Beloved in the Lord,
On Sunday, I was certain that we would never close the Church for any reason. I was aware that there would be people for whom prudence would dictate a certain distance, but suspending the Divine Service for everyone seemed an impossibility. But as you are hopefully already aware, in consultation with the elders, we have suspended services for the time being. This will include all meetings and activities.
We are not closing because of a spirit of fear, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). We are not closing because we have been ordered to, but rather because of a spirit of love and concern for our neighbor.
It was not an easy decision to deprive you of the Blessed Sacrament. It is the beating heart of our Christian life together, as well as individually. God willing, this will only be for a short time and soon we will gather back at our altar to receive the medicine of immortality. And then, when this precious gift has been restored to us, let us treasure it all the more dearly, lest it should ever be taken from us again!
In the meantime, we will make use of technology in the service of the Word. Regular devotions will be posted on our website (rlcarkcity.com) and Facebook page, in addition to a Matins service on Sunday morning. We will also post the Wednesday midweek Vespers. There will be some hiccups along the way. Don’t expect everything to run smoothly from the start, but I will happily help everyone as we get it working.
Please let me know how I can continue to serve you through this time. I wish I had a master plan, but these paths are as yet untrodden by my feet. I’ve spent countless hours by the bedsides of those who are ill, but I’ve never been afraid that I myself might unknowingly become the source of illness, and thus in prudence must conduct the ministry from a distance.
Pray for those affected by the virus worldwide. Some will be not only affected, but also infected. Many of those in the wider world do not have access to the provisions which we have, and their suffering will be even more profound than our own.
Look out for each other. If any of you can’t, shouldn’t, or don’t feel comfortable going out, yet need things, talk to us. If you know of someone in that position, talk to them. We’ll figure out a way to get what you need to you.
The church has weathered worse and we will come through this.
Finally, I want to publicly thank our elders (Raymond Rahn, Jim Holloway, Sr., Jim Holloway, Jr., Martin Ray, Bill Headrick, and Chad Zimmerman) who have been a great help through this. They have served you well and been a blessing to me.
Your unworthy servant,