NEWS AND NOTES | March 22, 2020
At St. Paul, Preble.
The Fourth Sunday in Lent gives us the Gospel from St. John 9 in which Jesus heals a man born blind. The disciples ask the Lord, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The question betrays a theology of karma that seeks to find a one to one comparison between our sin and God’s punishment, our good works and God’s blessing, as if all suffering in our lives can be traced back to this or that sin we committed. Karma is a false theology because God is not a God of karma, but of grace. He loves us in spite of ourselves, and he pours out blessings upon us, though we in no way deserve them. God loves and smiles upon us with his heavenly grace for the sake of Christ, who won for us the grace of God by his death on the cross.
Rather than see the man’s blindness as God’s punishment, Christ opens the disciples’ eyes to see all suffering as the place where God reveals his glory. “Not that this man, or his parents sinned, but that the works of God might be displayed in him,” is our Lord’s answer. In other words, God did not create evil, but he uses all suffering for our good. Through the suffering of Jesus on the cross, God worked life and salvation for the world. Through the sufferings of our lives, God works to call us to repentance and faith, that we might confess our sins and be turned toward the one who conquered sin and death itself, that we might have life everlasting through faith in his Son.
We rejoice with Oakley Jeffrey Elwer, together with his parents Travis and Karmen Elwer, on his Baptism, which took place Saturday (yesterday). Oakley was born on Feb. 17. His sponsor is Alisha Bulmahn and the witness to his Baptism is Matt Elwer. We rejoice that God continues to grow his Church, granting life and salvation by water and the Spirit through this Holy Baptism. May God continue to bless Oakley with his Word and gifts!
A (Temporary) Schedule for the Services of the Church. In light of the national pandemic and the directives from State and National government, we are going to heed the Fourth Commandment and those directives related to social distancing—keeping all gatherings to no more than fifty people—by adding an additional worship service on Sunday morning, 9:15am. Our Sunday services will be at 8, 9:15, and 10:15am. I will do what I can to keep these services brief: no more than 45 minutes is the target. But since we are in a time of crisis and the people of God need the medicine of immortality now more than ever, each of these services will be a celebration with Holy Communion. Please consider coming to the service at 9:15am.
The (Temporary) Suspension of All Non-Essential Business. Again, in light of the national pandemic, all non-essential business of the Church will be postponed until further notice. This includes everything but worship, with the exception of Confirmation class, which will continue to meet at 11:30-12:30 on Sunday mornings. All non-eighth grade confirmands are exempt from coming. We need to prepare our eighth graders for examination and Confirmation. Of course I understand the feeling of any parent who would prefer their child not attend—I will do my best to convey the information electronically. What will be postponed at St. Paul: Sunday School, Bible Class, Choir practices, all regularly scheduled meetings of various boards and organizations including Ladies’ Aid/LWML, all classes and suppers.
The Contacting of All Members. At the Council Meeting that met this past Wednesday, 3/18, it was determined that the members of the council in conjunction with Pr. Yeager would contact all members of the congregation to assess needs, both spiritual and temporal, and to convey the information about the service times, and the possibility of recorded services. As the Body of Christ, we are going to look out for the welfare of those members in need. Please contact Pr. Yeager with any needs or concerns you or a loved one has.
Recorded Services. Pr. Yeager is working with the tech-savvy among us to record services, sermons and devotions, which will be daily made visible to members through different mediums. If you haven’t already, visit our Facebook page, St. Paul Lutheran Church – Preble, to see videos uploaded via Facebook Live. Also send him your email if you would like to receive emails with sermons and information.
Loving Our Neighbor in the Nursing Home. All of the homebound members listed above are not getting visitors. Because we cannot visit with them we are encouraging all members to sends cards of greeting and encouragement. If any homebound member is critically sick, we will do our best to work with the nursing homes to see them, as pastoral care is also primary care. Please call Pr. Yeager with the information. He will see to it.
E-Giving. Go to splutheranpreble.org/online-giving/ to establish an automatic offering to the Church through the software of GivePlus+. Members of St. Paul Lutheran Church, and others wishing to support our mission may now provide their contributions through a secure, and Synod-approved online website, titled Vanco GivePlus. To view this opportunity, simply go to the Congregation's website, www.splutheranpreble.org, click the Online Giving tab, then click the Donation Link provided, set up your online giving profile, and follow the simple instructions. More details will be coming over the next several months. Please contact Tim Ehlerding.
Individual Confession/Absolution. During Lent, Pastor Yeager invites the members of St. Paul to meet with him in order to privately confess those sins which weigh heavy on the heart and conscience, and to receive Absolution, that is, God’s forgiveness. The time is 6:30-7:30am Sundays in his office. No appointment is required. See page 292 in the hymnal to review the Rite.
Lenten Midweek Services continue for the next two Wednesdays at 7pm. Our series is the Apostles’ Creed. The Suppers have been postponed.
Wyneken has suspended in-class learning but is continuing with home-based remote learning over the next several weeks. Temporary office hours are 8-11:30am or by appointment if anyone needs to visit the school.
Childcare needs. Childcare services at Wyneken will be temporarily unavailable while the in-school instruction is suspended. Understanding that this suspension of services may place an unexpected burden on your family, we have several employees who are willing to offer in-home services for babysitting if needed. You may directly contact any of the following individuals to check availability and make possible arrangements (including compensation for services, as these arrangements would be made independently of Wyneken childcare):
Adult Catechism is scheduled to start April 26th and 11:30-12:30 and will proceed all Sunday mornings thereafter. Talk to Pr. Yeager if interested.