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In-Person Worship Resumes June 7

In-person Worship Resumes June 7

After considerable discussion, the Board of Elders have decided to resume in-person worship on Sunday, June 7. You should have received a separate letter describing the general outline of the plan. Below are a few of the important highlights, but we also want to emphasize that we certainly encourage you to stay home if even the reduced risk is too great a risk for you to take. If you don’t feel comfortable attending, we will continue to stream our services to Facebook and Pastor Stolarczyk is available, as always, to bring you the Lord’s Supper upon request.

  • We are temporarily going to two services, 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
    • 8:00 a.m.-- Stricter social distancing precautions will be enforced
    • 10:00 a.m.—Less restrictive precautions
  • We will have Holy Communion on June 7 in celebration of the reopening of our church. (We will return to our normal schedule of communion services after that, however.)
  • Social Distancing precautions at 8:00 a.m. service will include:
    • Leaving at least one empty pew between households and we will only seat people from two households in the same row if at least 6 feet of separation can be maintained.
    • Masks are strongly encouraged.
    • Extra care will be taken with the distribution of the Lord’s Supper
      • ushering people forward individually
      • we will not be kneeling to receive the bread and wine
      • the elders and pastor will wear masks
      • extra disinfection steps will be included between each communicant
      • additional steps will be covered on June 7
    • We will also ask you to limit your time in the church building, itself, before and after the service—we invite you to visit with one another outside, for example, where appropriate physical distance can be maintained.
  • We will be taking some less obtrusive precautions at the 10:00 a.m. service, as well, especially with the distribution of Holy Communion. We also encourage you to take basic steps. Visiting with one another outside rather than in the narthex, for example, is certainly an easy step we can take that won’t be a great burden.

As we move beyond June 7, we’ll continue to evaluate the steps that we are taking. Thank you in advance for your understanding if we need to make further adjustments based on the best information available and the needs of our congregation and members. If you have any questions please feel free to contact your elder or Pastor Stolarczyk.

 

Bring the Worship Into Your Home

We're very thankful to be able to bring you livestream worship services and prayer services during this difficult time. We'd like to also go one step further and bring worship into your homes by inviting you through hymnals and devotionals. 

Find Your Hymnal or Pick One Up

Many of us have copies of The Lutheran Hymnal in our homes that we received for confirmation years ago. Let's get them out and put them to use. Starting after Easter, we'll use hymns from that hymnal during our daily prayers. We'll also use them in our regular worship. Let's dust them off and bring worship back into our homes.

Don't have a copy? We have copies available for no charge. Pick them up from church between 9:00 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday or call, text, or email Pastor Stolarczyk to have one dropped off. (Precautions will be taken to prevent any risk of virus transmission in the process.)

Download a Devotional to Use In Your Home

Not only is this a good opportunity to start using the hymnal in our homes, it's a great time to develop the habit of daily prayer. Click here to download a devotional for individuals or families that can be used morning, noon, or night. If you'd prefer, printed copies are available, as well, at the same time that hymnals can be picked up (9-noon, Monday through Friday) or call, text, or email Pastor Stolarczyk to have one dropped off.

Holy Week Worship Schedule 2020

The week leading up to Easter is known as "Holy Week" because of the suffering and death that our Lord endured for us through these days. For that reason, the Church has long set this time aside for special prayer and worship. Even though we can't gather in person this week, it's still important to turn our hearts and minds to Jesus and what He endured with us and for us. Please plan on making the most of this week.

Daily Prayer this Week-- 9:00 a.m. & 7:00 p.m.

Two weeks ago we started the practice of daily prayer for ourselves and our community at 9:00 a.m. Monday through Friday. In addition, we are adding evening prayer at 7:00 p.m. each evening this week. Join us by livestream for that time of prayer. If you have a copy of The Lutheran Hymnal or Lutheran Service Book, have it handy and we will use it before and after to sing a hymn.

Holy Week Services

Maundy Thursday-- 7:00 p.m.

On this night, our Lord enjoyed the Last Supper with His disciples before going to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray in preparation for what He was about to endure. In this service, we will remember this part of our Lord's Passion through readings and song before the chancel is stripped, symbolizing our Lord being arrested and led away.

Good Friday-- 1:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.

On Good Friday, our Lord's trial concluded and He was taken away to be crucified, hanging on the cross from noon to 3:00 p.m. At our 1:00 p.m. service we will meditate upon our Lord's seven last words from the cross. At 7:00 p.m. we will meditate upon His journey from His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane to the tomb through readings and song in a service of increasing darkness.

Holy Saturday-- 7:00 p.m.

