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Trinity Covid-19 Update
June 22, 2020 Dear Trinity Congregation, I want to make you aware of Trinity’s tentative plan to begin onsite worship on August 9, 2020. We intend to have one worship at 9:00 am and will continue to provide all online options provided today. We have been learning to live with this virus while reducing risks for the sake of our neighbors. We are called to love and worship God as we have been doing online and through our lives in our many callings. We are also called to love our neighbors. Our plans for worship are driven by that love. Over the past several weeks, Pastor, staff and I have been referencing many documents and points of view outlining criteria to begin worship in a closed space. There are as many opinions as there are experts to give them. The one constant is we have to adhere to the St Louis County guidelines for Businesses and Faith Based Communities Restricted by Capacity Limitations. This tells us how many people we can have in the Worship Center at one time. With safe distancing and other protective measures, Trinity can worship 100 people plus the Worship Team in our Worship Center. This will require a reorganization of the seating as well as significant signage with instructions and labeling of the safe distancing spaces. Also, procedures and resources needed to clean after every worship will need to be identified and planned as well as ushers and assistants in Worship. There are many logistical challenges that will need to be patiently worked through to make Worship safe and meaningful. We believe August 9th is a reasonable date to be prepared. It also allows time to see how the virus hospitalization rates progress. One concern is we open too soon and then face a mandated closure because of a second wave of the virus, a wave that would put significant stress on medical resources and push the County to again implement restrictive measures to manage the impact of increased hospitalizations. We understand that some churches are doing limited openings sooner. We believe that our plan matches our Theology, congregation demographics, available resources and congregation size while still caring for our neighbors with love. Worship will be different. This is the most challenging aspect of beginning indoor worship again. It will be a more contemplative style of worship. At this moment, medical science calls us to exercise certain limits to protect each other from this aerosol transmitted disease. Meeting in a closed space carries the highest risk of infection. We can look at these limits in a negative way or we can see them as a way to protect all and as an opportunity for creativity. Respecting the limits necessary for a wholesome life is a central theme of our Judeo-Christian Scripture. The familiar aspects of gathering in this time will continue - safe distancing, no handshakes or embracing, the use of face coverings and a reminder that if you are sick or in a high risk group to please stay at home and utilize the online options for worship. This virus is transmitted as an aerosol. It is imperative to keep exposure to a minimum. The worship service will be shorter. There are recommendations to ensure proper ventilation in the worship space. We have confirmed with our HAVAC contractor that there are 4-6 air changes in the Worship Center per hour while the system fans run. This is well within recommended limits. Out of care and love for our neighbor and based on recommendations by many different church organizations and epidemiologists, we will wear face masks, we will not sing as a congregation and we will not speak responsively as a congregation. Singing, speaking responsively and the playing of musical wind instruments are viewed as activities defined as super spreaders of the virus. Holy Communion will be celebrated – the only change, in an effort to help maintain safe distancing, is that Holy Communion and Sending will be combined. You will leave the Worship Center after receiving communion. We know this is difficult and not our norm for worship, especially as Lutherans, but we believe it is Worship that represents our calling to love thy neighbor and care for others out of love. Since we will have a need to express our faith through singing, we have developed an additional activity to allow for sharing faith with music. On the evenings of July 12th and August 16th at 6 pm we will have an outdoor Hymn Sing for 30 minutes and a fellowship time, including an ice cream truck on July 12th. We expect these to continue each month as weather permits. Of course, the expectations of safe distancing will continue, but we believe this will be a wonderful opportunity to gather and begin fellowship again. We as the leadership and staff of Trinity recognize this is not ideal. However, we believe that we have faithfully and diligently investigated and prayerfully discerned what is the safest, most respectful, and caring way to proceed while still providing the elements of meaningful worship. Please reach out to the office, Pastor, or me if you have questions. There have been a significant amount of documentation and videos reviewed to come up with this plan. I will gladly provide the key resources to anyone who would like to review them. Again, we are learning to live with this virus while reducing the risks for the sake of our neighbors, living out our vision You Matter to God, You Matter to Us. May you all remain healthy. Peace and grace to you, Mike Sharitz Trinity Lutheran Church Congregation President
