In this time of COVID-19, we are anxious, afraid, confused, and now distancing ourselves from each other. I truly believe that God shows up in our wilderness and God has given us amazing opportunities to be church in ways we never could have before. We are on our Lenten Journey through the wilderness to the Cross of Christ, and to the empty tomb at Easter.
At the advice of national and local governmental agencies, our synod, and other health officials, the decision has been made to pause our time together physically through March 30th at this time. This means we will not gather together at our building for the following events:
- Sunday Worship
- Christian Education
- Grace and Grub
- Lenten Prayer Service
- Choir Rehearsals
- ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
- Free Medical Clinic (In cooperation with ICT Street Team)
We are committed to maintaining our Community Breakfast program for as long as possible. We are altering our distribution of food to a “carry out” format at the west door. No on site dining will be available until further notice.
We had already been working on developing a third worship service, one that is entirely online. Given the current situation we find ourselves in, we will be opening our digital worship service this week. “Beyond the Walls” will be available from our website www.stpaulswichita.org, on Facebook, and YouTube. We are also launching our Zoom Rooms for online study, Christian Education, and to launch our new program C.P.U. – Couch Potatoes United!
One of the realities of not meeting physically is that giving can go down drastically. We are not stopping any of our outreach ministries at this time, we are also continuing to proclaim the Gospel. We encourage you to continue your support to our congregation. You can mail your offering to the church (checks only). We have a link on our website to assist you in giving electronically during this time. We invite those with extra resources to consider making a special gift to support our existing programs and to expand our ministry in new and exciting ways.
In the 22nd chapter of Matthew a Pharisee asks Jesus “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus answers the Pharisee and indeed us, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” How do we best live into these commandments during a time of distancing, a time where we are encouraged to not meet together as community at our church building?
We believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, and that nothing can stop us from loving God, cease our praying, or prevent us dwelling in the Word. We also know that physically distancing ourselves is one way we can truly love and protect our neighbors. This is physically distancing only; we will reach out via phone, mail, email, and social media. We will continue to be church, church for our community, church for the sake of the world.
O Lord, in this time of physical distancing may we grow even closer together as the family of God. May you be with all those working to contain this pandemic, those who heal, those who suffer, and those who have died. O God, hear our prayers as we commend them to you; through Christ our Lord.