts go out to all who are suffering from this pandemic, both those who suffer physically and economically.

Our county has moved the Covid-19 dial to Red or “Severe Risk.” Not many weeks ago this was the most severe category, but they have since added a Purple or “Extreme Risk” category that will basically be a shut down. What does this mean for the church? While we will continually review and update our policy, we have decided to take the following actions effective Friday, November 27.

· The church building is closed to small groups.

· The church building is closed to 12-step groups.

· The church building is closed except by appointment.

· Only essential church staff will work from the church building and only as necessary. All persons entering the building must be wearing a cloth mask, and that mask is to be worn whenever they are interacting with any other person or in a shared space.
-Receptionist and Sextons must wear a cloth/paper mask at all times since they work in shared spaces.
-Face shields may be used in addition but not as a replacement for a cloth or disposable paper mask.

· We will hold our 3:15 p.m. outdoor Sunday Advent services. The current restrictions limit us to 75 people. So, the grounds will be closed to everyone after the 75-person threshold. Everyone needs to make a reservation through the online sign-up form.

· Funerals, weddings, baptisms and other life rites will be held outdoors or postponed for now.

· We will no longer use volunteers for church activities. Staff will cover counting, folding, setting up etc.

· The only exemptions to these restrictions will be in the case of recording needs to provide online worship services for the congregation.

Please continue to pray for an end to the pandemic. And please continue to do your part as good Christian citizens, to serve your neighbor and take action to minimize the spread of this disease. We have tough months ahead of us, but the good news is that it is likely only a few months until this is all behind us.

-Pastor Travis

Featured post

New Sunday Adult Seminar!

The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking A Better Way to Be Christian
Led by Pastor Ralph Anderson
Sunday 10:30 a.m.
January 24 – February 14, 2021

During the next four weeks we will be exploring the ideas of provocative contemporary theologian, Brian McLaren, who invites us to reflect on our current belief systems in our search for religious meaning. “We’re a people on the move,” McLaren says. “We’re seeking a better way to be Christian.” So, join me in trying to figure out what in the world he means! It will be a fascinating journey!

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84364439242 Meeting ID: 843 6443 9242

“And the people of Nineveh believed God” Jonah 3:5

Jonah wasn’t optimistic that the evil people of Nineveh whom he despised could change their ways. But God believed they could, and they did. There are so many reasons to be pessimistic these days. We’ve seen so many people do thing that are unconscionable, and we have a hard time believing they could ever change. We have our own personal enemies too, people in our lives who anger us, disappoint us, betray us. And it’s easy to fall into Jonah’s way of thinking, that people don’t change. But God doesn’t think that about anyone. People can and do change. People can and do turn from evil. People who didn’t believe in God can come to faith in the Lord. May God help us see people the way God sees people.

-Pastor Travis

Peel House Progress – January 16, 2021

More work done this week on the new elevator!
Almost to the top.
Inside the new heating and cooling units are going up.
And new walls are being put in place.
New bathrooms being put in place.
Saving and polishing the hardware from the doors!
Back outside making the cut in the road for the power line.

Netflix Watch Party – The Social Dilemma (2020)

January 22 at 9 p.m.

If you haven’t seen this documentary already, it is a must-see for anyone with a nine-year-old or older! This documentary addresses the way technology is behind the unprecedented levels of self-harm, suicide, technology addiction, depression, and rising intolerance in society today. With technology taking over more of our lives now that it ever has, it is important to know the ethics (or lack-there-of) behind some of the biggest technology companies in America. This is a critical expose that features former executives from Facebook, Google, Instagram, Pinterest, and more exposing the gloomy underside of social media. It’s not all dark though, this eye-opening documentary shows us the ways that social media can be used for good and were ultimately created with good intentions. This documentary helps us to regulate social media when it has been known to not regulate itself. How do we use social media as the tool it is meant to be rather than being played by it? 

