March 17, 2020
NOTICE ON CHURCH CANCELLATIONS
Greetings my dear brothers and sisters at Christ the King. As I have promised over the past few days, we are working hard to make necessary decisions concerning the COVID-19 situation and communicate them to you. There are many questions that circulate in times like this. How best should the church respond in the midst of a crisis like this. Do we keep the doors open at all costs, to give the witness that we believe that God is in control and we will not give in to fear? Should we be concerned with our brothers and sisters who might find their consciences being sorely tested with the anxiety of the times and risk causing them to judge us harshly as being aloof and uncaring? How best can we balance the separation of church and state? How do we remain faithful to God’s Word and follow the directions and mandates of the government which God has put in place to help maintain order in society? A number of you have shared words penned by Martin Luther in a letter titled “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague” which he wrote to a Rev. Dr. John Hess. (Luther’s Works Vol. 43 pg. 132) I found them both interesting and helpful in my deliberations.
“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.”
As God’s children we are called to act in faith. Acting in faith is not reckless. Acting in faith also seeks our brother’s good over ours. A faithful child of God also realizes that God has given us gifts, such as good government which, in helping to maintain order in society allows us to serve and minister with the Gospel of peace.
We have been considering the guidelines put forth by the CDC. We are also taking to heart the recommendations of the President, and the Coronavirus Task force, as laid out yesterday during the afternoon news briefing. The Missouri District of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, is also coming out with recommendations which will support our decision. We at Christ the King Lutheran Church will cancel all public ministry activities including corporate worship services until April 6, 2020. Pastor Morris, Vicar Rempfer, and I, will work to provide in home worship opportunities and devotional times in a virtual setting. We will seek to use Facetime Live, as well as uploading videos to our church website and our Vimeo page. We realize that it will not be the same as being together and sharing our beloved physical fellowship, but will be the best we can do to protect those at risk in our congregation, and our greater community. We invite you to continue to pray and connect electronically to your brother’s and sisters in Christ. As Luther suggested above, reach out to your neighbors in need.
Please remember this will be a financial challenge for our ministries of the Church and the King’s Academy, which also will be suspending physical classes. Please remember that a large part of our annual budget is comprised of “fixed” costs and those costs will continue whether we are physically assembled or not. May I also add if God so moves your heart, if your finances allow, please consider making a gift to our benevolent fund. There is a good chance that we will have families in our congregation who will experience financial difficulties during this time and God willing, we as their family of faith, might be able to help them in the midst of their struggles.
As I mentioned on Sunday. This is not a time for fear but a time for faith and prayer. If you have any questions or needs feel free to call me at 573-480-0646 or Pastor Morris at 573-286-3862. May God grant us wonderful opportunities to serve him even as we go through these trying times.
Again please note: We at Christ the King Lutheran Church will cancel all public ministry activities including corporate worship services until April 6, 2020.
Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Ronald Lehenbauer
March 15, 2020 3 PM
Dear family of Christ the King Lutheran Church, based upon reaction that I gathered from our discussion at both services this morning and from some private conversations, I am announcing that we will discontinue fellowship dinners at least until Wednesday, April 1st. This will include not only our Lenten dinner but also include the 5th Sunday Fellowship Dinner that was to be held on Sunday, March 29th at noon. We will make a decision on our Easter Breakfast as we watch the progression of this current situation over the next couple weeks. As of the writing of this message we currently have no plans to discontinue our normal worship and Bible study schedule. If there comes a time that we need to cancel or make changes we will communicate that to you as those decisions are being made. Again, as I suggested to you this morning, this is a time for prayer. We will seek to live out our faith in positive ways in this trying time. Remember to check on your neighbors and friends as well as the elderly in your circle of influence. There will be those who will have needs that perhaps you can meet as God's hands and feet. Maybe there will be those who could use a roll of toilet paper due to the stock up insanity of the past week. Be blessed, live out your faith responsibly, and above all trust God that He is in control. We will email this same message out when the office staff is back to work tomorrow. Rev. Lehenbauer
March 15, 2020
Just a reminder that Christ the King will hold our worship services this morning. We are putting in place precautionary procedures which were outlined in the email sent out to members, Facebook posts, and will be printed in this mornings worship folder. We will poll the congregation present this morning concerning continuing our Lenten Midweek Meals as we seek to have a responsible reaction to the current healthcare situation which has gripped our nation. If you have concerns about attendance do not attend out of a sense of guilt or compulsion. Make the decision that is in your best interest and if you are feeling sick please remain home out of consideration for the rest of your family at CTK. Blessings. We will try to upload a copy of the first service to the website/vimeo as soon as possible. Blessings and peace. Remember that this is a time for prayer for our nation and for our local community. In Christ, Ron Lehenbauer pastor Christ the King.
March 13, 2020
Dear Christ the King Family,
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1 These are the comforting words that Jesus spoke to His disciples on the eve of His passion. They were confused and concerned as He was working to prepare them for life and ministry without His immediate physical presence with them. We as a nation and a community are experiencing concern and witnessing societal confusion over the Coronavirus/COVID-19. We as God’s dearly loved children have opportunity to give witness to our faith and at the same time live out that faith, working to bring comfort and calm to our local community and our Christ the King family. We hope to do this by establishing practices and procedures designed to do the best we can to protect the children entrusted to our care, as well as support our families by providing information about the present situation. Hopefully we can bring comfort and hope in the midst of the anxiety, that many are experiencing. Your pastors, in consultation with the church leadership, would like to update you with procedures and guidelines we are putting in place to help bring a sense of calm as we respond to Coronavirus/COVID-19. We are taking this situation seriously and seek to practically and lovingly do our best to lessen the risk to our church family.
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 greeters and handshaking in the greeting line have 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 thoroughly wash their hands directly 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! Please chose either the individual or common cup as suits your preferences, both will continue to be offered. 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. The offering plates will no longer be passed hand to hand through the congregation. Instead, we will place offering plates or boxes designed to receive offerings, inside the rear sanctuary doors.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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