English Lutheran Church Update

 June 23, 2020

Dear Partners in Ministry,

Our church council, our COVID-19 Task Force, and Pastor Jeff continue to make plans to phase back into in-person worship at English Lutheran. It has been a long few months and certainly some of you are anxious to gather together as a church family again. As leaders, we chose to follow the recommendations from Pierce County Public Health, the ELCA, and the Wisconsin Council of Churches and to consciously move slowly, as this is one time being first at something may not be the best course of action. We’ve watched as other churches have resumed in-person worship, only to cause an outbreak and go back to online only services. So our guiding principle has been to follow Christ’s command to love our neighbors by doing all we can to keep our community safe.

In recent weeks, the number of active cases in Pierce County has decreased. If this trend continues we believe we can safely do an in-person worship. We considered both a drive-in service and an outdoor service. Based on a much larger percentage of those surveyed preferring an outdoor service and given the average level of concern of our members about catching or spreading COVID-19, we are planning to begin worshipping in-person, outdoors on July 19. You’ll find all the guidelines for our outdoor services on the next page. Please note, due to the fluid nature of this pandemic, if the virus spikes in our region again, our plans for outdoor worship may change or be cancelled suddenly.

We will continue to offer online worship in the coming months for those who are unable to attend in-person or who prefer to worship from a distance for now and in case our in-person worship cancels for bad weather. Watch for details whether the online worship will stream live or be pre-recorded when our outdoor worship services begin.

Thank you for your patience these last few months while we’ve all done our part to “flatten the curve” and find new and creative ways to worship our Lord and be God’s hands and feet in the world!

 

God’s peace,

 

 

Pastor Jeff Smith

ELC Church Council

ELC COVID-19 Task Force

Christikon Trip ~ Ready to Go!

Thanks for your support!

 

Our group has shrunk in size due to the Coronavirus, but after a 2 week pre-trip self-quarantine, six youth and two adults will head off to Christikon, a Bible camp in Montana just north of Yellowstone National Park. Please pray for us during our trip, July 10-18, that we might have safe travels, that we and those we meet will stay healthy, and that we all might grow in fellowship and faith as we enter into the adventure of life together in God’s beautiful creation!

 

Our group includes: Mary Lundstrom, Matthew Lundstrom, Anissa Cole, Blake Fagerland, Brooklyn Gabert, Zachary Smith, and chaperones Julie Lundstrom and Pastor Jeff.

Portals of Prayer

Portals of Prayer booklets for July—September are available in a bin outside the south office entrance to the church.  Please take one if you’d like.  They are available for anyone.

English Lutheran Church is 100!

English Lutheran Church turns 100 years old this month on July 12, 2020! 

 

While we cannot physically gather to celebrate at this time, please keep English Lutheran Church in your prayers and we will celebrate in our hearts for the time being!  We hope to celebrate this special occasion sometime next fall or in 2021. 

Helpful Resources

We will post resources we think may be good reads or helpful to you.

 

Resources:

  1. Simple Summer - This at-homeVBS resource is designed for those looking for faith formation activities for the summer months and who want to keep things simple!

  2. Joyfully Generous ~ 8 week summer worship series ~ Worship docs & Video Devotional

  3. NW Synod of WI Summer Ministry

  4. Summer Book Club

  5. Pierce County Covid Dashboard

  6. Faith Finders ~ YouTube videos for the family with a Bible lesson and nature/magic/science fun.

  7. Hearts @ Home- A home worship resource from our synod

  8. Northwest Synod of WI Worship & Faith Formation at Home

  9. Faith 5 -  Faith practices to use in your home

If you would like printed worship/devotional resources mailed to you. please email the church office at office@englishlutheranchurch.org.

Backpack Program

This summer we are packing bags for the summer backpack program.  There are 20 families currently receiving food.  Thank you to our volunteers who are backing bags each week!  Thank you for your support!

If you wish to make a financial donation to the backpack program, you can do so on our Giving Page - select Mission for the ministry and make a note that it is for the Back pack program when asked for details.  Or, if you wish to send a check to the church, you can make it out to English Lutheran Church notating Backpack Program on the memo line.

 

 

Music Projects

The Music & Worship committee is proud to unveil two new projects to further music ministry at English Lutheran Church: the 'Pen Pal Praise Project' and 'Lay Down a Track-- Until We Get Back' which will provide all congregants, musicians, and youth members with a chance to share in our musical gifts from afar.  Whether by submitting a video of you singing or talking about your favorite worship song, singing along to music to be used during livestream services, or by submitting special music of your own, you can continue to make a joyful noise, even from afar.  More information below.

