March 12, 2020

Dear Members and Friends of Living Grace Lutheran Church,

Over the last few days, increasingly restrictive measures have been taken by public and private sector leaders to limit the potentially harmful impact of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 

One of the ways epidemiologists and statisticians say we can combat the rapid spread of this virus is to encourage people to engage in social distancing (see link below) by refraining from assembling in large gatherings. Hand washing and limiting personal physical contact also seem to be helpful in mitigating the spread of this virus. 

I believe we have a duty as people of faith and a congregation to practice these behaviors, not simply for the good of ourselves, but for the good of other people and the community at large. This is especially important in the face of a virus that we have no vaccine for and is spreading at a rapid (exponential) rate. 

We have an obligation to keep the members of our congregation, and our community safe. Therefore, our congregation will model proactive behaviors early on, and do our part, especially by social distancing, to help reduce the spread of this virus.

The Millard Public Schools will be closing their facilities to use by outside groups. We do not know when we will be able to use the Horizon High School facility again. We will continue to communicate with district representatives about a timeline for future use.

What does this all this mean for us?

1. Beginning this Sunday, we will be temporarily moving our 10:00 AM Sunday morning service to Facebook Live as our virtual gathering place. More information about our virtual worship experience will be sent out within the next 48 hours.


2. We will also be postponing all face-to-face church gatherings like the Lenten “Break-Fast” meals, Confirmation, youth activities and ministry planning meetings. We will soon provide virtual faith formation and community building opportunities.


3. We will engage in Christ like and charitable thoughts, words and compassionate actions in our interactions with others, so as to live our faith, build camaraderie with others and strengthen our community.


4. We will pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give us peace, especially in the times we feel fear, anxiety and frustration.

It is my hope and prayer that six months from now we will look back on this time and say, “We really overreacted in this situation, but that was just fine,” or, “I’m sure glad we started these practices early on!” Prudence seems to be the right attitude at this time.

If you have any questions or feel the need to talk, please contact me any time of the day or night. I’m always available to serve you.

May God’s peace, strength, love and grace be with you in abundance. 

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39) 

James Lindberg
Pastor
Living Grace Lutheran Church 
jamesl@livinggraceomaha.org
(402)669-3340


Resources:
Updates of COVID-19 situation in Nebraska
Updates of COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control
CHI Health COVID-19 Information Page

Early Outbreak Response Guidelines

Philosophy:
SYSTEMIC RISK OF PANDEMIC VIA NOVEL PATHOGENS – CORONAVIRUS: A Note