Epistle #2 – Who is in the St. Paul family?

Dear friends,
I know. You just received the very first of our pandemic pronouncements, and here already, another one! My apologies in advance, as there will be a quick flurry initially, but these are important questions to address at the start up of this process.  As you know, not all members of our church family and friends have access to email, Facebook or our website, which is where our Epistles to St. Paul communication series will be accessed.

Because this is the case, our plan during this pandemic shut down is to provide hard copy of these letters through personal delivery to the front door of those who otherwise would be without this special word coming from their church family.   As you “take your shoes off” and put yourself into the shoes of those who might live alone, be homebound or are particularly vulnerable with fragile health or old age, we come to realize that these folks are some of the same ones who may not have a computer or electronic communications access.  And so I ask you this:  Could you assist us with ensuring that we are able to touch each and every member of our St. Paul flock with our care, interest and communication connectivity during this critical time? (Note that official membership of St. Paul Lutheran is not the deciding factor on this, as we desire to embrace and be in community with members and nonmembers alike, who have any kind of affiliation or relationship with St Paul Lutheran Church of Winterset).

Please help us if you can as follows:
– VOLUNTEER TO DELIVER –
1) St. Paul member Georgine Bellamy has offered to coordinate a small team of volunteers, who will share in this “special delivery” privilege to these members of our extended family circle.  If you are able to assist in this important ministry outreach, it will mean that on the day that you would be on “duty”, that you would either print off the Epistle communication of the day or pick up the set of printed Epistles at the church office,  and then make delivery to the recipients addresses as assigned. As is required by these unique circumstances, these will not be up close and personal, face-to-face, hug or handshake kinds of interactions. (This may be a relief to some of us who are by nature rather stoic types of Lutherans!)  Rather, we anticipate that delivery will be to the recipients front door, whether in an envelope taped to the door, or slid underneath it.  On a good day, you might be privileged to have/bring a friendly conversation from 6 feet away through a screen door. Respecting this newly coined phenomenon of appropriate social distancing because we know that this bug can be shared even when too close in proximity and in simply speaking with one another.  If the delivering person does not have conversation with the recipient at the time of delivery, we will ask that you make a phone call upon delivery, in order to alert them that they have a communication from their church waiting for them at their door.

– MAKE CERTAIN WE ARE NOT MISSING ANYONE –
2) Secondly, while we have already assembled a listing of individuals whom we believe to be in this category of limited electronic access, please do not hesitate to drop an email or make a phone call to the church office in order to offer any other names that should be researched along these lines.

The kingdom of God, Jesus says, is like the shepherd who has 99 of his flock within the fold, but leaves them in order to search and find that single one who is out there somewhere, in order to embrace and bring them fully into the flock.  God is relentless in pursuit of that one who is off and alone.

Praise God for all of the caring and loving people, within our circle of faith community and beyond, who desire to reach out and show care with this same passion, in the name of Jesus.

Meisha, our St. Paul Office Manager will be receiving and compiling this information and working with Georgine to put this volunteer team, the delivery listing and distribution system together.

Thank you in advance, for helping us to bring epistles of care and good news during these days to these beloved children of God!

Peace to you all!
Brian Mortenson, Interim Pastor

Church office phone:  515-462-4270
Church office email:  StPaulLutheranChurch@hotmail.com
Pastor Brian Mortenson email: StPaulPastor1941@gmail.com
Pastoral Emergencies:  605-351-0867

 

 

Epistle #1

Dearest friends,
I write today, in the midst of an extraordinary global pandemic shut-down, in order to introduce the first of a series of communications which we will call “Epistles to St. Paul”.  This series of Epistles will begin today, March 18, 2020 and will conclude on that day in which we shall meet gathered in community in the physical presence of one another in worship on Sunday morning! (The date for this, of course, remains to be determined.)

This word epistle simply means “a letter”. We are accustomed to hearing about and learning from the biblical Epistles FROM St. Paul. (These written to the Christian communities in Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, etc.) These epistles offer encouragement, support, direction, exhortation and news “updates” from the apostle Paul for life as Christian people in the midst of community, specific to that community.

Likewise, these present day epistles will also include words of encouragement, support, direction, exhortation and news updates.  However, these letters will be TO St. Paul. St. Paul the community, (which is currently the “virtual” community,) of our congregation, St. Paul Lutheran Church, of Winterset, Iowa.

Please look around you.  Is there anything of your normal day to day existence that does not feel totally “up in the air“ these days?  Because of how fluid our current environment, we do not have a fixed schedule for this plan.  Epistles will be sent out as needed, or as deemed beneficial. Some will be coming from me, your intentional interim pastor, and some will be coming from other Saint Paul church family members, including lay leadership.

