We have begun a new Bible Study for adults on the Book of Acts. It traces the outreach of the earliest church, noting what the disciples and early Christians did, and how God through the Holy Spirit caused the Word of the Lord to grow and spread. Join us for our first face-to-face activity following the Divine Service on Sundays. Masks are still required out of our concern for the safety of all.
COVID-19 Measures and Mask Policy at Jehovah Lutheran
13 May 2021
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Our King ascends to heaven, Alleluia!
I write this on the evening of Ascension Day, which we will celebrate together this Sunday. Our Lord Jesus has ascended into heaven above all powers and governance, conquering evil and defeating death for us! No matter what happens in this life, we can face it with the confidence that our Lord Jesus has overcome all evil and suffering and will return to earth to deliver us from them too.
This evening, Governor Walz declared the Minnesota mask order to be at an end, effective tomorrow May 14. By this time, many members of Jehovah Lutheran—myself included—are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We are relieved that we can breathe easier, knowing that we are safe and have done our part to help bring this pandemic to an end. Even children 12-16 years old can now be vaccinated, and this is a cause for joy.
At the same time, however, children under 12 are still ineligible to receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines. For parents of children this age, including my wife and me, this is a cause for ongoing caution and concern. The lifting of the mask order raises questions in the minds of parents of children under 12 who want to protect their children from infection.
Also, those who are immune-compromised may face similar risks.
As this is the case, our Church Council has voted to approve changes to the congregation’s COVID safety plan, which includes a mask policy for Jehovah Lutheran Church, until all members of our congregation–including the youngest ones–can be fully vaccinated. As your pastor and a father, I wholeheartedly support this measure.
This mask policy states that we will continue to wear masks for Divine Service and for all gatherings over 10 people, including educational activities, and all Sunday morning activities.
After July 1, if you are fully vaccinated, you may unmask with others who are also fully vaccinated, so long as you do not exceed 10 people in a group and everyone is comfortable unmasking. This would include working for employees, volunteering, or attending a meeting. If children are present, we ask you to mask regardless of the context or group size. Until all children can be vaccinated, we will continue to mask at all services and meetings over 10 people. For the sake of those among us who cannot yet be vaccinated, we ask that all members, guests, tenants, contractors, and employees comply with this policy.
Other changes will take effect along with this mask policy. These include, ending the sign-up and health screenings on Sunday May 30. Changes to communion distribution will be made on Sunday, June 6. Hymnals, worship books, and attendance cards will be returned to the pews beginning this Sunday, May 16.
Sadly, we will also continue to refrain from congregational singing at this time. It is my hope to re-introduce this rich feature of our worship over the course of this summer. Once again, our benchmark for this is a path to vaccination for the youngest children at Jehovah.
Other changes are detailed in the attached document and include a timetable for bringing Bible class and Sunday school back to our building on Sunday morning and sun-setting the recorded service.
With so many things that seem to return to “normal,” I ask that we consider our young, unvaccinated brothers and sisters as we conduct ourselves. It is fitting that we reflect upon the words of Martin Luther.
“I will therefore give myself as a Christ to my neighbor, just as Christ offered himself to me. I will do nothing in this life except what is profitable, necessary, and life-giving for my neighbor, since through faith I have an abundance of all good things in Christ.” (Luther, Freedom of a Christian, 82)
I thank you for all of your prayers and support for your pastor and council during these difficult times. If you have any questions or concerns about our policy, please speak to me or to Marge Avoles, who is our COVID-19 plan administrator. If you wish a copy of the update, contact the church office.
It is a joy to serve you as your shepherd in Christ, and I pray God’s peace and blessings to each of you.
Pastor Joshua Miller
From Pastor Miller:
This evening many feelings are running high after the conviction of Derek Chauvin on all counts. Many in the neighborhood of our congregation have felt these events in personal ways. Let us pray for our neighbors and for our community.
God our Father, You have created all peoples in your image. You have sent your only Son to die for all. Your Holy Spirit calls Your holy Church from all nations, languages, and tribes. Knit us together as one people in the name of Christ. Help us to understand and love our neighbor as You would have us to do. Open our minds, our ears, and our hearts to hear others. Open our hands to serve our neighbors in their need. Open our mouths to speak Your forgiveness, Your grace, Your mercy, and Your unconditional love.Keep us also this night from all danger to body and soul. Keep safe our homes, our neighbors, our streets, and our city. We put ourselves into your loving and almighty hand. Let Your holy angels be with us, that the evil foe may have no power over us.We ask all of this in the name of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.
