Update to Opening the Doors of Advent – Time to come back!

Dear fellow redeemed,

It has now been almost six months since COVID-19 disrupted our lives, bringing many changes and uncertainty. As schools, workplaces and businesses have opened, this letter intends to encourage you. Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church is open and the Lord has gifts to give you! This letter will also explain our current policies and hopefully, answer any lingering questions that our members may have.

But first, it is good, right and salutary that we hear of the steadfast love of the Lord which endures forever and His mercy which never comes to an end.

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. Malachi 3:6

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. Psalm 102:25-27

The Lord does not change. He is the same. His years have no end. We are His children, adopted into His family through the waters of Holy Baptism with our names written into the Lamb’s Book of Life! As such, COVID-19 will not consume us, nor death itself. You have been purchased, redeemed and set free from the morbidity of sin, death and the devil by your Savior’s life, death and resurrection. Christus victor!

The Word, Christ, yet prevails. Thus one of our favorite liturgical verses, from the Prayer Office of Matins, is Psalm 119:89, sung as a Common Responsory after the Readings: Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. And the refrain from Luke 11:28 is a great reminder and confession of where and how we receive His gifts of forgiveness of sins, life and salvation: Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. Marvelous!

It has been such a blessing to see so many of you here in this place, either for individual/household Absolution & Sacrament or Divine Service. His glory comes where His Word is read and preached and His Sacraments rightly administered. Thus His house is a place He has consecrated and set aside, for you. He bids you come, without fear, worry or restraint. Thanks be to God that Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church has been able to do just this in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic! From the start of the pandemic when we chose to temporarily postpone our large Sunday gatherings, we offered a very safe option of coming individually or by household for a short 15 minute service where your sins have been Absolved, even fed with the very Body and Blood of Jesus. We also offered, and continue to do so, a Livestreamed service for you to hear the Word read and preached, all the while knowing that church never really closes! Having heard from many of you that have been quarantined, we are pleased that this has been a blessing to you. And after we reconvened Sunday services, though limited at first, you were once again able to gather, even with 6’ distancing and masks, with your fellow saints in this place.

If you are still sheltering in place and never leaving your home, our private individual or household services at church are still available to you. And if you are venturing out of your home (grocery store, gas station, doctor’s office, work, etc), then you should be able to come back to this place knowing that this is the Lord’s will and desire for you. And when and if you require quarantine, know that we will continue to offer the Livestreamed services and Bible Studies, all the while looking forward to when your quarantine ends.

However, if you are not under quarantine and have not come to church, either privately, or corporately, we would humbly encourage you to do so. It is at such a time as this where the Lord’s gifts should be of great desire and value to a Christian. In 1350 the Bubonic Plague (Black Death) swept through Europe, killing over 1/3 of the population. There was a recurrence of it in 1527 in Wittenberg. Elector John Frederick ordered Luther to leave, especially since his wife Katie was pregnant. Luther stayed, also writing some wise words of counsel for his flock that encouraged quarantine as needed. However, he yet encouraged and provided opportunities for them to receive Word and Sacrament. He wrote: “One must admonish the people to attend church and listen to the sermon so that they learn through God’s word how to live and how to die.” https://blogs.lcms.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Plague-blogLW.pdf

As we have learned that the digital/online classroom for our schools is not a replacement for in-person attendance, so we have also learned the same for church and worship. To be fair, the Covid-19 pandemic has tested our faith and our trust in God. We certainly should not tempt God, as Luther writes in his essay (link above and also used for Bible Class on Sunday August 16th, 23rd & 30th, which you can watch/listen to on our YouTube channel). But we also should not ignore His commands or His gifts. Thus, we protect our neighbor. We wear a mask. We social distance. But we do not neglect our faith nor the reception of Word and Sacrament. Our reality has not changed because of Covid-19 nor has our need for our Lord’s gifts.

Consider Psalm 44:22 and Romans 8:36,

We face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

Therefore, thanks be to God that HE does not change NOR His means of sustaining our life here and unto eternity!
With all of our effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19 we simply ask this question for all of us to ponder: are we making the same effort to receive the Lord’s gifts?

Scripture instructs us: do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

Perhaps you are filled with fear and worry about coming to this place, individually or as a household, or gathering with others. Come receive His gifts! Have no fear little flock!

A Christian’s vocation is not one of fear, but rather of trusting that our life is in God’s hands and that even our days and life have been planned accordingly by Him!

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:16

Thus we have taken good and necessary precautions as outlined in our reopening plan. And for the time being, these will continue. We remain in between Stage 4 and Stage 5, summarized in the attachment that follows. Know that our leadership team is steadfastly monitoring both state, local and synod/district guidances and will update the congregation if a change from our current situation is warranted.

May the steadfast love of the Lord which endures forever and His mercy which never comes to an end preserve us in body and soul until life everlasting. Amen.

Peace be with you,

Pr. Mackay, Pr. Grady, Mr. Chuck Long (Chairman) & Mr. Steve Vogtman (Head Elder)

O come, let us sing to the Lord,
Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise.

For the Lord is a great God
And a great king above all gods.
The deep places of the earth are in His hand;
The strength of the hills is His also.

The sea is His, for He made it,
And His hand formed the dry land.
O come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker.

For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and sheep of His hand.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son
And to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Venite “O Come, Let Us Sing” Psalm 95:1-7 LSB Matins p. 220
Used by permission. © 2018 Concordia Publishing House

