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.
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. Many are making phone calls to members of the congregation to check in. Materials and meetings for our children, youth and their families continue. I have been invited to an “Ask the Pastor” event for our youth this weekend (wish me luck!). Others of our staff are keeping the church cleaned and prepped for the time we get back together (more on that below). And still others are busy working to make sure we can provide online resources for worship and study.
As faithful stewards of all God has given to us, the Church Council approved, and we applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We received notice earlier this week that we are approved. The PPP will augment any lost loose offerings and fill in the gaps for anyone who has decreased their giving because they have lost their job as a result of this pandemic, and it will provide support in the coming months as we find ourselves in this time apart.
We will continue to worship solely via live-streaming through the month of May. Worship and other gatherings at Epiphany will continue to adhere to current “stay-at-home orders” and numbers for group gatherings. These gatherings include any and all events at the church facilities, as well as gatherings of groups as an Epiphany sanctioned function, such as a small group or picnic or party. While we cannot mandate what members do outside of the functions of the church, our policies for church events and worship will be the same across the board.
The exact date when we will provide worship in our buildings and other gatherings has not yet been set. This decision is being discussed by the pastors and church council together, with careful consideration of the following:
  • The safety of the community and congregation
  • Recommendations from health officials
  • Recommendations from the synod office
  • Guidelines put forward by the State of Ohio and federal government
When the day comes that we are able to gather for worship and events, we will phase in slowly and carefully. There are many details to clarify, including the safe number and spacing of worshipers, cleaning before and after services, offering plates, bulletins, communion, singing, and more.
Again, we ask your patience in this. Together with my fellow pastors, church council and staff, we are committed to the safety and well-being of others. When we do come forward with a plan for each phase of getting back together, I ask that you look at the items put forward not as restrictions, but as safety measures. These measures will be foundational in carrying out our mission of Loving Jesus by Serving Others.
As we make plans and set times and guidelines, I will continue to share them with you. More updates to come!
In the meantime, let us continue to pray for each other, reach out to each other, and support each other as God has given us the ability.
Currently, our Pantry is closed. The close quarters of that space and the concern for the safety of our volunteers caused us to halt the ministry for the time being. If and when needs arise, the pastors are able to address those with the resources we have on hand. And we do have many who are willing to help if help is needed.
In the meantime, I encourage you to support the agencies that are open and need assistance. Great work is being done by our neighbors. Let us support them as we are able. At this time, all area agencies are seeking financial support only.
ELCA Covid-19 support is another area to which you can give. Through online giving, gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response can be designated for COVID-19, and you can also give to COVID-19 Response on the ELCA website.
In addition to weekly online services on Epiphany’s YouTube Channel, there are additional ways to stay connected.
  • NEW! Weekly Bible Study – Wednesdays beginning May 13 at 11 a.m., all are welcome to a ZOOM Bible Study. I will lead a discussion on the Gospel lesson for the upcoming Sunday. Materials and directions will be coming to you early next week.
  • NEW! Prayers from the Porch – Beginning next week on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m., join me on my back porch for a short service of scripture, reflection, prayer and song. This will be coming to you every Wednesday on Epiphany’s YouTube Channel and will be available any time after that. This will replace the weeknight evening prayer services, which will end tomorrow, Friday, May 8.
  • Alone in the Wilderness Together – Daily devotions will continue to be sent by email, plus posted on our Facebook page and on our website.
  • Stop and Pray Every Day at 3:17 p.m. – Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to join us in prayer together at the same time every day. It’s always good to take time to pray!
Again, thank you for your support and partnership in ministry. I welcome your comments and questions. I miss worshiping with you and visiting with you in person. We know that day is coming again. Until then, peace be with you.