In-Person Worship Suspended

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Grace, peace and mercy be multiplied to you from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

God bless you all for your notes and calls and emails and texts. We miss being together!

Last week we received this mailing from Bishop Dillahunt of the Southern Ohio Synod:

Dear Partners on this Journey,

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”  – Matthew 22:36-40

Last week, Governor Mike DeWine unveiled a new ‘Public Health Advisory System’ created by the Ohio Department of Health based on several key indicators the team has been tracking during the pandemic. According to the ODH Coronavirus website, ‘The Public Health Advisory Alert System is a color-coded system designed to supplement existing statewide orders through a data-driven framework to assess the degree of the virus’ spread and to engage and empower individuals, businesses, communities, local governments, and others in their response and actions.’

So, as good Lutherans, we ask, ‘What does this mean?’ It means we are in a new phase of the pandemic in which, as Governor DeWine said, we are ‘living with COVID’ and need to adjust our daily lives and worship gatherings accordingly.

Currently, Butler, Franklin, Hamilton and Montgomery counties are listed at a Level 3. Governor DeWine recommends that congregations in counties at a Level 3 should worship online and limit in-person gatherings. This is a recommendation, not a mandate. Your pastor(s) and leadership team should work together to decide what is the most loving response for your congregation in light of the Public Health Advisory level in your county.
 

Because of this recommendation, we will suspend outdoor worship offerings until things begin to trend in the right direction and Montgomery County returns to Level 1 or 2.

I believe this is the right thing to do. While frustrating, the safety and health of members and staff are our priority.

Please know that we will continue to offer online streaming every week with the same rotation of one week contemporary/praise and the following week traditional.

We hope to be able to worship in person again soon.

The Public Health Advisory Alert System is to be updated each week on Thursday. When the level in Montgomery County returns to Level 1 or 2, we will begin the process of preparing for the return of in-person worship, which will take a few days to put into motion. 

Thank you again for your understanding. I invite any questions you might have.

Continue to join us for online worship every Sunday at 10:30 am. Stay connected with the daily devotions that I write for each day. And reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ and check in on one another.

God bless you all!

 

Peace,

Pastor Charlie



In-Person Worship Returns

  • ONLINE WORSHIP WILL continue EVERY SUNDAY at 10:30 a.m. 
  • OUTDOOR WORSHIP will begin June 21 at 9 a.m. at the Far Hills Campus and continue through the summer.
  • OUTDOOR WORSHIP will begin June 28 at 9 a.m. at the Austin Campus and continue through the summer.
Yes, both outdoor services will happen at the same time.
 
These outdoor services will be communion services. There will places to sit in the pavilion, on the lawn (bring your chairs and tailgate tents), or IN YOUR CARS, as we will have an FM broadcast available.
 
Each week a praise service will be offered at one campus and a traditional service at the other. The following week we will switch.
 
Because we use electronics, weather is an issue. IF we have a passing shower at 9 a.m., worship may be delayed a few minutes. IF there is considerable rain and it is not safe to worship, the outdoor service will be canceled for that day. This will be a game-time decision!
 
Next week, we will share all the details for what to expect and how it will all happen.
 
EVERYONE is welcome to come to worship. Those with a compromised immune system or a member of a high-risk group or those who are not yet comfortable being present in a group setting are invited to continue to watch the live stream service, or worship with the drive-in option.
 
Online worship will continue but will change in format. Instead of a blended offering, one week will be a traditional service and the following week will be a praise service.


Protocol for In-Person Worship

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
Grace, peace and mercy be multiplied to you from God Our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
 
Together with my fellow pastors, staff and council members, I wish you God’s blessings and express my deepest thanks for your patience, prayers and support in these uncharted times. We are very thankful for the gifts of technology that have given us opportunities for worship and education, fellowship and care. While we have had some hiccups along the way, we learn as we go, thankful for God’s forgiveness and grace (and yours too!).
 
The staff and church council officers have been meeting weekly, and the full church council has been meeting monthly to monitor our efforts and make plans for in-person worship, when that time comes. Yet the more we discuss it, the more we realize worship will not look or feel the same in many ways for quite some time. Together with colleagues from across the country, I have been in conversations and meetings about what we can and cannot do, what we should and should not do, and when it might be safe to step forward. We have listened to bishops, doctors, scientists, government and health officials and each other. We will continue to do so. Read more…


Worship and Ministry Updates

Dear Church,
 
Thank you for your continued support of the mission and ministry of Epiphany.
 
While we cannot be together physically, I continue to hear from many of you, offering words and prayers of support for our efforts. I am thankful for the technology we have, so that we can reach out through our weekly worship, weekly Bible Study and daily devotions. A new Bible Study offering is coming next week – more information can be found below.
 
SUPPORTING THE MINISTRY
 
Thank you for your financial support as well. Many of you have turned to online givingtexting to give, and setting up regular giving through your bank accounts. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
 
I know that many of you are experiencing financial constraints due to job furloughs and lay-offs as well as the impact this crisis has had on savings and portfolios. If there is a need to reduce your giving, we understand.
 
We continue to support the staff of Epiphany, who have shifted their responsibilities to focus on what we can. Read more…


Worship and Building Closure

Epiphany’s buildings at both campuses, and fields at the Austin Campus, are closed until further notice.
 
Epiphany will not hold public worship services, but we will live stream the 10:30 a.m. service each Sunday on our YouTube Channel.
 
Epiphany Lutheran Preschool is closed through April 5. Contact Director Heather Phillips with questions.
 
Epiphany’s Morning Care is closed through April 5. Contact Director Tonya Johns with questions.
 
Do not fear, for I am with you,
    do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
 
–Isaiah 41:10


Early Protocols for Coronavirus

Because we care, I want to take a moment to cover the topic of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) as it affects our church community.
The Ohio Department of Health recommends the following precautions. 
 
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Avoid contact with people who are sick.
• Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals.
• Wash hands often with soap and water (20 seconds or longer).
• Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry your hands.
• Cover cough with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces.
• Clean and disinfect ‘high-touch’ surfaces often.
• Call before visiting your doctor.
• Practice good hygiene habits.


^