May 20, 2020
Dear fellow believers in Christ,
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1). For the past two months we have been eagerly anticipating when we could again gather together in the Lord’s house, where we receive his Gospel and offer him our praises and prayers. Now we are ready to resume public worship of the triune God in our sanctuary. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
The Trinity congregational leaders have given serious thought as to how we best apply the 3rd, 4th and 5th Commandments in deciding when to return to public worship. In striving to be sensitive to the views of our many members, they have decided to resume public worship for the festival of Pentecost on May 31. In keeping with our regular worship schedule, the first service for the week will be held on the preceding Wednesday, May 27, at 6:30. Then we will hold two Sunday services on May 31, at 8:00 and 10:30 (please note that we will continue with the regular Sunday worship schedule during the summer months). If necessary, we may make adjustments to the schedule.
While we are resuming worship of our gracious God in the sanctuary, it will not look exactly the same as when we postponed public worship on March 22. We will take the precautionary steps that are being recommended for those gathering in larger groups. We will practice social distancing, both in and outside of the sanctuary. We will occupy every other pew and allow for social distancing within each pew. We will keep the proper distance in the narthex, Fireside Room and hallway. Hymnals and Friendship Registers will be removed (at least for now). The worship folders will include all the necessary information for the service. They will not be shared with those attending the following service. We will sanitize surfaces between the two Sunday services. Members may choose to wear masks.
Even though you love your fellow Trinity members and wish to gather together again, you may be wondering if this is too premature for you, because of health or other factors. This can be a dilemma. We assure you that your Christian family will still love you if you should choose to remain at home for now. We will continue to broadcast our Sunday service on the Watertown Community TV channel 985 and to upload the service to our Trinity YouTube channel by Monday morning (at the latest). The most current service will be linked to our website.
Due to social distancing, worship will have space limitations. We estimate that we will seat one-quarter to one-third of our full capacity. For this reason, we are asking you to register for the service you will most likely attend during the summer months (Wednesday at 6:30, Sunday at 8:00 or Sunday at 10:30). You may do so by calling or emailing the church office or either of us pastors (we welcome texts too). No one will be turned away from worship at the Lord’s house, yet your prompt response will aid us in determining if we should add another service to accommodate the anticipated numbers from our membership. We also need to remember that we want to allow space for guests at our services. So please register soon!
We are making one more request. For sanitizing the surfaces between services, we are recruiting a team of volunteers. The more who are willing to help, the faster the work will go. All cleaning agents and other supplies will be provided. You may volunteer by contacting the church office, either of us pastors, or Steve Gillis (920-261-5005).
Our risen and ascended Savior has preserved us in faith and in fellowship during the past two months. We depend on him for his many blessings as we resume worship in the house of the Lord!
Together in Jesus’ love,
Pastor Brett Brauer
Pastor Dustin Yahnke
Trinity church office: 920-261-3511 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastor Brauer: 920-915-9070 (calls or texts) email@example.com
Pastor Yahnke: 414-614-0077 (calls or texts) firstname.lastname@example.org
Russ Marcks: 920-261-4460 (calls or texts) email@example.com
Trinity website address: www.trinitywatertown.net
Trinity’s YouTube page: www.youtube.com/channel/UCej5540XNuvW4nAjzYGtDWg
Videotaped worship services:
Watertown TV Cable Channel 985
Wednesdays – 9 am and 4 pm
Sundays – 11 am
Website: www.watertowntv.com (click on “Playing Now”)
Peace During Pandemic
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid.
(John 14:27 EHV)
We are living through what could become distressing times. In our country, and around the world, is the COVID-19 pandemic. We have the warnings. We are being told how many people can gather in one place. We are advised to practice social distancing. Many people are getting sick, and some of them are dying.
Many of our friends and neighbors are scared. The causes are various: uncertainty, troubling economic news, fear of sickness, and the possibility of death. We are not immune to such thoughts and feelings.
So what should we do? We are wise to follow the recommendations for preventing the rapid spread of the virus. We take precautions so that we might not contract the illness. We help others as we have opportunity. But above all, we turn to Jesus. Now, as always, he gives us his peace. The kind of peace he gives no one else can give. It is far greater than any kind of worldly peace. He has achieved for us peace with God. Our sins deserved the holy God’s anger and separated us from him. Jesus gained peace with God for us by his sacrifice on the cross. He has removed the punishment of hell and now promises us the eternal peace of heaven. He lives and rules over everyone and everything for the good of believers. We have from Jesus true, lasting peace–for our souls and bodies, for the present and for all eternity.
So our Peace-giver says, “Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid.” Right now with the pandemic around us, and always, he encourages us to find calmness and confidence in him. He loves us. He died for us. He lives. He rules. He is for us. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.”
Prayer: All-powerful Savior, you control everything here on our planet, and you promise to guard us by your almighty power in every situation. We thank you for the peace you give. We ask you to bless us with calmness and confidence in you during the virus pandemic. Protect us and our neighbors from this virus. Provide for those who have and will contract it. Spare their lives and restore them to good health. Use this pandemic to remind us and others of the shortness of life, and the need to repent daily and trust in you for eternal life. In your name we pray. Amen.