No bulletins will be handed out. Offerings will be dropped in a plate without passing the plate from person to person. We will not sing hymns for a while as singing greatly increases the spread of aerosols. We will record the names of all who attend in the event contact tracing becomes required. Six wall mounted no-touch hand sanitizers are within easy reach of all who enter the sanctuary level in our building. We'll find places in the pews marked by an X, as in "X marks the spot to sit here, safely distanced from someone else." Face masks are strongly encouraged. Holy Communion will be celebrated in such a way that ministers do not physically hand you bread and wine and I do not speak directly in close proximity to you.
A helpful theme I've noticed that runs thru ELCA Social Statements is the exercise of reason. Reason and rationality help sustain humanity in this creation. Establishing protocols and procedures to help us worship together safely is our challenge and calling these pandemic days. I'm sure we'll modify and fine tune some of these protocols as the weeks pass.
This pandemic has taken our nation, culture, economy, households, and churches on an astonishing journey. We've grieved losses, rallied to share support, and responded with a lot of patience and humor. We're stronger for this experience. Thanks be to God.
We've weathered many crises in our lifetimes, none perhaps as dangerous as this -- certainly none as socially isolating as this. We understand we cannot physically be with one another. But we can certainly pray for one another, phone each other, text each other, email each other or even write a snail mail letter in cursive.
When God in Christ is present, life is never over. One of God's many gifts for us is to lead us thru death into life. God will bring us to deeper life after COVID-19's march toward death. Exactly what that new gift of life will be like for us, we do not yet know. But we are people of faith. We know there will be renewed life because we know we will be with Christ. It will be our privilege when this is over to look back upon this time and to marvel at the patient resourcefulness that God provided.
During this pandemic I appreciate perspectives from Psalms 40 and 41. (“Though we are afflicted, the Lord has plans for us; You are our help and savior, do not delay, O God.” 40:17)
Peace is ours. We’ll get thru this,
Michael Meranda, pastor
We will continue to support our spiritual resources developed and refined during these trying times.
Sunday's Video Services are posted on our website & on our YouTube channel ("Messiah Lutheran Ashtabula"). Please Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
The Facebook Page "Messiah Lutheran Bula" (maintained by Sue Riley) hosts all sorts of positive and helpful posts. The Facebook Page that I write, "Good Day", provides relevant biblical / prayerful perspectives. Links to these pages are provided on this websites Menu and are usefull for those not registered on Facebook - Pages can still be accessed via these links.
In addition to Facebook, Frank Maenpa edits Messiah's web page -- www.messiahashtabula.com. Helpful pieces show up here, such as sermons from our Bishop Allende and my own Pastor's Page as well as a Page of Daily Prayers for the week.
Online Donations Active !
We have added a link to "GivePlus" an online donation feature powered by Vanco Services to our site. Vanco Services is the same company that has been processing electronic giving for several of our members. With this link on our website you can now give online using a credit card or by deducting from your checking or savings account at your Bank. Donations can be a single, one time gift or scheduled for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly automatically reoccuring donations . Note: Credit card donations do carry some fees for the church. Usually about 2.75%. There is an option that allows you to absorb those fees if you choose to.
Choosing the "ACH" option to deduct from your bank account usually does not carry any fees. Members still have the option to fill out a form and have their donation come right out of their checking account on a similar schedule of their choosing. Usually there is only a minimal fee for such transactions.
The "PayPal" option is also live. There is a fee to the church for these transactions of about 2.2%. Currently there is not an automatic option on PayPal to cover these fees, but you can always manually adjust your donation accordingly.
Members can also add Messiah to their Bank's on-line Bill Paying system. Your bank will mail checks to Messiah according to your Bill Pay instructions. Usually there are no fees for such on-line banking service.