Regular Services Suspended

Dear Saints of Bethlehem Lutheran Church,

On Tuesday, March 31st, Gov. Pritzker announced he is extending Illinois’ statewide stay-at-home order through the end of April.  In a desire to honor the government (4th Commandment) and support our neighbor in every physical need (5th Commandment), I have decided to suspend all regular worship services, studies, and events at Bethlehem Lutheran Church for the foreseeable future.  This decision was not made without prayer, nor was it an easy one, especially in light of Holy Week approaching.

So, how do we move forward as the Body of Christ?  How do we not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it (3rd Commandment)?

Live-Stream

As has been done over the past couple weeks, I will continue to stream all services on the church’s website (www.bethlehemlutheranferrin.org).  The updated schedule for Holy Week is as follows:

  • Palm Sunday (April 5th) – Service of the Word at 9:30am
  • Holy Monday (April 6th) – The Passion According to St. Matthew at 7pm
  • Holy Tuesday (April 7th) – The Passion According to St. Mark at 7pm
  • Holy Wednesday (April 8th) – The Passion According to St. Luke at 7pm
  • Maundy Thursday (April 9th) – Service of the Word at 7pm
  • Good Friday (April 10th) – Tenebrae Vespers at 7pm
  • Easter Sunday (April 12th) – Service of the Word at 9:30am

During these services, I invite you to print-off the bulletin found on the church’s website, pick-up a hymnal from the church, and participate.

The Lord’s Supper

For those of you who are in good health and desire to receive the Sacrament of the Altar, you may schedule a time to meet with me for an abbreviated Divine Service (less than 25 minutes).  You can sign-up either by phone or by going to our church’s website and registering for communion.  In order to comply with the CDC’s mandate of limiting social gatherings to ten people or less, we are limiting these services to immediate members of your household.

What to expect when you come to the church?

  • You will find all doors will be opened.
  • You are encouraged to bring your own hymnal.  If you don’t have one, feel free to take one from the church.  It is yours to use during this time.
  • Sit in the plastic chairs located near the chancel.  These chairs will be thoroughly cleaned between services.
  • I will make sure to thoroughly wash both my hands and the communion vessels before serving the Blessed Sacrament.
  • The chalice only will be offered as it is easier to clean and keep sterilized.  You are asked not to grab the chalice with your hands. 
    • I recognize drinking from the chalice is different for several of you.  However, repeated studies regarding germ transmission on the chalice, particularly a major study in 1989 at the time of the Aids epidemic, have found no evidence of any transmission by drinking of the chalice because of the alcohol, the metal, and the use of the purificator to wipe the cup.  The wine we use is high in alcohol content (11%) and is helpful in killing any virus.  Additionally, we will be soaking the purificators that wipe the chalice in Everclear (151 proof) for the next few weeks as a way of doing all that we can to prevent transmission. 

Offering

In the days and weeks ahead, I encourage you to continue your faithful pattern of giving to the church.  The church continues to need your support as expenses will not diminish during this time.  Offerings may be:

  • Dropped off at the church office or mailed directly to the church if you are unable to stop by.
  • You may set-up a weekly reoccurring offering to be deducted from your checking account.  Please contact the church in order to get this set-up.
  • We are also looking into ways that you can give online through the church’s website.  I will post this to our Facebook page once this has been completed.

If you have any questions about these revised practices, please let me know.  As always, if you are hospitalized or need of spiritual guidance, please let me know.  You can reach me on my cell phone or at the church.

Let us all be fervent in prayer to our loving Father for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He would use this time for the repentance and faith of many and that the Gospel would continue to go forth to all the world.

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Jennings

Bethlehem Lutheran Church (Ferrin, IL)