Dear Friends in Christ –

Over the course of the last several days, I have been paying close attention to updates regarding the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and Wright County Public Health. As of Friday morning (11:54am), there has been one confirmed case in Wright County. At 1:00pm Friday afternoon, Governor Walz and Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm requested that community mitigation strategies be implemented. These strategies are intended to minimize the spread of the disease, especially to those who are high-risk and to assist the healthcare system so they are not overwhelmed, especially in a short amount of time.
With that in mind and in conversation with Steve Berg, our Church Council President, we have decided to suspend all public gatherings (Worship Services, Bethel Series, Faith Formation, Midweek Lenten activities, etc.) through April 1. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates, especially with regard to our Holy Week services. In the midst of this unprecedented event, I remain committed to providing pastoral care, spiritual direction, and help to all of our members, friends, and neighbors, especially those at risk, who are sick, or are in need.
  • I will provide a Service of Word & Prayer through Facebook Live and our YouTube channel as we have at other times.
  • I will be at church on Sunday mornings from 8:00am-11:30am to provide prayer, mutual consolation, and the Sacrament for those individuals and families who wish to receive the gifts of God in small groups.
  • If you would prefer a pastoral visit in your home, please call the church office, and we can make arrangements for this as well.
  • You are invited to follow the church Facebook page (Holy Cross Lutheran Church, LCMC, Maple Lake, MN) or Pastor Culynn on Facebook and Instagram (@rev_cul) to receive regular encouragement in the midst of all that is happening around us.
  • I am grateful to one member who has offered to assist in providing support for webinar/e-learning opportunities for Bethel students. This could be a possibility.
  • Also, we recognize that there are people within our community of faith who are high-risk or vulnerable to this disease. If you need assistance at any time, do not hesitate to call the church. It is my great hope that we can broker partnerships and assistance as the need continues.
Please continue to take care of yourselves and those most dear to you.
  • Continue to wash your hands with soap and warm water (for at least 20 seconds). I have been praying the Lord’s Prayer as I wash my hands.
  • Wipe down common work surfaces more frequently.
  • Cough into handkerchiefs, into your sleeve, or the crook of your arm.
  • If you are sick, please stay home.
  • Please remember that our children need consistency and emotional support.
  • Check on your family, friends, and neighbors. How wonderful it is that we have the technology to provide care and abide by social distancing measures.
In the face of such uncertainty, it could be easy for us to fall into fear and despair. Pastor Barbara Brown Taylor has said, “We do not lose control of our lives. What we lose is the illusion that we were ever in control in the first place.” God reminds us of his power and support in Scripture: “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) He sent Jesus to heal and to save. I have been imagining Christ walking among us even now and caring for the sick (Mark 1:32-34). The Lord is with us. He continues to fight for the life and well-being of his good creation; that includes each of you. He invites us to call upon him in prayer, and so we pray together:
Keep watch, dear Lord with those who work
or watch or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ;
give rest to the weary,
bless the dying,
soothe the suffering,
pity the afflicted,
shield the joyous;
all for your love’s sake.
Peace to you all, I pray,
Pastor Culynn
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