Stage 4.5

  • The Church is open during normal office hours Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:00pm
  • Private Individual/Household Services can be scheduled through our website, by calling the Church Office or one of the Pastors.
  • Sunday Divine Services are at normal times of 8:15am and 10:45am • Sunday Bible Class is held at 9:40am in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Sunday School, Weekly Bible Studies, Confirmation Classes and other events will reconvene after Labor Day, with appropriate protocols in place.
  • You should NOT come to church, according to current State & CDC guidelines, if: you have a new cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pains, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea or new loss of taste or smell within the last 14 days.
  • When you do come to church, we ask that you please wear a mask and maintain 6’ separation from other individuals/households.
  • Please bring with you: hand sanitizer and a few disinfectant wipes in a Ziploc bag. We are unable to provide these supplies for every member, although we have two tables in the Narthex with these supplies as available. Donations will be gladly accepted!
  • Restrooms will remain open, but please use at your own risk. We will be unable to properly sanitize and clean during the services, between the Sunday morning services or after each individual use. Rest assured, all areas will be sanitized and cleaned by our custodial staff during the week. • Enter the church no earlier than 10 minutes before the schedule service.
  • The Order of Service (bulletin) will be printed for you on a stand as you enter. Hymnals are in the pews but use at your own risk/desire. Please wipe them down if you do use them. Attendance books are still removed for the time being.
  • Offering Plates will also be set on stands for you to drop your contribution.
  • You may sit anywhere in the Sanctuary in the pews NOT marked with with blue painter’s tape, maintaining at least 6’ separation from other parishioners. If you have questions about this or need assistance when seating, the Elders will be available to direct parishioners while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
  • For communion, please wait patiently in your pew until an Elder or Usher motions to you. You and/or your household should then come down the Center Aisle, maintaining appropriate distance between other Individuals and/or Households that will be in front and behind you. You may kneel or stand at the Communion Rail. Please maintain appropriate distance from other parishioners. If you are wearing a mask, please remove it and hold out your hand to receive our Lord’s Body, the Common Chalice and/or Individual Chalice. After communion, please exit to the side aisle, placing the individual chalices carefully in the bowl provided. Then return to your seats, maintaining appropriate distance from the other communicants.
  • After the Service has concluded, please wipe down the pew where you have been sitting, using the wipes you brought with you, and any parts or items that you have touched. Please depart the Sanctuary immediately through the Narthex, maintaining appropriate distance from other individuals/households. https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/files/IN_COVID-19%20contact%20tracing%20FAQ%207.23.20.pdf
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, please isolate at home as recommended by the Indiana Department of Health. Those who test positive will be contacted by the health department (i.e., contact tracing). This is to determine who you have been in close contact with and based on that who would subsequently require quarantining for 14 days. The health department defines close contact as anyone you have been within 6 feet of for more than 15 minutes. https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/files/IN_COVID-19%20contact%20tracing%20FAQ%207.23.20.pdf
    • If you were in close contact with another member of the congregation at church and need help identifying them please contact us as we may be able to assist you.
  • If you have been in close contact (i.e., within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, please quarantine at home as recommended by the Indiana Department of Health. While you may not have symptoms, 25-40% of persons who test positive for COVID will have no symptoms but may still be able to pass the virus on to someone else. Persons should quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they test negative after an exposure. Information on home quarantine can be found at https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/files/Family%20quarantine_COVID-19_8-17-20.pdf
  • If you are thus quarantined due to Covid-19, please notify the Pastors and/or your Elder so that they may pray with you and encourage you accordingly. Please utilize our online services and studies during this time.
  • Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church is required by law to maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable laws in accordance with religious practices. Our policy at Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church is to follow the guidelines of the Indiana Department of Health.
  • In the event of an outbreak or mass occurrence, we will follow the direction of the Indiana Department of Health, which will most likely be a 14 day closure.
  • Additional resources or references that inform our current policy can be found at:

https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/files/IN_COVID-19_Worship_6.27.20.pdf
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/faith-based.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fphp%2Ffaith-based.html



Opening the Doors of Advent

Dear Advent Family,                                [ DOWNLOAD this as a PDF ]
 
Perhaps it has felt like an eternity, but it was just eight weeks ago on March 11th that all services and activities here at Advent Lutheran Church & School were cancelled.  In the midst of the affliction we have faced because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Word of the Lord yet rings loud and true:
 
“For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”                         2 Corinthians 4:17-18
 
Let us pray.
Almighty God, heavenly Father, give us grace to trust You during this time of illness and distress.  In mercy put an end to the pandemic that afflicts us.  Grant relief to those who suffer, and comfort all who mourn and are downtrodden.  Sustain all medical personnel in their labors, and cause Your people ever to serve You in righteousness and holiness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
 
Alleluia!  Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!
 
The best of news is not what was announced by Governor Holcomb on Friday, May 1st.  The best of news is what Christ our Savior has done for you, nay, for the whole world!  Through His incarnation into our flesh, His complete fulfillment of Holy Law, the Lamb of God hung in utter distress upon Calvary’s tree, bearing all punishment and sin upon His sacrificial shoulders.  He did this for you!  Into death and the grave He descended, being raised for our justification.  The best of news is His complete justification…for you…to be received by faith, covered in Holy Baptism, absolved through His life-giving Word and fed into your very mouths.  Good news indeed.
 
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as through something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”                                                      1 Peter 4:12-13
 
For the past eight weeks, His Word has continued to be preached and taught according to its truth and purity and His Sacraments have been rightly administered.  Granted, here at Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church this has taken place over the internet and in private gatherings of individual households through Absolution & the Sacrament.  O how we yearn for the opportunity to gather together again in our beloved sanctuary, receiving His gifts without restriction or encumbrance! 
 
And should our Lord yet tarry in His return, that day, dear members will come. 
 
By now, most of you have probably heard or read of Indiana’s stages for reopening.  While some of you might chafe at the restrictions from the State and Federal government to date, we do not believe that we as churches are being persecuted for our faith in doctrine and practice. 
 
God’s Holy word teaches us:
 
“Be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good.”              Titus 3:1
 
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.”
1 Peter 2:13-14 
 
“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:2
 
Accordingly, Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church & School has thus far followed the recommendations and guidelines sent forth, by our Governor and Federal government. 
 
And so, when we will be able to gather together again in our beloved sanctuary, receiving His gifts without restriction or encumbrance?
 
This may be the foremost question on our minds and hearts!
 
After careful consideration and consolation with the Pastors, the Board of Elders, our Chairman, as well as a sampling of current active and practicing physicians in our parish, we humbly submit the following plan for reopening our church doors.  Please note that we cannot address all the many variables and details associated with reopening.  Be smart!  Use your best judgment!  Details will be addressed further in the Q&A which follows. 
 
Here is an overview of our plan that has been mutually agreed upon:
 
 
Stage 1 (March 11th – May 9th)
  • School and Church closed with only essential staff working
  • Services and Bible Classes streamed online
  • Absolution & the Sacrament available by appointment for individual households (under 10 persons at a time)
Stage 2 (May 10th – May 23rd)
  • School remains closed
  • Church Office reopens with normal hours of 8:00am-4:00pm
  • Even though the State of Indiana is allowing churches to “reopen”, the restriction on social gatherings is limited to 25 (instead of 10).  The spirit of the law is best understood as services such as “weddings, funerals and baptisms.”  We read the following from the State of Indiana:  “Religious services may convene inside places of worship. There are specific practices that should be considered for in-person services that are driven by social distancing guidelines and protections for those 65 and older and individuals with known high-risk medical conditions. Examples of services include weddings, funerals, and baptisms.”                                                
 
It is not feasible nor advisable to therefore “reopen” our church doors just yet for the following reasons:
  • We would need at least 12 services on Sunday based on attendance
  • It would be difficult to clean and provide a safe environment
  • We are in the process of installing permanent cameras and equipment for continued “streaming” of services, which many will still need for the foreseeable future.  Currently, we have wires, mics and cameras draped over pews and the floor which would be hazardous for worshipers. 
  • As such and for the time being, we will continue Stage 1 practice of streaming the Sunday Divine Service and offering Absolution & the Sacrament by appointment
Stage 3  (May 24th– June 13th)
We kindly ask you to also follow and practice social distancing.  Masks are allowed and encouraged to be worn, but please note that not all members will choose to do so.  If you are uncomfortable with this, please continue to “shelter-in-place” at home, watching the services online and/or making use of a scheduled time for Absolution & the Sacrament.
Restrooms will remain open, but please use at your own risk.  We will be unable to properly sanitize and clean during the services or even between the Sunday morning services.  Rest assured, all areas will be sanitized and cleaned as normal during the week. 
 
