McFarland

March 17, 2020

Dear members and friends of MLC,

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) For the safety and well-being of all, and in response to state and county mandates
concerning the coronavirus pandemic, we will be closing the MLC building, beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, through Sunday, April 5, 2020.

In addition, worship services will be cancelled the weekend of March 21/22 and March 28/29. In consultation with staff and church leadership, I will make a determination about services the weekend of Palm/Passion Sunday, April 4/5, and future worship times, as developments unfold in our county and state.
During this time of closure, all programs and activities in the MLC building are cancelled, including Shared Table, Lenten meals and worship, all ministry groups, and all outside groups who rent the space.

These decisions are not made lightly, but they are made with the health and safety of all members of the body of Christ in mind. In order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we will practice “physical distancing” from one another. However, we remain “spiritually connected” through the presence of the Holy Spirit, our shared baptism into Christ, and our commitment to prayer and service.

Pastor Kelli and I will have our usual “on-call” schedule and can be reached by phone or email for pastoral care and conversation. Other staff will be in contact
through email. In addition, our website, Facebook and answering machine will provide updates and devotional resources during this time.

Below is a prayer from national ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, which has provided me some spiritual strength in this crisis:

God, our peace and our strength, we pray for our nation and the world as we face new uncertainties around coronavirus. Protect the most vulnerable among us, especially all who are currently sick or in isolation. Grant wisdom, patience, and clarity to health care workers, especially as their work caring for others puts them at great risk. Guide us as we consider how best to prepare and respond in our families, congregations, workplaces, and communities. Give us courage to face these days not with fear but with compassion, concern, and acts of service, trusting that you abide with us always, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Help us to remember, gracious God, that you abide with us forever, and nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Tim