COVID-19: Latest Updates, Together with RLC
Latest from Resurrection, May 7, 9:15 a.m.
Return to In-Person Worship Plans
Dear Resurrection people,
As some of the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak in Indiana begin to lift, we want to communicate with you about our plans for congregational life at Resurrection Lutheran Church.
Resurrection will not resume in-person worship until sometime in June. Though plans for re-opening the State of Indiana allow worship gatherings without attendance limits as early as Sunday, May 10, and the Marion County stay-at-home order is currently set to expire Friday, May 15, our bishop has advised congregations to exercise greater caution and wait until June to gather in person. Through the rest of May, worship, faith formation, and other activities will continue online, and staff will continue to work remotely. Our semi-annual congregation meeting will not take place as scheduled on Sunday, May 31 but will be rescheduled for a date later in the summer.
We will let you know as soon as a precise date has been selected for resuming in-person worship. That date depends on a few factors, including the rate of infection during the first stages of re-opening. When we do come together again, the following precautions will be in place.
- Attendance will be limited to the maximum number of persons we can accommodate within proper social distancing protocols.
- Those 65 and older, as well as those with other risk factors, will be asked to refrain from attending worship for at least several weeks.
- All worshipers will be required to wear masks.
- Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned immediately following worship.
- No coffee or other refreshments will be served.
- Few or no materials will be handed out.
- Any other precaution consistent with guidance from the CDC, other public health agencies, and the Bishop’s office.
Over the next few weeks, Resurrection’s staff will prepare for initial gatherings by readying the sanctuary and other spaces in the building, assembling needed supplies, and developing worship aids with these restrictions in mind. We will also plan for a gradual reintroduction of other in-person activities.
Victoria Hoppes, Director of Youth and Children’s Ministry, has already been in contact with families regarding VBS, camp, and other summer events. Contact Victoria at email@example.com if you have questions or need further information.
Be sure to watch your email and Resurrection’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) for continued updates on upcoming activities both online and – eventually – in person.
Stay well and stay connected to God and one another. Until we meet under the same roof, let’s “make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
Grace and peace,
Update on Monday, March 23, 1 p.m.
To help contain the spread of COVID-19, on Monday, March 23, Governor Holcomb ordered all Hoosiers to stay at home except for work, medical care, buying groceries, and other activities essential to the health and safety.
Due to this development, Resurrection has canceled the special live-stream Holden Evening Prayer planned for Wednesday, March 15 at 7 p.m. Please enjoy the replay of Holden Evening Prayer from Wednesday, March 18.
Update on Friday, March 20, 12:45 p.m.
Worship at Home
We are delighted to share resources to help you worship at home – together with God and each other. The following Worship at Home guide has been crafted with families in mind, but it may be easily adapted for households with no children or those who live alone.
You may use these materials as-is with the members of your household, or you may join others via Zoom or Facebook Live on Sunday, March 22 at 10 a.m. Pastor Mitch will lead participants in these materials and share a reflection on the day’s Gospel reading (bonus: sing along with Pastor Mitch and his guitar).
- To join via Zoom, see the the RLC email update for the join link. Please have everyone in the house join on the same device (this Zoom session is limited to 100 participants), and keep your connection on mute. If you would like to be visually present with others during our time together, you may turn on your camera. Learn to use Zoom
- To join via Facebook Live, visit Resurrection’s Facebook page and continue to refresh the page until you see the live-stream video begin. Click the video to join. Anyone can participate via Facebook Live (no limit).
- Video replay: If you prefer the experience of a full Lutheran worship service complete with congregational singing, enjoy this video replay of RLC worship from three years ago on this same Fourth Sunday in Lent.
Learning at Home
Although we cannot meet in person, learning together can still happen at home! Each week, we will provide online opportunities and digital materials for children, youth, and adults. Questions? Contact Victoria Hoppes, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Preschool through fifth grade: See the the RLC email update for a link to download materials from RLC’s online folder that includes a portion of the Whirl curriculum used in Learning Hour classes. These materials, grouped by week and grade, include learner leaflets, videos, and a selection of activities for each grade. The learner leaflets may be printed, or you can just view them on a device. You may also download videos for personal viewing, however, due to copyright licensing, please delete any downloaded video files after viewing. Do not share or distribute these materials online.