Join me on a late Friday night (after bedtime) for a Netflix Watch Party. There will be a chat box next to the movie that will allow us to interact and discuss while we watch. **You will need to have a Netflix subscription to join and add the Teleparty extension to your Google Chrome browser. More information can be found here: https://www.netflixparty.com

If you are interested in this event, please email michaela@flccs.net. The link to the watch party can only be shared at the start of the event, so to receive the link you will need to RSVP via email before the event date and time.

“Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” John 1:46

A skeptic and his friend talking about the possibility that all their hopes for the future have arrived in the person of Jesus. How do you convince someone that Jesus is the Messiah? The answer isn’t clever arguments and encyclopedic knowledge. It’s simply an invitation to come and see for yourself. That’s our invitation today also, to the world. But what are we inviting them to come and see? Let us do the work to make sure our community so reflects the messiah that when people come and see they recognize their hopes fulfilled in Jesus.

-Pastor Travis

New Sunday Adult Seminar

FAITH & JUSTICE: MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.’S SERMONS
Led by Michaela Eskew
January 10 & January 17 10:30 a.m. over Zoom

As we approach Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in the midst of a tumultuous year of racial conversations, we will spend the next two weeks listening to and reading four of MLK Jr’s most famous sermons and speeches. Along with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” we will also explore “The Death of Evil Upon the Seashore” and “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” These speeches resonate with biblical allusions and deep theological understanding, while also transporting us right into the middle of the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84364439242
Meeting ID: 843 6443 9242

Peel House Progress – January 9, 2021

Work continues on the elevator outside!
Inside, they’re working on filling in the floor in the kitchen. This will make it level for the new flooring.
An area that has already been completed in the kitchen.
In the dining room, electrical work has begun.
More electrical work in the dining room.
Big delivery this week was the heating and cooling units!
Doors and trim on the patio that will be reused or recycled!

Welcome Back to Sunday School!

Sunday School will resume on January 10. We are so excited to see you! For 2021 we will be practicing tighter security on all our Zoom Sunday School gatherings. This means that we will no longer be publishing the zoom links in our newsletters or on our website, despite the increased security of a waiting room. Zoom links will now be sent only through emails from Shelly. We are going to be as careful as possible to make sure that all families are safe while meeting online at First Lutheran. Please see the schedule below for our Sunday School offerings. If you have not received previous emails from Shelly, our Director of Children’s and Youth Ministry, or are interested in these gatherings and would like the zoom links, please email her at shelly@flccs.net.

Preschool Zoom 11 a.m. on Sundays
Kinder-1st Grade Zoom 7 p.m. on Mondays
2nd-3rd Grade Zoom 7 p.m. on Saturdays
4th-5th Grade Zoom 7 p.m. on Tuesdays
6th-7th Grade Zoom 7 p.m. on Wednesdays

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
Genesis 1: 1-2

This week is the Sunday that we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord.  All of the texts (including a reading from Genesis and Acts) include references to creation coming to us from the Holy Spirit. In the text from Mark, the baptism of Jesus itself is only mentioned in verse nine which says, “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan”.  The writer spends the verses before telling us about John and his proclamation and the verses after telling us about the Spirit descending like a dove upon Jesus.  In looking at each of these readings separately and putting them together I love how they weave a story of creation beginning anew for us over and over again as we are touched by the Spirit.  The earth may have only been created once, but trees shed their leaves each fall and they return each spring, we are baptized but once, yet we receive the gifts of baptism each day as we die in sin and rise in new life with Christ.  The baptism we receive, a gift from God, happens but once, though the gifts are everlasting through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Where do you find the Spirit working in your life?  What is the new creation you came upon today?

-Pastor Carrie

Peel House Progress – December 26, 2020

Work on the elevator has started this week!
Another view of the soon the be elevator.
In the attic, they have completed the task of running electrical, so they are patching the walls back up.
Tests for the heating and cooling lines are being done to make sure they are functional after the install.
The pipes for the heating and cooling run from the basement up to the attic (previous photo).
On the second floor, more electrical is being run.

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