As I type Friday, May 15th is the last day of the governor’s current guidance. For this week and next (May 10th) we will continue to meet under the 10 person guidance at 9 AM and 11 AM with the Zoom streaming being live at each.
Looking forward past May 15th, the first Sunday would be May 17th. Rochester is already clear of most hurdles for “Phase 1”. NYS has not published any hard-recommended limits (at least that I can find). The limit prior to the current 10 order, was 50 people. Other states are implementing a fortnight (2 weeks) by fortnight increase from 25% to 50% to 75% to full stated capacity. Ours stated capacity is 132 people, so 25% is 33 exactly. So, based on recent attendance patterns, starting May 17th, we will be returning to regular service time 10 AM. We will continue to stream that service on the Zoom link. There are different levels of comfort and risk involved, and people are at different places. I’m assuming that we will be under that 33 number. I honestly expect that first week (May 17th) to most likely be the sum of the week before which would be a little under 20 present locally with about 30 “blocks” online. And it is in Christian freedom and prudential wisdom whether you attend online or in person.
Starting on the 17th we will be holding the Lord’s Supper for those present. Receiving, like attending in person, will be at your freedom and prudence. There will be two modifications to schedule for this. The first is that we will be having the sacrament weekly for the foreseeable future. The second is that, as the hymnal shows, there will be a separation between the services of the Word and the Sacrament. After the prayers of the church, any online or local who do not wish to commune will be dismissed with blessing. One does not need to leave, but one may. This is still the practice of the Eastern Orthodox, and it was LCMS practice in many places well into the 1970’s. (I experienced it growing up in my home church.) After, the service of the sacrament will continue for all remaining.
Zoom (same as before): https://zoom.us/j/6458485288
Devotion & Prayer Thought
Joshua chapter 4 is one that I find myself thinking of. Moses is dead and so is the generation that came out of Egypt. When they approached the Jordan, they failed to cross out of fear. The Canaanites were too big and too numerous they thought. And so Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness. Approaching the Jordan again, Joshua sends spies into the land again. This time they return saying “truly the Lord has given all the land into our hand.” And so they prepare to cross the Jordan. And the Lord gives Joshua the commands for how to do this. The first is that the priests carried the ark of the covenant before the people. And when their feet touched the water, the Jordan stopped. The waters coming down piled up, and the waters flowing on went on, and the people crossed on dry land. The priests stood in the middle of the dry riverbed while Israel passed around them. The second thing is that while they passed, each tribe took one large stone out of the riverbed from where the priests stood and brought it across and gave it to Joshua.
Joshua set those 12 stones up and told the gathered Israel, “When your children ask what these stones mean, you shall tell them, Israel passed over the Jordan on dry ground. For the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan for you to pass over.” That is the source of the old word Ebenezer. Eben is stone in Hebrew. Like the old hymn Come, Thou Font of Every Blessing (LSB 686), “Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I’ve come. And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home…”. We are surrounded by set up stones. Churches large and small. Cathedrals and New England clapboards with red doors. From coast to coast. And each one says the same thing. We put aside fear and walked into the chaos of the waters, and the Lord dried them up. We passed over on dry ground. That dry ground is not a life without challenges. Joshua and Israel still had to take the land from a people who were not just going to leave. That dry ground is the presence of the Lord in the middle of the waters. It is the Ark standing in the midst of Israel.
We gather at these places to remind ourselves. Don’t fear, the Lord is with you. To hear again that we are on our way home. The Lord has gone before us and made safe the way. And it is his good pleasure to give you the promised land. Put aside the fear and Cross the Jordan, wherever that river might be.
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: May 4th – 10th
Mon., Wed., & Fri.: …… 9:00am Preschool
Tuesday: ……………..… 3:00pm Conf. Cls – 1st yr
Thursday: …………….. 10:00am Bible Study
3:30pm Conf. Cls – 2nd yr
Sunday: ………………… 9:00am Worship
11:15am Choir practice
- Thurs 10am: Roughly the same as worship, if you wish to be here, up to our normal 3-4, fine. If our bible study gets crowded all of a sudden, I will throw you out! If you want to join on the Zoom line (same as the worship one) I’ll be logging that in. We will be reading and discussing Zephaniah. It is strangely apt.
Year 1: We are meeting on zoom for the time being.3PM Tuesdays.Lord’s Prayer.We will be working through the worksheet as I share my screen.Please bring your catechism and a bible.
Year 2: We were supposed to be on final review, but since not even the school is testing…Right now, confirmation proper is still scheduled for Pentecost, which is May 31st. I’m thinking that we will be open by then.I’m still thinking about something in place of the “Elder Review” probably in late May.Watch here next week and I’ll be in contact.
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Please join us!
Meeting Thurs. May 14th, on Zoom
Until we are back to regular worship schedule (more above), we are foregoing the Lord’s Supper. If you desire the sacrament in the meantime, private confession and the sacrament are available by talking with pastor.
BEEF ON WECK … May 23rd … save the date!
In order to accommodate our new normal, we are setting up the Spring Beef on Weck as a DRIVE THRU. This means that people will arrive in their cars, place their order and pay all while remaining in their cars. Their order will be packed up and brought out to them. Our workers will wear masks and social distancing will be applied in all possible situations. If you would like to help please contact Mindy (489-4972) or Ellen (201-0756).
Dear Congregation and Families,
I can’t believe the school year is almost over it sure went by fast. This year will be a year that no one should ever forget! The preschool is still open with four children attending. Please contact me when you are ready to bring your kids back to school. We can only pray and hope that things will turn around soon. We will be having Muffins with Moms but it will be short and sweet.
The Rummage Sale WILL be happening this summer. We will share the date in the near future. In the meantime, please bring your donations in and leave them in the Multipurpose Room. We are planning to hold the event outside.
I hope and pray that everyone is staying safe and healthy. The best thing that everyone can do is pray for one another during these hard times.
God Bless, Miss Kelly