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Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church is a confessional Lutheran church of the
 Missouri Synod. 
We accept Scripture as the inspired and inerrant Word of God. We are a sacramental church, believing the promises God attaches to Baptism and Holy Communion. 
We worship with reverence, singing praises to God for what He does for us, not what we do for Him

COVID-Response Plan Update – ORANGE

November 17, 2020

COVID-Response Plan Update – ORANGE 
Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church
Zionsville, Indiana                 


  • Sunday School and Bible Class CANCELED
  • 8:15am Divine Service MASK-REQUIRED
  • 10:45am Divine Service MASK-RECOMMENDED

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This last week the State of Indiana, in response to significant state-wide increases in Covid infections, introduced sweeping changes and recommendations for the current pandemic. The previous “Stages of Reopening” has been replaced with a new county-based color coding system which effectively tracks the change in Covid-19 community spread week over week. As leaders of Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church, we promised to stay informed and if needed, make appropriate updates to our own policy as needed. 

Here is a link to the current Executive Order for the State of Indiana:

Here is a link summarizing the Governor’s remarks and information further detailing the Covid-19 country metrics and requirements:

As such, on Monday evening, November 16th, the Board of Elders met with the majority of our practicing physicians as well as our Senior Leadership, including Pastor Mackay, Pastor Grady, Pres. Chuck Long and Vice-Pres. Eric Hubert. 

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.             Hebrews 13:1-7  ESV

Thankfully, the State of Indiana has allowed exemptions for “religious services and places of worship” regarding limits on social gatherings and mask-requirements.  Even though our governing authorities are rightly allowing us to make our own decisions in this matter, we take very seriously their recommendations and suggestions, thus respecting and honoring them.  In addition, we have also attempted to listen, learn and reflect upon the opinions and desires of our fellow members here at Advent.   

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.               Romans 15:1-7 ESV

It must be stated that there are differing opinions in our congregation regarding the wearing of masks within the Sanctuary for the Divine Service.  Since reopening in stages (May to July forward), we have followed the directives of the State of Indiana which does allow an exemption for the wearing of masks, provided that 6′ separation is maintained.  We have strongly recommended to our members to wear a mask as they are able, attempting to follow State and Federal protocols.  We have also required the wearing of a mask in our School and Sunday School, where 6′ separation cannot be maintained.  

With all of that being said, we are concerned that ALL of our members at Advent are best served according to their conscience and opinions.  As the Elders are once again contacting all the members of parish (they attempt to do this twice a year), some members have already reached out to the Pastors and the Elders with opinions about our current guidelines.  

Characterizations of these sentiments and opinions are summarized below:

  • Masks should be worn at all times, making it safe for all, and unless this takes place, my conscience is conflicted. I desire to return to worship but cannot under the current guidelines.
  • Masks should be required in Church as they are required everywhere else, including most other churches.  
  • Masks should be required due to my age and preexisting health conditions.  
  • Masks cannot be worn due to my health issue, as allowed by State and Federal protocols.
  • Masks cover our face before God, which conflicts with my faith and my conscience.  
  • Masks are ineffective and requiring me to wear one conflicts my conscience and personal freedoms.  
  • All of these changes are not worth the cost that may come along with them.  

We recognize and we hope that you recognize the wide variety of opinions on the issue of wearing a mask in Church and other changes in the midst of his pandemic.  Simply stated, we seek to best serve every one of you, without binding your conscience.  As such, we would ask all of our members to respect other’s opinions on matters that Scripture does not specifically address.

Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.   Ephesians 4:1-3  ESV

Lastly, at the meeting on November 16th, Advent’s active and practicing physicians have also provided us with their following opinions and recommendations:

  • Increase air flow in the sanctuary
  • Encourage people to stay home if they are sick or have any new health symptoms
  • If someone is high risk, encourage them to stay home
  • Require a mask for at least one service
  • Increase social distancing
  • Eliminate coffee and donuts during Bible Class
  • Consider reducing congregational singing during the Divine Service

To best serve and worship with one another in love and maintain unity and peace at Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church, we humbly present the following changes to our policy, hereafter named “COVID-Response Plan Update – ORANGE” and effective Sunday, November 22nd.

  1. Masks will be required at the 8:15am Sunday Divine Service.  This will be our MASK-REQUIRED service and 6′ distancing must still be maintained.  Wearing masks will be required upon entering church (available in the Narthex if you do not have one) and in Sanctuary during the entirety of the service (removed briefly when receiving the Lord’s Supper).
  2. Masks will be recommended but not required at the 10:45am Sunday Divine Service and 6:00pm Wednesday Prayer Service. 6′ distancing must still be maintained.  These will be our MASK-RECOMMENDED services.
  3. We will attempt to increase air flow in the Sanctuary and pews will be retaped to facilitate better social distancing. Please do not sit on blue tape!
  4. Choir is CANCELED for the time being. Only soloists and small groups will be used.
  5. Sunday Bible Class (in-person) and Fellowship Hour is CANCELED until January 3rd, 2021. Bible Class will still be streamed online for you to watch at home or on your device.
  6. Sunday School (in-person) is CANCELED until January 3rd, 2021. As we have been providing an online option this year, we will continue to do so.  Those who would like to receive the link for online Sunday School should contact the church office.  Materials will also be made available to those who request them.  We are unable to post these lessons publicly due to trademark restrictions. 

