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Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church

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The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (Aug. 2, 2020)



July 19, 2020

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

We have taken many steps to get from staying at home and worshipping online to resuming in-person worship. We thank the Lord that we can see our brothers and sisters again. But now, for the sake of those who are at risk in our congregation, I propose that we take one step back.

A recent survey of 500 epidemiologists had them rank 20 tasks for risk. Going to a sporting event—with tightly packed seats and people cheering and yelling (high-exhalation activities)—was ranked the riskiest activity. Not wearing a face covering was ranked the second riskiest activity. Attending a religious service was ranked third.

As we enter the next phase of the pandemic, we are not being honest if we imply that corporate worship is without risk. To say “Everything is perfectly safe because we will use extra cleaning measures and socially distance” is not accurate. The evidence now suggests that gathering in a large group and engaging in high-exhalation activities in an enclosed area—like a normal worship service—is actually one of the riskier things one can do, especially if one belongs to an at-risk demographic. We have three full months of data for the United States. COVID-19’s danger increases among the elderly. About 81% of Americans who have died of COVID-19 are over 65.

Thinking of the members of our congregation, here is what I propose we do for now:

  • Encourage the use of masks while at church. The main reason to wear a mask is not to protect yourself. It is to limit the amount of vapor droplets you release into the atmosphere. If everyone wears masks, it means that the individual who is infected but doesn’t know it releases a smaller amount of virus into the air.
  • We will only be singing a few verses of each hymn. We will not sing the Psalm andthe liturgy will be spoken.
  • We will keep to social distancing practices.
  • We will shorten the service time.
  • Fellowship after church is encouraged, but take your cup of coffee outside the building (weather-permitting). Talking outside would eliminate much of the concern about exhalation activity.

Why are we doing these things?

  • When it comes to worship, we should think little of our freedoms and personal preferences and instead think of our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those for whom COVID-19 poses a threat.
For how long will we do these things?
  • By September 1, if we have not seen any breakouts in our congregation, we will consider lifting some of these safeguards.

Your Servant in Christ Jesus,

Pastor Mark Rohrback

© Photo by Laszlo Honti from FreeImages

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, you came to die for my sins. You faithfully carried out every part of your heavenly Father’s will. Now I have peace in the knowledge that your anger over my sins is gone. When my life is in turmoil because of potential health problems, calm my fears with the message of sins forgiven. When my life is tedious because of the sameness of my daily routine, point my eyes to the eternal excitement I will soon have in your presence. Bless all those who, like me, cannot come and go as we used to. Visit us daily through your Word, and let our minds and hearts leave our confines as we think about the many who need our prayers, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Taken from There's a Prayer for That  (NPH)


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Do you have spiritual questions? Redeemer would like to help you find answers in God's Word. View commonly asked questions and answers on the Q&A page. If you are located nearby, please consider visiting for Worship or Bible Study. Redeemer would like to be your Christian church home. Come visit and give us a try.

Redeemer is a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). WELS is a Lutheran church body made up of 400,000 members from all over the world. To learn what we believe, please arrange a visit with one of our staff or view our brief statement of belief.

Our congregation is served by Pastor Mark Rohrback, a 2001 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Pastor Rohrback served for six years as a missionary in Russia before coming to Redeemer in 2007.
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