According to current State & CDC guidelines, consider not attending if:  
  • You are high risk and/or age 65 and older
  • If you have had a new cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pains, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea or new loss of taste or smell within the last 14 days.
  • Use your best judgment for your own health and that of your neighbor.  It is not sinful to continue “sheltering-in-place”, participating in the Divine Service from home via our streamed service and/or making use of the offered opportunities for Individual Absolution & the Sacrament as needed.
  • Starting May 24th and for the next two Sundays (5/31 & 6/7), we will reopen our doors and offer a 45 minute Divine Service at the following times:  8:15am, 9:30am, 10:45am. 
  • In order to attend one of the services, you will need to sign up online (link below), call the Pastors or the Church Office.  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090b4eadac29a4fb6-sunday
  • There will be no Bible Class, Fellowship or Sunday  School
 
Social distancing measures will be in place with the following practices: 
 
  • Enter the church no earlier than 10 minutes before the schedule service
  • Church doors will be opened before, during and after each service
    No congregating with others outside your household in the Narthex, Sanctuary or other parts of the Church
  • The Order of Service will be printed for you on a stand as you enter.  There will be no hymnals, bibles, tracts or attendance books in the pews.
  • Offering Plates will also be set on stands for you to drop your contribution
  • You may sit anywhere in the Sanctuary in the pews NOT marked with blue painter’s tape, maintaining at least 6’ separation from other parishioners.  To clarify, open seating will look like a normal pew.  Households may sit together but need to maintain separation from other individuals and households.  If you have questions about this or need assistance when seating, the Elders will be available to direct parishioners while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
  • For communion, an Usher or Elder will direct you and/or your household to come forward down the Center Aisle.  Maintaining separation and moving towards the Chancel, you will await the Pastor’s invitation to come forward.  After he has directed you forward, please come forward to either side of the Chancel, where a tray will be placed on a stand, containing our Lord’s Body and Blood.  At the Pastor’s direction, you may eat and drink of our Lord’s precious Body and Blood.  Please note that for the sake of social distancing and sanitary practices, we will not be using the Chalice or kneel at the Communion Rail for these three Sundays only.   
  • After communing, please return to your pew location, dropping the glass individual cups in a bowl placed off the side aisle.  Please do not let your children touch or play with this sanitizing solution. 
  • After the Service has concluded, please wait patiently in the pew until directed by an Elder or Usher.  During this time, using the disinfectant wipes you have brought with you, please wipe down the pew where you have been sitting and any parts or items that you have touched. 
  • Once you are dismissed by an Usher or Elder, please depart immediately through Narthex.  The Ushers and Elders will then proceed to clean and ready the sanctuary for the next service.  Congregating after the Service in the Sanctuary, Narthex or other parts of the Church will be discouraged.

    Stage 4 (June 14th– July 4th)

    • Social distancing measures still encouraged
    • There will be no Bible Class, Fellowship or Sunday  School
    • Offering plates still placed by the doors
    • Hymnals and bibles placed back in pews for use
    • Kneeling at the Communion Rail and offering of the Chalice returned to practice, as is Distribution by the Pastors. 
    • Individuals and households will still be asked to wipe down (disinfect) the hymnals, pews and any item they touched before departing Sanctuary.
    • June 14th will be a grand and glorious service, barring any changes from the State regarding the Covid-19 pandemic

    Stage 5 (July 5th onward)
    Services continue as before
    Social distancing measures still encouraged!
    Bible Study & Fellowship in between services reconvenes!
    There will be no Sunday School for the rest of the summer (this could change)
     
    Please be patient as we slowly “reopen” our doors, attempting to honor our authorities and protect our neighbor.   For those still “sheltering-in-place” by choice or illness, we will continue to stream our services online as well as offer individual and household opportunities for Absolution & the Sacrament. 
     
    This is our current plan moving forward, which of course could change as needs or circumstances arise.  Please use common sense and good judgment for you and/or your family!
     
    Have no fear little flock!

    As “social gatherings” will be increased to 250, we will resume our “normal” schedule of Sunday Divine Services at 8:15am & 10:45am with no signup required.

In Thine arms I rest me;
Foes who would molest me
    Cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
Ev’ry heart be quaking,
    Jesus calms my fear.
        Lightnings flash
        And thunders crash;
Yet, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.
 
Satan, I defy thee;
Death, I now decry thee;
    Fear, I bid thee cease.
World, thou shalt not harm me
Nor thy threats alarm me
    While I sing of peace.
        God’s great pow’r
        Guards ev’ry hour;
Earth and all its depths adore Him,
Silent bow before Him.
 
Hence, all fear and sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
    Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
    Still have peace within.
        Yea, whate’er
        I here must bear,
Thou art still my purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure!
 
Lutheran Service Book #743  “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”  Text: Public domain
 
Let us pray.
Almighty God, merciful Father, Your thoughts are not our thoughts, and Your ways are not our ways.  In Your wisdom you have permitted this pandemic to befall us.  Keep all of us from despair and do not let our faith fail us, but sustain and comfort us.  Direct all efforts to attend the sick, console the bereaved, and protect the helpless.  Deliver any who are still in danger, and bring hope and healing that we may find relief and restoration;  through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 
 
Peace be with you,
Pr. Mackay, Pr. Grady, Mr. Chuck Long (Chairman) & Mr. Steve Vogtman (Head Elder)

REMINDER:  We will be Livestreaming this announcement tonight at 7:00pm on our YouTube channel:

At that time, we will also take questions by text or email:  317-847-7215  mmackay@adventlutheran.org

 
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

When can I come back to church?
The opportunity to come to church and receive Absolution & the Sacrament has been offered for you as an individual or household since the initial closure and will continue for the foreseeable feature.  You may signup online, call the Church Office or either of the Pastors to schedule a time to do so. Starting Sunday May 24th, services of 100 or less will take place at 8:15am, 9:30am and 10:45am.  You will need to signup ahead of time here:  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090b4eadac29a4fb6-sunday 
Beginning Sunday June 14th, we will resume our “normal” worship schedule of 8:15am and 10:45am with no signup required. 

