In order to keep our members safe and healthy, office hours are limited so please call or email us if you have any questions or concerns. 
We will be happy to try and help.  Office: 920-478-2570; stpaulswaterloowi@gmail.com    Pastor: pastorrkosky@gmail.com

Our Facebook page is a great way to stay connected with your St. Paul’s family.  Please contact us if you have any prayer requests.     

If you are in need of groceries or supplies or know of an elderly member who is in need of assistance, please let us know. 
If anyone is willing to help shop and/or deliver supplies to our members in need, please contact the church. 
Thanks & Blessings.

Back inside (but Not Back to Normal)

 

  • Back Inside – Beginning on Sunday, September 27th, we will resume holding our Sunday morning worship service indoors. (As of now, we are not yet resuming our Saturday afternoon worship services.)
    • Please Note: None of us really knows what we’re doing when we face this virus. The pastors I know are all trying their best to navigate through a situation that none of us have been prepared for, and none of us want to have an outbreak in our congregation.  The decisions that our Worship Committee and Council have made try to balance our need for caution and safety with our desire to worship Jesus Christ with one another.  This is all a work in progress and no doubt we will get some things wrong and the situation will change.  Below is what we plan on doing at this time.  It may all change again come November or January.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  Please pray for us and give us your input.  Thank you.
    • Our Worship Committee made plans and laid the groundwork for this move back in August.
    • Our Council members have heard from a number of our members. Some of us are ready and comfortable with a move to worship inside once again.  Others of us are not ready to worship inside again.  At our September meeting the Council decided that we will resume our indoor services and use recommendations from the worship committee.
  • Still Online – We will continue to pre-record a service each week to be edited and posted on our YouTube channel and website. This service will include hymns and music and we will post a link on Facebook as well.
    • Facebook Live – We plan to continue to livestream our Sunday morning services on Facebook Live. However, moving back indoors changes up some of our logistics and we will be trying out some new technology. (This should help with the sound issues we experienced last Spring on the Facebook service.)  It may take us a few weeks to iron out all of the wrinkles.  So, if you cannot find the livestream, we will still have the pre-recorded service.
    • Wednesday Evening Prayer – Our Wednesday Evening Prayer service at 7:00 pm on Facebook Live will continue.
  • Not Back to Normal – Just like everyplace else we go nowadays, we are putting certain protocols in place to help mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. It is our hope that these practices will help to keep our members who choose to attend in person as safe as possible while still allowing us to worship together. 
    • A Word of Caution: I find that I am personally looking forward to being back in our sanctuary with many of you again – and yet, I need to remind myself that it is not going to be the same. There are several things that I wish we could start doing again, but we are choosing not to at this time.  I think that it will be good – but not as good as I might hope.
    • Music – We will not be having live music at this time and we will not be singing. Not all of our musicians are comfortable with the move inside and we are not going to ask anyone to attend who is not ready to.  Singing is the thing that many of us may miss the most in our worship services.  We will return to it, but not yet.
    • Masks – We ask everyone who attends to please wear a mask. (Yes, this is a requirement.) We have masks available if you forget to bring yours.
    • Distancing – We have taped our pews to allow for social distancing during the services.
    • Capacity – At 25% capacity, we figure that we can have about 40 – 45 people in our sanctuary. At this time, we do not think that it will be necessary to have people sign up or make reservations to attend.  If that changes, we will let you know.
    • Communion – For Holy Communion we will be using prefilled, sealed, disposable communion cups with wafers. We have been using these at our outdoor service. They can be a little tricky, but they will allow us to commune in the pews and limit our moving about the sanctuary.
    • Offering – The offering will be collected in offering plates placed at the doors as you enter the sanctuary.
    • Ushers – We will need some of our members to serve as ushers, to welcome, hand out bulletins and communion cups, offer hand sanitizer and masks.
    • Dismissal – We will have our ushers dismiss people by pews at the end of the service. (We’re going old school on this.)  We will not be having a fellowship time following our services and ask that people leave the building after exiting the sanctuary.  If you need to speak with me following the service, please remain in your pew and I will find you.
    • Disinfecting – We would like to have a few members who will surface areas following the service. We will have spray bottles, paper towels, and wipes for this purpose.
    • Notification in case of infection – If anyone who attends our service tests positive afterward, please contact Pastor Robb. We will be making a list of everyone who is in attendance at each service so that if someone does test positive, we can notify you.  We also ask that you not attend if you are feeling sick, have symptoms, or have recently been exposed to Covid-19.
    • Suspension of indoor services – If we find out that someone who attended worship then tests positive for Covid-19, we will suspend our indoor services for two weeks and then start again. We all hope that this will not be necessary.

