Covid-19 Updates

May 15, 2020

Minutes from Special Elders Meeting concerning resuming normal operation, the elders and pastors submit the following suggestions as policies going forward until further notice:
 
· We encourage all those with health concerns who do not feel safe in community to do what they feel is best with regard to attending services.  The church is not in business of burdening consciences, and we shall not do so here.  The pastors are willing and able to treat such individuals as shut-ins until they are convinced of safety, such as by vaccination or personal choice.
 
· For those who wish to attend services but wish to maintain distancing and personal protective equipment, we encourage you to do so.  We ask that you provide your masks and/or gloves, however.
 
· For those who feel comfortable to return to normalcy, we ask only for respect of the decisions of those less willing, as well as general attention to safety.
 
· We implore any and all members, visitors, or staff/clergy who feel unwell to stay home.  This is always true, but it deserves special attention at present.
 
· We further implore all people to work and suffer with each other in Christian fellowship, bearing with one another with patience and love.  It is unlikely that any one approach will satisfy everyone, but we ask that all show patience and love toward one another as we address this matter in whatever way seems best.
 
· It is possible to purchase some hand sanitizer stations at cost through the district.  We commend this matter to the trustees to address as they see fit.  Perhaps buying 2 for the narthex would serve well?
 
· We will carry on morning Matins devotions, streamed live on our YouTube channel, through the sixth week of Easter.  That is, the last Matins service will be 5/23.  All are welcome to attend these services (and receive the Sacrament thereafter if desired) at 8:00 daily on non-Sundays.

· There is no restriction on the number of worshipers allowed in the sanctuary, since normal attendance minus those staying home until vaccination or such falls well within comfortable and safe limits for the building.  Nobody will be turned away.  If desired, people may still sit in the old fellowship hall if they feel safer there.
 
· We ask those attending worship in any service sit on alternating left/right sides of the pews to maximize the distance between congregants until further notice.
 
· We have heard that that the majority of the regular Thursday night crowd wishes to stay home until vaccination; in light of this, we ask the other regulars what their wishes are.  If desired we will resume regular Thursday services at 7. Otherwise, we will continue our Evening Prayer services at 4 on Thursdays.
 
· On 5/17 we will have service only at 8:00. 10:30 services will resume on 5/24.
 
· Midweek Bible studies (e.g., Lutheran Difference, Galatians, Men’s breakfast) will begin immediately as long as anyone wishes to come.
 
· Sunday 9:15 Bible study will not start until at least 5/24, but may be put off out of necessity (see below).  In any case, breakfast at Bible study remains to be determined.
· Sunday school will resume according to the desires of the teachers and families.  Depending on the availability of the teachers, we will go forward from there.
 
· 8th grade catechesis is proceeding unchanged with Pr. Fisher in a 1 on 1 format until confirmation.
 
· During Divine Services Communion will be offered weekly as usual with a few modifications.
 
* Instead of 10 communicants (5 per side + any children ) we will commune or bless 6 people (3 people per side, including children wishing a baptismal blessing) until further notice.
 
* Those desiring individual cups will receive the cup at the altar instead of before, on the way up.  This is to ensure that besides you only the pastor, whose hands washed and accounted for, will come in contact with      your cup.
* The common cup will still be offered for those who desire it.
 
    * During communion in the Divine Service, the pastors will not wear masks or gloves.  The Sacrament is the source of life and health, nor poison.  However, for those still leery of contact, Pr. Fisher will offer communion privately or in small groups in an especially sterilized setting with gloves and masks between services at 9:15 through 10:30.
 
· Resumption of Sunday Bible study depends on how long members wish to maintain this custom.
 
· During Divine Services the offering plate will not be passed until further notice. Instead, baskets will be placed at the back of the sanctuary.  This will avoid passing other things along with the offering plate. Ushers will hereby be kept at a greater distance, too. The ushers will bring the offerings to the altar during the offertory. As a matter of fact, this practice is that of the early Church, and was indeed the norm until the idea of the offering plate was developed during the American Revivalist movements.  This practice in eminently in keeping with our Lutheran heritage.

