Wednesday, March 18

Good morning, church!

Thank you for all of your encouraging messages! I know for a fact that these more frequent emails are helping a good number of people in our community to stay connected.

For years, we have talked in the wider church about “new ways of being church,” and often we have only paid lip service to that. This coronavirus is proving right the old adage that it takes a crisis to push us into changing and adapting our ways.  What do I mean by that? Suddenly, we get all kinds of resources and suggestions regarding virtual meetings and virtual church from our synod. All of that knowledge has been available for years, but only now pastors and congregations are asking for it and only now the synod is making a strong effort to provide it. In my own practice, I have talked about the possibility of online Bible studies or Christian Education sessions for a few years. The reason is that our meeting times are not always great for everyone. Have I done anything about it? Well,…no! It takes a coronavirus I guess. So, here it is.  We started out our four-session Bible Study about “God and Money” last Thursday at noon. We are looking at the topic from different angles. Last week’s session was called “Material Blessings.” This week’s session is called “Spiritual Traps.” I have attached the study material for this session and I invite you to join us tomorrow (Thursday, March 19) per teleconference at 12:00 noon.  We will talk about this for about half an hour.  You can call the church office for this phone number or contact Pastor Wagner.  I look forward to our conversation!

Thank you all for your prayers for Bill K. yesterday. I really hope that his condition can be successfully treated and his quality of life will be improved. Today, I’d like to ask you to pray for Bill and Lois K. Those of you who have been St. Peter’s members for a while will instantly know who I am talking about. Bill was our council president several times and for many years. He was a mover and shaker in our church community and poured his energy (and he has always been an energetic person) into the church leadership work and has really done a lot for our church. We owe him great gratitude. His wife Lois was always very involved in the St. Peter’s Thrift store. But Lois’s health has declined very significantly, especially over the last ten years. They live at Brittany Pointe now. But while Bill is staying in their apartment, Lois has been moved to the skilled care facility. As you can imagine, in the days of the Coronavirus, no outside visitors are allowed to go in there, not even spouses! It has been a very hard life adjustment for Bill. In normal times he spends a lot of time with his wife. The flip side of that is: he sees a lot of suffering and elderly people barely hanging on to some distant semblance of life and who they used to be. It is the sad, very sad, side of our current elderly care system. I see it frequently, but Bill sees it every day. Please pray for them, the caregiver and the care receiver. It is tough!  It would also be nice if some of you could send Lois a card. Please call the church office for the address or email Pastor Wagner.

We had our staff meeting yesterday via teleconference and we are plotting some ideas for next Sunday’s service.  One of the things we talked about is our current food drive, which stands at just over 1,100 items and benefits Manna on Main Street. We know that food banks need just as much or even more items during this crisis time, and we would like to give you an opportunity to increase our food collection.  This is the plan: please drop off your food items in a bag in front of the church door and under the roofed entrance area between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Friday. You don’t have to come into the church, touch doors, etc. We will get the food items to Manna on Main Street. Thank you!

Here is another prayer, forwarded by one of our members, Bernie Heinze.  Martin Luther would be delighted: this is the time of the priesthood of all believers! Keep coming what you find and what could be helpful for us all!

May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

Amen. 

Finally, I have to complain about one thing…

I have no more excuse not to clean out my old emails.

I have no more excuse not to clean out my office.

Yikes!!!

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Andreas Wagner

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