Bottom line? We wish to make certain that we do not define Christian community with the shortsighted vision that it solely means those who come together physically on Sunday morning for worship. During these days, we see great need and opportunity to nurture this community of faith.  And yet we cannot be together.  But by being intentional in our communication and doing the very best we can connectivity-wise, we can be the church.

These are unprecedented times and circumstances, with unforeseeable outcomes. Accompanying these times and factors are a gamut of emotions, sufferings, challenges and yes… opportunities!  Let’s process these things, to the degree possible, together.

I look forward to sharing more thoughts on these things in the Epistles to come!

In the meantime, remember and relish the peace that only God can give. I pray today for you all, that amazing peacefulness in your heart and mind that is so profound that it even passes our own capacity to understand it.  And it comes from Jesus our Lord.

More to come very soon!
In Christs love,
Brian Mortenson, Interim Pastor

Church office phone:  515-462-4270
Church office email:  StPaulLutheranChurch@hotmail.com
Pastor Brian Mortenson email: StPaulPastor1941@gmail.com
Pastoral Emergencies:  605-351-0867

 

Other Announcements pertaining to St. Paul

Blood Drive  |  Tuesday, March 24 ● 1:00 – 7:00 pm

Life Serve Blood Bank will be here March 24th from 1pm until 7 pm.  We always need cookie bakers and volunteers to help at the canteen. This is a very busy Blood Bank and we can always use more help. Its a fun afternoon visiting with members of our community who come to donate blood.

Covid-19 Common Sense

Common sense things you can do to remain healthy and protect those around you.

  1. Regular hand washing. with soap and water or alcohol solution.
  2. Stay home if you are sick.
  3. Cover your mouth with your upper arm if you cough or sneeze.
  4. Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  5. Clean and disinfect all surfaces that are often touched.
  6. We will be temporarily suspending passing the peace at both worship services.
  7. Be sure you have a flu shot. Do it for the herd.

Charles W. & Lois H. Taylor Scholarship

A reminder that the Charles W. & Lois H. Taylor Scholarship application forms are now available.  Only residents of Madison County, Iowa who are also graduates of a high school or equivalent located in Madison County are eligible to apply for financial assistance to attend any accredited technical school, community college, college, university, graduate or professional school.”

Contact:   First Christian Church
103 W. Green Street, Winterset
515-462-1276
fccwinterset@gmail.com

Deadline to submit applications is May 1, 2020

Epistle #1 – Introduction to our virtual community communication series!


Dearest friends,
I write today, in the midst of an extraordinary global pandemic shut-down, in order to introduce the first of a series of communications which we will call “Epistles to St. Paul”.  This series of Epistles will begin today, March 18, 2020 and will conclude on that day in which we shall meet gathered in community in the physical presence of one another in worship on Sunday morning! (The date for this, of course, remains to be determined.)

This word epistle simply means “a letter”. We are accustomed to hearing about and learning from the biblical Epistles FROM St. Paul. (These written to the Christian communities in Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, etc.) These epistles offer encouragement, support, direction, exhortation and news “updates” from the apostle Paul for life as Christian people in the midst of community, specific to that community.

Likewise, these present day epistles will also include words of encouragement, support, direction, exhortation and news updates.  However, these letters will be TO St. Paul. St. Paul the community, (which is currently the “virtual” community,) of our congregation, St. Paul Lutheran Church, of Winterset, Iowa.

Please look around you.  Is there anything of your normal day to day existence that does not feel totally “up in the air“ these days?  Because of how fluid our current environment, we do not have a fixed schedule for this plan.  Epistles will be sent out as needed, or as deemed beneficial. Some will be coming from me, your intentional interim pastor, and some will be coming from other Saint Paul church family members, including lay leadership.

Bottom line? We wish to make certain that we do not define Christian community with the shortsighted vision that it solely means those who come together physically on Sunday morning for worship. During these days, we see great need and opportunity to nurture this community of faith.  And yet we cannot be together.  But by being intentional in our communication and doing the very best we can connectivity-wise, we can be the church.

These are unprecedented times and circumstances, with unforeseeable outcomes. Accompanying these times and factors are a gamut of emotions, sufferings, challenges and yes… opportunities!  Let’s process these things, to the degree possible, together.

I look forward to sharing more thoughts on these things in the Epistles to come!

In the meantime, remember and relish the peace that only God can give. I pray today for you all, that amazing peacefulness in your heart and mind that is so profound that it even passes our own capacity to understand it.  And it comes from Jesus our Lord.