 
 
 
 
Updated 5/19/2020!!!

Galatians 6:2-5 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
 
Dear Pilgrim Family,
Christ has risen!!! He has risen indeed Alleluia!!!  We pray this message finds you and yours doing well and staying safe and growing in faith.  We are writing to you to inform you of how we are moving forward in the weeks to come.  Over the past weekend, we have had meetings with the Board of Elders, the Trustees, and the Church Council to attempt to come up with a plan that will allow people to return to the services of God’s House and receive His gifts in the safest environment possible.
This week May 18th -23rd we will continue to have morning Matins services each day and a 4 PM service (Evening Prayer) this Thursday.  On Sunday, May 24th we will have the 8 AM and 10:30 AM services and on Thursday, May 27th we will have our 7 PM service restored.  We are asking those who do attend to allow a pew empty between them and the person ahead of them.  If you desire masks and gloves, please bring your own as we cannot provide them for everyone.  We will be offering the Lord’s Supper at the Altar but will only be taking five people at a time to allow for spacing.  While the Pastors will not mask and glove for the worship services or the distribution of the Lord’s Supper during the worship service, we will glove and mask to distribute the Lord’s Supper after the services for those who are uncomfortable receiving the Lord’s gift without these added measures.  We are also adding back a few of our Bible Classes, Wednesday nights 6:30 PM, and Sundays at 12:30 PM.  We are also reaching out to the Thursday morning Bible Class to determine when to start it again.  
We also know that many do not feel safe at this time returning to public services, perhaps not until a vaccine has been made.  We will indeed miss seeing you in person, but know our prayers are with you even as we believe your prayers are with us, and we pray you will continue to join us online for the services.  This is certainly a difficult time for all of us as we strive to use our God-given wisdom to make the choice that is best for each person, family, and Pilgrim.  Please know your pastors are willing to come and bring the Lord’s Supper to those who desire and are comfortable with our coming.  Knowing that not everyone will be comfortable with this option either please know we do not want your conscience to be burdened, this is all part of bearing with one another in love. 
For our safety, we have sanitized the pews, the doors, the Altar rail, and the handrails throughout the building.  We have removed the hymnals and Bibles from the pews and will make them available from a cart in the back of the church.  We ask that you leave them in the pew after the service so we can sanitize them between services.  We will not pass the collection plates but will instead have them on a table in the back of the sanctuary and the offering (mailed and delivered in person) will be brought forward by the ushers during the offertory and placed on the credence table on the right of the Altar. We are also in the process of purchasing from the district and hope to have in two weeks hand sanitizing stations that will be posted at the entrances for your convenience. 
At present, our counters teams have not been meeting to count, but we are asking if you are willing to assist with counting please contact the office and we will strive to make a new schedule.   
As we strive to seek to do everything safely and in good order, know we value your input, so some of these practices may change a few times before we return to normal.  We thank you again for your continued prayers and support.  Let us all continue to bear with one another in love as we move forward.
 
Pastors and Boards of Pilgrim Ev. Lutheran Church 

 
Thank you again to all who have mailed or dropped of your offerings to the Church.  God be praised!  Your prayers, support, and encouragement are truly overwhelming.  We are asking that all offerings either be dropped off at the office during business hours, mailed to the Church at 462 Meadowbrook Dr. West Bend, WI 53090-2418, or after office hours by Pastor Fisher’s parsonage at 616 Meadowbrook Dr. West Bend, WI 53090-2418.   

Please remember if we don't have your Email address please share it with the office at office@pilgrimlutheranwb.org so that we can keep you up to date as this is a very fluid situation. 

God’s peace be with you and may the Lord keep all of us safe until we can meet again in His house or until we worship anew in His eternal presence. 

In Christ,

Pastor Joseph Fisher and Pastor Christopher Raffa
revjfisher@charter.net        revcraffa@gmail.com