COVID-19 "Coronavirus" Info  

Updated: 7/5/2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

I pray that this finds you well and staying cool amidst the warm weather God has given us!  

 

This Sunday, we will once again hold our service in the sanctuary, broadcast to the parking lot, and post the service to YouTube (and share to Facebook).  Due to technical difficulties, we may have to record the service and upload later in the afternoon. The bulletin and devotion are attached.

 

Also, beginning this Sunday, we will make a few changes to our COVID-19 safety protocol

 

1. Masks are recommended but not required for the service (masks will no longer be required for entering or exiting the building or going to communion).  Our fieldworker, elder, and I will still wear masks during the distribution.

 

2. We will no longer assign seats.  Every other pew will be blocked off; please sit in the open pews with six feet between each household.  Also, you do not need to let me know ahead of time if you will be attending.

 

3. If you desire to do so, you are welcome to kneel at the altar rail for communion.

 

As many prepare to celebrate our nation's independence, I look forward to gathering together with you once again this Sunday as the holy nation of God's redeemed people in Christ. We will pray for the earthly nation in which we live, give thanks to God for the blessings He gives us here, and receive the blood-bought forgiveness of Jesus, which gives us eternal life and freedom.

 

Blessings in Christ,

 

Pastor Burfiend

 

Updated: 5/6/2020

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It has been a joy to gather even in small groups to receive God's forgiveness in the Lord's Supper. It has also been a joy to see many of you at our parking lot services. Even in a time when many fear death, the body of Christ continues to gather around the body and blood of the One who has conquered death. In Him we have life!

Last Friday, the Governor of Indiana issued a plan to re-open the state. As a part of his plan, we are now permitted to hold services with more than 10 people present. In fact, there are no stated restrictions on the number of people present at religious services; however, we are still to observe social distancing (in effect, we are limited to the number that we can hold in our building and still practice social distancing).

We will, therefore, hold a indoor Divine Service (service with communion) at 10 am this Sunday. The indoor service will be recorded (either live or posted later to YouTube and Facebook), and we will also broadcast the service to the parking lot.

You are welcome to stay in your cars in the parking lot and listen on your radio (or watch from home) if you are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19, over 65, immuno-compromised, or simply do not feel comfortable entering the building. Communion will not be offered in the parking lot. If you would like to attend a smaller communion service, please contact me to attend a communion service at 1 pm or 2 pm on Wednesday. I am also available by telephone for any other needs.

In order to practice appropriate social distancing during our indoor service, however, I will need your assistance. Please note the following:

1. I need to know in advance if you will be attending this Sunday's service in the sanctuary. I will be creating a seating chart and labeling the pews where everyone will sit. Ushers will have charts and will direct you to the appropriate door (either door 1 or door 8, depending on where you will be sitting). If I have not already spoken with you, please call or email me to let me know if you will be attending this weekend.

2. If you have a mask, please bring it and wear it. If you do not have a mask, please let me know so that I can contact someone to have one made for you.

3. Additional directions on communion will be given at the beginning of the service. Ushers will dismiss you at appropriate intervals for a "continuous flow" communion. We will not kneel for the time being.

4. Ushers will also dismiss you from the building at the close of the service. Please wait until you are dismissed. When you are dismissed, please do not linger in the hallway.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I look forward to seeing you this weekend!

 

Blessings,

Pastor Burfiend

 

 

Updated: 3/23/2020
 
Dear friends in Christ,
 
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! In Romans, chapter 8, the apostle Paul proclaims the certain hope he has by the faith given him through God’s means of grace in Word and Sacrament: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). We also are given to receive and rejoice in that same comfort and confidence, trusting in the same Lord, for “His love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).
 
On Monday, March 23, Indiana Governor Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-08, directing Hoosiers to stay at home. Governor Holcomb’s order becomes effective at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, and remains in full force and effect until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 6, 2020. Baptized in Christ Jesus and Him crucified and risen again, we are given His righteousness that fears and loves God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, including the governing authorities of our land instituted by God for our good to serve His creation. (Romans 13:1-7) Rather, we honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them. We also give them our prayers and our patience as they seek to serve those for whom their public office was instituted. Insofar as the recommendations and mandates given at this time by our government and health officials, particularly regarding precautions intended to slow the spread of infection, do not violate God’s Word or encroach upon our conscience, we are given to heed and obey them with patient endurance. According to the Lord’s wise, gracious, and merciful command, we at New Hope Lutheran Church will submit to Governor Holcomb’s order.
 
Effective immediately, and until April 6 unless otherwise updated, all regularly scheduled corporate worship at New Hope Lutheran Church is suspended. Videos [and/or livestream] of an appropriate Prayer Office will be posted to our website and Facebook page at the ordinary times appointed for these services (10 am on Sundays and 6:30 pm on Wednesdays during Lent). Even, perhaps especially, in this moment of suffering which is not worth comparing to the eternal glory that will be revealed to us (Romans 8:18), I encourage individuals and families to continue this worship schedule at home as much as possible. The Lord has blessed us with an opportunity for catechesis, and heads of families should consider how to teach the Lord’s loving will and ways, at this time as always, in a simple way to their households. That is, please consider getting up with your family when you normally would, dressing to receive the Lord’s Divine Service as you normally would, and using your hymnal to respond and sing throughout the Prayer Office as you normally would in God’s holy house. If you do not have Lutheran Service Book, please contact me.
 