More to come very soon!
In Christs love,
Brian Mortenson, Interim Pastor

Church office phone:  515-462-4270
Church office email:  StPaulLutheranChurch@hotmail.com
Pastor Brian Mortenson email: StPaulPastor1941@gmail.com
Pastoral Emergencies:  605-351-0867

 

Other Announcements pertaining to St. Paul

Blood Drive  |  Tuesday, March 24 ● 1:00 – 7:00 pm

Life Serve Blood Bank will be here March 24th from 1pm until 7 pm.  We always need cookie bakers and volunteers to help at the canteen. This is a very busy Blood Bank and we can always use more help. Its a fun afternoon visiting with members of our community who come to donate blood.

Covid-19 Common Sense

Common sense things you can do to remain healthy and protect those around you.

  1. Regular hand washing. with soap and water or alcohol solution.
  2. Stay home if you are sick.
  3. Cover your mouth with your upper arm if you cough or sneeze.
  4. Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  5. Clean and disinfect all surfaces that are often touched.
  6. We will be temporarily suspending passing the peace at both worship services.
  7. Be sure you have a flu shot. Do it for the herd.

Charles W. & Lois H. Taylor Scholarship

A reminder that the Charles W. & Lois H. Taylor Scholarship application forms are now available.  Only residents of Madison County, Iowa who are also graduates of a high school or equivalent located in Madison County are eligible to apply for financial assistance to attend any accredited technical school, community college, college, university, graduate or professional school.”

Contact:   First Christian Church
103 W. Green Street, Winterset
515-462-1276
fccwinterset@gmail.com

Deadline to submit applications is May 1, 2020

SPECIAL Announcement for March 15, 2020

St Paul Lutheran Church Worship Services – Important UPDATE in response to COVID-19

March 14, 2020

Dear St. Paul Lutheran Community,

We are a community of faith, rooted in the hope and love of Jesus Christ. Knowing that our God is a God of love and care for all people, we want to address the COVID-19 virus and St. Paul’s response and precaution.

We are listening carefully to governmental and public health officials who are issuing very strong recommendations to limit gatherings of people to whatever extent possible. I have been in conversation with our congregational President Dan Nielsen, and we have both been keeping a very close eye on key churches in the region.

With that being said, St. Paul will be cancelling our worship services for this Sunday, March 15, as well as programs and worship on Wednesday evening, March 18.

As of this writing we have had 17 cases reported in Iowa. While standard precautions request that “anyone with any symptoms” should stay at home, we have learned that with this particular virus, there are some who are “ silent carriers” or might be pre-symptomatic.  Therefore, we wish to be proactive by limiting interaction for this time period in order to help prevent vulnerable individuals from being infected.

I believe God calls us to be socially responsible and to care for not only our own flock, but also the surrounding community.

Please know that we view this as a response not of fear or panic, but of precaution and common sense. If this is indeed a wave, as health officials expect, then we want to do our part in keeping that wave as small as possible.

We all need God all of the time. But as you know, in times of challenge, we feel a special compelling need of God. That’s why this decision to cancel worship services is such a difficult thing. However, we want to invite you to know of other important opportunities to stay close to God during this critical time.

Please make every effort to pursue the following in a very intentional manner:

1) Worship: Lutheran Church of Hope (the largest church in the ELCA, which just happens to be down the road from Winterset!) has just announced that they will not be holding public gatherings for worship. However they will be “holding” their worship services online, available to all through their website, which is lutheranchurchofhope.org   Whether individually or as a couple or as a family, you will be blessed to come together and worship, perhaps in the home office or at the kitchen table as your sanctuary, with laptop, desk-top or iPad!

2) Personal Bible reading and prayer. I encourage you to read Scripture and pray as individuals and as families.

Please know that if there is need and you cannot come to church, your church will come to you. My email address, office phone, and cell phone are included below. Please let me know if you are sick or suffering, and are in need of specific prayer, a visit, or encouragement, whether in person or over the phone. I consider it a privilege to support and encourage you in God’s love and grace at all times, but especially during these challenging days.

I remind you that we remain dependent upon weekly offerings in order to pay the bills and fund daily and long-term ministry operating expenses, and ask that during this interesting time that you would send your offerings or make your contribution online through the churches website. As always, thank you for your faithful practice of generosity to the glory of God and the caring ministry of Jesus Christ.

The suspension of worship services and programs will be a week-by-week decision for now. We will bring update communications, targeting Wednesday, to touch base on status at that time.

