COVID-19 UPDATE, MARCH 19, 20203/20/2020
Dear St. Luke Saints,
Our work continues as we prepare for the possibility of an extended period of limited public gatherings due to COVID-19. Spirit-filled work continues to be done by your St. Luke staff in the face of adversity. We greatly appreciate the messages of support we receive from so many of you!
Your St. Luke Church Council has voted, in the interest of public health and for you, our Saints, that we will suspend in-person worship services until further notice. Each Sunday, the St. Luke worship service will be posted on our website, www.stlukememphis.org. We will also send you a link for the worship service in an email. We are committed to providing ongoing support for your spiritual needs. We can stay connected through on-line worship.
In the coming days and weeks, we will be calling by phone to check in with you, and to pray with you during these challenging times. If you do become sick or have a need, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my cell # 901-268-7078.
The St. Luke food pantry will be open this Tuesday morning, March 24, from 10AM-12PM for the general public. The pantry is always open for St. Luke members who may need food assistance.
Just a couple of updates and reminders:
UPDATE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION
If you want to change or add email addresses or mobile phone numbers to ensure you receive messages in your preferred location, please email email@example.com. An updated directory can be found on our website.
FINANCIAL GIFTS AND OFFERING
Your generous support is needed now more than ever. We know there is much uncertainty right now, and in times of uncertainty and adversity, people need their church all the more. Your assistance in sharing your offering enables us to put our focus on ministry and support where it is most needed. Gifts can be made online at stlukememphis.org or click the link Giving, or mailed to the church office address below. Every step to be fiscally prudent is activated right now. Your gifts ensure we are able to bring the excellent ministry you've come to expect while supporting our church staff as they work in mission and ministry during this time.
These are challenging times. This is the first time in the history of our congregation that we have been asked to change from in-person worship services to on-line worship services. During this pandemic, it is our Christian duty to keep one another safe and maintain social distancing. This is how we serve God and our neighbor. For the coming weeks, let your house, be a house of prayer, a place of worship and an outpost of St. Luke church. We are connected by our faith.
Thank you for your faithfulness,
And remember, God's Love Endures Forever.
St. Luke Lutheran Church
2000 Germantown Pkwy. N
Cordova, TN 38016
From Bishop Strickland and the SE Synod.
19 March 2020
Dear ELCA Leaders,
We are in the midst of a generation defining event. The ELCA should not underestimate its ability to lead and change the course of coming events. What we do now may very well save lives and will shape the ELCA and the whole Church for decades to come. I write this to urge you to take swift action and to prepare churches in your care more fully for the new reality that is emerging in the United States due to COVID-19. I am a pediatrician, epidemiologist with training in disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. I have also worked for 20 years in variety of capacities in low resourced settings, which is what we may soon be facing in the U.S. I am also a Christian and a member of an ELCA church. I do not make these recommendations lightly.
I want to give you the data that has made me come to this conclusion:
* According to the CDC data, within 2 days the U.S. has doubled the number of cases of COVID-19 to >7,000. If this continues we will have >30,000 by Sunday March 22, 2020.
* 10-30% of people who are infected require hospitalizations in Italy and China.
* If rates of cases double in the U.S. every 4 days, based on CDC numbers from Friday March 13, the US may very well be out of ICU beds by the end of April and out of hospital beds by the end of May.
* Italian hospitals started crumbling due to this surge when they hit 20,000 cases.
* We are starting to see the impact. CDC has provided guidance that due to protective equipment shortage nurses should use bandanas and scarves if they do not have access to face masks.
* CDC data now indicate that 12% infected in the U.S. are hospitalized and 55% of those are 20-65 year-olds.
* There is report of a family in NJ who has had 3 family members die within the span of 1 week.
* There are states/places that are not taking strong measures and bars/restaurants remain open. Mardi Gras parties continue in the New Orleans area.
I urge you to watch this video of the situation as of March 16, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZVLiEdWLm4&feature=youtu.be
I will be making an updated video by this weekend but I fear that may be too late to make enough impact. These are unprecedented times and call for unprecedented measures. We are in the beginning days of an event that will be remembered in history books for centuries to come. What happens next determines how that story is told. I urge the ELCA to make the following stances and preparations:
1) Cancel all worship services through the end of April.
2) Plan for remote funerals, weddings, baptisms to occur for the next 3-6 months.
3) Plan for how churches will function and support one another when pastors become ill, or worse die due to the higher mortality rates in older populations.
The strong stance of the church can save lives. How lucky are we that we have the technology to continue remote eworshipping. I am available to discuss my thoughts and ideas at any time.
Erica C. Bjornstad, MD, PhD, MPH
Our Sunday, March 22nd worship service will be uploaded and available Sunday morning.
Sunday, March 22nd
St. Luke's Vision...
Seek God. Serve Others. Share Life.
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Keep checking your email for St. Luke news! If you know someone who is not on our emailing list and you know they would like to be added, please feel free to email Priscilla Hughes or Jennifer Wright. We will make sure to add them!
Coordinator of Youth and Family Ministries
Pastor Cliff Bahlinger
SEEK. SERVE. SHARE.
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St. Luke Lutheran Church, 2000 Germantown Parkway N., Cordova, TN 38016