Until the current pandemic ends, we respectfully ask for your patience and love for one another.  It is our sincere hope and prayer that this slight change to our policy will provide ALL members of Advent an opportunity to attend a worship service of their choice before our Lord and in fellowship with one another, receiving His precious gifts of forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.  

Peace be with you,

President Chuck Long
Vice-President Eric Hubert
Board of Elders
Pr. Marcus Mackay
Pr. Jim Grady

Additional Questions & Answers

When do these changes go into effect?

Immediately, beginning Sunday, November 22nd

A reminder – – 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.

Does the mask requirement only apply to the Early 8:15am Divine Service? 

Yes.  The later 10:45am Divine Service as well as the Wednesday 6:30pm Prayer Service will remain mask-recommended services.

Will I be allowed to take off my mask in the sanctuary during the 8:15am service? 

For the benefit of all, we ask that you wear a mask while in the narthex and in the sanctuary throughout the entirety of the service.  Masks may be removed briefly while at the communion rail to receive the Lord’s Supper and replaced as expeditiously as possible before returning to your pew for worship.

What about my child/children?  Will he/she/they be required to wear a mask?

Consistent with CDC guidance children two and older should wear masks.  It is not recommended that children younger than two wear a mask.

If I have a medical condition that keeps me from wearing a mask am I exempt from wearing one at the early service?

No.  We humbly ask that you attend the late service where masks are not required.  There are no exemptions at the early service.

Since I am wearing a mask at all times do I still have to practice 6’ social distancing?  Yes.  The blue tape in the pews will remain and you and or your family unit should select a spot where no blue tape is present.  Maintaining 6’ social distancing AND wearing a mask is recommended by the CDC and health authorities to help to curb the spread of Covid-19.

What if I forgot a mask and still want to attend the early service?

We will ensure that we have an ample supply of masks available at the tables in the narthex for you to use.

Why has Sunday Bible Class, Fellowship and Sunday School been canceled until the end of this year?

Following state recommendations for social gatherings, we are unable to safely provide food service and appropriate social distancing in our Fellowship Hall, hallways and classrooms. 

Since Sunday School is canceled, what options are available for my children?

As we have been providing an online option this year, we will continue to do so.  Those who would like to receive the link for online Sunday School should contact the church office.  Materials will also be made available to those who request them.  We are unable to post these lessons publicly due to trademark restrictions. 

What about upcoming Advent Services and Christmas Services?

At this time masks will be recommended but not required for Wednesday Advent Services.  We are still assessing the Christmas worship schedules and will communicate to the congregation those schedules when available.  It is anticipated that at least one of the Christmas Eve services will be a mask-required service.

What about Advent Dinners?

There will be no Advent dinners this year due to the anticipated number of attendees, challenges of safe food service and inability to appropriately maintain social distancing.

What about Wednesday Bible Studies and Confirmation Classes?

The studies and classes will continue for the time being, as they are small in number and social distancing can be maintained.

What about other Board meetings and Fellowship groups, such as Book Club, Ladies’ Night and Men’s Steak Night?

These can continue for the time being, as they are small in number and social distancing can be maintained.

What about the Children’s Christmas Program?

Since in-person Sunday School is canceled for the remainder of the year, the children will be unable to practice together.  Unfortunately, there will be no Christmas Program this year.

What about choir?

For obvious safety reasons, and with the guidance of our physicians and authorities, we have decided to cancel choir for the remainder of 2020.  Soloists and small groups will be safely utilized to continue our excellent musical tradition in our services.  

How long will this last?

These changes (ORANGE) will remain in force until you hear otherwise from us. Pray for success of the vaccines and therapeutic treatments which can eventually lead to the lifting of State restrictions. Rest assured we will continue to vigilantly monitor this situation. 

Will there still be online Sunday Services and Bible Class?

Yes.  We will continue our current practice.  Services and Bible Class may be watched online at  There will also still be a printed bulletin for you to download and follow/participate at home with your family. 

Can I still communicate with the Pastors?

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

Pr. Grady’s cell #     (317) 372-6289              email

What if I need/desire communion but am unable to attend Sunday Divine Services?

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.

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!

Why are we making these decisions?

In response to the current pandemic, for the good of our neighbor and in obedience to our civil authorities. 

How do I make an offering to the church if I am unable to attend Services? 

  • By Mail:  Advent Evangelical Lutheran Church  
                      11250 N. Michigan Rd. 
                      Zionsville, IN 46077
  • Enroll in Direct Deposit from your bank(s).  Contact the Church Office.  (317) 873-6318
  • Use our Online giving platform, ShareFaith, through our website

  • Drop off at the Church (if you are healthy and there are no travel restrictions)

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:

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.

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.     Romans 8:37-38 ESV

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