November 20, 2020
Service Schedule Change
beginning Sunday, November 29, 2020
Three Services: 8:00, 9:30, and 10:45
Psa 122:1 ESV I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
This calendar year of 2020 has been certainly been a challenging time on many different levels. While it is easy to get laser-focused on the difficulties that it has brought, it also has brought with it some opportunities. One such opportunity is the ability to assess certain things that we have perhaps taken for granted. How many of you took for granted things like toilet paper, seeing or hugging the people you love, or the ability to gather for worship with your fellow saints? The list could go on and on. Earlier this year as a congregation we, for a period, ceased in-person worship here at Christ the King. It was done out of caution and concern for the well-being of young and old alike. What a joy it was when we got to the point where we could gather for worship again! Some changes were made in seating accommodations, some of the ways we did things were changed, but the important thing was we were able to provide an opportunity for those who felt comfortable to gather together in God’s house once again. Did the words of David that are posted above come to your mind? I know it did for your pastors and much of the leadership here at Christ the King.
We knew that dealing with this Covid-19 virus as individuals and as a church family would be a moving target. Your pastors and Elders have had many discussions on protocols and procedures. Much time and prayer has been spent considering the both the national, state, and local situations. Over the past months we have sought God’s guidance and made changes or adapted practices in ways that we believe have been faithful to God’s Word and yet provide a safe environment to gather around Word and Sacrament. We have, and will, continue to make every attempt consider the needs and concerns of our whole family here at Christ the King. We realize that we cannot meet every individual need, desire, or preference that our members may have. We have struggled with limitations of appropriate physical space for some aspects of ministry. The way our pews in our sanctuary are set up are wonderful in non-pandemic times, but become very limited when we have to use them in a socially-distanced setting. Other challenges we have faced this year include technical issues with our lighting, malfunctioning AV equipment, and an epic sprinkler system malfunction. Through it all, with God’s help and the commitment of many faithful lay leaders and volunteers, we have been able to continue to proclaim the wonders of our God and Savior to our family and our community in a variety of ways. We ask for your continued prayers and gracious understanding as we continue to navigate the ever-changing waters of ministering in the midst of COVID-19.
After much prayer and discussion, your pastors and Board of Elders have determined that the time has arrived to make another temporary adjustment due to the current spikes of infections and hospitalizations in both our state and local communities. We feel that it is prudent to move back to the three service format that we used earlier this year. We will leave the seating arrangement as it is presently with half of the seating spaced for social distancing, and the other half of the seat open for seating as you are comfortable. Our hope is to provide a maximum amount of flexibility for our members regarding service times and seating preferences. One consideration to keep in mind, many of our members have work schedules which require them to attend the 8:00 service. If your schedule allows you to attend one of the other two services it would help us keep our attendance more evenly spread out. We realize that there are no perfect solutions, but this approach seems to provide us with the best opportunity to serve our members to the best of our God-given abilities. We will continue to monitor this situation and only make adjustments when necessary.
The transition to three services will occur on Sunday, November 29th. We will offer services at 8:00, 9:30, and 10:45. Adult Bible study will move to a pre-recorded virtual format and the recently started “New Member’s Class” will have to be relocated to a different time slot or day. Thank you for your understanding, patience, and partnership in the Gospel as we help each other get through these difficult times.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor’s Morris and Lehenbauer and the Board of Elders
Pandemic Procedures and Protocol for Christ the King
Out of Christian love for our neighbor (Mark 12:31), especially the elderly, during this time of uncertainty regarding the Coronavirus, the Pastors, in consultation with the Board of Elders have decided the following:
1. All Sunday morning handshaking has been discontinued until further notice. We also recommend parishioners not shaking hands with each other either.
2. When a pandemic reaches our surrounding counties, we will assess the situation as it develops under the advice of the governing authorities. (Remember that the Government is one of the means by which God protects us. See Rom. 13:1-4.)
3. Divine Service and all church activities will continue until the time when a governing authority should tell us to stop assembling for public safety. However, please know that if you are elderly or have a reason to be concerned that you may be sick or have been exposed to the virus, it is OK to miss Church. Missing Church in these circumstances would not be “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” as Hebrews 10:25 warns. You would not be “despising preaching and His Word” (3rd Comm.)
4. As is always the case, all people experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay home. In this case, until we know more information about the virus, if anyone in your house has a fever, please stay home. Please DO NOT send any children to Sunday School if anyone in the house has a fever.
5. Regarding Holy Communion, there have been studies conducted for over 100 years regarding the transmission of diseases via the Lord’s Supper and there has never been any evidence showing that there is any more risk in communing than standing in a greeting line. The pastors and elders distributing communion will be sanitizing their hands preceding the distribution of the Sacrament. We will continue to offer the Sacrament at Communion services unless a pastor is not there to administer it (see point 4). However, it must be stated, that if your conscience is burdened by the reception of the Sacrament, it is OK to withhold from taking it! We do not want anyone taking it out of fear or coercion, and that applies AT ALL TIMES! We are only offering individual cup for communion at present. Those who continue to commune, however, should take Communion in both kinds, that is, both the body (bread) and blood (wine) of Jesus, as Christ instituted (See Matt. 26:26-27; also Augsburg Confession Art. XXII.)
6. In our worship space we are currently providing both social distancing options for seating and non- distanced options for seating. At the current time masks are recommended but optional. We will give preference to the social distanced seating for admission to communion and dismissal from services. As Bible classes resume, they will be initially limited in number so we can meet social distancing needs. Sunday School has developed safety protocols that closely resemble those in place in our King’s Academy Day School. These practices will be adapted as necessary.
7. The offering plates will no longer be passed hand to hand through the congregation. Instead, we will place offering boxes designed to receive offerings, inside the rear sanctuary doors.
8. Hand sanitizer and individually wrapped handwipes have been placed in community areas of the facility and individually wrapped handwipes are placed in baskets at the entrances to the sanctuary.
9. In the event we cannot safely assemble for worship, sermons and Bible studies will be online. While heads of household are expected to lead worship at home in normal circumstances as Scripture teaches (Deut. 6:6-7, Prov. 22:6, Eph. 6:4) this may become even more important now! As resources for this have been available in the past from our Pastors, they will continue to be available. More information will be forthcoming.
10. All communication will first happen via email blasts, as well as Christ the King’s Facebook site, and website. If you know of individuals who will not receive these, please contact them to pass along the information.
This is certainly no time to panic. It is precisely times like these when the Church has the opportunity to be a light in the darkness by teaching all the things that Jesus has commanded (Matt. 28:20). It is a great time to show the world how we put our fear, love, and trust in God alone (1st Comm.), and yet also submit to the wisdom of governing authorities when and where it benefits our neighbors. Everything will work out for good (Rom. 8:28). God’s got this, and He will continue to provide all that we need in body and soul unto life everlasting. God is with you. Abide in His love!
Pastors Lehenbauer and Morris