What can I expect when I come back to church on May 24th ?
Please bring hand sanitizer and a few disinfectant wipes with you.  Please do not enter the building prior to 10 minutes before the service.  The doors will be open and an Elder/Usher will direct you immediately to the Sanctuary.  Face masks and social distancing practices will be allowed and encouraged.    Please pick up a printed order of service and as you desire, placing your offering in the collection plates on a stand.  You may sit anywhere in the Sanctuary in the pews NOT marked with blue painter’s tape, maintaining at least 6’ separation from other parishioners.  To clarify, open seating will look like a normal pew.  Elders will be present to assist you if you have questions.  There will be no hymnals or bibles in the pews, so feel free to bring your own for the singing of hymns.  The Divine Service will be shortened slightly so that all may have the opportunity to worship.  For communion, an Elder/Usher will dismiss you and/or your family to come down the center aisle, maintaining 6’ separation between those in front and behind you.  There will be a stand with a tray containing our Lord’s Body and Blood placed on each side of the Baptismal Font.  No kneeling at the rail will be allowed at this time.  Only one individual and/or family should come forward at a time, at the direction of the Pastor.  After the individual and/or family has communed, please wait until they depart down the side aisle to come forward, at the direction of the Pastor.  At the conclusion of the service, an Elder/Usher will dismiss you.  While waiting, please take a moment to wipe down the pew you have been sitting in and anything you have touched.  Please depart the Sanctuary through the Narthex immediately.  The Elders will then begin to clean and ready the sanctuary for the next service.  Congregating in the Narthex or other parts of the Church will not be allowed at this time. 

Can I bring friends or other family members with me?
Yes, but use your best judgment.  For the services on May 24th, May 31st and June 7th, all those in attendance are required to sign up online.  After June 14th, all may come as they are willing and able! 

Will there continue to be online services?
Yes.  We will continue offering weekly Services and Bible Studies via our website and our YouTube channel.  Thanks to a few generous donations, new cameras and equipment are being installed in the Sanctuary, Library and Fellowship Hall.  You may watch them online at http://www.adventlutheran.org  or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7WT2Fb-oxn7Fs7dfYgDuzw/featured   There will also continue to be a printed bulletin for you to download and follow/participate at home with your family. 

Can I still communicate with the Pastors if I need Private Confession & Absolution, Counseling or help?
Yes, please!     
Pr. Mackay’s cell #  (317) 847-7215  
email mmackay@adventlutheran.org
Pr. Grady’s cell #     (317) 372-6289    
email jgrady@adventlutheran.org

What if I need/desire communion and choose not to attend services just yet?
Our Pastors will continue to be available by appointment to give you Absolution and the Sacrament.  Please do the following:  use the online sign-up on our website, call the Church Office or call the Pastors directly. 

What if I need help with bills, food and/or medicine?
Please call the Pastors, the Church Office, any of the Elders or a fellow Advent member.  Please don’t hesitate to let us know your needs.  We are here to help!

Why are we slowly reopening instead of just immediately “returning to normal”?
For the good of our neighbor and in obedience to our civil authorities. 

What about other activities?  (Council, Board Meetings, Choir, etc)?
While most of these meetings have been taking place online or via conference call, we will slowly begin to have in-person meetings.  Your Chairperson or Director will be in touch with you regarding these meetings.  Call the Church Office if you need help setting up an online forum or conference call. 

What about Ushers & Altar Guild?
We will resume using Ushers and Altar Guild starting June 14th.

What about Advent Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten?
Our School is closed for the remainder of the year. 

Will the Nursery, Cry Room and Restrooms be open?
Yes, but please use according to your best judgment.We will attempt to clean during the week in advance and after Sunday services, but cannot guarantee complete cleanliness.Please use disinfectant wipes to clean any areas or items you have touched.Note also that others may be using these areas at the same time so social distancing is encouraged.Be smart!
  
What about Sunday School, fellowship and adult Bible study on Sunday mornings?
Fellowship and Bible Study will not resume until July 4th.Sunday School remains on Summer Break unless informed otherwise.

Where can I find more information on Covid-19 and the reopening of Indiana? Please use the CDC website as well as the Indiana Department of Health website.
CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
ISDH – https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/   
IN – http://backontrack.in.gov/  
 
How do I make an offering to the church while activities and worship services  are reopening?
By Mail:  Send check to:
Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church  
11250 N. Michigan Rd. 
Zionsville, IN 46077
Enroll in Direct Deposit from your bank(s).  Contact Juanita in the Church Office at  (317) 873-6318 or info@adventlutheran.org
 
Use our Online giving platform, ShareFaith, through our website  https://secure.sharefaithgiving.com/go/form.php?rid=3ae7f61b6601&
 
Drop off at the Church during normal Office Hours.
 
Bring with you if you schedule a time for Absolution & the Sacrament.
 
Beginning May 24th, bring with you when attending services.
 
Will the Pastors still make house calls?
Yes.  If you and/or your family are under quarantine, it would be best to limit the pastors’ exposure, not just for their sake but also their own families.  Please keep this in mind.  This is a difficult time for pastoral visits, as they are not currently allowed to visit hospitals or nursing homes.  Yet they stand ready to give the members of Advent the Lord’s gifts and serve accordingly. 

What is the church phone number and email address?
(317) 873-6318               email:   info@adventlutheran.org

What are the Elders doing?
Praying for you and your family.  Making phone calls to members.  Ensuring that our pastors are cared and provided for.  Assisting the pastors with the work of Word and Sacrament ministry.  Feel free to call them if you need any assistance, have questions, or concerns.

As a member how can I help?
Pray.  Remain in the Word.  Follow the recommendations of the CDC and the State of Indiana.  Practice social distancing.  Wash your hands.  Care for your family.  Check in on your neighbors, family and church members by phone call, email or text.  Continue to provide your offerings to the Church as our bills, payroll and commitments yet continue.  As appropriate, we will publicize additional opportunities for service. If you would like to donate hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, this would be most helpful!

                                      
Helpful links to information about the COVID-19 VIRUS:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/  Our government website 
https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/  Our state website
http://backontrack.in.gov/  Our state’s plan for reopening
https://www.adventlutheran.org/  Our church website with information, services, bulletin and more.  Please check and use this regularly!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7WT2Fb-oxn7Fs7dfYgDuzw/featured  Our YouTube channel for streaming and recorded services, bible studies and other events.

THANK YOU, Advent family!

http://www.adventlutheran.org
11250 N. Michigan Rd., Zionsville, IN 46077
317.873.6318



Advent Activities Cancelled

Dear Advent Family

Effective immediately, all activities at Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church are cancelled until further notice. 

