Pastor's Message

March 2020

 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Not only are we at the beginning of Lent, we’re simultaneously at the beginning of a Covid-19 Virus situation. Whether it’s an epidemic or a pandemic or regardless of the name, this is a serious situation that is confronting not only us but the world. We are not germ-a-phobes or alarmists. We have confidence in God above all else. However, our Faith in the invisible power of God does not mean that the visible world isn’t real. God gave us brains to act responsibly.

We here at St. Peter’s Church are faithful Christians who are citizens of God’s world. And we, your pastor and Congregation Council, wish to lead in the most responsible manner possible.

We have confidence in our Public Health professionals. Please abide by their advice. If you are sick: PLEASE stay home. By doing so, you are helping your brothers and sisters avoid what you have. When unable to attend church on Sundays, our liturgies are posted online at stpetersbaldwin.org You may listen there.

Inline with good Lutheran theology and common sense, on Sunday we will be making the following changes.

Exchange of Peace: There are many ways to exchange the peace. For the time being during the Covid-19 situation, please greet each other by looking your brother or sister in the eye and bow while saying “Peace be with you.” Please refrain from shaking of hands, and above all NO KISSING.

Offertory: We are reclaiming an ancient tradition of the Lavabo (from the Latin meaning “I shall wash”). The presiding minister and assisting ministers will wash their hands at the preparation of the altar. This is an appropriate ritual during which is recited Psalm 26.6-7, “I wash my hands in innocence, and go around your altar, O Lord, singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all your wondrous deeds.” The water used for this rite will include a disinfectant.

Communion: The Cup of the Precious Blood of Christ is very important in Lutheran theology. The offering of that Cup to all the faithful and not just for the priest to consume was a key point of the Lutheran reform of the mass. That being said, Lutherans also have continued to teach the historic catholic understanding that one only needs to receive under one kind/species (i.e. either the consecrated bread/Body of Christ or the consecrated wine/Blood of Christ). ALL of the benefits of Christ are communicated to the believer in the reception under just one kind. Both kinds are preferable because that’s what Christ instituted, but this obviously is not always possible.

For the time being, the Host will be distributed IN THE HAND ONLY.

For the time being, the Cup is being withdrawn.

 

Pr Ed Barnett

 

Affirmed unanimously by Congregation Council,

2 March 2020

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