|My prayer is that you and your families are all staying healthy in body and in soul during this challenging time. Be assured, God is in control. Psalm 46:1 “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Word came out Wednesday that there are Covid-19 cases in Williamson County. As a result the authorities have enacted some restrictions as outlined in this news article:
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Williamson County officials announced Wednesday the county has four cases of COVID-19.The four cases are a female in her 40s who has been self-quarantined, another female in her 40s with known travel history to France, a male in his 50s with exposure to a known case and a female in her 40s with exposure to a separate known case, county health authority Dr. Lori Palazzo said.County Judge Bill Gravell issued orders, effective at 6 p.m. Wednesday, that prohibits gatherings of 10 or more until May 11. He said it applies to weddings, churches, religious services or any other activities where people gather.Also, the president of our Synod, Rev. John Moldstad sent a letter to the pastors of our Synod earlier this week. He states,The ELS Catechism reminds us of our duty to our country: What is our duty to our country? It is our duty to love our country, obey its laws, assist its officials in keeping law and order, and promote its general welfare. (Catechism, p. 56)Given the current pandemic growing in our country, the President of the United States has recommended that public gatherings should be limited to ten people or fewer. This recommendation is being made for our protection and for the safety and protection of our neighbors and does not ask us to violate God’s Word.Following a unanimous resolution from our ELS Doctrine Committee, I am asking that our churches suspend public services and urge following the health recommendations and restrictions of our national, state, and local governments. Like other churches across the country we will therefore need to cancel our face-to-face worship services. The county judge’s order is until May 11. Praise the Lord that our sanctuary at Hope is already set up for online live-stream services!
Worship – We will live-stream Sunday service at 10:00AM with a minimum of people present in the sanctuary – myself leading, service musicians, live-stream operators, and a few chosen good (loud) singers. Please watch church online. We need to comply with the limits set by the authorities. https://www.facebook.com/hopecedarpark/
Bulletins – We will be experimenting with displaying responses and hymn stanzas on the screen during worship. However for those who desire it, a bulletin will be sent to those who request one by emailing Stephen Berg –firstname.lastname@example.org
Holy Communion – Anyone who desires the Lord’s Supper may call pastor for private Communion at anytime of the week. Please don’t hesitate to call.Offerings – Pres. Moldstad states further,We need to remind our members that although we are unable to meet for services, the financial needs of the congregation will continue. Urge, or have your leaders urge, your members to continue their offerings. The work of the church will continue, albeit differently, and the financial needs will also continue. We still want to thank the Lord for his mercies with our offerings and the church still has a mortgage payment every month. We ask that members consider our online giving options.https://www.simplechurchgiving.net/App/Giving/hope2950288
No matter what hardships, challenges, or deadly pestilences come our way, we as children of God, redeemed by the blood of His own Son, have nothing at all to fear. It is times such as this when God the Holy Spirit moves us to take to heart personally the wonderful promises of both the Old and New Testaments intended to carry us through on our heavenward journey. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 431-3). Then there is this steadfast assurance from our loving Almighty as we struggle along in this present world with all of its ugly realities: “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10, 11). Our hearts rejoice in certain hope, because of God’s generosity: “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
In Christ’s service and in Yours,
Pastor Bradley Kerkow and the Church Council.