The Church has endured for over 2,000 years withstanding plagues and persecution.  Rest assured, she will endure throughout this current pandemic of Covid-19. 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.  Psalm 46:1-3

Last week, we promised to continue in vigilantly monitoring and evaluating the coronavirus situation and inform you if further changes were made to our plans.  We have now arrived at such a juncture.  As you are most likely aware, our government authorities are requesting that no groups of over 50 persons should assemble.  As we write this letter, we are receiving reports that that number could be dropped to 10.  And so this past evening via conference call, Pastor Mackay met with Pr. Grady, Mr. Chuck Long (the Chairman of Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church), Mr. Steve Vogtman (Head Elder) and our Board of Elders.  The question before us was how to best continue the work of the Church while caring for our neighbor and respecting civil authority.

Since almost all of our services and other gatherings number 50 persons or more (and certainly 10), we unanimously agreed to CANCEL all services, bible studies, classes and fellowship activities.  This will fulfill what is being asked of us by our civil authorities, with regards to social distancing and preventing further spread of Covid-19.

How will we continue the work of the Church in terms of Word and Sacrament ministry? 
Regarding the Word, we have purchased and are currently testing equipment to offer our worship services over the internet (on our website), along with Bible studies and devotions, hopefully even Sunday school lessons.  The Lord’s Word is still efficacious as it is preached and taught in this medium.  Please continue to read and study God’s Word in your home, for yourself and your family.  Remain diligent in your prayers.  Make phone calls, texts and emails to your family members that you may be apart from, but also fellow members from Advent.  While isolated and/or quarantined, you are yet a member of the Body of Christ and part of the flock here at Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church!    

Regarding the Sacrament
Pastor Grady and Pastor Mackay stand ready to give you Absolution and our Lord’s Body and Blood as you so desire.  We will meet privately with individuals and families here at church or in your home (as appropriate and with adequate precautions).  Please call either of us on our cell phone numbers to arrange such a time.  We will also be posting an online sign-up on our website adventlutheran.org   In the event that travel is restricted, any of us become sick or ill, rest assured that it is ok to wait patiently to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood.  While it is a very great gift, the medicine of immortality, we are justified by faith and not by the frequency of our reception! 

These are all great changes to how we “do” Church.  Please note that we do not particularly like any of this, as we are sure you have the same feelings with the changes to your work and family schedules.  However, the Word of the Lord endures forever!   

This is our plan of action at this juncture.  Please know that we will continue to vigilantly monitor and evaluate the coronavirus situation and that further changes could be made to our plans.  In the event that further actions are required, we will inform you via email, our website, Facebook and phone calls.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Pastors, the Elders or the Church Office. 

Above all, know that the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love!  Have no fear little flock! 
 
Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word;
Curb those who by deceit or sword
Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son
And bring to naught all He has done.

Lord Jesus Christ, Your pow’r make known,
For You are Lord of lords alone;
Defend Your holy Church that we
May sing Your praise eternally.

O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth;
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.

LSB #655  “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in your Word”  Text: Public domain
 
Peace be with you,
Pr. Mackay, Pr. Grady, Mr. Chuck Long (Chairman) & Mr. Steve Vogtman (Head Elder)

 Additional Questions and Helpful Links:

  1. How long will this last?

Until you hear otherwise from us.  No one really has an answer to this question at this time, but rest assured we will continue to vigilantly monitor this situation.  Remember that our Lord could also return at any moment, resurrecting us and creating a new heaven and earth!  Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.  Amen.

  1. Will there be online services?

Yes.  The Pastors at Advent, along with our organist, will be recording Worship Services.  You may watch them online at www.adventlutheran.org  There will also be a printed bulletin for you to download and follow/participate at home with your family.

  1. What time will the online services be available?

It is our intention that the services will be made available by the normal service times.  We may have to pre-record some of them, but for the Wednesday Lenten Service, it will be available to watch by 7pm that evening.  For Sunday, it will be available to watch by 8:15am.  While we might “livestream” some of them (check the website), all of the services will be available AT ANY TIME for you to watch and participate with your family.

  1. Can I still communicate with the Pastors?

Yes, please!     
    
Pr. Mackay’s cell #  (317) 847-7215  
email mmackay@adventlutheran.org

Pr. Grady’s cell #     (317) 372-6289    
email jgrady@adventlutheran.org

  1. What if I need/desire communion?

Our Pastors are available by appointment to give you Absolution and the Sacrament.  Please do the following:  call the Pastors directly, call the Church Office, use the online sign-up on the website.

  1. What if I need help with food, medicine?

Please call the Pastors, the Church Office, any of the Elders or a fellow Advent member.  Please don’t hesitate to let us know your needs.  We are here to help!

  1. Why are we making this decision?

For the good of our neighbor and in obedience to our civil authorities. 

  1. What does the Bible say about the pandemic?

Here is an excellent article (as well as LCMS President’s article pasted below)  https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/coronavirus-nothing-new-about-disease-or-the-need-for-the-gospel/

  1. Does this cover all activities (i.e. Confirmation, Council, Choir, etc)?

Yes.  All activities, including Council, Board and Committee meetings are cancelled.  Please use phone calls, email and/or conference calls to conduct business of the church.  Call the Church Office if you need help setting up an online forum or conference call. 

  1. What about Advent Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten?

Our School follows Zionsville Public Schools regarding closures.  Mrs. Deb Trewartha, our Principal, has been maintaining contact with our school families and staff.  For the time being, as long as Zionsville is closed, Advent Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten will remain closed as well.

  1. Where can I find more information on Covid-19?

Please use the CDC website as well as the Indiana Department of Health website.
CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
ISDH – https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/

     12. How do I make an offering to the church while activities and worship services are suspended?

  1. By Mail:  Send check to:

Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church  
11250 N. Michigan Rd. 
Zionsville, IN 46077

    13.  Will our church employees still be compensated?

Yes.  We will continue to pay all of our employees as budgeted for the time being.  Some of them may work from home and/or have some of their duties adjusted accordingly.

  1. What is the recommendation of the LCMS?

We are following the suggestions of the LCMS.  More information, along with an excellent video from our President, may be found here:  https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/resource-helps-congregations-plan-for-widespread-illnesses/

  1. As a member how can I help?

Pray.  Remain in the Word.  Follow the recommendations of the CDC and the State of Indiana.  Practice social distancing.  Wash your hands.  Care for your family.  Check in on your neighbors, family and church members by phone call, email or text.  Continue to provide your offerings to the Church as our bills, payroll and commitments yet continue.  As appropriate, we will publicize additional opportunities for service. 

  1. Will the Pastors still make house calls?

Yes.  If you and/or your family are under quarantine, it would be best to limit the pastors’ exposure, not just for their sake but also their own families.  Please keep this in mind.  This is a difficult time for pastoral visits, as they are not currently allowed to visit hospitals or nursing homes.  Yet they stand ready to give the members of Advent the Lord’s gifts and serve accordingly.

