Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Dear people of Faith Lutheran
As you know, in light of the most recent recommendations announced by the CDC and the Office of the President concerning the CoVid-19 virus, Faith Lutheran has temporarily canceled all worship services, both Wednesdays and Sundays, as well as weekly Bible Classes where more than 10 people gather. However, as I heard a Christian woman say today … Christian Fellowship cannot be canceled. Relationships cannot be canceled. The love of Christ can certainly NOT be canceled. As we sing in the hymn – “He lives to silence all my fears; He lives to wipe away my tears; He lives to calm my troubled heart; He lives all blessings to impart.”
With the Risen Christ’s real presence among us, we can with confidence move forward together despite our physical distance. The pastors and leadership of Faith have met and formulated a brief action plan for the current situation. There are several actions you can take in the weeks ahead.
WORSHIP – Though we have temporarily canceled services, beginning this coming Sunday, March 22, a video-based worship will be offered to you. You will find on our homepage, faithcollierville.com, a link that will allow you to watch and participate in a service with other members of Faith. This video-based format will be offered on the Wednesdays in Lent as well, beginning March 25. An email reminder will be sent to you before Sunday with additional instructions as we finalize the technology. Please share this worship opportunity with those you know who are looking for a connection to Christ. It is our sincere desire to corporately gather for worship at Easter. But as we continue to monitor this rapidly changing crisis, we will keep you informed.
OFFERINGS – In order to maintain financial stability during this interruption to our usual “passing of the plate,” please consider alternative ways to give to the Lord and His Church. The attached document gives you some different ways to give your tithe and special gifts. Please remember that during this disruption the work of Christ and His Church continues among us.
CARE – Jesus said in regard to service – “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Your pastors and leaders want to know what your needs are. If you are in a high-risk group distancing yourself at this time, there are members at Faith who have expressed a willingness to assist with shopping or other household errands. Contact the church office or your family elder if the need arises. Also, if you are a member willing to help, let us know. We encourage our small group members to check in on each other and encourage one another. And as a reminder, the preschool administration is in regular contact with several school districts, state agencies and health departments concerning their schedule and path forward.
Please be patient with us as we work with these constantly changing challenges
As you work through your own personal challenges in the days ahead, know that prayers are being lifted up for each of you. Likewise, pray for one another. And as we speak to the Lord, He will continue to speak to us through His Word and promises.
The Psalmist writes – “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging … The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Together in His Vineyard,
The Pastors of Faith Lutheran Church
We know you were wondering… “How can I consistently give to the Church?”
There are at least four easy ways you can continue to give.
Q: What is Bill Pay?
A: Your banking institution’s Bill Pay Service will allow you to do your banking quickly and securely. You can authorize your bank to prepare a check on a recurring (automated) or one-time basis that will be mailed directly to Faith Lutheran Church (Mailing Address: 507 N Byhalia Rd, Collierville, TN 38017, phone number 901-853-4673). The account number is your envelope number. A growing number of church family members find that this method helps them to remain consistent and faithful in their giving regardless of their schedule.
Q: What is online giving?
A: Our online giving service is a convenient way for you to make a contribution to the church. PayPal does charge a fee, 2.9% plus 30 cent if using a debit or credit card which will be charged to Faith.
Q: How can I keep a record of the amount I have contributed?
A: All online, Bill Pay, Mail-In contributions are recorded by Faith. You will continue to receive quarterly statements.
Q: Is there any charge to me from my bank to give online or via Bill Pay?
A: No. Most banks do not charge to use the Bill Pay Service their institution provides.
Any Additional Questions? Please e-mail the church office firstname.lastname@example.org or call 901-853-4673.
Monday, March 16, 2020
Dear People of Faith
Due to the most recent data and recommendations concerning the CoVid-19 virus, which was published this morning by the CDC and even updated at the President’s press conference this afternoon, Faith Lutheran Church is cancelling all gatherings for the time being.
This includes all worship services, both Wednesdays and Sundays, as well as weekly Bible Classes where more than 10 people gather.
The Called and Executive leadership of Faith will be meeting in the next 48 hours to discuss an action plan as we move forward through these challenges. A fuller statement from that team will be sent to you this week detailing future worship opportunities and steps we can all take to stay connected with our Faith family.
In the meantime, continue to be in God’s Word through personal devotions and continue to pray that the Lord would guide our leaders to take deliberate and decisive action in thwarting this health threat.
Together in His Vineyard,
Pastor Rob Harbin
Friday, March 13, 2020
Dear people of Faith Lutheran Church
St. Paul writes in Philippians 4:4-7 – “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As the pastors and elders, who care for all of you at Faith, we are well aware of the growing threat of a new CoVid-19 virus to our nation and communities. Its uncertain impact on each of us looms like a cloud on the horizon and certainly brings a level of anxiousness that is undeniable. Yet our greatest weapon against any fear is the very Word of God (see above), which promises a divine peace no doctor and no medicine can offer. While we encourage you to be in the Word and read it daily, seeking the healing balm of God’s peace, there are several action items the pastors and elders would encourage you to consider in this time of sickness.
PRAYER – Pray for those who are sick and those who care for the sick. Pray for those whose livelihood has been impacted by the economic turmoil. Pray for the governments and agencies that they would have wisdom to respond decisively. And know that God continues to care for His people and creation.
CARE – In the explanation to the 5th Commandment Martin Luther reminds us – “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.” We want to point out that the preschool administration has a plan in place to respond to the current situation. The preschool administration is also in regular contact with several school districts, state agencies and health departments. Out of care and concern for your neighbor, if you are showing any symptoms of sickness, please stay home. Also, if you are aware of a fellow member who is sick with any illness, please let the pastors know. And wash your hands thoroughly during and after any church function.
RESPECT – Paul writes in Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Some folks have already decided to socially distance themselves by refraining from gathering for worship or making physical contact. Please consider they may be involved with direct patient care at hospitals and medical facilities. They may be immuno-compromised and must take special precautions. Or they may be the primary care giver to someone with health issues. As each of you makes the decision that is best for you please be kind, tenderhearted and respectful of your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
WORSHIP – We currently will continue to gather in worship to hear the Word, receive the sacraments and sing praises to our God. However, for the time being, we will forgo the formal “sharing of the peace” at the beginning of each service. Instead, as you are comfortable, share the peace and greet one another before you enter. The Common cup at the Lord’s Supper will remain an option for those who desire to partake. As to the future possibility of canceled worship, the leadership of Faith will continue to monitor the decisions of local governments and keep you informed.
You may soon be forced to self-quarantine in your own homes for an extended period (to be determined by the government), or you may decide to self-quarantine voluntarily based on your personal risk assessment to the CoVid-19 virus. There are members who have decided to do so already. If you decide to self-quarantine, please inform the church office via email (email@example.com), so that we know you and your family are OK. We will reach out to you periodically to check on you. Should you find yourself unable to attend worship, please listen to the Sunday sermon on the church website.
As we began so we conclude with a Word from God. Christ Himself said – “In me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)
Together in His Vineyard,
The Pastors and Elders of Faith