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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Dear friends in Christ:

We are very glad to announce that beginning tomorrow, May 24th, Grace Lutheran Church will begin holding public services again. Our typical time of Sunday morning at 9:00 am will stand for the foreseeable future. As of now we have still suspended Bible Class and all midweek events. We will continue to practice social distancing measures, including not passing the offering plate around worship (instead you can find it in the back of church on your way into worship), refraining from shaking hands, distancing the chairs in the sanctuary to limit capacity, sanitizing the worship space regularly, and providing the Lord's Supper by continuous distribution (instead of ushering forward tables in groups). We will also be limitting the amount of singing, and printing the entire service in worship folders to eliminate the need to hand out hymnals. Though not required, attendees should feel welcome to wear facemasks as they feel comfortable.

As we begin to slowly get back to worship and back to a more regular schedule, we understand that everyone will have a different opinion about when it is safest to return. We hope that the above measures will help alleviate any fears or concerns and instill confidence as we return to worship. However we certainly respect those who wish to wait and give the situation more time. Private communion is still available to any communicant members who wish to continue to stay home for the present time. Please make arrangements by contacting Pastor Naumann at (608)-306-1011. We will also continue to provide worship resources online and broadcasting a devotional service with the Sunday sermon each week on Sunday evenings at 5:00 pm on 104.3 FM, a Prairie du Chien radio station. God bless your worship however you choose to be fed by His Word.

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Daniel Naumann



Saturday, April 4, 2020

Dear friends in Christ:
 
Since the middle of March, our Board of Directors has continued to monitor the COVID-19 situation, along with all the government mandates and recommendations, to see how best to handle the situation at our congregation. We continue to prayerfully consider all our decisions to be made, and we trust in God’s power, his love, and his timing. Our eternity is secure in Christ, and we know that all our earthly needs will be provided for as well.

As we have considered the Safer At Home act that Governor Evers has issued through the end of April, the Board of Directors has decided to cancel all services through the month of April, including our Holy Week services. In lieu of local services, we will post supplemental devotions and sermons; please look for those on our website at www.gracepdc.net, under the tab “Learning Opportunities/Sermons & Bulletins.” For other livestreaming services around our synod, please visit yearbook.wels.net/streaming. Catechism materials will be sent out to instruct our students at home during these coming weeks.

In addition to the resources online, we also hope to broadcast a 30-minute devotional service which includes the Sunday morning sermon on Sunday evenings on the local radio station. This project is still under way.

Our main concern remains the spiritual welfare of our members, but we also are concerned for their physical safety, as we honor the third commandment and the fifth commandment together. If you need pastoral counseling during these times, the best way to contact Pastor Naumann is by cell at (608)-306-1011, as office hours have been difficult to keep with a Stay At Home mandate. But he still would be happy to arrange an in-home visit and devotion if you would so desire. If a communicant member desires the Lord’s Supper, private Communion for members is also available. However we can best serve you with the Word, that is what we want to do.

Included in the April Grace Notes Newsletter, you should have received an update regarding our congregation’s financial situation. For those looking to contribute their weekly offering, you can mail them to our church at 1515 S. 15th St., Prairie du Chien, WI 53821, or contact Pastor Naumann or our Treasurer Steve Gress to make other arrangements. We thank you for your continued support.

During these difficult times, we are led by the Psalmist to confess, “My times are in your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant. Save me in your mercy” (Psalm 31:15-16). With that confession in mind, we join the hymnist in saying, “My God will never leave me, And I will not leave him; A light my God will give me In pathways dark and grim. He reaches out his hand, His mighty power sharing, My burdens ever bearing Wherever I may stand” (Christian Worship 418, stanza 1). God be with us all.

Pastor Naumann & Board of Directors




Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dear friends in Christ:
 
As discussions continue across the globe and especially throughout our nation as to how best to handle the current threat of the COVID-19 virus, we have been busy with discussions at our congregation as well. As always, we continue to place our hope and our trust not in our own efforts to save or to heal, and not in any human effort to divert disaster. Instead we place our hope and trust in our God and Savior who has rescued us in Christ and delivered us from every disease just as he promised, whether in this life or in the life to come (Psalm 103:3). May God strengthen us as we face the weeks and months ahead. May he continue to keep us safe as we pray for our nation and our loved ones, for our leaders and our government, and for those who put themselves in harm’s way simply out of love for their neighbor. God be praised for all that he does in these difficult times, and for all that he does through us.