  1. What is the church phone number and email address?

(317) 873-6318               email:   info@adventlutheran.org

  1. What are the Elders doing?

Praying for you and your family.  Making phone calls to members.  Ensuring that our pastors are cared and provided for.  Assisting the pastors with the work of Word and Sacrament ministry.  Feel free to call them if you need any assistance, have questions, or concerns.
                                      

Helpful links to information about the COVID-19 VIRUS:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/  Our government website 

https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/  Our state website

https://www.adventlutheran.org/  Our church website with information, services, bulletin and more.  Please check and use this regularly!

https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/a-message-from-lcms-president-matthew-c-harrison-amid-the-coronavirus-pandemic/   Our denominational website with a special message. 

https://thecross957.org/  An LCMS radio station available online with faithful and excellent programming. 

https://www.youtube..com/channel/UCPCSuCbAv-7iZ-IIKD2Gqeg  A YouTube Channel of a faithful LCMS pastor, Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller. 
 
www.issuesetc.org An online Lutheran talk radio radio program on a vast variety of Issues.  They have an excellent host and helpful guests. You can click on the “on demand” button to find your topic.
 
https://lutheranpublicradio.org/  If you are missing quality Lutheran Music (especially music in which you can understand and trust the words) check out Lutheran Public Radio.  Lutheran Public Radio streams Sacred Music for the World, 24/7, following the course of the Church Year. Listen anytime, anywhere.
 
https://thewordendures.org/archive/  Study the Bible with the Church Past and Present with this daily verse by verse Bible Study led by Pastor Will Weedon, former Chaplain of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. 
 
https://worshipanew.org/  An LCMS website with worship services. 



Open the doors of Advent…

Dear Advent Family:  GOOD NEWS!


This Wednesday, May 6th at 7:00pm we will stream an Information Meeting via our YouTube Channel here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7WT2Fb-oxn7Fs7dfYgDuzw/featured

Led by Pr. Mackay, Pr. Grady, Chairman Chuck Long & Head Elder Steve Vogtman, the plan for reopening our church doors for Divine Service will be presented.

Members will be able to ask questions using LiveChat, texting to 317-847-7215 or emailing mmackay@adventlutheran.org

THANK YOU, Advent family!

 

RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS

March 17, 2020

Dear Advent Family

Effective immediately, all activities at Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church are cancelled until further notice. 

The Church has endured for over 2,000 years withstanding plagues and persecution.  Rest assured, she will endure throughout this current pandemic of Covid-19. 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.  Psalm 46:1-3

Last week, we promised to continue in vigilantly monitoring and evaluating the coronavirus situation and inform you if further changes were made to our plans.  We have now arrived at such a juncture.  As you are most likely aware, our government authorities are requesting that no groups of over 50 persons should assemble.  As we write this letter, we are receiving reports that that number could be dropped to 10.  And so this past evening via conference call, Pastor Mackay met with Pr. Grady, Mr. Chuck Long (the Chairman of Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church), Mr. Steve Vogtman (Head Elder) and our Board of Elders.  The question before us was how to best continue the work of the Church while caring for our neighbor and respecting civil authority.

Since almost all of our services and other gatherings number 50 persons or more (and certainly 10), we unanimously agreed to CANCEL all services, bible studies, classes and fellowship activities.  This will fulfill what is being asked of us by our civil authorities, with regards to social distancing and preventing further spread of Covid-19.

How will we continue the work of the Church in terms of Word and Sacrament ministry? 
Regarding the Word, we have purchased and are currently testing equipment to offer our worship services over the internet (on our website), along with Bible studies and devotions, hopefully even Sunday school lessons.  The Lord’s Word is still efficacious as it is preached and taught in this medium.  Please continue to read and study God’s Word in your home, for yourself and your family.  Remain diligent in your prayers.  Make phone calls, texts and emails to your family members that you may be apart from, but also fellow members from Advent.  While isolated and/or quarantined, you are yet a member of the Body of Christ and part of the flock here at Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church!    

Regarding the Sacrament
Pastor Grady and Pastor Mackay stand ready to give you Absolution and our Lord’s Body and Blood as you so desire.  We will meet privately with individuals and families here at church or in your home (as appropriate and with adequate precautions).  Please call either of us on our cell phone numbers to arrange such a time.  We will also be posting an online sign-up on our website adventlutheran.org   In the event that travel is restricted, any of us become sick or ill, rest assured that it is ok to wait patiently to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood.  While it is a very great gift, the medicine of immortality, we are justified by faith and not by the frequency of our reception! 

These are all great changes to how we “do” Church.  Please note that we do not particularly like any of this, as we are sure you have the same feelings with the changes to your work and family schedules.  However, the Word of the Lord endures forever!   

This is our plan of action at this juncture.  Please know that we will continue to vigilantly monitor and evaluate the coronavirus situation and that further changes could be made to our plans.  In the event that further actions are required, we will inform you via email, our website, Facebook and phone calls.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Pastors, the Elders or the Church Office. 

Above all, know that the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love!  Have no fear little flock! 
 
Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word;
Curb those who by deceit or sword
Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son
And bring to naught all He has done.

Lord Jesus Christ, Your pow’r make known,
For You are Lord of lords alone;
Defend Your holy Church that we
May sing Your praise eternally.

O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth;
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.

LSB #655  “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in your Word”  Text: Public domain
 
Peace be with you,
Pr. Mackay, Pr. Grady, Mr. Chuck Long (Chairman) & Mr. Steve Vogtman (Head Elder)

 Additional Questions and Helpful Links:

  1. How long will this last?

Until you hear otherwise from us.  No one really has an answer to this question at this time, but rest assured we will continue to vigilantly monitor this situation.  Remember that our Lord could also return at any moment, resurrecting us and creating a new heaven and earth!  Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.  Amen.

  1. Will there be online services?

Yes.  The Pastors at Advent, along with our organist, will be recording Worship Services.  You may watch them online at www.adventlutheran.org  There will also be a printed bulletin for you to download and follow/participate at home with your family.

  1. What time will the online services be available?

It is our intention that the services will be made available by the normal service times.  We may have to pre-record some of them, but for the Wednesday Lenten Service, it will be available to watch by 7pm that evening.  For Sunday, it will be available to watch by 8:15am.  While we might “livestream” some of them (check the website), all of the services will be available AT ANY TIME for you to watch and participate with your family.

  1. Can I still communicate with the Pastors?

Yes, please!     
    
