During this time of social distancing we continue to offer an alternate worship opportunity you can watch at 5:00 pm on Saturday and anytime on Sunday or thereafter. To watch the streamed services, visit our webpage, www. Messiahchurch.com and find the link on the home page, check Recent Sermons or watch on our Messiah Church-ELCA Facebook page. Please visit our webpage or call the office to check when worship services and other activities will resume. Stay healthy and we hope to see you soon.
With the announcement that churches can open this week, we would like to share the following message that was sent to all ELCA churches from Bishop Peter Rogness:
Dear Partners in Ministry, This afternoon the President declared that governors should open churches immediately and said that churches should be essential businesses. The President also said he would override state decisions if churches were not allowed to worship. I offer these reminders so the picture of the current state of things remains clear.
Three points to remember: First. We continue to be in the midst of a still-active health crisis. Some indicators go down, and others are on the rise. While Dane County and others have already classified religious organizations as “essential,” that does not lesson the safety concerns. And while a number of businesses and organizations are beginning to open, these openings are mostly being done slowly and cautiously, and always acknowledging that each opening carries risk. In Wisconsin, we are not yet in Phase two, in which 50 people may gather; some advisories are moving some capacity limited upwards, but generally current advice is still for any groups to be less than 10. Nearly all of our congregations continue to observe that.
Second. The recent State Supreme Court decision made clear that gatherings of more than 10 will not be subject to fines or punishment. But health department advisories continue to be in place. The governor does not prevent any of us from worshipping. Because of the separation of church and state, the government cannot prevent us from worshipping, or compel us to worship, at any time. However, it is strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and our own state health department that we limit public gatherings as much as possible. It continues to be my counsel that congregations wait until we enter Phase two before they return to in-person worship. When we are able to gather, we should do so with all the health precautions in place – cleaning, distancing, masks, etc.
Third, a civics lesson that a colleague bishop observed: There is a legal issue at play. The 10th Amendment of the Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” (www.constitutioncenter.org). The power to make decisions about when businesses or organizations must be closed or can be open resides with the State or Commonwealth. The Governor has the authority to set those limits and rescind those limits. The President of the United States cannot interfere with a Constitutionally given right. The President can strongly suggest, and can try to convince the Governors to follow his suggestion, but he cannot override the powers given to the States unless there is an impending national emergency. Covid-19 is a national emergency, but having to worship online for the sake of protecting our people – is not a national emergency.
I hope these reminders are helpful. I have been grateful for the careful thought of so many of you during these times. You and I and all our people are uniformly eager to gather together again. But we are aware of the news reports of choirs and churches and meetings having become events for the spread of the virus among those gathered, and beyond. We need to continue to care for one another. So while the President’s announcement may fuel a sense that “normal” has returned, it has not. I pray for good and careful thought and planning to prevail.
Grace and Peace, Peter Rogness, Bishop
Until further notice we will continue to worship via streaming. We are still a strong congregation whether worshiping together or separately. The Messiah Church building is just a building. It’s the people that make the church!
Activity Sheets for Children
Social Outreach Ministry Meeting
The Social Outreach leaders decided to cancel the meeting scheduled for Monday, June 8. Hopefully, the group will be able to meet in the near future but it all depends on when we Messiah begins group meetings again.
Vegetable Plants Available To Help Local Food Pantries
We have some cherry tomato and spaghetti squash plants are available at church, free of charge, at the flower garden by the main entrance. Plants will be available Thursday, May 28, at 12:00 noon until Sunday. May 31, at 12:00 noon. All plants are in great shape and are ready for your garden or deck. All that is asked of you is that you share some of your produce with a local food pantry. If you have questions on how to donate garden produce, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday Evening Ritual
Two weeks ago, a dear friend of Pastor Mark’s named Shannon Kunstman invited him to be a part of a spiritual healing on Sunday night during this time of uncertainty in our Country due to the COVID-19 virus by doing the following:
On Sunday night at 8:00 p.m., light a candle, or many candles. Place them in your windows, on your front steps or sidewalk to honor and pay reverence to who and what has been lost. Let us grieve together. Weep openly. Pray. Play music. Honor your grief in whatever way serves you. Even though we cannot physically hug or hold one another, we will hold one another in spirit. Do not doubt the healing power of the human spirit as we come together as one. May the flames join us together in our grief and loss.
Shannon continued in her invitation with this: Going forward, if there is a day that the world feels heavy, lonely or too much to bear, continue to light the candle…Let others know you need their blessings as they pass by your home. Do not hide your grief or bear it alone. Let it glow next to the rainbows in your windows, and the spring buds on the trees. Let it linger next to and be held by the laughter and the joys. It all belongs. Shannon gave us permission to share with others.
Members of Messiah we would like to adopt Shannon’s idea and each Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. light a candle or many candles and place them somewhere for the world to see so that we can be a shining light in the darkness or to let others know that you are dealing with some sort of grief be it the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, missing the touch of your children or grandchildren, whatever is heavy on your heart. Let us shine out in the darkness of this time in fellowship together on Sunday evenings for as long as you need each Sunday evening and pray this prayer:
Give us tears, O God, so that we may perceive clearly; and perceiving, join each other in suffering; and in joining, be moved to light a candle and love in deed. Amen.
The Road Home
With the COVID-19 virus The Road Home continues to have needs to serve their clients. These items are especially needed right now: toilet paper and paper towel, cleaning supplies, baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, laundry and dish detergent, and gifts cards for gas and groceries. If you can help support The Road Home please drop off your donations at Messiah between 8:00 a.m. and noon Monday-Friday.
Although we don’t have Just Bakery coming to church for sales right now, you can go on their website and order products to help support their ministry or make a monetary donation. To order you can click here for their website: https://www.justbakerymadison.org/shop
Kennedy Adopt-A-School Partnership Continues During School Closures
The Messiah – Kennedy partnership is an ongoing community outreach program initiated by our Evangelism Committee. Currently some of the needs are as follows, new items noted in blue:
- Boys athletic pants, size 4T & 5T
- Girls leggings, size 4T & 5T
- Health Office needs: boys & girl’s underpants size 4T & 5T; boy’s belts; granola bars & saltine crackers; feminine protection for young girls; hair, ties/combs; chewable ibuprofen & acetaminophen; dental floss.
- Healthy Snacks: granola bars, goldfish crackers, pretzels, Watch sold by date.