FIN

Faithful Innovation Network

"A Summer of Listening"

Workshops:

JUNE 18 - Recorded

JULY 16 - 6:30-8:00 p.m.

AUGUST 20 - 6:30-8:00 p.m.

During this time of pandemic all the churches across our synod are doing a huge amount of experimenting, new actions and innovation! This is amazing!  But a big piece of the innovation process is making sure we are listening to God, understanding what God is calling us into and reflecting on our new actions.

The Faithful Innovation Network is offering a FREE three workshop series helping us to pay attention to what God is doing in us and our congregations in the midst of this pandemic.

Anyone is invited and welcome! Workshops will be recorded, so if you miss one, you can catch up easily!

 

Together we will practice listening work, have reflection conversations and explore together what God is doing in the midst of a pandemic. 

We hope you join us!

Malawi Update

June 2020

 

Muli Bwanji dear friends,

 

I would like to share a few updates about our partners in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi.  

 

Covid-19 

In March as we watched the number of infections and deaths from Covid-19 rise throughout the world, I was holding on with hope that Malawi would be spared from this disease. In April cases began to appear there, and testing became more available in the larger cities. In the last 3 weeks, cases have quadrupled, and there are now 455 confirmed cases, and 4 known deaths due to this disease. With the first recorded cases, the government ordered a shutdown, closing many small businesses, and limiting gatherings to small groups - this immediately put a strain on households who rely on those small businesses for survival, and community members who rely on those businesses for food and supplies. 

 

Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe also made the decision to pause in-person worship due to the large numbers of people who gather each week & knowing this would be one way the church could help ensure people’s safety. With this decision, pastors and evangelists and many ELCM staff have been out of work with no pay. A court decision overturned the government shutdown and decisions about community safety protocols are being negotiated. And, there is a strong urgency by the govenrment to reopen schools in July, although this is very concerning for most families. Additionally, Bishop Joseph has asked all ELCM staff to work from home if they are able, due to the confirmed Covid-19 cases that are very close to the Lutheran compound in Lilongwe.  

 

Aside from these concerns, there is growing anxiety about testing - currently, most testing access is in the large cities, and very little testing is available in the rural areas, in which the greatest percentage of the population lives in Malawi. And, there are only about 2 dozen ICU beds available within the country, so available health care and treatment also brings some worry for those who could need extensive care.  

 

Feeding stations have remained open, with appropriate safety procedures in place, and it is our goal to help sustain this ministry in whatever way we are able.  

  

Companion Visits

In April of this year a small group of us were planning to travel to Malawi to teach at the Pastors’ Academy and travel to Johannesburg for an ELCA/Southern Africa Consultation. The trip was postponed until 2021 (tentatively) due to the global public health concerns.  

 

Social Concerns

Large groups of supporters gather daily throughout the country at various presidential campaigns as the country looks forward to electing a president on June 23.  

 

Support

Many of you have inquired about how we can best walk with our brothers and sisters in Malawi during this time. One important way to offer support is through our prayers - please continue to pray for health, for effective leadership, and for peace for our companions in the church, but also throughout the country.  

The next most effective way we can assist right now would be through financial gifts. These gifts will be used for the following: 1.) Food and supplies for feeding stations, and 2.) Assistance with ELCM staff stipends. Perhaps you feel called to contribute a financial gift to these ongoing needs. If so, please know that your gift will automatically be doubled (up to $5,000) due to a generous gift from one of our companion congregations. Gifts can be mailed to the synod office, or made online. In an effort to send funds as quickly as possible, the deadline for donations will be June 26, 2020.  

 

Thank you for your ongoing, strong support of our companions in Malawi - your generosity continues to warm my heart!  I will provide additional updates when I receive more detailed information.

 

Please join me in praying for God’s continued blessings on our partnership with the ELCM as we look forward to all the ways we will walk together in the light of Jesus Christ.  Zikomo Yesu!

 

Together in Christ,

 

Deacon Laura Ramlow

Companion Coordinator - Malawi, Africa

Pierce County Public Health Advisory - Updated

June 12, 2020

This is an update on our original advisory released May 15th 2020. This advisory allows mass gatherings outdoors of not over 50 people. Although COVID-19 remains a threat in our communities, we have seen a decrease in cases since mid-May and many area providers have put testing in place for symptomatic patients. 

