Dear Church Family,
This is our first update in a little while, and we have some things to share with you.
But before that, we would like to thank you! We have been blown away by your continued financial generosity, helping us to continue our mission as a church during these uncertain times. And though times are uncertain there has been something beautiful to come out of all this. There has been an outpour of support, connection and gratitude in this world unlike ever before. Those in our church and globally are connecting with family and friends in ways they never had before. Those with secure jobs and extra supplies have been giving to friends, neighbors and even strangers without question. A “how are you doing?” has regained a sense of sincerity that it once had lost and the response is that of sincere gratitude. Our prayer for you, is that when things return to a more normal way that we not loose that which we have learned during these times. That we continue to connect, show support and be grateful. “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:1-2 (NIV).
With that said we have a request of our church family. It has been brought to our attention that local food banks in the quad-city area are in desperate need of our help more than ever. Many smaller, local charities have had to shut their doors to protect their volunteers due to COVID-19. However, the food banks remain open with more foot traffic than normal. We ask if you have the means or extra supplies that you please considered donating and delivering food to a local food bank near you. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ Matthew 25:40 (NIV).
Now for some recent updates to the church. In light of the President’s announcement on Sunday, March 29, when he extended the social distancing guidelines thru April 30, as well as Governor Ducey’s Executive Order to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” we have completely locked down our campus to everyone other than essential employees and those who need Pastoral Care by appointment only. If you need to get something to the church we ask you mail it in. If you would like to receive Portals of Prayer please contact the church office M - TH 9 - 3 PM, F 9 - 12 PM at (928) 445-4349 to request them to be mailed to you. We appreciate your understanding during these changes.
Though we are not able to be together at this time we are still very active at the church, using new forms of social media to connect with our many ministries. Make sure to click the link to see our weekly Livewire and stay up to date with us there.
We are praying for your continued safety, health and that the Lord comforts you through all that is happening.
March 17, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;
As we've been watching the news and listening to conversations around us, there is no question that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is on the minds of many people. While our primary concern is for the spiritual well-being of our members and friends, here at American Lutheran Church we take the safety and security of our church community very seriously. With that in mind, we want to reach out to our church family to let you know some steps we are taking and provide you with some encouragement.
A recurring theme we have heard from numerous experts is that we should not be living in a state of panic or making decisions from a place of fear. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
That is why we believe it is wise to live with courageous faith and listen with a sound mind to the counsel of public health officials who are doing their best to mitigate the impact of this disease. As a church, we are committed to being prepared, but not panicked; aware, but not afraid.
With that in mind, here are some immediate steps we have already taken:
• We are suspending all worship services and ministries/meetings until May 10th. Of course we will continue to closely monitor the CDC guidelines and recommendations of our state and local health officials and adjust our timeline as needed.
• We encourage all our members to become familiar with our website (www.americanlutheran.net) where you will be able to remain connected to your church family and access weekly sermon messages from both the contemporary and traditional services. The church website will also be your go-to place for additional information, however you may also feel free to contact the church office with other questions or concerns.
• Although our campus will technically be closed, the pastors and staff will continue to maintain office hours and be available to help you address your questions and concerns. (New operating hours: Mon. – Thurs. 9am – 3pm and Fri. 9am – Noon.)
• We are instructing all staff, members, and visitors to refrain from entering the facility if they are experiencing any flu-like symptoms.
• We have also suspended our American Lutheran Church pre-school program until May 10th which in all likelihood will result in the cancellation of the remainder of the pre-school year. Parents of pre-school students should contact American Lutheran School Director Lori Barbe in regard to tuition refunds and additional information.
• Following CDC guidelines there will be no funeral services at American Lutheran Church while our campus remains closed. Please feel free to contact the church office for further information in regard to funeral planning.
• Following CDC guidelines there will be no weddings scheduled for the foreseeable future as we cannot guarantee when our facility will be reopened for large gatherings.
• As we have suspended all food service at American Lutheran Church we will be suspending our Sunday Afternoon Meal at least through May 10th and we are closely monitoring the situation in regard to our ministry to the financially disadvantaged and homeless. We are encouraging our members who are so inclined to take advantage of service opportunities that may come available through local community service organizations as they determine how best to serve this vulnerable population in these difficult times.
• We will continue to explore options to keep our congregants connected to the church and well informed of our future plans. These include providing up to date information on our church web-site and email communications to those for whom we have a current email address and/or via the United States postal service. Please notify the church office in regard to any changes you have made in your contact information and especially in regard to American Lutheran Church having an up-to-date email address.
That said, our church's leadership will continue to listen to public health officials and seek wise counsel as we navigate through this challenging time for our world, nation and state. As circumstances continue to evolve, we will monitor and adapt our response as needed.
One additional note. As you can well imagine this will also be a very challenging time for American Lutheran Church financially. We will endeavor to continue to keep our staff fully compensated although some adjustments of hourly workers may be necessary. It is imperative that our members continue their generous and faithful financial support. We are encouraging our members to remain faithful to their annual pledge and to mail your offering (envelopes) or participate in a direct deposit to the church such as Tithe.ly. If you are interested in finding out some of the various ways you can make your financial contribution to ALC during this period, please contact the church office and they can give you several recommendations and even help you establish a Tithe.ly account.
Tithe.ly uses your debit card, credit card, or bank account. You’ll have the option to cover the church’s costs for card processing fees with your gift, as well as to set up automated giving (weekly, bi-monthly, and monthly).
May this be a time when Christians in our church (and around the world) model for others how to live by faith and not by fear. We are praying for you--and asking the Holy Spirit to fill you with God's peace that passes all human understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Please join us in praying for those who are sick, for health care professionals, for our first responders and for those who are in positions of leadership in our community, state, nation and world.
Pray also that God will give us wisdom to know how best to love and serve our community in the days to come. We are grateful for your partnership in ministry and know that this challenge is one more way all of us can bring the hope of Jesus to people who are afraid.
Yours in Christ,
Pastoral Staff and Church Council of American Lutheran Church