May 26, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am so incredibly thankful to finally be able to write these words…we can now resume worship services here in the Lord’s House on Sunday mornings! Thanks be to God! This time of separation has been a very difficult time for many of us in a number of different ways. Our Lord has certainly been there for us individually as we have “sheltered-in-place” and worshipped in our homes. However, there is nothing on Earth like the gathering of God’s people in worship as we sing, pray, learn, praise, and be there for one another! We are so excited to get back to this essential part of our Christian life together.
This Sunday, May 31st, which is Pentecost Sunday, we will open our doors for worship. There will be several changes to our pre-COVID Sunday morning schedule. Please do not let any of the differences discourage you. We will be doing our very best to protect the health and safety of everyone who walks in these doors. Here are a few of the changes:
We will have three worship services; 8:00, 9:30, and 10:45. This is to try and keep each service at a maximum of about 150 people. Please register your attendance by clicking on the following link. Please indicate the number of people attending at the top of the sign up page. The signup counter at the bottom of the page doesn’t work and incorrectly states 100 max people rather than 150 max people. Here is the link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040A48AAA82BA3FB6-church
We will be resuming in-person Sunday School in August. In the meantime, we have CPH material for school-age families and several weekday Bible study options for adults.
We will enter through the main doors under the covered driveway and exit through the single door in the narthex. The fellowship hall, office wing, and school will not be open for usage.
We will rope off every other pew to help ensure a 6-foot distance between family groups. There will also be a piece of 6-foot white cloth on the pew itself to use as a guideline for spacing within that pew. If you have a large family group, please feel free to utilize an entire pew that fits your group size in an effort to help minimize wasted space.
We will try and reduce the spread of germs by indefinitely postponing the following: coffee and donuts, handshaking, greeting lines, offering plates, bulletins, fellowship pads, the Common Cup, gathering in the narthex, and hugs from the pastors. We will miss these above items, especially the hugs, but in an effort to love people, we are going the extra mile to be cautious for our at-risk brothers and sisters. In place of bulletins, we will use the projector. Instead of offering plates, we will have baskets at the doors. Instead of fellowship pads, I will take a picture of y’all from the front of the sanctuary. Instead of gathering for conversation in the narthex, feel free to have those conversations out in the parking lot. And rather than donuts at church, you can eat something healthier at home!
We will encourage you to wear a face mask. However, we are not mandating it. All of our staff and volunteers will be wearing a mask when in the proximity of other people. I encourage you to follow our example if you so choose.
We will have our volunteers dismiss you row-by-row after the service has concluded in an effort to have an orderly exit from the building.
Even with all these changes, we are overjoyed to be able to worship together again! God-willing, this season of pandemic will soon pass and we can get back to a semblance of normalcy. In the meantime, we will show our love for our God by joining together in worship, and we will show our love for our neighbor by doing so as safely as we can. I can’t wait to see all of you again in person soon!
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