Since President Trump has proclaimed that churches are “essential” and should not be barred from opening up some may be wondering when Advent will be meeting physically for worship again. Let me quote the Apostle Paul from Philippians 2:3-4: "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others."
And also, from Bishop Paul Erickson: The question at hand is not about our freedom, but our responsibility, as we are refraining from in-person worship out of love for our neighbor and concern for the most vulnerable among us. We are governed by the law of love.
Both the Apostle Paul and our Bishop remind us that God calls all of us to put love, especially for others, first and foremost in all that we say and do. The Advent Council has been praying, researching, and discussing this subject of reopening the church building with great care. The law of love is the essential call of the Gospel. While we are still not ready to meet physically for worship yet, we are attempting to follow the recommendations of health officials and the Wisconsin Council of Churches so that we are fully prepared to open safely when that day comes. We are working on processes, procedures, and policies that will keep everyone as safe as possible. This will include wearing PPE, cleaning and disinfecting, social distancing, how we worship, including holy communion, music, etc. The Council has a task force working on all of these details. A proposal for how we will return and what it will look like when we eventually do will be presented to the Council at their June 11th Council meeting. The Council is also actively working on the question of when we will reopen. As of today, the church will remain closed until further notice.
The church is essential. It is essential that we pray. It is essential that we care for one another. It is essential that we feed the hungry, care for the sick, and provide clothing for the needy. It is essential that we worship and praise God at all times. It is essential that we provide support and growth for our faith. We are grateful and thankful that Advent continues to do these essential things through many and various ways. We just are not doing them in our building at this time. One day we will return to the building. When we do the Council is making sure that we do it with intentionality and well thought out plans to provide safety according to the law of love for others.
Thank you for your ministries, your support, and your understanding.
-Pastor John A. Holm