March 25, 2020
Dear Advent Family,
As of writing this letter, Mecklenburg County has issued a shelter in place mandate that begins tomorrow (Thursday, March 26). On Monday, I was notified by Bishop Tim Smith that all congregations in the NC Lutheran Synod should not resume gatherings larger than 10 people until after May 12. This notification follows directives from both the CDC and Governor Cooper as our country takes necessary steps to mitigate the spread of COVID19.
As a community of faith, who loves God and serves neighbor, we understand the necessity of these directives; however, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my own sadness (perhaps selfishly) that we will not be able to gather together “physically” on Easter Sunday.
Nevertheless, the good news of Jesus Christ’s resurrection cannot ever be quarantined and our “Alleluias” will be raised on Easter no matter where we are . . . declarations of new life and hope for the world!
So in the weeks ahead, how do we share our lives together even when we are apart?
Here are several pragmatic steps we have taken to support the life of our community.
- The church staff will still be checking e-mails and phone messages from home. Please contact us if you have any needs.
- Prayer concerns can be sent to Pam Rhynes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Prayer concerns will be added to the abbreviated eNews each week.
- Pastoral concerns will be fielded by me (Pastor Ward).
- Other needs, such as physical or financial, will be fielded by Sharon Thrower.
- A plan is underway for each Advent family to be contacted weekly by someone within our church community, who may be a fellow board member, Sunday school teacher, small group leader, or perhaps another brother or sister from your Advent community. The primary purpose of these contacts is to stay in touch and to make sure all members are supported if any needs arise.
- Board meetings, small groups, and Sunday school classes are being conducted by ZOOM which is available on the internet. If you are interested in joining an ongoing class, we can walk you through the steps to set up ZOOM.
- Modified worship services will be available each Sunday morning at 10:00am on FaceBook (search Facebook for Advent Lutheran Church ELCA Charlotte NC) and then will be linked to our website shortly after.
- Creative ways to lead and post the final Wednesday Lenten service (April 1) as well as Holy Week and Easter services are currently being explored. We will inform the congregation when a plan has been implemented.
- The two primary points of contact and communication with the Advent community will be the church website (adventlu.org) and eNews communications. Stay in close contact with both.
- The 2020-21 stewardship campaign has been put on hold until further notice.
The entire pastoral staff is working faithfully to keep us all connected through worship, spiritual development, small groups, and pastoral care. Our minds are working overtime as we continue to dream new and creative ways to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with one another.
As I close, know that I feel a certain emptiness in my life because we have not been able to gather for worship as one body. I dearly miss watching our congregation sharing the peace with one another, holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer, and sharing the gift of Holy Communion as we gather around the altar and beneath the glorious outstretched hands of the risen Christ who greets us each time with enter the sanctuary. But, this season is not forever and I am confident that our coming together as one body for worship (when that day arrives) will be far sweeter and dearer than we can even imagine!
Finally, I know that many of you miss sharing Holy Communion together, so I have written a short blessing to remind you of the gift of Christ that you always carry with you.
Christ, you have met us at this very Table so many times before.
Now we ask for a sense of your promised presence once more.
In this time we must wait our turn to taste your holy feast;
But as we gather at other tables, fill us with your gracious peace.
Pastor Ward Misenheimer
Advent Lutheran Church
A New Way to Be Community
Welcome to the Advent Lutheran Church online community. In response to the temporary reality of social distancing, we have revamped our digital space in the last week. Rest assured, there will be additional changes to come as we adjust to using this mode of communication more fully. Explore the site regularly as we plan to continually update with resources and ways to connect to one another. We will be reaching out with our hearts instead our hands for a little while. Together, we will take a collective deep breath as we remind each other that we are all beloved children of God.
Sunday worship will be streamed on our Facebook site at 10:00 am - links will be posted here to our new Youtube channel shortly after the service. Wednesday services will be posted here and on Facebook by noon each week. Coming soon there will be a space for a weekly message from Pastor Ward, a weekly devotion from Carol and Godly Play videos from Toni and a message for our youth from Brooke.