 

May God’s blessings be with you all, and I will see you in worship… or not,

 

Pastor Robb

Letter from Pastor Robb to Members of St. Paul's

A Letter to St. Paul’s at the Start of Coronavirus

I lift up my eyes to the hills –
from where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
(Psalm 121:1-2)

Help   

Our help comes from the Lord.  Even in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic – our help comes from the Lord.
And it is the Lord who calls us to be help for one another – in many and various ways.
We help one another through “self-distancing” – a phrase I’d never heard until last week
We help by helping to “flatten the curve” – another phrase I am newly familiar with.
We help through hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting, and taking precautions if you become sick.

And we are all called to help.
 Those of us who are elderly or have chronic medical conditions are at higher risk and can be extra cautious.
Those of us who are younger and healthy can limit our contact with others while reaching out to help those in our community who are in need.
Those of us who are teenagers and children can help by understanding how new and strange this situation is for all of us, and that being out of school is not the same as being on break.  This is not a time for shopping and movies, for restaurants or sleep overs.
Our help comes from the Lord – and the Lord calls on all of us to help, each as we are able.

At St. Paul’s

At St. Paul’s, we are figuring out how to do the work of the church in the midst of a Pandemic. 
We canceled our worship services last weekend – which we did as a way of helping to flatten the curve.  I will be recommending to our Council that we cancel all of our services until further notice – which may very well be through Easter, or even until sometime in May.
We will explore ways to gather as a community for prayer and worship and education using online resources.
We will find ways to stay in contact with one another and care for one another.
We have created a Coronavirus drop down menu on our web page where you will be able to find links and updates related to the situation and our life together as a congregation during this time.

Caring for One Another

I would like us to offer assistance to our older members who are in need of groceries, but who should not be going to the store. 
If you are willing to help shop for our members please contact the church office.  If you are in need of groceries, please contact the office and we will make arrangements for you.
The Groceries for Growth program will be continuing by dropping off bags of food for students at the school on Thursdays.
We can create a prayer list of concerns for which our members can pray.
Please let us know when you or someone you know becomes ill or tests positive for Coronavirus, so that we may keep you in our prayers and find ways to assist you.
Please pray for one another and look for ways to let Jesus work through you in these days.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore.
(Psalm 121:7-8)

In Christ,
Pastor Robb

Resources

Letter to the Synod

March 14, 2020

Dear Partners in Ministry,

I have long used that greeting in communicating with people in the synods I’ve served. I never feel the strength of that partnership more than in the midst of critical times. We are in those times now… and I am filled with admiration and pride in the ways I see our rostered and lay leaders leading. You face difficult decisions, in a context that seems to change day by day.

You may have seen/heard that one of our congregations, Our Saviors in Sun Prairie, has three known cases among its members, who have been present in worship. They won’t be the last of our congregations to experience this. I happened to catch Pastor Tim Hansen as Madison TV interviewed him and I was proud of his expression of care for his congregation and the community as they cancelled worship. We are blessed with fine leaders throughout this synod.

No doubt you have been flooded with good advice as you make decisions – both the ELCA web page https://www.elca.org/publichealth and our synod’s web page https://scsw-elca.org/healthresources/ have good useful information. Vicki Hanrahan ran across other excellent resources https://get.tithe.ly/blog/coronavirus-church and https://horizons.net/what-churches-can-do-to-stay-connected-during-coronavirus/ as well. Several make reference to electronic/online giving tools. As you give encouragement to your members to continue to support the congregation’s ministry, it is helpful to appeal to those who can give over-and-above their usual level of support, as a way to lift the burden from those who will financially suffer during these times and be unable to give as they have.

Whether in person or electronically, we continue to be a community of prayer, never more needed than now. I will attach two I’ve seen that are profound. No doubt many of you are writing your own.

We are people who live by the two great commandments – to love God, and to love the neighbor. We find ourselves in a strange time when the central act of our communities’ expression of love of God – our worship together – is in direct contradiction to the command to love our neighbor. It may be that in this moment a holy act of love for the neighbor – each other and our whole community – is what leads us to decide to refrain from coming together for worship. Seen in this light, refraining from gathering is no less a holy act than coming together. We seek to be faithful people however we respond.

Thank you for your leadership, courage, hope, and faithfulness.

Peter Rogness
Interim Bishop

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