March 14, 2020
Dear Members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church,
Due to the COVID-19 Virus Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will be cancelling all activities until Sunday April 5th; which is Palm Sunday. The decision to cease holding worship services and other services was not an easy decision to make. During these challenging times we need our faith community more than ever; however, we need to be both responsible and safe. Our congregation consists of mostly senior citizens, who are the most vulnerable to suffering horrible consequences if they contact the virus. As faithful stewards of Jesus’ ministry we are called to care for the most vulnerable in our midst and the best way of doing this right now is to close the church until the pandemic wanes and it is safe to gather again.
There is a silver lining to this situation; which is that Lutherans will need to jump into the 21st century and find innovative ways to gather through digital means. Since we can’t gather for worship on Sundays I will be recording my sermons on Fridays and they will be available to watch through our webpage, GoodShepherdAlbany.org and via Facebook. Furthermore, beginning Monday morning at 10 a.m. I will lead a daily morning devotion which will be available on both Facebook and our webpage. Finally, I will have a weekly online bible study held Wednesday mornings; which will look closely at The Sermon on the Mount found in the gospel of Matthew chapters 5-7.
The office will be open on a limited basis. Meghan will be in the office Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 10 to 12. She will be picking up the mail, answering the phones and returning calls. However, we ask that people refrain from coming to the church. If you need to speak to someone at the church you can leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
During this time that the building is closed our bills still need to be paid. If you normally give on a Sunday morning maybe you could mail in your giving. If you tune into the webpage to watch the sermon, hear the daily devotion, or the Wednesday bible study you can always give through Tithely. There are a variety of ways that you can give without placing your envelope in the offering plate. For suggestions you can contact Teresa Thomas, Larry Heins, or Phyllis Weimer.
Good Shepherd is an amazing congregation and your strongest characteristic is the ability to adapt to any given situation. We will all get through this time and hopefully grow stronger. What we have to remember is that we are a community of faith and that our trust and hope is in the Lord. This is not the first crisis the church as weathered and it won’t be the last, but it’s our storm right now. Let’s pull together by praying for each other, our congregation, and for those who don’t have a community of faith. Let Christ bear our anxiety. In Matthew chapter six Jesus tells us to not worry about anything and to let today’s troubles be sufficient for today. He also reminds us that we are God’s most prized creation and that God will provide and watch over us. In other words live in faith and not in fear.
Peace, Pastor Laura O’Brien