One of the most ancient services of the church is the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening. Beginning in the darkness that carries over from Good Friday, light begins to shine forth again as we mark the night when our Lord passed from death to life by remembering God's great acts of deliverance through history and rejoicing in this, His ultimate act of victory.

Please note: the past few years we have been privileged to participate in the Easter Vigil hosted by Grace, Fairgrove. Unfortunately that is not possible this year. We will be holding our own vigil service and look forward to inviting you all to participate by livestream.

Easter Sunday-- 7:00 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.

Early in the morning on that first day of the week the women went to the tomb. They went in sorrow and grief. They quickly returned in great joy. We, too rise and turn to our Lord in a special sunrise service at 7:00 a.m. Then at 10:30, we are privileged to mark our Lord's resurrection with hymns, readings, and rejoicing.

 

Stay Connected to God's Word

We pray that all of you are doing everything possible to help prevent the spread of covid-19 by practicing social distancing. At the same time, we need God's Word and Sacraments now more than ever. Over the past two weeks we've made several adjustments in order to continue bringing them to you. It's time to bring together a list of everything we're making available, along with several things you can do at home.

Things You Can Do at Home
  • Remember your baptism. You are a baptized child of God.
  • Start making a habit of daily devotions. Pull out the family Bible and use it. Pray together-- out loud, together with everyone in your household. Pull out your copy of Luther's Small Catechism and review one part each day. You may even consider ordering one of the very good devotionals available from our synod's publishing house: Concordia Publishing House (CPH) at www.cph.org.
  • Have a copy of our hymnal, Lutheran Service Book? Use the "Daily Prayers for Individuals and Families" on p. 294 and/or the Daily Lectionary (a daily series of readings) on p. 299 for daily devotions. Pick a comforting hymn and sing it together every morning or evening.
  • Tune in to great resources like KFUO (the media ministry extension of LCMS congregations); Issues, Etc. (available through your podcast app or their website); and YouTube channels like Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller's.
Ways to Stay Connected to the Word from St. Paul
  • Holy communion is available for individuals or particular households. Contact Pastor Stolarczyk to schedule a time.
  • Participate in regular worship via livestream. We are keeping to our regular worship schedule. Watch our Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/StPaulUnionville, at 9:00 a.m. Sundays and at 7:00 p.m. Wednesdays for the livestream of the service.
  • Make use of the daily devotions from our Lenten Devotional, "People of the Kingdom."
  • Join us by Facebook livestream for daily prayer Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m.
  • Participate in our study of the Gospel of Matthew Sundays at 10:30 a.m. (click here for instructions on how to join in by phone, through our Facebook livestream, or through the Zoom software-- no sign in/account required)

Take every opportunity to find refuge in God and His Word through this challenging time.

 

Adult Bible Study Every Sunday at 10:30

Adult Bible Study has returned every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. We'll continue to discover what, exactly, the Kingdom is that Christ has established in this world. 

How to Join the Meeting

You can participate in a number of ways:

  • computer
  • smartphone or tablet (tablet is recommend)
  • any normal phone (cellular or landline)
  • Facebook page

Scroll down for instructions on each.

However you choose to do it, we look forward to seeing you in Bible Study!

 

Join from Your Computer

Click the link below or copy/paste it into your browser:

https://zoom.us/j/811176911?pwd=WkZpdVJETTFFWVdIc1o4VHZXZFJoUT09

You may be asked to download the Zoom software. If you'd prefer not to, then cancel. There should be a message on the page that says, "If you cannot download or run the application, join from your browser." Click on "join from your browser."

The software works best with Google Chrome, but others should allow you to participate, as well.

 

Join from Smartphone/Tablet

You'll need to download the Zoom app from your App Store. You should not be required to set up an account with Zoom. Open the app and tap on the blue "Join a Meeting" button. Enter the Meeting ID and Password below when prompted.

Meeting ID: 811 176 911

 

Join by Phone

To take part by phone, call (312) 626-6799. You'll need to enter the meeting ID: 811 176 911.

(Please note that your regular long distance rates do apply.)

 

Join through Facebook Live

This is the more familiar way for people to join our livestreams-- directly through the feed on our Facebook Page. Go to http://www.Facebook.com/StPaulUnionville and watch for the video to go live at 10:30 a.m. 

 

 

Pastor's Note on Virus Response

A Note from Pastor Stolarczyk About our Response to Coronavirus

Updated 3/16/2020, 11:00 a.m.

After much discussion with the board of elders and our congregational chairman, all congregational activities are being suspended until further notice. Worship, too, will be live-stream only until further notice.

