Summer Covid-19 Plan

In conversation with recommendations from the synod, the state, our insurance company, an excellent video by Dr. Osterholm, and members of First Lutheran we offer the following plan for our ministry this summer. We hold in tension the priorities of health, spiritual nourishment, and the mission to equip our members to be fully committed followers of Jesus. While this is our plan, we recognize that facts on the ground may change and so we reserve the right to adapt to meet new challenges. Our primary motivation continues to be the greatest commandment given to us by our Lord Jesus, that we would love one another as Christ has loved us.

This virus is deadly. It is now the number one cause of death in the United States. It is spread primarily through aerosols (think the dust particles you see when sunlight streams through a window). The most dangerous place to be is indoors with a crowd of people. Masks, handwashing, and physical distancing are the best ways to prevent infection. With all that in mind your council, pastors and staff have developed the following plan for the summer. We recognize that summer may be a lull in the virus’s spread and that the fall may lead to increases that will require us to adjust our plan accordingly.

  1. We will hold a monthly outdoor communion service.
    a. Wednesday – June 17, July 15 & August 12 , 9 am, 12 pm & 6 pm
    b. It is possible to hold 100 people socially distanced on the south two sections of the front lawn. The service will be very short: a reading a word, prayers, some music, and holy communion. (30 minute service +distribution).
    c. This is an experiment.
    d. Masks will be required; chairs will be set up following physical distancing requirements.
    e. Those who are sick or particularly vulnerable should not attend.
    f. If the weather is unsuitable, we will reschedule.
    g. Please let us know that you plan to attend either via the connection card or a phone call to the church office, so we know how many to set up for.
  2. We will open our building to 12-step groups. We will require that they wear masks and maintain physical distancing as well as sanitize the room upon their departure. Most 12-step groups will meet in Luther Hall.
  3. Small church groups of ten or fewer are welcome to resume meeting in the church building.
    a. One group per level of the building may meet at a time – Gathering Place and Fireside Room for instance.
    b. No card groups may meet; they are not able to socially distance and the shared cards create a possibility for contamination and spread.
    c. All groups shall wear masks and socially distance.
    d. The leader of the group will write down names and phone numbers to assist with contact tracing in case that becomes necessary.
    e. The church will not provide coffee service; no shared food or drinks in groups are permitted.
    f. Groups will be asked to sanitize upon leaving, and supplies will be made available.
    g. Members of the group will be asked to wear masks, remain six feet apart, and sanitize the room before leaving.
    h. Groups larger than 10 may meet outdoors with permission of pastors.
  4. We will continue to provide online Sunday worship services in lieu of physically gathering for worship on Sundays. We are following the Synod recommendation to refrain until at least August 31st. Council will continue to monitor conditions and evaluate our response.
  5. Summer Online Sunday School
    a. Begins on June 7th and will continue through August 16th
    b. All classes (K-12) will follow the summer sermon series.
    c. Pastors will create a “Questions/Prompts for the Home” to go with the message and reading for that day. Youth staff could also create a craft or project to do at home.
    d. Elementary Sunday School classes will meet via Zoom on Sundays at 10 am, 11 am, and 6 pm. Middle School Youth Group meets at 4 pm and High School at 5 pm.
  6. Youth Groups
    a. Groups of less than ten, with permission from parents will meet outside, socially distanced with masks a few times a month, perhaps even weekly. Hula Hoops to be used for protecting personal space. “Hula Hoop Huddles” will be especially aimed at middle school age youth.
    b. Hiking in small groups of less than ten is permitted for high school youth, with their parents’ permission. Masks are to be worn, social distancing practiced. Families must provide their own transportation to and from trailhead.
    c. There will be no mission trip. We will re-evaluate any type of service project in mid-July.

Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8

This has been a challenging week. I feel like that is an almost weekly lament in this pandemic life, but this week, it is the naked truth. While we put together two beautiful worship services, continued with the regular work of the church, and put in motion a plan for the summer, it also seemed like the world continued to move into deep despair. We passed the 100,000 mark in deaths related to the Coronavirus, we face deep divisions in how we as a nation or a locality handle the messy middle of a pandemic, and then we witness the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. What is going on in this world. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

At the top of this blog I shared with you the verse from Micah. I wonder what it will take for us to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly. I’ll tell you I feel like I’ve seen just the opposite of these requirements of the Lord this week. My heart is heavy, which for me is a sign that I have work to do. It’s time to do more listening and learning, and to use my voice, (my voice of privilege) to bring justice, kindness, and humility to all the work I do as the Lord requires of us.

Last Monday we had 13 youth affirm their baptism. In the time leading up to that we had conversations with each of them and took the opportunity to remind them of the responsibilities that we are entrusted with in the gift of our baptism. Let me just share with you the final few lines of what those responsibilities are: “you are entrusted to…proclaim Christ through word and deed, care for others and the world God made, and work for justice and peace.”

It’s time for us to remember these promises and to live into them each day as we die and rise again in Christ through our baptism. Where are the places and what are the ways you remembered your baptism today? I hope that you can find ways to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly in this world as we cry out: “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

-Pastor Carrie

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 1918 INFLUENZA PANDEMIC

A week or so ago Pastor Travis asked me if there were any records indicating what might have happened at First Lutheran during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. So – I put on my mask, rang the bell by the “Round Desk” door and checked the archives.

