Friends,

            The Session of Chain of Lakes Church met after worship on March 15, and voted to change worship to online following Stay at Home guidelines. 

            This decision was not made lightly. The Session recognizes that there will be a great loss for people not able to gather as a community to worship; however the Session also wants to be part of the solution to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As I write this, the Minnesota Department of Health is not discouraging gatherings of 250 people or less (though that could change) as long as people in the gathering practice Social Distancing. It is impossible to gather for worship and also practice Social Distancing.

Other decisions made by the Session yesterday:

  • Postpone publicity of the Easter Egg Hunt. The Easter Egg Hunt COULD still happen. The decision will be made at the Session meeting on March 31.
  • Allow small group leaders to decide if they want to continue to lead their small groups.
  • Evaluate protocol for COVID-19 on March 31 regarding when to resume gathering for worship.

 

            The church building at Davenport is still open and people are encouraged to come. We encourage everyone to use hand sanitizer when you enter and leave the building. And, of course, do not come if you are ill.

            Details about how worship will be held online are still being made. I will share those details in an email on Wednesday of this week. I do know that online worship will be more than a taped sermon. It will involve music by the Praise Band, Scripture readings, prayers, and announcements along with the sermon. People will be encouraged to give financially. In addition to mailing a check or dropping one off at the church, contributions can conveniently be made online at colpres.org. Click on “online giving” and follow the instructions.

            I want to emphasize strongly that ministry is not at all stopping at Chain of Lakes. In fact the people of Chain of Lakes have the opportunity right now to help people in very important ways. Helping others and continuing ministries of Chain of Lakes will be done differently with much happening online. We can do small groups online through Zoom, an online video conferencing site. Chain of Lakes could have weekly gatherings of the congregation on Zoom, or a prayer vigil for the community on Zoom or even on Facebook Live. Be thinking and praying about how the ministry of Chain of Lakes can make an impact right now with people in the congregation and in the community.

            The Deacons will meet this week to discuss how they can care for people at Chain of Lakes. I also want to mention that the Helping Hands Fund is available for people at Chain of Lakes who are going through financial trouble right now.  People who are disciples at Chain of Lakes can receive up to $300 in a confidential and no-questions-asked gift.

            I will share a daily morning, one minute video devotion called “Facing Fears Without Being Afraid.” Right now it will be shared on the Chain of Lakes Facebook page and my own Facebook page.

            We haven’t chosen this moment in time to do ministry this way, though Chain of Lakes has the opportunity to be the church in a very meaningful way.

            Please keep praying! Pray that widespread transmission does not happen; pray for a quick vaccine; pray for those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, pray for the health care system, and pray for Chain of Lakes Church and the wider church.

God Bless,

Pastor Paul