May 29, 2020
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
On behalf of the whole staff here at American Lutheran Church, we would like to express our gratitude for all your understanding, cooperation, and financial support these last couple months. We are so blessed to be serving this church with such faithful members.
After patiently waiting here is the much-anticipated news. We are planning on resuming Sunday services on June 7th. With that said we are opening in phases, each phase with its own rules in accordance with The Centers of Disease Control guidelines.
We understand that everyone has their own level of comfort with venturing out during these uncertain times. We will continue to offer online services, available on our website, for those who do not feel comfortable leaving their homes or those unable to attend due to illness.
For those who are comfortable with gathering at the church please carefully review the following information below about our reopening.
Things you need to know about the reopening of American Lutheran Church:
- All services will be by reservation only. No reservations will be accepted at the door.
- We will have four services: Traditional at 8 AM & 10 AM and Contemporary at 9:30 AM & 11:30 AM.
- You may call to make your reservations during our weekly office hours. Monday – Thursday: 9 AM – 3 PM and Fridays: 9 AM – 12 PM at (928) 445-4348.
- If all services are full when you call, you may request to be put on the list for the following Sunday.
- Reservations will be taken on a week to week basis only. This will allow everyone a chance to reserve a time to come worship.
- Everyone is to wear a mask while on the church’s campus. If you do not have a mask, we will provide you with one. We request that you bring your own mask if you have one.
- We will be enforcing strict social distancing rules. As you arrive you will be escorted to an assigned seat. Only members living in the same household may sit together.
- There will be no hospitality hour before and after services. We ask for you to depart promptly following the services following social distancing guidelines. This gives our staff time to sanitize after and between services.
- No Sunday school or childcare will be available at this time.
THROUGHOUT THE WEEK:
- At this time there will be no use of the church’s campus for any special events or ministry meetings. There are council approved exceptions for the Sunday Community Meal and Celebrate Recovery.
- Currently, all requests for meetings with office workers and staff are available on an appointment basis only.
To remain open, we all must follow these rules. We ask for your continued patience and understanding as we reopen our doors. Feel free to call the church office with any questions or concerns you may have. Our website will continue to be updated with any changes. We will also continue to send out email communications.
Please continue to pray 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.
We look forward to seeing you June 7th. May God bless and protect you all.
Yours in Christ,
Director of Administration___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
May 1, 2020
A BRIEF UPDATE FROM PASTOR JACK IN REGARDS TO THE CHURCH'S CLOSURE DUE TO COVID-19:
Hi everybody! I just want to take a few words to thank all of you for your cards, emails, and telephone communication in support of your pastors and church staff. We really appreciate your thoughtfulness and support! Also, I want to thank you for your ongoing faithful financial support of our congregation and its ministries. Giving is down as expected, but so are our expenses. We are still in a healthy financial position going forward.
In regard to when things will be opening up around the church, as many of you know Gov. Ducey has extended the “Stay At Home Order” through May 15th with some minor adjustments for retail and small businesses. It also seems that as things progress they will be doing so in three phases. Those “phases” will be determined by a number of factors including the need for declining numbers of new COVID-19 diagnoses. (We are in the beginning of a “testing blitz” at this time.)
It appears we have yet to meet the Federal CDC guidelines for beginning Phase One. One thing seems fairly certain. Large gatherings are going to be phased in toward the end of the three phase process. So gatherings such as bars, concerts, sporting events, and church services are planned as part of the third phase. My guess is we are still some time away from beginning able to have worship services at ALC. When we are able to we are going to need a plan to make sure those who attend are using CDC guideline safety measures.
I am also thinking that each of you has your own comfort level as to when you will be ready to enter in a crowded space, whether that be a restaurant, a movie theater, or a church service. We are apparently still some time away from a vaccine and so what the future holds is still “your guess is probably as good as mine.”
The Church Council will be taking the lead on how to proceed using the advice of State and Federal health officials. As for the near future we will continue to proceed as we have for the past several weeks. I wish I could provide you with more information but much depends on how things progress in the coming weeks. Hang in there. Be patient and be safe.
Blessings to you all!
Pastor Jack Shannon
April 3, 2020
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