Saint Lucas Lutheran

Church, School, Pre-K and Child Care in Bay View, WI

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Holy Communion during COVID-19

A note from Pastor Unnasch regarding Holy Communion for the immediate future

Dear Brothers and Sisters in our Saint Lucas family,

It would be hard to overstate how much I miss seeing all of you at worship!  I pray the day will come quickly when we can once again enjoy each other’s personal fellowship.  Until then we will continue to gather together online around our Lord and his Gospel.

We need to take a moment to discuss Holy Communion.  The decision that follows comes as the result of prayerful deliberation, internal discussion and consultation with others in our Synod grappling with the same issue at this unprecedented time in our nation.

With full knowledge of how much God’s people treasure and desire receiving the Lord’s Supper, under the present circumstances we feel it best to temporarily suspend any formal or scheduled attempt to provide Holy Communion until that time when we resume our regular worship services and are able to celebrate it in our customary way.

Exception to the above is pastoral care for the sick or dying, and other cases upon request for private communion where the Lord’s Supper can be administered safely for all involved given the current health restrictions. 

These plans may change as circumstances around us change.

There are a number of reasons that led to this conclusion.  Perhaps the most apparent is compliance with the spirit of the governor’s “Safer at Home” order that is in effect until the end of April.   As Christian citizens we want to do our part in “flattening the curve” by lessening any possibility of spreading the coronavirus -- or receiving it ourselves through others.

There is an exception for churches (under the general heading of Weddings and Funerals) that allows nine or fewer people in a location as long as proper distancing is observed (which is why we are able to continue our Livestreaming services).  These past two Sundays we have made specific arrangements for offering Holy Communion with this exception in mind. 

We are receiving word, however, that the coronavirus will now be quite pronounced in our area in the coming weeks. In light of this, we do want to be diligent in seeing to it that we are doing all we can to mitigate the virus’ spread. In addition, wedo not want to harm our witness to the community.  In the event someone would get sick – or would cause someone else to get sick – we do not wish our congregation to be viewed with suspicion for increasing the health risk, even if not true.

This decision was also made with the understanding that while our Lord wants us to take communion often, he does not say how often. There are times and situations in life when Christians, for reasons beyond their control, are forced to be away from the sacrament for certain periods of time.  Given the national health crisis and mandatory restrictions that accompany it, we are in such a time. In such a time we do not believe this would be showing a lack of desire to receive the Lord’s Supper. Rather, we pray it will lead us to receive it all the more often when we have the opportunity to do so.

Again, we pray it won’t be long.  And when we are able once again to worship our Lord Jesus Christ and celebrate communion together in our customary way, what a joyful and meaningful moment it will be! 

For the time being – and especially as we enter Holy Week – let’s all remember that the “Means of Grace” also includes our baptism, through which the Holy Spirit created or strengthened saving faith within us -- and his holy Word, through which the Holy Spirit sustains and strengthens our faith with the Gospel.  Let’s continue to make use of the worship and devotional opportunities our Lord is giving us. And take time each day to remember your baptism – to remember that you are part of God’s dear family. You have had the washing of rebirth in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Now more than ever is a time to cherish our status as baptized children of God and recommit ourselves to personal Bible reading and devotion.   Now more than ever is a time to consider not what we don’t have, but what we do have:  A Savior who lived, died and rose again so we might live and thrive as his forgiven saints and enjoy a fellowship with him and each other that will have no end.  

And finally – let’s celebrate what binds us together even when we are physically apart – “one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of us all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6).

Bound together with you in Jesus,

Pastor Unnasch

 

 

St. Lucas Lutheran Church and School

(414) 483-9122

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