Service day is cancelled.
Greetings and peace to you in the name of the only One who can truly provide us with guidance, comfort, and deliverance in the midst of these turbulent times. I am writing to you once again to inform you that at my recommendation, the Church Council has approved discontinuing indefinitely all worship services, Sunday School, meetings, and programs here at St. Paul's UCC in order to protect our members and slow the spread of the corona virus. In addition to cancelling Sunday morning worship services, this decision includes cancelling our March 18 Faith Flix movie, March 25 Lenten Simple Supper, postponing our April 4 Easter Egg Hunt, and cancelling all meetings including Women's Guild, Senior Group, committee meetings, and Church Council meetings. What this will mean for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter services and Easter Breakfast is yet to be determined, and we will do our best to keep you informed.
As you know, Governor Tony Evers has declared a public health emergency and announced that all schools will be closed for several weeks. On Sunday the CDC announced that it recommends not holding any gatherings of 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks, and guidelines announced by the White House on Monday recommend avoiding groups of more than 10, which is resulting in the closing of most churches. While this may seem extreme, the purpose is not merely to ensure our health and well-being, but also to engage in a collective effort to help "flatten the curve" and significantly decrease the spread of the corona virus. As this pandemic pervades the United States there is significant evidence from the earliest countries affected, that by reducing social contact and "social distancing," we can prevent millions of people from contracting COVID-19.
I am receiving regular updates from our Wisconsin Conference UCC and resources and ideas around pastoral care in times of isolation, remote stewardship strategies, live stream worship services, on-line spiritual resourcing, and virtual meeting platforms. I am already thinking of ways to help keep our congregation connected and informed, including a weekly e-mail that would include a prayer for the week, scripture readings, a brief devotion, prayer requests, resources for family and children, and announcements.
"For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you, ...for God did not give us a spirit of fear and cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline." ~2 Timothy 1:6-7
This pandemic presents many challenges, but it also provides us with the precious gift of more time at home with family and loved ones. In this season of Lent may we use this gift of time wisely and creatively to cook together, play games together, go for walks and wait and watch for Spring to blossom forth, read more, and enjoy more time for solitude, prayer, rest, and renewal. I encourage you to do your best to be a caring and compassionate neighbor-- the elderly and the poor are disproportionately effected by the coronavirus and our gifts of food, service, and financial assistance to food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens are needed now more than ever. May we continue to help one another practice Care, Caution, and Calm in the face of the coronavirus pandemic remembering and trusting that God is with us to guide, protect, and provide. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, please stay home and consult with your physician in order to care for yourself and protect others. I will continue to do my best to provide pastoral care to our congregation, so please let me know if you or another member of our congregation is seriously ill so that we can help provide support, care, and prayer. And may we all do our best to continue to practice good stewardship by mailing our weekly offerings to the church office.
Please know that this decision was not made lightly, but prayerfully and regretfully, because we know how important it is for us to gather together here at St. Paul's for worship, fellowship, and service. The challenges that this pandemic raises are uncharted territory for all of us and we're all in this together, but our primary concern must always be the safety and security of our members and our neighbors.
Your questions, concerns, ideas for ways we can stay connected, continue to support one another, and continue to serve our neighbors are more than welcome-- feel free to contact me anytime via email or by calling my cell-phone (414.550.1553).
With Faith, Hope & Love,
Rev. Glenn A. Danz
Pastor & Teacher
St. Paul's United Church of Christ
495 St. Augustine Road
Colgate, Wisconsin 53017
(262) 628.2319 (office) (414) 550.1553 (cell)
The little country church with a big global heart
where God is still speaking,