March 20, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
I pray you are well. These times are unprecedented for many of us, and all of us have had to adjust our ways of living and being. May the presence of Christ be your constant companion as you live and move through these days.
Our congregation will survive. I say this not out of any grand arrogance, or secret knowledge of the future, but rather out of my faith that trusts God will not be stopped by any virus. God’s mission includes congregations. I have never really understood why God desires congregations as much as I have in the last few days of closures, quarantines, and layoffs. People are built to be together.
“Because just as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12.12) We are all connected, and during this time of forced separation, those connections can seem strained, or even not there. But they are. We are connected through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and the waters of baptism (the sign of that connection) are stronger than any virus, virtual or in real life. When you pray, we all pray; when you cry, we all cry; when you are scared, we all are scared; and when you are strong, we all are strong. I pray for you daily, and I encourage those who wish to pray as well.
Our church building is currently under restriction to allow no more than 10 people at a time, and visits are by appointment only. Going forward we will adhere to that restriction, so please note there may be times when you are not allowed in the building because we have achieved our capacity. This means we will hold no events or programs that may exceed that capacity: no worship experiences, no Bible studies, no classes, no activities, and no fellowship events. The building will pretty much be available only for cleaning and maintenance, administration and communication, and personal prayer and reflection in the sanctuary. It is weird to write such a thing, but necessary at this time.
Please note we have moved a lot of ministry on-line at this time. All the material we present is free to be used and shared with anyone, and we encourage you to take advantage every now and then of this form of ministry. We will have worship experiences, Bible study, spiritual practices, conversations, classes, and whatever else you come up with for our spiritual life. Please feel free to record yourself doing a piece of music; or reading a poem or scripture that has meaning for you, or anything else you can think of, and sending it onto us to use in our productions. This is your opportunity to create “church” for our congregation.
Also, during this time pastoral care will be by invitation only, and we will be making calls throughout these days to keep up on our most vulnerable members. If you have the opportunity to call and keep in touch with people, please do so, and if you would like to be a delivery person for some of our homebound people, please let us know.
As confident as I am that our congregation will survive, I am worried and frightened too. I don’t want to have my freedom restricted, my friends unavailable, my grandchild separated from me. Freedom, friends, and family are why I am alive, and they are the greatest gifts God has given me. And to have to sacrifice those gifts for our survival is painful and real. Martin Luther famously included suffering as mark of what the Church of God is, and now I see why. Suffering is not an abandonment of God from our lives, but rather that our lives matter and they are vulnerable. God knows that too, and that’s why God promises to never let us go, and to bind us together forever.
Pastor Scott Frederickson
Although the building will be closed, our staff is still available to you for any of your needs.
Pastor Scott Frederickson, Ph.D.: PastorScott@firstlutheranblair.org 701-471-6997
Dawn Andersen, Parish Administrative Coordinator: email@example.com 402-670-3682
Erika Cada, Director of Children’s and Youth Ministry: ECada@firstlutheranblair.org 402-533-0918
Vince Krysl, Director of Worship and Property Oversight: firstname.lastname@example.org 402-708-1978
Rod Hansen, PMA, Visitation: email@example.com 402-533-0665
If you or someone you know would like a call from Pastor Scott, Rod Hansen, or any of our friendship ministers, feel encouraged to call the staff and let them know.
We encourage everyone to join the church email list for newsletters, announcements, and updates, please email Dawn to be added to the list.
Check the church website, www.firstlutheranblair.org, and Facebook, www.facebook.com/FLCBlair for further updates, announcements, and for video content during this time.
For information about COVID-19, please visit www.cdc.gov, www.dhhs.ne.gov, and www.threeriverspublichealth.org.
Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1Peter 3:8
Vince Krysl, Director of Worship and Property Oversight
As a Church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, regardless of your age, race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, life experience, complexities or questions: we believe that you have a unique story that can only add to the richness of the larger story that makes up First Lutheran Church and the ELCA.
There is a place for you here!