There is an irony with celebrating St. Luke’s Day and our healing service in the midst of the COVID situation, and not administering the anointing or laying on of hands. But trusting God is not the same thing as testing God, and I want us to be as careful as we can both for the health of everybody and to reduce anxiety. I am grateful that Pastors Karen and Mike will offer healing stations (socially distanced) after both services this Sunday. Those attending at 8 will find them in the narthex before you receive Communion; those at 10:30 will find them outside. There will be small pieces of paper for you to write specific names or prayer requests if you wish, so you don’t have to get close and whisper what you want them to pray for. I encourage you to take advantage of this annual opportunity for prayer for your specific needs and for the needs of others that may be weighing on your heart.
Speaking of COVID, there is a tiny possibility that Linda and I were exposed when we attended the installation of a pastor in Maryland the afternoon of October 4. He became ill on Wednesday of that week, and on Saturday tested positive for COVID. Dean David and I are *very* unhappy that nobody bothered to notify us, and we only found out when another pastor who was not there pointed us to a Facebook post. As I write this, I am on Day 11, and CDC guidelines call for 10 days of quarantine (although I didn’t find out until Day 8). The dean tested negative, and to our knowledge nobody else who was there has gotten sick, so the pastor may not have had it on October 4 (he thinks he may have caught it from a worker in his house the next Tuesday). But this should reinforce Simon’s weekly warnings to me to wear my mask when I am moving around or close to others, since we don’t know whether we have been exposed. Healing ministry should not only concern prayers for supernatural interventions, but healthy practices that use the resources God has placed in His creation for us.
It looks as if God will be blessing us again with dry if a bit chilly weather this Sunday for what is planned to be our final outdoor service of the year. Starting on October 25, we will move both services indoors.
Please remember to follow recommended safety practices for the sake of others, no matter what your personal opinions or preferences might be.
* Please wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth whenever you are singing and when you are moving around or are not socially distanced from others.
* Please stay home if you or somebody in your household is sick.
* Please, if you choose to sing, do so quietly to yourself with your mask on (this is actually the proper way for singing as a congregation member anyhow; if you can’t hear those around you, you are singing too loudly).
* If you need to re-enter the church after receiving Communion, please either wait until everybody has received Communion or go around to one of the other doors.
We hope to have our technological problems with streaming resolved by October 25 (of course, we’ve been saying this since May), and we will stream the service to the back Sunday School room, which will be designated a “no singing” area. We will also try to have somebody stationed at the outside door to that room to distribute Communion after each service.
And my offer stands: I will be happy to meet anybody at an outside location of their choice to bring them Communion. Please call me to arrange this.
I will not be available for a few days this week, as Linda and I are going to a Lutheran monastery (yes, you read that correctly) in Michigan for a retreat from Monday evening through Thursday noon. I plan to be back in the area on Friday. And we will be praying for you, and for God to open doors for St. Timothy (and Bethany and St. Luke) to find pastors who will help our churches grow in the power of the Spirit as disciples of Jesus.
Steve Shipman, STS