March 26, 2020
Dear people of Muhlenberg,
Grace and peace to you! We pray that you are well and finding ways to navigate this strange new situation in which we now live. We’ve got some updates for you on life at Muhlenberg Lutheran Church:
WORSHIP AND IN-PERSON GATHERINGS
Upon the recommendation of our Bishop and the guidelines of our Governor, we are continuing to suspend all in-person Muhlenberg events, including worship, through May 1. At that point, we will reassess and communicate with you. Regular worship throughout this time will continue online (Facebook Live and YouTube Live) at 11 am Sundays and noon Wednesdays, and dinner church via Zoom at 6 pm Wednesdays during Lent. Facebook and YouTube services are available to access any time, so you can get caught up if you miss one.
HOLY WEEK AND EASTER
We recognize that this extended suspension of our in-person gathering means that we will not be together for Holy Week and Easter Sunday. We grieve this missed opportunity for our community to gather during the most important days of our Liturgical year, but we also recognize this as a unique opportunity to practice our faith in new ways. Pastors and staff are hard at work planning for meaningful Holy Week and Easter experiences at home. We will be emailing hands-on liturgies that can be used by individuals and families, and providing live worship experiences online. If you need a hard copy of these resources mailed to you, please contact the church office (email@example.com) by April 1. If you are updating someone you know does not receive these emails, please let us know if they would like a hard copy as well.
Worship services during Holy Week will be livestreamed on Facebook Live and YouTube Live:
Palm Sunday (April 5) ~ 11 am
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of Holy Week (April 6, 7, 8) ~ 7 pm
Maundy Thursday (April 9) ~ 7 pm
Good Friday (April 10) ~ 7 pm
Easter Vigil (April 11) ~ 7 pm
Easter Sunday (April 12) ~ 11 am
We will also provide resources for worshipping at home without an internet connection, and for a self-guided Passion Walk experience.
ADULT CHRISTIAN FORMATION
Adult faith formation will continue during this time. (Click the hyperlinked word "Zoom" to open the respective meeting at the appointed time.). If you don’t have a reliable Internet connection for video chatting, and would prefer to call in to Zoom meetings, contact Linda Depoy (firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-434-3496) to get a phone number for the event.
- Living and Learning through the Lens of Faith continues to meet via Zoom on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am.
- Pastor Lauren's Wednesday AM Bible Study will resume via Zoom on April 15, 10:30 am.
- The Pastors' Book Club will meet via Zoom Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 pm.
While we aren’t meeting in person, the work of the church has not ceased. Please don’t forget your financial gifts to God’s mission in this place. You may mail your check to the church (281 E. Market St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801) or give online at www.muhlenberglutheran.org/give.
HELPING OUR NEIGHBOR
Finally, many of us have been asking what we can do to help serve our neighbor during this unprecedented time. Governor Northam has recently called on communities to provide emergency child care to young and school-aged children of essential personnel during the pandemic. Strict regulations have been issued to ensure safe child care for essential personnel while minimizing the risk of additional COVID-19 spread. With that in mind, Congregation Council has approved the use of the church building for Harrisonburg Rockingham Day Care Center and Second Home to run limited programs for essential workers. We take seriously our Christian and civic duties to care for our neighbors, particularly the ones who are serving us during this time. We remember Martin Luther’s words during the time of bubonic plague in Europe, where he wrote that “We are bound to each other in such a way that no one may forsake the other in his distress but is obliged to assist and help him as he himself would like to be helped.” If you’d like to read more about Luther’s letter, click here to start with this article that includes a link to the full letter. We are also taking every precaution and you can be sure that the parts of the buildings that will be used will be well sanitized each and every day.
CONTACTING PASTORS AND STAFF
Please continue to reach out to pastors and staff through the office (540-434-3496). Staff is checking messages or have provided instructions on how to reach them. You may also call the pastors directly at 248-953-0698 (Pr. Lauren) or 540-309-2414 (Pr. Alex.)
May God bless you, and fill you with love, patience, and grace.
Pastor Lauren and Pastor Alex