Unfortunately, our weekly bulletins did not begin until 1925 and there are few records before that. However, we do have the minutes of the Ladies Aid Society from 1890 – 1949. During 1918 the ladies met twice a month.

The minutes for the September 24, 1918 meeting cover general routine matters. But then, turn the page in the Minute Book and read: “No meetings during October, November and December on account of the flu epidemic.” Meetings resumed the following January, 1919 – with the laconic statement “This is our first meeting since the flu epidemic. The meeting was called to order by the president and opened in the usual manner.” One further note mentioned, “Not being able to elect officers at the regular time [December], we proceeded to elect them.”

Additional information for the last months of 1918 is provided by the Colorado Springs Gazette. An article for October 5, 1918, headlined, “Drastic Closing Order Issued to Avert Influenza Epidemic,” noted the following:

“The most drastic and all-embracing closing order ever given in Colorado Springs was announced last night by Dr. George B. Gilmore city heath officer, after a conference with a committee of the El Paso County Medical Society. The order, which is intended to avert the outbreak of a general epidemic of influenza in the Pikes Peak Region, closes all schools, theaters, moving picture houses, the college, and every public meeting place of every character. There will be no church services tomorrow and pool rooms and other amusement places will be closed until further notice. Dr. Gilmore’s action was not intended as a final resort to meet a critical emergency but as a preventive measure which was better enforced now before the epidemic became general. . .. The health department, in effect, was said to be ‘locking the door before the horse thief arrived.’ Dr. Charles F. Gardiner, president of the Pikes Peak Chapter of the Red Cross stated: ‘My opinion is well known. I think everything should be closed before the trouble starts, not after it is too late.’”

-Mike Olsen

This week we celebrate Pentecost a time when the first believers are filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and are charged with moving the church, through witness to Christ, to all the ends of the earth. The disciples who were gathered when this rush of wind came and the divided tongues danced as flames had been through a fair amount of trauma at this point. They were still gathered in a house, praying waiting for the promise of the Father to come, they had already been witness to Jesus death and resurrection and now as Jesus had told them the Father would come, they are waiting for that promise to be fulfilled.

The ruckus of the rushing wind, the flaming tongues resting upon them, and then being filled with a multitude of languages by the Holy Spirit who was now residing within each of them was not an act to be missed or ignored. When I read this it almost comes to me like a wake-up call, what do I miss when I’m so focused on what I expect to come next? In the last two+ months I would say that we’ve had some real lessons in learning that we don’t know what is going to come next, so we need to be open to the unexpected. That we might need to change our plans and our expectations mid-course and follow the breath of the Holy Spirit to live out our calls to bring the church to all the ends of the earth. Now is the time to remember that we are church together and we are church becoming, bringing the message of Christ to all the ends of the earth.

-Pastor Carrie

Attention Graduates

We would like to recognize all of our graduates!
 
If your family has a graduate from any school – high school, college, trade or nursing school,  email chris@flccs.net by May 29. Be sure to include any special honors, degrees or recognition. Names will be listed in the Ekklesia on June 3.

New Homes for New Beginnings

First Lutheran is beginning to clean out the Peel House of numerous things collecting dusts over the years.  Ryan, First Lutheran Sexton, was able to find new homes for 161 Banquet chairs went to a new wedding venue in Canon City. 100 plus Sunday School desks are going to a kindergarten class in Nogales, Mexico, as they have had nothing for years for the students. More chairs were donated to youth boxing club, supporting Colorado Springs youth! 

The old stuff will provide many more uses for generations to come! 

Daily Bread Devotional

June 1st will be time for a new Daily Bread devotional. You may pick one up starting Thursday, May 21, outside of each door off the alley (look for the boxes). These will only be available on week days not on the weekend.

You may also access Daily Bread online at https://odb.org/. Click on “Today’s Devotional”.

“He replied, it is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.” Acts 1:7

Oh man, I wish Jesus hadn’t said that. He was talking about the time when he would restore the kingdom. His disciples asked and he said it’s on a need to know basis and you don’t need to know. How many of us are comfortable with not knowing? I want all the information so I can make decisions about the future. But I hear Jesus reminding me to trust instead of know. Trust instead of know. There’s so much we want to know right now and so much that we don’t know. When will we get a vaccine, when will the coronavirus be defeated. It’s not for you to know. When will Jesus come back and restore this world to what God intended from the beginning? It’s not for you to know. Our job is to trust God’s knowledge and perspective and do what He has asked us to do. We don’t even need to know how our acts of kindness and self-sacrifice fit into the big picture. Our job is to trust and leave it to the Father to know.

-Pastor Travis

“While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to see that the city was full of idols.” Acts 17:16

I’ll be preaching on Acts 17 this week, and while our passage starts with verse 22, I can’t help but think about this verse that really starts the passage. Paul will address the Athenians and try to persuade them as best he can of the good news of salvation given through Jesus. But it starts with this distress at the idols. I think of the Acropolis full of ruins of the temples to gods made of stone. Why would this distress Paul so much? I think it comes from a love for people and desire that they would know the truth of God’s love and salvation. Here they are following the dead end path of worshipping gods that aren’t gods at all when they could know the God who raised Jesus from the dead and have a loving relationship with their creator. I wonder if we share Paul’s distress for those who don’t know God today? Are we motivated to share the good news and appeal to our family and friends to turn away from false idols and turn to the God who loves them? Oh, that all people would know their creator and experience His love. May our love for people and our love for God motivate all that we do.

-Pastor Travis

-Pastor Travis

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