March 15, 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
St. John’s Unified Leaders is made up of the St. John’s Leadership Board, Spiritual Health Ministry Team, Foundation Board & Management Team. In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Unified Leaders of St. John’s believe it is important to provide an update to you on the work we have done so far in this difficult time. This is not a time to panic; it is a time to trust in God and to work together as God’s people.
There has been a lot of praying, conversation, planning, healthy debate and crisp decision-making by your leaders and staff as we seek to follow the Lord and bring His love to you and to our community. We will continue to be in dialogue together… making plans bathed in prayer, trusting in the Lord’s leadership, His presence and His promises.
We will be Connecting, Caring and Sharing in Christ in new ways in the days ahead. Adjustments need to be made to all parts of our ministry to lessen the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to assist healthcare workers and facilities from being overwhelmed. Here are some important updates that involve all of us as the Body of Christ:
- After this weekend, all formal worship service gatherings in the church building will be stopped until further notice. St. John’s Pastoral & Worship teams are developing plans to worship in a different way via on-line based services and printed mailings.
- After today, all non-essential gatherings of St. John’s ministries and events will also stop until further notice. All gatherings of Life Groups (both on and off campus) are cancelled. The church building will be closed and off-limits to non-essential visitors and meetings until further notice. Please call to make arrangements to connect with a pastor or other staff worker, if needed.
- Changes are being made to Pastoral Care Ministries that allows us to bring the Word of God to people without jeopardizing their health in coordination with local healthcare and retirement facilities.
- In coordination, communication, and compliance with the Washington County Health Department, state government and the West Bend Public School District, St. John’s Elementary & Middle School will move to remote instruction starting next week Wednesday (Monday and Tuesday have been designated “snow days”). The school will not be open to students until further notice. All after-school activities have been cancelled during this time. This communication went out to all families late in the day on Friday.
- In coordination and compliance with the state and Washington County Health Department, St. John’s Early Childhood Center (“ECC”) will be closing beginning this coming Wednesday until further notice. All children’s ministry events (like the Easter Egg Hunt) have also been cancelled until further notice. This communication went out to all ECC families.
This situation is changing rapidly day-to-day and hour-by-hour and will require us to make appropriate changes as needs dictate. As these changes occur, we will keep you informed via all of St. John’s normal methods of communication throughout all our ministries (via St. John’s E-Letter, App, Facebook pages, web site, School / ECC Sycamore portals… and by regular mail).
An important note of encouragement and a call to action for each of you… we all need to take these changes seriously. We need to continue to provide the resources to care for all St. John’s staff. God has brought a dedicated, gifted team of people here to serve us and our community. This is not a time to cut or shrink your offerings. Now is the time to step up in faith so we can preserve and support our staff during this difficult time. There are a lot of uncertainties with short-term revenue and expenses. Please be generous with your support of the Lord’s work – you can give through the St. John’s App or by mailing checks/offering envelopes.
As Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Jesus will lead us through this challenging time. These challenges are a great reminder for all of us to trust in Him. We should all be informed, self-aware, mindful and disciplined about the decisions all of us will make as Christ reveals His will for this disease. As people of God, we trust in the Lord and call upon Him to increase our faith and we ask that the Holy Spirit give us confidence to live our faith out in powerful, loving ways in the days ahead.
So, let’s be in prayer – for our government officials, healthcare workers, church leaders, staff, and each other in this time of uncertainty. God’s promises are true! We ask for God’s mercy and His strength in the days ahead.
Thank you and Peace to you in the name of Jesus!
The Unified Leaders of St. John’s