Covid-19 Update
Last updated on May 22, 2020 at 6:02:44 AM
Members of Salem,                                                    5/21/2020                                                                                                                 
7 He [Jesus] said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:7-11)
 
Do you ever let your mind go for long runs through deep rabbit holes? If so, generally speaking, where do those journey’s end?  Do they end with blaming God or praising God?  Consider the mental runs you have taken while pondering the pandemic.  You may have expressed anger over the many changes to your daily routine.  You probably vented frustration over being told where you could and could not travel.  Perhaps, you even experienced some panic along the way as you thought about your health or finances.  Where did you typically end up?  Wallowing in self-pity?  Lamenting this new normal?  Feeling slighted by God? Or did your journeys end with humble praise?
 
Before Jesus ascended into heaven he called and commissioned his disciples to be his witnesses, “to the ends of the earth.” (vs. 8) Then he left!  Before their very eyes, Jesus was lifted up from the earth and taken to heaven.  Imagine the mental rabbit hole the disciples began to sprint through. “You’re leaving us? Jesus, how could you! This isn’t fair!  We can’t do this alone!  We need you now more than ever and you’re leaving?”  They could have easily felt slighted and blamed God.  Maybe some of them did, but consider the promises given to these disciples.
 
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” (vs. 8) “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (vs. 11) He hadn’t left them alone.  In fact, he promised more help than they currently had and he pointed them to the glorious end of their life’s journey.  If they would allow their faith to guide them, their mental run would end in praise. 
 
Our prayers (mental runs with God), when run in faith, will always end in praise to God.  When we open our eyes to Christ’s ever present nature, endless love, gracious promises and the certain hope of life everlasting, our lips can’t help but to speak God’s praises.  May our every thought finally lead to the endless praise of our ascended Lord.
 
Worship Updates:
In light of the Governor’s new “Stay Safe MN” order, which limits church gatherings to 10 or less people, we have made the decision to: Continue to suspend all worship and fellowship gatherings through Sunday, June 28.  Video services will continue to be posted each week on Salem's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7KRe5Nr2Se2jqQuDJU02yw
 
Communion Services:
In addition to the weekly video services we will also be offering multiple communion services very soon.  These services will provide all Salem members with the opportunity to receive Holy Communion in church.  Here are some specifics:
  • Phase 2 of the “Stay Safe MN” order: https://mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/stay-safe-mn/stay-safe-plan.jsp   allows for 10 people or less to gather indoors.  Phase 3 allows for 20 people to gather indoors.  We will follow these guidelines as we schedule the communion services.
  • All members will need to sign up for a scheduled time slot.  The exact format we will use for member sign up has not yet been finalized, but members will be able to sign up electronically or by calling the church office.
  • Each communion service will last about 10 minutes.  There will be a brief message, a confession of sins, the distribution of the Lord’s Supper (using the continuous flow distribution method), and a blessing.
  • Each group will enter through the south church doors, sit in the designated pews, and exit through the north church doors.
  • We ask that all attendees practice social distancing while in the church. (Immediate families will be able to sit together.)
  • All attendees are required to wear masks in keeping with the Governor’s order and out of love for your brothers and sisters in Christ. If you do not have a mask, we are working to provide one for you.
  • All touched surfaces will be sanitized in between services.
We are asking our elderly members and those who are considered “high risk” to stay home.  However, any member who is comfortable attending one of these communion services is welcome to sign up and attend.  If any members have questions or concerns about these small gatherings, please contact one of us, or one of the Elders, and that we can discuss your questions or concerns with you.
 
Quarterly Voter’s and Annual Budget Meeting – DATE CHANGED:
Just as Covid-19 has been taking a financial toll on families and businesses around our country, so it is having an impact on Salem.  As a result, the church council has had to schedule several extra meetings to discuss potential budget shortfalls in the year to come.  In an effort to provide the council with enough time to discuss next year’s budget as well as distribute their recommendations to the entire congregation prior to the Voter’s meeting, they decided to move the meeting date to June 14th.  Please stay tuned for further updates as well as information regarding virtual attendance at this meeting.
 
Congregational Giving:
We are very thankful for your continued financial support of Salem’s ministry.  If you haven’t done so already, please consider signing up for the electronic giving option, Vanco[1].  May the Lord move you by his love to continue supporting Salem’s ministry.
 
Special Giving Opportunity:
As we did last year, we would like to gather a special offering for the Martin Luther College Congregational Partner Grant.  This is a matching fund grant for which MLC matches up to $1000 per student.  We currently have two Salem members attending MLC: Hannah Steinke and Katelyn Edwards.  If you are interested and able to support this matching fund grant, please donate by July 5.  You can either mail in a check to Salem (made out to Salem Lutheran Church with, “MLC match grant” written in the memo), or you can submit your gift through your Vanco electronic giving account.  Thank you for supporting these young Salem members in their ministerial training.
 
Membership Support:
We hope and pray that you are staying healthy and strong.  We, and the Salem Elders, are making plans to try and reach all of you by phone again very soon.  Yet, even before you hear from us, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.  We are here to serve in any way we can.  Feel free to text, call, or email[2] us anytime to request assistance. 
 
Every day, and especially when you find yourself on a mental run, may the love of our ascended Savior always result in the praise and honor of his holy name. 
 
Pastor Paul T. Schuler    
Pastor Paul M. Kuehn
 
[1] 1. Go to salemwels.org, 2. Find and click on the Donate Online option. 3. If this is new for you, click on create a profile.  4. Select the funds to which you wish to donate, the frequency, etc. and save. (Note: these can be edited at any time.) 5. Questions? Contact Melissa DeRosier at (763) 370-6183 or finance@salemwels.org.
[2] Pastor Paul Schuler – 920-284-0172, pastorschuler@salemwels.org; Pastor Paul Kuehn – 763-486-3397, pastorkuehn@salemwels.org