Pr. Mackay’s cell #  (317) 847-7215  
email mmackay@adventlutheran.org

Pr. Grady’s cell #     (317) 372-6289    
email jgrady@adventlutheran.org

  1. What if I need/desire communion?

Our Pastors are available by appointment to give you Absolution and the Sacrament.  Please do the following:  call the Pastors directly, call the Church Office, use the online sign-up on the website.

  1. What if I need help with food, medicine?

Please call the Pastors, the Church Office, any of the Elders or a fellow Advent member.  Please don’t hesitate to let us know your needs.  We are here to help!

  1. Why are we making this decision?

For the good of our neighbor and in obedience to our civil authorities. 

  1. What does the Bible say about the pandemic?

Here is an excellent article (as well as LCMS President’s article pasted below)  https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/coronavirus-nothing-new-about-disease-or-the-need-for-the-gospel/

  1. Does this cover all activities (i.e. Confirmation, Council, Choir, etc)?

Yes.  All activities, including Council, Board and Committee meetings are cancelled.  Please use phone calls, email and/or conference calls to conduct business of the church.  Call the Church Office if you need help setting up an online forum or conference call. 

  1. What about Advent Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten?

Our School follows Zionsville Public Schools regarding closures.  Mrs. Deb Trewartha, our Principal, has been maintaining contact with our school families and staff.  For the time being, as long as Zionsville is closed, Advent Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten will remain closed as well.

  1. Where can I find more information on Covid-19?

Please use the CDC website as well as the Indiana Department of Health website.
CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
ISDH – https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/

     12. How do I make an offering to the church while activities and worship services are suspended?

  1. By Mail:  Send check to:

Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church  
11250 N. Michigan Rd. 
Zionsville, IN 46077

    13.  Will our church employees still be compensated?

Yes.  We will continue to pay all of our employees as budgeted for the time being.  Some of them may work from home and/or have some of their duties adjusted accordingly.

  1. What is the recommendation of the LCMS?

We are following the suggestions of the LCMS.  More information, along with an excellent video from our President, may be found here:  https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/resource-helps-congregations-plan-for-widespread-illnesses/

  1. As a member how can I help?

Pray.  Remain in the Word.  Follow the recommendations of the CDC and the State of Indiana.  Practice social distancing.  Wash your hands.  Care for your family.  Check in on your neighbors, family and church members by phone call, email or text.  Continue to provide your offerings to the Church as our bills, payroll and commitments yet continue.  As appropriate, we will publicize additional opportunities for service. 

  1. Will the Pastors still make house calls?

Yes.  If you and/or your family are under quarantine, it would be best to limit the pastors’ exposure, not just for their sake but also their own families.  Please keep this in mind.  This is a difficult time for pastoral visits, as they are not currently allowed to visit hospitals or nursing homes.  Yet they stand ready to give the members of Advent the Lord’s gifts and serve accordingly.

  1. What is the church phone number and email address?

(317) 873-6318               email:   info@adventlutheran.org

  1. What are the Elders doing?

Praying for you and your family.  Making phone calls to members.  Ensuring that our pastors are cared and provided for.  Assisting the pastors with the work of Word and Sacrament ministry.  Feel free to call them if you need any assistance, have questions, or concerns.
                                      

Helpful links to information about the COVID-19 VIRUS:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/  Our government website 

https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/  Our state website

https://www.adventlutheran.org/  Our church website with information, services, bulletin and more.  Please check and use this regularly!

https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/a-message-from-lcms-president-matthew-c-harrison-amid-the-coronavirus-pandemic/   Our denominational website with a special message. 

https://thecross957.org/  An LCMS radio station available online with faithful and excellent programming. 

https://www.youtube..com/channel/UCPCSuCbAv-7iZ-IIKD2Gqeg  A YouTube Channel of a faithful LCMS pastor, Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller. 
 
www.issuesetc.org An online Lutheran talk radio radio program on a vast variety of Issues.  They have an excellent host and helpful guests. You can click on the “on demand” button to find your topic.
 
https://lutheranpublicradio.org/  If you are missing quality Lutheran Music (especially music in which you can understand and trust the words) check out Lutheran Public Radio.  Lutheran Public Radio streams Sacred Music for the World, 24/7, following the course of the Church Year. Listen anytime, anywhere.
 
https://thewordendures.org/archive/  Study the Bible with the Church Past and Present with this daily verse by verse Bible Study led by Pastor Will Weedon, former Chaplain of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. 
 
https://worshipanew.org/  An LCMS website with worship services. 

 

 

March 11, 2020

Dear Advent Family,  

As you may be aware, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and we are following their suggestions and recommendations very closely.  The LCMS also has issued a guide to help congregations manage day to day operations, including schools and days on which services and events are held.  In the meantime, health care officials indicate that the most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease is to follow basic health practices such as thoroughly washing hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you are ill.

Given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we wanted to share with you what Advent Lutheran Church and its School are doing to help minimize the risks and possible exposure to our students and congregation.

  • Cleaning and disinfect hard surfaces, such as doorknobs, pews, desks, tables.
  • Urging all members, faculty, staff and students who are feeling ill or running a temperature to stay home until they recover (free of symptoms after 24 hours)
  • Advising all students and staff to enforce great hygiene – wash hands thoroughly (15-20 seconds with soap and water) and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Advising members to refrain from shaking hands; use a fist- or elbow-bump, wave or nod as a greeting.
  • Advising members who plan to travel during spring break, especially out of the country, to “self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to the U.S.” (Source: Indiana University Public Safety Advisory, 3/4/2020). 
  • For communion:
    • Pastors will disinfect their hands prior to serving
    • Individual glass cups will be given a bleach bath & disinfected after use
    • The chalice will be wiped thoroughly after each use.  

In addition, it should be noted that there have been no reports of diseases being spread through use of the Common cup or individual cup. According to the CDC, and due to the properties of silver, alcohol content in wine, and especially wiping the chalice, the risk is very very minimal. People are still more likely to become infected by touching a doorknob, shaking hands, or having a face-to-face conversation with someone infected than by receiving communion.  

Our Lord Himself mandated that we eat and drink His Body and Blood in the bread and wine. We seek to minimize physical concerns by practices, but not by withholding or ignoring our Lord’s mandate and institution. In the Sacrament, He gives to use forgiveness of sins, life and salvation!

It is important to remember that public health agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) are charged with handling the spread and contagion of infectious diseases like the coronavirus. In addition, the ISDH is allowing county authorities to make decisions regarding school closings, length of closings, quarantine requirements, etc. 

We continue to follow updates on the following websites and will keep in touch with members via e-mail and Facebook should we find it necessary to take additional precautions.   If we find it necessary to cancel a service or school day, we will share that information as soon as possible.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.  

