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 local needs. Doctors Without Borders and both Lutheran Disaster Response and Lutheran World Relief are excellent organizations on the front lines of this outbreak globally.
5) Giving to congregation: please don’t forget your regular giving will help us continue our ministry during this time. You can mail your check to the church very securely through the mail, access secure online e-giving through our church website, www.saintstephenofantioch.org, or contact your bank to direct giving.
The Council will continue to meet on a weekly basis during this time of trouble. We pray that this time may bring us closer to God and that we emerge from the wilderness more ready to do God's will and to follow Jesus.
Please be cautious during this time. We are all in this together. Wash your hands frequently. Maintain social distance. Stay at home unless it is urgent. If you are sick, call your doctor.
May the Peace of the Lord be with you always,
Pastor Rebecca Gordon and the Saint Stephen Lutheran Church Council
- Donal Barlow, President
- John Cook, Vice President
- Vicky Hill, Treasurer
- Dave McAlonan, Secretary
- Sharon Gregory, Assistant Treasurer
- Linda Andersen
- Lori Flade
- Gloria Stevens
- Dave Telleen
In the event that there is mandatory quarantine or if congregational services, events, and gatherings need to be cancelled or postponed, we wish to reach you in a timely manner, so VERIFY YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION:
- Please email your family name, current address, phone number(s) and emails for the adults in the household to the church email (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible—or alternately you can call the church and leave a message--so that we can make sure our records are update with the most current information possible. Please do this even if you feel we have your information. If you see we have missed a church member on this email please also let us know.