ZION LUTHERAN CHURCH
Friday, April 24, 2020
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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Another month!? I think we knew this was coming but now that it’s reality it’s like a punch in the gut. I know I’m tired of all this. I know that families are weary; I know that worry continues to creep up; I know that the frustration of life as “normal” missing is aggravating; tempers are getting shorter; days are dragging on longer; and through all of it, we still can’t gather together as God’s people around the Body and Blood of Jesus. Online church is nice, a blessing; I’m glad we have the technology and Ryan to run it! But we all know it’s no substitute for actually being here, for actually shaking a hand, hugging a friend, and kneeling together at Christ’s altar. I know, friends. I feel it too. Some have lost jobs. Some have been cut off from family and friends. Probably all of us have lost some patience. But you know what isn’t lost? What hasn’t gone missing? What isn’t taken away? The Word of God! None of what’s going on puts Jesus back in that grave or back on that cross. He was crucified. He is risen! His Word endures even as this world is passing away. Below, we’ll have the usual information about how to stream services and so forth, but I’d like to take a few extra words this week to give some pastoral counsel on some things.
“Let my prayer rise before You as incense”
I’ve heard it more than once: “I miss having Communion.” Me too! My great concerns about figuring out some way to administer Communion are first that not every one would have the opportunity to come to church or for me to get to them. So, for the sake of all of our brothers and sisters, I will wait until we can safely gather together once again to resume giving the Sacrament. Additionally, I am aware that it only takes one person—me!— to transmit the virus to many. I don’t want to do that to anyone. A dear friend and brother pastor whom I respect highly has written a very helpful piece about this “Eucharistic Fast.” He has put into words much better than I could some very helpful thoughts on not being able to receive Communion for a time. You can read his article HERE. Remember, the Israelites were in Babylon for 70 years and long before that in Egypt for 400 years! It may not make 2-3 months more bearable for us, but it does put things into perspective and remind us that the Lord does not forget us!
Supporting Our Congregation and Staff
This past week, our Board of Christian Day School committed to continue providing salaries for our teachers. In addition, I continued to be paid as do Brandy, our Administrative Assistant, and Bobby our Janitor. Our teachers continue to remain in contact with our students and to help their parents with any learning needs that might arise. Brandy continues to be in the office every weekday, working hard at keeping things organized and running as she always does. Bob’s hours have been somewhat reduced, but he is still here to keep things tidy, even though our building is not being used too much. For my own part, in addition to our worship services and daily devotions, I’ve been doing my best to give pastoral care, though mostly from a distance. The point is, we’re all continuing in the work and ministry of Zion and we need your support to do it. May I once again plead if you are able, to remember the church, and your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to support your congregation with your offerings? I am grateful for Zion’s commitment to and care for her staff! It is a blessing.
The time will come, if it hasn’t already, when we will find some among us in great need. I know that when that time comes and when we are aware of it, Zion’s generosity will overflow so that no one need worry that the Lord will provide their daily bread. I am always amazed, thankful, and encouraged, by the generous brothers and sisters in Christ who make up our congregation and the ways in which they continually give to provide for the needs not just of our facility but our staff and one another. Thank you!
Congregational Business and Activities
Remember how we were getting ready for next year’s budget, and elections of officers at our May Voters Meeting? Remember how we were raising money for our new parking lot? So much of what we have been up to and preparing for has been put on hold by our circumstances. The Elders, Boards, and Church Council, have all been working to keep things running, to keep bills getting paid, and to look ahead as best we can to plan and be organized. There’s not much to say other than “stay tuned” as we will continue to plan as we are able. Right now, we are considering having our Voters Meeting near the end of June. Of course, any plans are subject to change, but that’s the plan for now. We’ll keep you updated via these weekly emails and our weekly NewsNotes (which you can always download from “This Week at Zion” on our website; see the link below).
Here’s the list of usual information for how we’re doing things right now:
Streaming and Recorded Video
We stream live on our FACEBOOK PAGE HERE.
Our videos are also live and recorded on YOUTUBE HERE.
The simplest way to watch online (not live) is probably through our church’s website HERE.
Make sure to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to our Facebook and YouTube Pages so you get updates when we go live and or add videos.
Weekly Worship Services:
Sunday, 9am – Facebook and YouTube
Wednesday, 7pm – Facebook and YouTube
Remember that all services are recorded and will be available to watch any time after they are live on our YouTube Channel or via the church’s website.
Pastor is live on Facebook every day, Monday through Friday for Daily Devotions. Tune in to start your day with the Word of God and prayer. Beginning next Saturday, Pastor will let you practice devotions on your own on Saturdays. If you’ve been following along, you know how to pray!
We are back to our regular weekly Bible Study schedule. We’re using the Zoom service where we can meet together online.
To join the meeting on your Computer (with camera and microphone) or Phone, click the link HERE.
If prompted use the following information:
Meeting ID: 815 385 0859
If you’d like help getting this set up ahead of time, let Pastor know.
Bible Study Schedule:
Tuesday, 10:30 AM
Sunday, 8:00 AM
Learning the Faith, 10:15 AM
For Learning the Faith, children are encouraged to participate and watch along. We’ll keep the sessions shorter than in person.
Learning the Faith
Prayers for Healthcare and other “Frontline” Workers
We’re including a list of family and friends who we know are working on the “front lines” of this pandemic. If you know of healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store cashiers, and others who are out there working during all of this, please let us know so that we can compile a list of their names to bring before the Lord in our prayers. You can EMAIL, CALL THE CHURCH OFFICE OR PASTOR, or TEXT PASTOR names you would like included. Please let us know their NAME and WHERE THEY WORK.
We ask and encourage every family to consider their offerings that they would normally give to the church. Please MAIL YOUR CHECK or set up your bank account to make a DIRECT BILL PAY to the church. I know there is a ripple effect in our economy. Please consider God’s promise that He will indeed provide us our daily bread. Our offerings help provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ through pastoral ministry and for those in need.
Portals of Prayer
If you need Portals of Prayer (or any other resources), please let the Office know and we can mail you a copy.
I’ve been calling to check in on our members. My number is:
It’s an unusual area code (Southern Illinois) which means you might think I’m a scam caller. So if you see that number pop up, it’s just me. Please ADD ME to your Contacts so you’ll know who’s calling.
This past week, I was able to be with Herb Brennan and his wife Florence during part of his time in hospice at JourneyCare in Barrington. He was living at Alden Terrace and since this all started, Flo was not able to be with him. It was a blessing that she, along with their children, Don and Kathy, could be there when he fell asleep in Jesus Tuesday night. I was able to be there to pray the Commendation of the Dying with them. It was a reminder that there’s still work and care to be done and that life…and death…continue all around us. Your life goes on too and now more than ever I want to leave you with that Good News that whatever your life looks like right now, Jesus is right there with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. You are His precious little lamb and He is your Good Shepherd. That’s coming up this Sunday, the Third Sunday of Easter. And remember that your Zion family is here for you too! The Lord be with each of you!
Download this week’s Bulletin, Daily Devotions, NewsNotes and Volunteer Schedules from our website here:
This Week at Zion