June 18, 2020
Members and Friends of Anacortes Lutheran Church,
We are living in a time of confusion and concern as the entire globe is struggling with the frightening impact of the coronavirus. Many businesses have had to shutter their doors or limit their production. As you well know, in-person worship services have also been cancelled in order to keep people safe in this time of social distancing.
You might have already seen this quotation from Martin Luther written to his friend the Rev. Dr. John Hess at a time when the plague had struck his town of Wittenberg:
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”
His words of wisdom are certainly relevant in our current situation.
Anacortes Lutheran Church remains a community dedicated to the ministry given to us all in our baptismal call. We are still worshiping, although we are separated from one another. Weekly worship is recorded and is available through the church’s website. For those who may not have computer access, there are audio recordings which are available in a basket outside the office entrance to the church, or which can be delivered if you notify the office.
Pastoral care continues with Pastor Butler being available to make contact by phone or Zoom. The prayer chain remains active and is open to all who might wish to participate.
Children’s Education continues, utilizing the virtual forms available to us. On the website there are programs such as WOW, a new way of doing Vacation Bible School during these times of pandemic.
The Transition Team is engaged in the work of moving toward the day a new settled pastor will be here at ALC. Members are receiving a survey which will help direct this process.
There is a Re-Entry Task Force which is tackling the numerous questions which must be addressed in order to once again gather as a worshiping community. Pages of requirements from government and the church which protect all who enter our doors are receiving the Task Force’s full attention. We recognize worship will look different for a while, but we are hopefully anticipate that day when we are able come together once more, not only for worship, but also as a church dedicated to teaching, caring and providing ministry to our neighbors. Recent meetings indicate that day may not be too far away. Watch for updates
As for myself I am trying to gradually introduce myself to individual households with Get Acquainted calls by means of either phone calls and Zoom meetings. If you would like to meet with me, please let me know and I will put you on my schedule.
ALC is dedicated not only to ministry, but also to the health and safety of us all. We are eager to return to whatever form the new normal might take. But during this interim we pray for one another, for those who suffer, and for those outside our building. We know that even though many doors have been closed, our God is moving in our midst.
May the Lord bless and keep you. And I look forward to seeing you soon.
Grace and Peace,
March 11, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
In times of trial, God’s people support one another through prayer and service. In our current time of trial, while we are limited in our ability to gather physically, we will continue to care for one another and for our Anacortes community in every way possible.
So far, there is one confirmed COVID-19 case in Skagit County. The School District has suspended all after school activities and the use of school by community organizations through April 12. The following was posted this morning on the Skagit County Health Department web page:
At a meeting of the Skagit County Board of Health on March 10, 2020, Skagit County Health Officer, Dr. Howard Leibrand, issued recommendations in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the number of people infected. These recommendations were made in consultation with the State Department of Health and align with similar recommendations from neighboring jurisdictions. Dr. Leibrand has recommended – but is not requiring – the following:
People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible. People at higher risk include people over 60 years of age; people with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or diabetes; people with weakened immune systems; and pregnant women.
The community should postpone non-essential events and gatherings of ten or more people.
In light of these recommendations, we join with neighboring churches in taking steps to minimize the possibility of transmitting the virus within our church community out of concern for those who are especially vulnerable. For Sunday worship we will be communing standing “at the rail” using individual disposable cups for wine and grape juice. All Communion servers will sanitize their hands. The offering plate has been placed at the entrance to the sanctuary. When passing the peace we are not shaking hands, but simply greeting one another saying, “Peace be with you”. In addition, we have cancelled tonight’s Lenten Soup Supper and Evening Prayer, as well as choir practice and the Thursday noon Bible study. Last Sunday’s service was recorded as usual and copies were distributed to those who requested them, and we will continue this practice as well as considering livestreaming worship for those who stay at home. Please let the office know if you would like a CD.
As the situation changes from day to day, there may be other changes to our usual schedule. Please check our Facebook or web page for updates. We will send out an email blast as well. And, of course, you may contact the church office for information.
In this time we hold fast to the faith we have in Christ Jesus, knowing that God will walk alongside us, protecting, strengthening, and healing us.