Our congregation is exploring participation in the LCMS Re:Vitality Lutheran revitalization program. “Vital” is the key component of “revitalization.” Wherever the Word is proclaimed in its purity and God’s Sacraments are rightly administered, there is spiritual vitality. Re:Vitality builds upon spiritual vitality and guides the church in positive action for sustainable, adaptable, focused, and healthy ministry for years to come. The first step in the Re:Vitality process is to submit honest feedback about our congregation from everyone involved. I want to encourage every adult (18 years and older) to fill out this simple online survey. Simply click this link when you are ready to begin:
We need to hear from everyone, individually. That means husbands and wives should both fill out a survey separately. We want to hear from you, whether you’ve been a member here your whole life or you’re new to Christianity; whether you’re a member, frequent attendee, or occasional visitor, we want to hear from you.
Your responses are completely anonymous. No one will know your name, and I will not see individual responses. It is important to be honest and loving in your feedback, so that we can have an accurate assessment about where we are as a congregation and honor the 8th Commandment in our life together. This is an important first step in our outreach with the healing Gospel of Christ in our community and in our lives.
Thank you for submitting your responses by May 9 (deadline extended) and for your prayers during this time.
Pastor Joshua Miller
For freedom Christ has set you free! (Gal. 5:1) Join us on Saturday April 10 from 9:00 to 10;30 a.m. for a Bible study and mission talk with Rev. Dr. Joshua Miller, Pastor at Jehovah Lutheran Church in St. Paul, MN. Pastor Miller will lead us in a study of Galatians 5:1-6, 13-15 and talk with us about an opportunity for mission and mercy in the St. Paul Midway neighborhood. This event will be virtual, and can be accessed through Emmaus Lutheran Church’s website, facebook page, and the link below. Please note that one does not need Facebook to watch the event. Just click on the link, and it will take you right to the event. If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Nick Kooi at 651-424-6294 or email@example.com
(5) Emmaus Lutheran Church | Facebook
Walk with us during this season of Lent by watching our online midweek Lenten services. The services are available here and on YouTube by Wednesday afternoon.
The title of Pastor Miller’s Midweek Lenten sermon series is: “All This God Has Done:”
- Wed. 24 Feb.: “God Gives Us Life” (Creation)
- Wed. 3 March: “God Gives Us Himself” (Incarnation)
- Wed. 10 March: “God Frees Us” (Redemption)
- Wed. 17 March: “God Sanctifies Us” (Sanctification)
- Wed. 24 March: “God Gathers Us” (The Church)
The series follows Luther’s explanations to the three articles of the Creed from the Small Catechism. Our confirmands will read Luther’s explanations.
It is with great joy that we announce a further stage of our re-opening of Jehovah Lutheran Church for Divine Service in our sanctuary. With a decline in active COVID cases in Minnesota and vaccines becoming more available, we believe the time is right for beginning a phased-in reentry to worship in our sanctuary.
In place of the two 15-minute communion services, we will begin holding one live service each Sunday that will last 30 minutes. Masks, social distance, contact tracing, and filling out the Jehovah wellness form will be required at this service. The service will contain a spoken liturgy, sermon, and the contactless celebration of Holy Communion. At this time, there will be no singing in the service. This will be the first step for us in coming back together for Divine Service in person, and other steps will follow when it is safe to take them.
This live service will be held each Sunday at 9:30AM, beginning this coming Sunday, February 21.
If you wish to attend these services please register online for the service at our own website, jehovahlutheran.org.
For the present, we will also continue offering the pre-recorded Service of the Word for those not attending the live services. This service will be available at our website, jehovahlutheran.org. If you receive the recorded service from Jehovah on a DVD or CD, we will continue to send you one, unless you request otherwise.
JELC marks the beginning of Lent with a service in the sanctuary on Wednesday, 17 February, at 6:30 pm. For those who wish, ashes will be distributed. RSVP is required. An online service including a meditation on mortality will also be available that Wednesday.
Join us as we walk the way of the cross toward Easter starting on Ash Wednesday.
Join us Thursdays at 2:00pm in the Schumacher Lounge for an Adult Instruction Class: Rooted in the Faith. In this class, we will look at the basics of the Christian faith from the Lutheran perspective.
All are welcome!
Please contact Pastor Miller for more information.