Introducing Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions
In response to your requests, we have Daily Devotions on our website and YouTube channel. Our daily YouTube videos will feature guest narrators. We hope that our Trinity families will find these daily devotionals helpful during this time of unprecedented stress and crisis. The Daily Devotions can be found under the Worship tab on our website. CLICK HERE
Mission of the Month
During the summer we will have a few ongoing Mission of the Month service projects. Each Monday–Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, we will have a collection bin outside of Trinity. We will be collecting the following items all summer: Nonperishable Food for Circle of Concern Circle of Concern feeds the hungry and provides assistance to low-income families living in west St. Louis County. Children of Circle’s clients may qualify for free or reduced breakfast and/or lunch programs at their schools during the school year. During the summer, those meal programs come to an end. To ensure these children have enough to eat, Circle provides Kid Bags to supplement the groceries they share with the families through the summer. Kid Bags include an assortment of kid-friendly foods – macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, canned pasta, cereal, cheese sticks, fresh fruit, and much more – to bridge the summer hunger gap. Current needs at Circle of Concern include: Pasta Sauce Dinner Helpers Canned Pasta Dry potatoes/beans/rice Condiments Cereal Mac & Cheese Peanut Butter Jelly Snack Crackers Fruit Cups Trail Mix Cans of Soup Granola Bars Personal Care Items for Lutheran Senior Services Residents living in Lutheran Senior Services Affordable Housing units often do not the funds available to purchase personal care items or cleaning supplies. You can purchase items from the LSS Amazon wish list HERE or purchase from the list below and drop your items off at Trinity. Toothpaste Toothbrushes Razors Shaving Cream Shampoo & Conditioner Denture Cream Lotion Soap Deodorant Multi Surface Cleaner Dish Soap Facial Tissues Incontinence Pads & Underwear Fabric Softener Laundry Detergent Paper Towels Toilet Paper Gently Used Books for Lutheran Senior Services Do you have a favorite book that you have read recently (bestsellers, fiction, etc.)? All summer we will be collecting gently used books for the residents living in Lutheran Senior Services Affordable Housing. Books may be dropped off in the collection bin outside of Trinity. Diapers and Baby Wipes for Lutheran Family & Children’s Services When children cannot be cared for by their birth parents, LFCS is there to help with vital foster care services. LFCS works with foster families who are specifically trained to provide care to children who have been abused or neglected and are in the state foster care system. The program is called St. Louis Partners, which is a collaborative effort between LFCS, Good Shepard, Bringing Families Together, and Our Little Haven. LFCS has an ongoing need for the following items: Diapers Formula Baby Wipes Thrivent Action Team Funding Cards Needed The Mission Team has applied for an Innovation Grant from the Central States Synod and we need to match the funds from the grant ($250). We will be using these funds to create Soup-in-a-Bag kits for the affordable care residents at Lutheran Senior Services. If you are a Thrivent member, you have access to funds to use for your favorite service project or fundraiser! Contact the church office if you would like to help. Thank you for supporting our neighbors in need!
Faith Stuff Family At-Home Devotions
We know this time's been tough on us all. The writers and staff at Clergy Stuff have crafted family-friendly, at-home weekly devotionals that you can print at home. We hope that our Trinity families will find these devotionals helpful during this time of unprecedented stress and crisis. The Family At-Home Devotions can be found under the Worship tab on our website or click on the picture below to go to the Faith Stuff Page.
Support Circle of Concern
Trinity’s Ellen Resek has kicked off a neighborhood collection for Circle of Concern. If you would like to donate food or personal care items to Circle of Concern, we will be placing our yellow collection bin outside each day, Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm. You can drop by Trinity and make a contact-less donation. Circle's current needs include: Pasta Sauce Dinner Helpers Canned Pasta Dry potatoes/beans/rice Condiments Snacks Body Wash Laundry detergent Hand Soap Bar Soap Conditioner If you would like to bring your items directly to Circle, please note that Circle is only accepting donations on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Circle is located at 112 St. Louis Avenue, Valley Park, MO 63088. You can contact them at 636.861.2623 or email@example.com. If you would like to host a neighborhood collection, we recommend placing a donation bin on your front porch and spreading the word through your neighborhood's social media sites. If you prefer to hand out flyers, we will be happy to print out flyers for you to distribute in your neighborhood. Circle of Concern feeds the hungry and provides assistance to low-income families living in west St. Louis County. Thank you for supporting Circle of Concern!