- Youth (grades six through 12): Each week, you will receive a new link in the RLC email update to a discussion starter from the ELCA that is also tied to the weekly lectionary. These are designed to dialog current events with Sunday’s Gospel text. There are discussion questions, reflections, and activities tailored for this age group. Get this week’s discussion starter
Your generosity makes it possible for Resurrection to provide opportunities for worship, learning, service, and outreach that make such an impact on so many lives. As we face new challenges, we discover new possibilities to be God’s voice and open arms in the world. To bring comfort, belonging, and hope in the midst of isolation and uncertainty. Please remember to mail your contribution to the church office or give electronically. If you need assistance, please contact the church office.
More Opportunities to Gather for Prayer & Learning
- Special Wednesday, March 25 Holden Evening Prayer Live-Stream
- Daily Prayer with Pastor Ryan on Facebook Live
- Monday Evening Wired Word Discussion on Zoom
- FaithBuilders & Youth Group Joint Zoom Meeting
- Wednesday Evening Zoom Communion Instruction
Update on Tuesday, March 17, 8:30 a.m.
- Free Friday Community Meals: Thanks to relaxed Health Department restrictions, this ministry will provide 100% carry-out meals for the foreseeable future. We will operate with a minimal crew to heat and portion the food. All items will be served curbside and packed in single-serve containers for distribution. On Fridays from 5:30 – 7 p.m. we will distribute one to-go meal and drink per person, curbside. People may come back for seconds after 6:30 p.m., once the initial group has been served.
- Weekender Food Ministry: The schools dismissed before distributing last week’s food bags. We had planned on placing additional items in the bags this week to help with Spring Break. We are making tubs available to our three schools with these additional items in bulk. If the schools choose to navigate the logistics of contacting families and distributing the food, they will receive last week’s bag and some additional items. We know that at least the Kindergarten Academy will be doing this. Once schools return to session, we will resume packing Weekender bags.
- Live-Streaming Prayer: Pastor Ryan is leading morning, noon, evening, and night prayer via Facebook Live. Some may know this as the Daily Office – a tradition that has always been available to us, but can be a real gift during this time of isolation and instability. Join Pastor Ryan on Facebook for prayer at 8 a.m., noon, 6 p.m. or 9 p.m. (all times are Eastern).
- FaithBuilders & Youth Group Zoom Meeting: Although we cannot gather together in-person during our usual time, we can still gather online! All students in FaithBuilders and Youth Group are invited to participate in a joint Zoom meeting Sunday, March 22 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. We’ll check in with each other, talk about what’s going on, and end our night together in prayer. For detailing on joining the Zoom meeting, contact Victoria Hoppes, email@example.com.
Please continue to watch your email and Resurrection’s social media accounts, especially Facebook, and this website post for updates. And seek out opportunities to keep in touch with one another in non-physical ways.
May Christ himself, who loves us, comfort our hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.
- Special Holden Evening Prayer Live-Stream on Facebook
- Stay Connected During Social Distancing with these Free Video Calling Tools
- Live-Streaming Prayer Throughout the Day with Pastor Ryan
- FaithBuilders & Youth Group Joint Zoom Meeting
Update on Monday, March 16, 11:25 a.m.
- In-person worship suspended
- No outside groups meeting at RLC
- Small groups will now stop meeting in person
- Staff working from home as much as possible
New CDC guidelines released Sunday, March 15, call for no gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. It is clear we must suspend in-person worship as well as all other physical gatherings. No outside groups will be meeting in our building. Small groups that meet in homes should no longer gather in person.
This means we will not gather during Holy Week or on Easter Sunday.
For the time being, assume all church activities are canceled until Sunday, May 10.
Church staff will come to the building only as necessary. All staff may be reached via email. The pastors may be reached via mobile phone as well. Voicemail on the office phone system will be monitored remotely.