Nevertheless, we realize and remember that this is not normal, nor is listening to and even participating in an on-line Prayer Office the same as being gathered by and around Word and Sacrament in corporate worship. “Lord, I love the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells…for a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 26:8 & 84:10a). Thus, please do not hesitate to contact me to establish a time when I may visit and serve you with the Lord’s Divine Service in Word and Sacrament. Please also know that you and your conscience are free in Christ Jesus, and you may also, for this brief time, faithfully and responsibly decide to keep to yourself and your family, trusting that the Lord “will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b). In the meantime, I will begin calling you, the Lord’s people in this place, checking in and offering to serve you with the Lord’s appointed means of grace that grant forgiveness, life, and salvation. If you want to jump to the top of my list, then please contact me at any time.
 
We pray: O most loving Father, You want us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing except losing You, and to lay all our cares on You, knowing that You care for us. Strengthen us in faith toward You. Give us grace to trust You during this time of illness and distress. In mercy put an end to the epidemic that afflicts us. Grant relief to those who suffer, and comfort all that mourn. Sustain in their labors all medical personnel and all whose vocations serve our bodily needs, and cause Your people ever to serve You in righteousness and holiness. Grant that the fears and anxieties of this mortal life may not separate us from Your love shown to us in Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
 
 
Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Burfiend

 

Updated: 3/21/2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

In order to do what we can to limit and slow the spread of the new coronavirus among us, we will be taking the following precautions (in addition to the precautions taken last weekend):

 

1. In order to continue offering the Lord’s Supper (which has been called the “medicine of immortality”) and the gathering of the body of Christ, we are, at this time, still offering worship services.  In order to have gatherings of less than 10, as recommended by the government, we will offer additional worship services this week.  These additional services will be offered as an alternative to the Sunday Divine Service, providing the same readings and sermon as that offered on Sunday morning. These additional services will be spoken services with only one hymn.  The additional Divine Services will take places as follows:

 

Tuesday, March 24, 10 am (CANCELLED)

Thursday, March 26, 6:30 pm (CANCELLED)

 

If you are well and able to attend at one of these alternate times, please do so.

 

2. Please spread out throughout the sanctuary, leaving plenty of space between family groups. 

 

3. We will offer a live stream of our services (please see our website for recordings).

 

4. If you are sick or at high risk (elderly or have a preexisting medical condition), please stay home.  If you would like Pastor Burfiend to visit and provide communion, please contact the church office at 260-622-7954.

 

5. We will not hold Sunday morning Bible study and Sunday school for the time being.

 

6. Today, Randy Buuck, our head trustee, will spray disinfectant (Sani Clean) throughout the sanctuary, hallways, and bathrooms. According to the EPA, this disinfectant "has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on hard non-porous surfaces."

 

7. Bulletins will be available in a box outside of the carport entrance for those who have missed church.

 

We are also taking additional precautions in the administration of the Lord’s body and blood.  We will continue to offer our Lord’s gift, trusting that He will take care of us and give forgiveness and life to believers in this sacrament.  Please contact Pastor Burfiend for more information.

 

Please check your email, our church website (www.newhopelutheranossian.org), and our church Facebook page for more information and resources to grow as a Christian during this time.

 

Blessings in Christ,

 

Pastor Burfiend

 

 

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

With the outbreak of COVID-19, I have been in discussion with some of our church leadership regarding our response.  We do not want to live in fear; we live in the confidence that our Lord Jesus Christ cares for us and that He has conquered death by His perfect life, death, and resurrection.  In this time of trial, we call on our Lord in repentance, asking Him to forgive our sins and to grant a speedy end to this pandemic.  Please continue praying fervently for medical staff, those infected, and all who are at risk. Pray for healing and health but, most of all, that Our Lord would bring repentance and faith where there is unbelief.

 

In love for all of our congregation, we have decided to take several steps to prevent the spread of disease while we gather to receive the Lord's Supper in the Divine Service (which has been called the "medicine of immortality" - a medicine we all need!).  Please note that these steps are temporary.  We will continue holding Sunday and Wednesday worship services and Bible class/Sunday School.

 

1. We will avoid shaking hands before or after the service.

 

2. We will not pass the offering plates during the service.  The offering will be collected at each of the main doors to the sanctuary. If you would like to set up electronic giving, please print, fill out, and mail the attached form.

 

3. The individual communion cups will be spread out in the tray so that communicants are less likely to touch the cups of other communicants. When placing your cup in the collecting tray after receiving the Lord's blood, please begin in the center of the tray and  proceed from there, leaving an empty space between cups.

 

4. The purificator for the common cup will be dipped in Everclear (95% alcohol) so that it sanitizes the outside of the common cup after each person drinks.  

 

5. In order to limit the chance of disease transmission, we have also agreed to cancel coffee hour and our Wednesday Lenten Suppers.  These are great blessings to us all, but they provide an extra social gathering where disease can spread. 

 

6. We encourage you to stay home if you have a compromised immune system and if you are currently sick. Please contact Pastor Burfiend at 260-622-7954 for pastoral care and communion at home.

 

7.  Our services will be live streamed on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NewHopeLutheranChurchOssian/). If you do not already have a Facebook account, you will need to set one up.  You can also listen to past sermons at our website (www.newhopelutheranossian.org). In the future, we are looking into the possibility of having the service live streamed on YouTube as well.

 

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  We want to hear from you!  In this time of isolation and quarantine, we want to continue to support one another as fellow members of the body of Christ.  Keep praying the Kyrie during this time "Lord, have mercy, Christ, have mercy, Lord, have mercy."

 

Finally, I encourage you to view a short video on COVID-19 from our Synod President at the following link: https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/resource-helps-congregations-plan-for-widespread-illnesses/.

 

Blessings in Christ,

 

Pastor Burfiend

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        New Hope Lutheran Church

        8824 N State Road 1

        Ossian, IN  46777

 

        (260) 622-7954

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