Hymns for Solitude
Our wonderful Jonathan Owen has blessed us with a private concert of his favorite hymns played on the piano. You can find the video on our YouTube channel under the “Trinity Concert” Playlist or at the link HERE Thank you Jonathan for sharing your musical talents with us!
Kids Bulletins Are Now Available On Our Website
We added a Kids Bulletin page under the Children, Youth & Family tab on our website. Click HERE to view the page. Our weekly Kids Bulletins are popular with our younger worshipers. While we continue to host virtual worship on Sundays, your children can continue to enjoy our Kids Bulletins.
Biblical Conversation with Pastor Chris is Resuming - Remotely
Join Us for a Virtual Biblical Conversation on Thursdays at 10:00 am. The first Biblical Conversation starts on April 23. You can join us by going to www.zoom.com on your computer or smartphone and enter the meeting information. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call the church office (636-227-5432) to get the meeting information and password. If you are signed up for our weekly emails, we include the Zoom link to our Biblical Conversation in our weekly email.
Sewers Needed to Make Face Masks
Do you sew? Overrun hospitals are facing an acute shortage of masks and people are pulling out their sewing machines to fill the void. All over the country, housebound Americans are crafting thousands upon thousands of face masks to help shield doctors, nurses and many others from the coronavirus. Other masks are being handed out at health clinics and nursing homes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the use of cloth masks to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may not know they have the virus from transmitting it to others. You can read more about face masks on the St. Louis County's COVID-19 page HERE. If you would like to help make face masks, here are just a few of the local Facebook groups that have been created to help organize the creation and distribution of face masks. (click on the name to go to the Facebook page) Fabric Facemasks for St. Louis Masks for St Louis STL Makers Unite! Medical Masks Makers Greater St. Louis One Million Mask Drive Armor Your Local Medical Team with Masks If you’re looking for patterns, here are two of the more popular free face mask patterns. (there are many other free patterns available on the above Facebook pages) Deaconess Mask Aries Mask If you choose to make ties for your masks, old t-shirts cut into strips make great ties. If you don't have old t-shirts, contact the church office. We have lots of spare t-shirts that you can use to make ties. If you are willing to donate face masks to Trinity, we are happy to distribute them for you. Please contact the church office at 636-227-5432 to make arrangements to drop off your face masks. If you are in need of a face mask, please contact the church office and we can make arrangements for you to receive a mask.
Visit the Trinity Kids Corner for Songs with Mr. Graeme
Hey Trinity Families! We have added a Kids Corner section under the Children, Youth and Family tab on the Trinity website. (CLICK HERE) I'll be sending out a couple of songs each week that we can sing together each Sunday and throughout the week. So if you have any favorites that we sing during music time, please let me know and I'll get them out to you. Remember, He's got the whole world in His hands! -Mr. Graeme
A Message from Pastor Chris – Choose LOVE
Let us begin with a prayer that a colleague of mine shared that has been my morning prayer this week. (The Rev. Cameron Bellm) Prayer for a Pandemic May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
Let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen I love that! This is exactly what your Trinity leadership and staff are doing in this time of COVID-19 where we physically distance and paradoxically, in faith, come together. This has meant some temporary changes for us as Church. I mean, who knew we would be giving up so much for Lent this year? Here are the highlights of these changes: We continue to BE THE CHURCH and live out our mission, “You Matter to God, You Matter to Us.” We continue to worship, pray, and serve our Living God, knowing that amid the chaos and changes of the world, his love is steadfast for us and his promises never fail. Worship is participatory and accessible online. You can Participate live or anytime that works with your schedule. www.youmattertogod.org * 7:00 pm Wednesdays in Lent * 9:00 am Sundays. These services will include Holy Communion in your home. To participate you will need to have Wine or Grape Juice and Bread available
in your home. * Under the Worship tab on the website is “God’s Story, Our Story.” We are
encouraging the use of this resource for daily devotions. (Appropriate for all ages and families to center ourselves.) We continue to staff and serve Jesus Christ, you, neighbors and community. If you need anything while socially distancing, please call the church office and we will make sure it happens. 636-227-5432 With the cyclical nature of the pandemic information, leadership will be consistently 2 weeks ahead in our planning. It changes too much to be 4 weeks out. So, we are not going to be sending out an April Trinitell. The weekly Friday e-mail (which will be printed and mailed to those without email) will be the most efficient way of staying up to date. God’s work continues. THANK YOU for continuing to financially support our mission. Peace, Pastor Chris