Please click below to view the advisory, including information on:

~ Mass Gatherings

~ Safe Business Practices

~ Travel recommendations

~ Preventions of Disease Guidelines

2020 High School ELC Graduates

Congrats to our ELC Graduates!

Garett Borth

Holly Carlson

Gillian Davis

Grace Hallock

Logan Kilness

Bryce Lunde

Annabelle Meyer

Alyssa Pechacek

Brooklyn Ryden

Kennedy Schommer

Sam Thurmes

Thank you to the quilters for the beautiful quilts the grads received - see pics of the grads with their quilts on our gallery page.  Click below to learn what our grads will be doing next year.

Worship with us Online!

Join us at 10:00 am Sunday mornings, for worship on Facebook.  Click on the Facebook Video icon for the service if you miss(ed) it.  No worries if you don't have Facebook - you can click "not now" to the pop-up box asking you to join, if it comes up.

Support Our Small Businesses!

Now is the time to help support our small businesses!  Check out this Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce link to a list of small businesses in Ellsworth and their current hours and offerings.  Let's support our community!

 

A note from the Ellsworth Chamber: COMING SOON!! We are excited to announce our newest program: ‘Ellsworth Bucks’. ‘Ellsworth Bucks’ is a community currency program (similar to the Chamber Dollars of the past), purchased online through the Chamber's website. Not only will it bring a year-round Buy Local program to our community, but it will also help keep local dollars local! It's a WIN-WIN!

Watch for the official launch coming soon (next week🤞)! We're doing it up right with a virtual event complete with activities, merchant spotlights, and GIVEAWAYS! 🥳

FAQ Update

Q: What can I do to support the church?

A: Pray for your fellow partners in ministry. Pray for our community. Call, text, Facetime, email, and send letters and cards to one another. Do the same for our shut-ins and members at the care centers. Contribute to your favorite charities, and if you are financially able, please remember English Lutheran and make an offering so we can continue to do ministry in this challenging time- the world needs us and the Good News of the Gospel now more than ever! If you don't already, give electronically, perhaps the easiest ways are to click on the "Give" Tab on our website or text the amount you want to give to 844-912-2195. Thank you for any support you can give during this unprecedented time of not physically "passing the plate."

 

Q: Will the church building and office be open during the week?

A: Not at this time.

We are workinging from home ~ You can email us anytime at:

pastor@englishlutheranchurch.org

office@englishlutheranchurch.org

You can reach Pastor Jeff M-F from 9a-5p by phone or text for non-urgent matters or anytime for emergencies at 651-235-7204.

 

Finally, I know these are unsettling times. Our lives have been turned upside down, and many of you are anxious about the spread of this virus, about being isolated, about the effects on our economy, and not being able to bring all that to worship here in the church on Sunday morning. I get it. I am praying for all of you that God will give you peace and sustain you in this time. I hope you will be able to join us for our on-line services so we can still gather as a community together, even if not in person for now. Please let me know if there is anything I or the larger congregation can do for you or your loved ones in this time. You are not alone! Jesus and your church family walk with you!

 

God bless you all!

 

Pastor Jeff

Electronic Giving

Did you know we offer electronic giving?  You can make a one-time, weekly, monthly, or semimonthly donation.  Donations can be changed at any time.  You can use your credit card or have funds moved directly from your bank account.  We offer a variety of ways to set this up:

~ Forms are available online and at church, return form to the church office.

~ Scan the QR code found in the church pews.

~ Set up giving online by going to “Giving” on our church website.

~ Text 844-912-2195 for a one time gift.

~ Download the GivePlus app to make a one time or recurring contribution.

Sharing Shed

English Lutheran Church has a “Sharing Shed.”  This is a place you can come to drop off items you wish to donate to someone in need.  Donations accepted are listed below.  No electronics, only necessities.  Our shed is a small garden shed, so smaller items only, no furniture.  Thank you for your generosity!

 

It is also a place you can come to take items you are in need of.  There is no charge and no strings attached.  The shed is not locked and can be accessed at any time.  The Sharing Shed is located just outside the back entrance of the church.  Please feel free to help yourself at any time.

 

Items available include:

            Basic Necessities

            Seasonal Apparel

            Seasonal Supplies

            Miscellaneous Items

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Sunday Worship Service

Online Sundays at 10:00 am

Education

Sunday School

           Sunday 10:00 am (September-May)

Confirmation Classes

           Wednesday 7:00 pm (September-May)

ADDRESS

 

229 West Main Street

Ellsworth, WI 54011

office@englishlutheranchurch.org

T  /  715-273-4617

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