Pastor's Message on Coronavirus Outbreak and Online Services

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I don’t think any of us thought that we would ever be in a situation like this. No one wanted this to happen. But after talking with our President, and Elder, we concluded that the best thing to do was to close our services effective immediately. We know that we are below the threshold of 50 in attendance, however, both our Elder and our President said that all it takes is one person to get everyone sick. And with this disease, you may be a carrier and not know it for up to two weeks. And who knows how many people you may have infected in that time. We thought it was better to be safe than sorry, especially given the large proportion of our congregation that is over 65.

Since we know who we belong to, and the great blessing of eternal life that our Lord has won for us, our care and worry are not for us, but our neighbour. Martin Luther, who offers some pastoral council during a time of plague in Europe, speaks about doing everything possible to counteract death and the plague by using medicines, avoiding places and persons infected, and the like. While we might not agree with these measures, they are attempts to counteract death, in the hopes that our hospital systems won’t be overwhelmed by this highly contagious disease. However, God’s people should still be taking care of our own souls, as Luther guided, in listening to the sermon, and in receiving the Lord’s Supper. Therefore, even though our services have been cancelled, we will be working to ensure that God’s Word can still be heard for our comfort and growth in Christ. 

Every Sunday, at the regular time, 10:30 a.m., I will be hosting a live stream of the Divine Service. You can access that service by clicking on this link.

Though we are doing the stream through Facebook, you do not need a Facebook account.

Many of you also asked about our Lenten services. These are also cancelled. I will be offering online devotional videos at the above link each Wednesday, continuing the theme that we have been developing throughout our Wednesday services: “A Martyr’s Faith in a Faithless World.”

I will also be available and will call members of our congregation regularly to discuss if there are any needs, and pray with you. I will be available Tuesday afternoons 2-5 and Friday mornings 9-12 for private Communions if you would like to drop in, or by appointment.

In regards to our Wednesday Bible study, I have thought that it would be good if we could continue, although through digital media. Right now, I am looking to continue the Bible study through Apple Facetime, a video call app. If you would like to participate in that Bible study and spend time in the Word of God and have that chance to stay in touch with your brothers and sisters, please send me your Facetime contact.

Like I said earlier, dear saints, I don’t think any of us thought that we could be in this kind of situation. It’s surreal. I know that there have been many times that I’ve prayed that God works a miracle and just whisk this virus away and make it disappear. Perhaps that’s been your prayer too. Yet we also pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done.” God will do what He will with this illness, and we rest ourselves in His care. He is our Father. He sent His Son to die for our sins, and win for us new life that beats death that we would not die forever. We place ourselves in His hands, knowing that He cares for us, knowing that His hand is leading us, and His love supporting us. As the apostle Peter says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) God is with you all. Peace be with you, dear saints.

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Tim Schneider