Watch your email and stay tuned to Resurrection’s social media accounts, especially Facebook, and this website post for updates on virtual gatherings and faith resources for use in the home.
Keep in touch with one another in all the non-physical ways you can. May the peace of Christ guard your hearts and minds today and always.
Thursday, March 12, 6:30 p.m. Letter
Dear Resurrection people,
As the situation with COVID-19 rapidly develops, we face difficult decisions as a community of faith, but Jesus made clear what is of utmost importance. Enumerating the two greatest commandments in Mark 12:30-31, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength,” and, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In obedience to these commandments, we are suspending all face-to-face church activities except Sunday morning worship effective immediately, starting Thursday, March 12 through at least Sunday, April 5, 2020. Classes will not meet during the Learning Hour, and we will not gather for worship or other Lenten activities on Wednesdays.
If you are at greater risk due to age, underlying health conditions, or suppressed immunity, we strongly encourage you to refrain from attending worship.
Precautions we will take in worship include:
- Refraining from handshakes, hugs, and other forms of direct physical contact
- Sharing the peace corporately and not individually
- Communing with bread only
- Removing children’s worship bags (parents, please bring what you need from home)
- Eliminating refreshments between worship services
There will be no pastoral receiving line following worship, and we encourage you to take advantage of the space in our sanctuary and avoid crowding into a small area – enjoy some extra elbow room, try out a different view.
- We will continue to serve Community Meals on Friday evenings, but with many added precautions. Packing for the Weekender Ministry will also continue as scheduled. These ministries have greater significance now as they serve vulnerable populations that will have a more difficult time meeting basic needs as social distancing increases.
- Small groups that meet in homes, including ChristCare groups and Dinners for Eight, provide much needed Christian community, and we encourage those groups and the individuals within them, to continue meeting as their own discernment allows.
At this time, Holy Week worship services and special celebrations, such as the Agapé Feast and Easter Breakfast, are still scheduled. This may change as circumstances unfold in the coming weeks. We will continue to update this post with the latest information about our activities. Helpful links about virus concerns are included at the end of this post.
A note on giving: If you typically make your financial contribution to RLC during worship and will not attend, please mail your contribution to the church office or submit it electronically. If you need assistance, please contact the church office.
These decisions are difficult, but we make them in accordance with guidance from the CDC and our bishop. It is essential that we try to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible, looking out for the most vulnerable among us. By doing so, we help to allow healthcare providers the space and time they need to focus on those in greatest need of care.
We don’t know how long this period of heightened concern may last, but we still have plenty of resources and opportunities to support one another.
- If you’re unable to attend worship, remember to take advantage of video recordings of worship available on the Past Worship Services page.
- If you have a group that needs to meet, contact the church office to set up a video or conference call using our Zoom account.
- If you notice someone absent from your pew, look them up in the church directory, and give them a call or send them a note. Small touches like these go a long way in strengthening connections under normal circumstances; they are much more valuable when we have extra reasons to feel anxious or isolated.
Please know that the pastors are available if you need support. Also keep in mind that as needs in our community grow and become clearer, our congregation may find new ways to be Christ to our neighbors. We don’t know what that may look like, but we will be in touch if and when opportunities arise, knowing many of you will be ready and eager to serve. If you happen to be one who faces an unexpected need due to these changing circumstances, don’t hesitate to share that need with one of the pastors or another member of your church family.
This surreal time should help us to see why our faith really matters, and it may reveal strengths we didn’t know we had as a congregation.
Finally, let’s draw on our Lutheran heritage and remember, “A mighty fortress is our God!” Or, as the psalmist put it first, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” (Psalm 46:1).
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Ryan and Pastor Mitch
- Gov. Holcomb orders all Hoosiers to remain at home
- Stay Connected During Social Distancing with Free Video Calling Tools
- Pastoral message from Indiana-Kentucky Synod Bishop William O. Gafkjen
- A pastoral message from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
- CDC Guidance for Faith-based Organizations
- CDC Control & Prevention
- Indiana Department of Health
- World Health Organization (WHO)