March 13, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The world has seen the devastating power of COVID19 – the coronavirus – in recent weeks. The extensive loss of life is profoundly tragic, and we pray for those who grieve the loss of their loved ones, as we should whenever death leaves its mark.
We’re also witnessing governments, institutions and organizations taking drastic measures to try to contain the spread of this virus. The state board of health has issued a statement that recommends cancelling non-essential gatherings of 250+ people. Whether we all agree about the need for these actions or not, I believe that people in leadership positions are seeking the best medical advice they can find, and implementing precautions that are in the best interests of those they are called to serve.
We should do likewise here at SHLC. We do NOT plan to discontinue our worship or educational ministries here. God’s command and blessing, along with our need for His means of grace in Word and Sacrament, are the overriding factors in determining to carry on in His mission and ministry within our Church Family and community. He has shepherded His people through far worse threats and disasters, and I firmly and joyfully believe that He will do so again and again!
We will also be taking every feasible step toward keeping our facility as clean as possible. That being said, we do not want to take unnecessary risks, or expose our brothers and sisters to those risks, if we can help it. Based on what we’ve learned from the latest communications from medical experts, and my own conversations with medical professionals, we will move forward with the following directives for our congregation:
I don’t know how this pandemic is going to go, or when it will subside. But this I do know: our God is bigger and stronger than any virus! His grace is more than sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), and His power is made perfect in our weakness. That doesn’t make us immune. It makes us conquerors.
Pastor Steve Kline
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church