“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving 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 10:24,25).
WELS congregations, schools, and members continue to find creative ways to meet together and spur one another on despite changing circumstances due to COVID-19. Here are just a few examples:
More than 30,000 people have watched the synodwide Easter evening worship celebration “Together at the Empty Tomb.” Included in that service was a recording of WELS members singing “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” from their homes.
Watch the service at livestream.com/wlslive/togetherattheemptytomb.
Many congregations recorded or streamed live worship services, sometimes getting creative so they didn’t feel like they were preaching to empty pews. (Pictured: Grace, Falls Church, Va.)
Whole congregations as well as small groups started meeting through online meeting applications, including a women’s Bible study in Wisconsin, and the confirmation class with Vicar Mark Zondag at Beautiful Savior, College Station, Texas (featured image above).
Several WELS congregations, including Living Savior, Asheville/Hendersonville, N.C., conducted drive-in worship services, broadcasting through an FM transmitter so members could hear the service on their car radios.
Light of the Valleys, Reno, Nev., even reported a baptism being conducted during Palm Sunday worship at a member’s home, with the pastor and congregation participating through Zoom. This included members filming themselves at home offering support. Read the full story at wels.net/baptism-blessing.
St. Paul, Green Bay, Wis., held a “drive-thru” food pantry. More than 100 families drove to the church and received two bags of food each, some waiting over an hour in the car line-up to get the food. “We received names and addresses of over 90 new families who have never been to our church before,” says Nathan Nass, pastor at St. Paul. “I’ve already followed up with them to let them know that Jesus loves them and our church cares for them.” Members of St. Paul and other area WELS congregations continue to donate food. St. Paul is planning to offer the drive-thru pantry every two weeks, especially focusing on the Hispanic community, which has been hard-hit.
Women from Zion, Bristol, Wis., (a few are pictured) sewed face masks and hung them on a tree outside the church for anyone to take for free. They have sewn and given away more than 700 masks in a few weeks.
Nebraska Lutheran High School, Waco, Neb., provided free weekday noon meals for those in the community who needed them, especially seniors or those with compromised health.
WELS members found multiple ways to make “ear savers,” especially for those who needed to wear masks for essential jobs. Jennifer Poston and her son, Connor, members at Atonement, Milwaukee, crocheted more than 160 “mask mates” and “we have more to go because the demand is high!” says Jennifer. Dillard Solomon, a 2020 graduate from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn., printed them on his 3D printer.
Three-year-old Autumn, daughter of Ben and Kim Hoff who are members at Immanuel, Greenville, Wis., shows the attitude Christians can have, even during these trying times.
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Volume 107, Number 6
Issue: June 2020