A final word: Our presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has reminded us of Martin Luther’s response to the anxious citizens of Germany who, way back in 1527, were themselves facing the prospect of an epidemic. Luther wrote that above all else the Christian’s duty is to care for one’s neighbor. According to Luther, that included taking care of the most vulnerable, following the best medical advice available, and avoiding unnecessary risks. We are doing our best to heed Luther’s words and Christ’s call to love our neighbors.

I ask for your prayers for our Church, our Council, our Call Committee and for all within this congregation, as together we move forward in hope. And please pray for health professionals, first responders, civic leaders and for the most vulnerable among us. We are a people of a faith that casts out all fear. We ask that you will give your understanding and support to this and future decisions.  And most of all, I pray you will be filled with the hope and peace that comes from Christ.

Together in the love and mission of Jesus,

Pastor Brian Mortenson
StPaulPastor1941@gmail.com
515-462-4270 (Office)
605-351-0867 (Cell)

Introducing Our 2020 Lenten Weekday Worship Series

When Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, Jesus gave them what we now call “The Lord’s Prayer”, or some call it “The Our Father.”  At our weekly worship services throughout the season of Lent, we will be taking a good look at this remarkable gift which Jesus offered, through a series of spoken messages which will be given by members of our church.

We will delight and grow together, as we expand our understanding of each of these extraordinary petitions which Jesus has taught us.

March 18th, Cancelled due to COVID-19 response
March 25th, speaker Peyton Dick – Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
April 1st, speaker Brenda Hollingsworth – Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Thursday, April 9th, speaker Ted Leonard – For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever and ever.  AMEN.
April 10th– Good Friday Worship – Pastor Randall Lubbers will be preaching the sermon with a joint worship service with the First United Presbyterian Congregation here at St. Paul Lutheran at 7:00 pm.

Our Faith in Film Series

Thank you for your very generous gifts to Our Faith in Film 2020 project! This is the second year of the ecumenical project, a partnership between Winterset churches and The Iowa Theater. Films are free to the public with a good will donation to CRISP or Matura Madison County.

Featured films shown on Sundays at 5:30 pm are:

March 29: Paul, Apostle of Christ (PG-13, 2018) is the story of Paul, imprisoned and awaiting his death sentence at the hands of Emporer Nero, and his friend Luke who risks his own life to visit Paul in prison. Another audience favorite, this movie is characterized as “An impressively made and portrayed story of forgiveness and faith during a time of fear and persecution.”

April 5: Jesus Christ Superstar (G, 1973) is the original film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s popular rock opera, starring the iconic Ted Neeley as Jesus Christ. The story tells the final weeks of Jesus’ life through unforgettable songs and imaginative staging.

 

Please click HERE to see the Hospitality Group List

UPCOMING CHANGE TO OFFICE HOURS

Office Manager, Meisha Sible will be travelling again and out of the office from March 19 – 31.

CRISP Movie Night!  |  Sunday, March 15th, 6:30pm

CRISP will be hosting a movie night fundraiser on Sunday, March 15th at 6:30 at The Iowa Theater here in Winterset.  They will be showing Missing Link, an animated, comedy-adventure, great for the whole family.  Admission is $5 per person.  ALL proceeds will be returned to CRISP.  The event is sponsored by American State Bank, Farmers & Merchants State Bank and Union State Bank.

 

Blood Drive  |  Tuesday, March 24 ● 1:00 – 7:00 pm

Life Serve Blood Bank will be here March 24th from 1pm until 7 pm.  We always need cookie bakers and volunteers to help at the canteen. This is a very busy Blood Bank and we can always use more help. Its a fun afternoon visiting with members of our community who come to donate blood.

Covid-19 Common Sense

Common sense things you can do to remain healthy and protect those around you.

  1. Regular hand washing. with soap and water or alcohol solution.
  2. Stay home if you are sick.
  3. Cover your mouth with your upper arm if you cough or sneeze.
  4. Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  5. Clean and disinfect all surfaces that are often touched.
  6. We will be temporarily suspending passing the peace at both worship services.
  7. Be sure you have a flu shot. Do it for the herd.

Charles W. & Lois H. Taylor Scholarship

A reminder that the Charles W. & Lois H. Taylor Scholarship application forms are now available.  Only residents of Madison County, Iowa who are also graduates of a high school or equivalent located in Madison County are eligible to apply for financial assistance to attend any accredited technical school, community college, college, university, graduate or professional school.”

Contact:   First Christian Church
103 W. Green Street, Winterset
515-462-1276
fccwinterset@gmail.com

Deadline to submit applications is May 1, 2020

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