Yesterday evening, and again this morning and afternoon, our Board of Directors met to consider what steps we would take at our congregation to ensure our members’ safety and how best to proclaim the Word on a regular basis, as Scripture directs us to do. First and foremost, we want you to know that we recognize how fluid the situation is as our president, our governor, and our local officials guide us and make recommendations and various mandates. We will continue to monitor the situation as a Board on a daily basis, and we will continue to update our members regarding any long-term decisions that are made. The Scriptural principles that our leaders are wrestling with are love for the neighbor to help them bodily and spiritually, honor and obedience to the governing authorities whom God has established, and reverence and devotion for the Word and Sacraments which Christ has given us to gather around.

Keeping all of these principles in mind, and in light of the recent decisions by our governing officials, we have decided to suspend all local events and services at Grace over the next two weeks. The Board of Directors will continue to monitor the situation, discuss our congregation’s role in our community, and meet again the week of March 30th to re-evaluate and make decisions regarding Holy Week worship. In lieu of local services, we will post supplemental devotions and sermons; please look for those on our website at www.gracepdc.net, under the tab “Learning Opportunities/Sermons & Bulletins.” For other livestreaming services around our synod, please visit yearbook.wels.net/streaming. Catechism materials will be sent out to instruct our students at home during these coming weeks.

Our main concern is for the spiritual welfare of our members, as well as for their physical safety, as we honor the third commandment and the fifth commandment together. If you need pastoral counseling during these times, please call Pastor Naumann at (608)-306-1011. He will also try to keep office hours on Wednesdays and Sunday mornings, or would be happy to arrange an in-home visit and devotion. If a communicant member desires the Lord’s Supper, private Communion for members is also available. However we can best serve you with the Word, that is what we want to do.

During these difficult times, we are led by the Psalmist to confess, “My times are in your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant. Save me in your mercy” (Psalm 31:15-16). With that confession in mind, we join the hymnist in saying, “My God will never leave me, And I will not leave him; A light my God will give me In pathways dark and grim. He reaches out his hand, His mighty power sharing, My burdens ever bearing Wherever I may stand” (Christian Worship 418, stanza 1). God be with us all.

Pastor Naumann & Board of Directors




Saturday, March 14, 2020

Dear friends in Christ:
 
During these uncertain times, we want to encourage everyone with the good news of the gospel as well as make a few announcements regarding schedules at Grace. As God directs in Scripture, we are praying for our local, national, and global government and leaders. We are praying for those both directly and indirectly affected by the Covid-19 virus. As we consider the changes to our social lives, we especially want to respect and keep safe those who are at higher risks for serious medical complications. We trust that our Lord and Savior who won our salvation will also take care of our physical needs. While these temporary social changes may alter our Lent and Easter celebrations this year, they can never change the outcome of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We praise the God of our salvation, and our hope is in him.

As we seek to keep our church and communities safe during this time of crisis, we also want to make our place of worship a place where we can gather for comfort and strength from God’s Word and Sacrament, and we hope that we can continue to proclaim sins forgiven in Christ to as many as are able to come. That being said, please note the following announcements:
 
  1. For the foreseeable future, we plan on continue our Sunday morning worship at 9 am. If there are any changes to this, we will let the community know as quickly as possible.
  2. We encourage everyone, members and non-members, to use common sense about attendance. While we want as many in worship as possible, we also want you and others to feel safe about gathering for worship. If you are sick or showing symptoms of any virus, we strongly encourage you to stay home and hear the Word of God through devotions and online resources by our church or our church body.
  3. To assist those who are unable to attend, we will do our best to post bulletins, sermons, and audio content as we are able. Please check our website regularly for such updates and content.
 We will also make a few smaller, temporary changes to our worship service to help ease any uncertainty about attending:
  1. We will no longer pass the offering plate around so as not to pass germs. Instead we will simply gather the offering on the back table as you walk in.
  2. We will not offer the common cup for communion, but only the individual cup until further notice.
  3. The pastor will simply offer a greeting to people as they enter worship and leave worship instead of offering a handshake to as to limit contact and spreading of any germs.
 
On the evening of Monday, March 16th, our Board of Directors will meet and discuss what other changes, if any, ought to be made, including any scheduling changes moving forward. For midweek events such as Wednesday evening Lent worship, Bible classes, and catechism class, assume they are still on unless you hear otherwise. We will again make any announcements as quickly and broadly as possible.

We thank you again for your cooperation, and in all things we trust our loving God who promises to be with his people no matter what they face. Our eternity is secure in Christ, and our salvation is won. God bless us in Christ.

Pastor Naumann

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