We have continued to follow the reporting on the spread of the virus and the recommendations from our state and national leaders. We are taking this action in order to continue to try to safeguard everyone's health and to encourage people to exercise social distancing. Please take this as a strong encouragement to be doing everything possible to love and care for your neighbor by helping prevent any further spread of the virus. 

Even though it is a necessary step, this decision poses a challenge. The Word and Sacraments are even more important now, not less. Our challenge, as a community, is to make sure that we continue to make it a priority. "The Lord is our refuge and strength," as the psalmist says. You and I face this challenge with the confidence of the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ that is given to you through His Word and guaranteed to you through baptism and the Lord's Supper. For that reason I will be live-streaming services at the usual times. Even though we can not physically gather together, we can still hear the word together. In addition, we are working on additional ways to continue to bring you word and sacrament ministry.

In the meantime, let me strongly encourage you to make regular use of our Lenten Devotional. A "silver lining" to this situation is the reminder that God's word is not only for worship services and Bible studies. It's for you to read and study at home, as well. Daily prayer and daily devotions are an important and very valuable spiritual discipline. Make the most of this opportunity to make them part of your daily routine, as well.

Again, let me reiterate that I am ready and able to visit you, personally, and bring you the comfort and strength of the Lord's Supper. For those who might be concerned about the risk of transmitting the virus in this way, in addition to the normal steps of hand washing, etc., my recommendation is that we visit outside. Jackets and gloves might be necessary-- and that may keep the visits a little shorter-- but those aren't bad things, are they?

As always, we use our best wisdom with regard to how we best care for each other. And we do it in the full confidence that our Heavenly Father has given this for our good. It may be in order to chastise us and drive us to repentance and greater trust in Him, but He has given it for our good because He has first given the life of His Son.

Pastor Stolarczyk

 

Above Note Supersedes the Previous Post (below) from 3/14/2020

The news from around the world has been disconcerting for a few weeks now. As that alarming news has crept closer and closer to our state and now to our community-- just this morning a case was reported in Bay City-- we have been discussing ways to mitigate the risk and protect those around us from this danger even as our Lord's ministry continues here among us. The specific measures we're taking in order to try to combat the virus will adapt as circumstances change. But allow me to share a few basic points.

  • We have no plans to cancel worship services. Even if, God forbid, there are reported cases in our community, there are a number of steps that we can take in order to gather safely.
  • As I write this, there are no plans to suspend any of our Bible studies or Sunday School. They will all continue as normal. We will update you if that changes. (Please note that we will reconsider that if cases are reported in our area.)
  • If you are someone with a compromised immune system or would be at greater risk if you caught the virus, then please don't hesitate to stay home. Not only will we be making sure that the Facebook livestream is running each week, I am more than happy to bring the Lord's Supper to you individually.
  • Even though there are no reported cases in our community, we'll be taking some very simple steps to ensure everyone's safety. For example, we'll be suspending the passing of the offering plate. Instead, the plates will be at the door so that you can drop your offering in it as you go by.

Allow me to ask for a couple of things from you, as well.

  • Please make sure you are in regular prayer for our community, state, nation, and world, as we deal with this pandemic.
  • Please check in on older members of the congregation and our community. Shortages of basic necessities at our stores in the past few days could impact them in particular.
  • "Social distancing" is a necessary part of helping to minimize the spread of the virus. But my prayer is that we'll look back on this as a time when we were drawn together as the family of God here in this place.

--Pastor Stolarczyk

 

Mark Your Calendar-- Holy Week Worship Schedule

Holy Week Worship Schedule

Sunday, April 5—Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion, 9:00 a.m.

Theme: “The King Enters” (Matthew 21)

Readings: Matthew 21:1-16

 

Thurs., April 9—Maundy Thursday

Worship w/communion, 7:00 p.m.

Theme: “A Foretaste of the Kingdom” (26:17-46)

Readings: Matthew 26:17-46

 

Fri., April 10—Good Friday

Chief Service with Seven Last Words—1:00 p.m.

Good Friday Tenebrae (Service of Darkness)—7:00 p.m.

Theme: “The Coronation” (26:47-27:66)

Readings: Matthew 26:47-27:66

 

Sat., April 11—Easter Vigil

Service of Light with Holy Communion (held at Grace Lutheran Church, Fairgrove)—7:00 p.m.

 

Sun., April 12—Easter Sunday

Sunrise Service of Light with Holy Communion—7:00 a.m.

Easter Main Service with Holy Communion—10:30 a.m.

Theme: “The Kingdom Revealed” (28:1-15)

Readings: Matthew 28:1-15

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