WHO – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

ISDH – https://www.in.gov/isdh/28470.htm

 

Here are also two good articles from the LCMS regarding our Christian faith and response to the current situation.  

https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/when-one-cant-flee-the-plague/

https://blogs.lcms.org/2020/coronavirus-nothing-new-about-disease-or-the-need-for-the-gospel

And a letter from Bishop Hardy, of the English District regarding “What Congregations Need to Know.”

Have no fear, little flock;  Have no fear little flock,
For the Father has chosen,  To give you the Kingdom;  
Have no fear, little flock!

Praise the Lord high above;  Praise the Lord high above,
For He stoops down to heal you, Uplift and restore you;
Praise the Lord high above!

LSB #735 “Have No Fear, Little Flock”  Sts. 1,3  

Luke 12:32; Matt. 25:34; Ps. 103:3-5; Matt. 28:20b

 

Peace be with you,

Pr. Mackay



Lent, Crazy Latin Words and What Happens When You Die

We have begun the 40-day journey towards Easter, hopefully reminding each of us of the 40-year wandering of God’s people in the wilderness, awaiting entry into the Promised Land, as well as the 40-day fast of Jesus in the wilderness, enduring the Temptation of the Devil.  “Lent” comes from an old English word “lencten” which is best understood as “lengthen”.  According to our Church Year, Easter falls in the Spring.  Thus Lent is simply a Spring season where the days are getting longer, prior to the Church’s observance of Easter.  For early Christians it was a marvelous thought and worthy of theological connection:  as daylight increased so did the anticipation of the Light of the World enacting and fulfilling His justifying work through His life, death and Resurrection.  Thus, our 40-day Lenten Season focuses on the Passion of our Lord.  For this reason, during our Wednesday Midweek Services (7:00pm), we will hear the reading of the Passion, a combination of all four Gospels.  As Jesus ministered and walked towards Jerusalem and the Temple, the suffering servant and Lamb of God who takes way the sins of the world, so we journey throughout these 40-days, all the while seeing the Light that has come into the world to conquer the darkness. 

The Sundays in Lent (8:15am & 10:45am) are similarly structured.  You’ll notice that not only are they numbered (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc), but that there is also a strange word listed by their title (Invocabit, Reminiscere, etc.).  These traditional titles of the Sundays in Lent are taken from the Historic Introit appointed for each Sunday and listed by their Latin name.  Here’s a brief summary of the five Sundays in Lent for your meditation:

Invocabit             “call”                Psalm 91:15        When he calls to me, I will answer him

Reminiscere       “remember”     Psalm 25:6           Remember your mercy, O Lord   

Oculi                    “eye”               Psalm 25:15        My eyes are ever toward the Lord

Laetare                “rejoice”          Isaiah 66:10         Rejoice with Jerusalem

Judica                  “vindicate”      Psalm 43:1          Vindicate me, O God

Let’s put it all together!  God the Father will hear the cry of His people, especially the cry of God the Son for you.  He will remember His promise of mercy and salvation, thus we focus our “Eyes on Jesus” (don’t forget to pick up your Lenten Devotional Booklet and Calendar, aptly titled 😊).  As God hears the cries of His people, He remembers His mercy and provides His Son as the once for all sacrifice.  This brings life and immortality to light, great joy, in Jerusalem, in His presence!  Thus we are vindicated, judged, and declared righteous, not by works of our own, but by the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  The Holy Spirit is thus sent to open our eyes and hearts in faith, that by His sanctifying work, we gladly receive His Word and Sacrament, absolved and strengthened for our journey, knowing and seeing the Light that ever increases upon us as we journey to not only the Resurrection of Our Lord, but that of all flesh . . . eternal life and immortality to come.

May the Lord thus preserve and bless us throughout these 40-days and unto life everlasting.

A blessed Lententide to you,

Pr. Mackay

P.S.  As our family here at Advent has experienced many deaths of loved ones recently, I humbly offer a short article below by Rev. Travis Berg.  May God’s Word bring you comfort, peace and knowledge of salvation. 

What happens when you die?  by Pastor Travis Berg

God’s Word only tells us a little about the state of the soul between death and the resurrection; it mainly points us to Judgement Day and to the resurrection of the body (1 Cor. 1:7Phil. 3:20-21Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:13 and following; 2 Tim. 4:7-9Titus 2:13).

What do we know?

  1. The souls of unbelievers are kept in prison, a place of punishment (1 Peter 3:19-20).
  2. The souls of believers dwell with Christ in Paradise, which is far better than here: “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:23); “And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
  3. We do not know how the blessed dead enjoy communion with God; we just know that they do. This is based on what is cited above.
  4. Purgatory is a lie and contrary to Scripture. Scripture divides all men into two classes: believers and unbelievers, good and evil, sheep and goats. Scripture also teaches that only in this life is the time to labor, to run, to strive, that is, to repent, believe, attain the grace of God, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life (Matt. 25:101 Cor. 7:29Eph. 5:16Gal. 6:8). Most importantly, purgatory obscures the merits of Christ. If we still had to make satisfaction for our sins, then Christ’s merit is insufficient.
  5. There are no such thing as ghosts. Departed souls do not return to this world. This is a standing rule and divine arrangement (Luke 16:27-31). Elijah and Moses are to be counted among the risen (Matt. 17:3).
  6. We cannot say that the dead are watching us or if they know what is happening here on earth. Rev. 6:10speaks about the martyrs under the throne. They know what happened to them and they long for God’s justice. But that does not prove that they know what is going on here on earth.
  7. We have no promise, command, or example of the departed saints knowing what is happening on earth or that they can hear us. Therefore, prayers to the saints must be condemned both as folly and as idolatry. Even if the blessed dead could hear us, “there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
  8. Christian parents who miscarry ought to be comforted, even though their children were not able to be baptized. We see the example of King David in 2 Sam. 12:15-23. David’s son is not old enough to be circumcised. Circumcision is the Old Testament shadow of holy baptism (Col. 2:11-12). David’s child dies after he so fervently prays for him. After his son’s death, David says: “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Sam. 12:22-23). King David is not merely talking about the state death; he is speaking about the joys of heaven. This ought to embolden Christian parents to pray fervently for their unborn children, for God commands us to pray and promises to hear us.
  9. The souls of the blessed dead do not become angels. The souls of the damned do not become demons. We know this because Jesus became a man. Jesus remained a Man even after His resurrection. Therefore, we will always be humans. Jesus’ resurrection shows us that we won’t stay mere souls forever. God will put our bodies and souls back together in the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15). This is why we have cemeteries. They are “sleeping places” for our bodies, which await their raising. We shall receive our bodies back. And they shall be glorified, immortal, and incorruptible.

Hopefully this overview taught you, admonished you, and comforted you.

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil. 3:7-11)

https://steadfastlutherans.org/2020/02/what-happens-when-you-die/



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