Dear People of Saint Stephen Lutheran Church,
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Friends,
These are troubling and scary times, but God is with us. He is truly our refuge and strength: and he is with us.
The Church Council met for prayer and planning Sunday morning to plan to help navigate the next few weeks. We will continue to meet in the ways that we are able to help guide our community through this time of trouble. A primary concern of the Council is the health and well-being of our congregation, especially our most vulnerable members. We also want to act as good neighbors and do our part to "flatten the curve" so that the rate of infection will slow, and eventually decline. While our instinct is to move towards people, we have to keep our distance to make sure that the virus can not spread.
We wanted to let you know our immediate plans as of today--
1) Worship: Worship is canceled through March 31, and this will be reviewed at that time to see if this needs to be extended based on the information that will be available then. We are exploring the best means of continuing to worship together in the meantime. We will send more information on this as soon as possible. We will share devotional thoughts with you via email and on the website. We will seek to reactivate the Prayer Warriors. Gloria Stevens has started a Prayer Circle Group on Facebook. [Contact Gloria Stevens via FB or through the church office if interested.]
2) Communication: we are developing a team that will be calling members regularly to check-in and find out what people may need; you will be receiving calls later this week.
Our website www.saintstephenofantioch.org and our Facebook page (Saint Stephen of Antioch) remain a good source for information. We continue to work on getting the most updated information for our members as possible. Thank you for your assistance with this.
3) Office/Building: the office will not be open. However, email and mail will be checked on a regular basis.
4) Generosity: many people are going to be struggling over the next few weeks as hours at some jobs are cut and families deal with the burden of not having access to free-lunch at schools. The council voted to support Open Arms Mission during this time with $1,000 to help our neighbors who struggle with food security. This will help Open Arms purchase 8,000 pounds of food to help alleviate l