Dear members and friends of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church,
After consultation with our Church Leadership Council and considering the prevailing information from the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC, a decision has been made to suspend all Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and Building activities effective today through April 30, 2020. We will re-access this decision on an on-going basis until which time we decide it is prudent for us to resume our usual church and building activities.
This decision has been made with careful consideration for the health and well-being of each person who comes to this building. Jesus said to the one who questioned which commandment is the greatest, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:37-39) From Jesus we’ve learned that the defining characteristic of those who follow him is love for each other. We did not make this decision out of fear; we made it out of love for our neighbor. It is our hope that choosing to practice social containment for a time will limit the spread of infection, which in turn will protect the most vulnerable among us and prevent taxing what is sure to be a stressed health care system. As leaders of GSC our love and concern for all of you is at the core of this decision.
This is our plan being implemented today:
- Suspend all Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and Building activities. We have communicated this decision directly with Ambassador Academy, the Boy Scouts, Iglesia Cristo El Rey, and the Sikh Society of Rochester. We will inform all other groups using our building today. More detailed information will come in today’s GSC Happynings.
- A special Task Force is being assembled to assess the on-going status of public health and will inform all decisions regarding COVID 19 for GSC ministries going forward.
- We are redirecting all staff efforts toward maintaining Word and Sacrament Worship, Spiritual Support, Community Care, and committee meeting and work in new ways.
- Staff is currently focused on multi-dimensional communication methods for worship and ministry to continue effectively in remote and virtual ways.
- We ask everyone to imagine new practices for continuing your faithful offerings and encourage digital giving for continued financial support for GSC’s ministry.
- With concern for all who may suffer during this time of health crisis, we will create a database of all members who are considered to be vulnerable to the effects of this new virus. We will find ways to be church and community for each of them. Anyone who wishes to be in this new database we ask to call Mike at the church office.
- Your staff intends to maintain hours of operation in a closed office environment to allow us to continue to serve you in new ways and to protect your health.
It’s understandable that someone would ask, “Is this an overreaction?” It feels like we’re getting ahead of ourselves, but the truth of increasing cases of this virus infection comes from valid sources. Medical professionals locally and nationally are telling us that the time to act is before we see evidence of the virus in our location, not afterwards. The best time to make our greatest contribution is before we feel like we should. The time to partner with proactive plans for containment of this virus is now. We are not as accustomed to preventative actions as we are intervention care. It is harder to understand when we can’t measure the effectiveness of preventive care like we can intervention care. We will never be able to quantify the number of people who never got sick because of preventive practices. This is a leap of faith while using the good gifts of intellect and reason God has given to us.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Charlie Leonard, Lead Pastor <‘(((><
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Rochester, MN 507-289-1748