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May 19, 2020

Dear Members and Friends of Trinity Lutheran Ministries,

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the status of our world seems so uncertain, I am reminded of what the apostle Paul said: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Rather than live in fear, we should together approach this challenge in faith. We have an opportunity to model for others what a faith-filled and faithful response can be. We have a chance to remain rational and reasoned and to approach this pandemic in a spirit of trust. We should never forget who we are and to whom we belong. As a church, we need to take preventive measures and commit ourselves to prayer. We need to rely on the health professionals for advice and entrust our lives to Christ. We need to take full advantage of the resources we have been given and follow the bestpractices of those who can give helpful advice. And then we need to look forward and see what God
is guiding us to do next.

During this time, Church Council and staff has continued to meet via video-conferencing to maintain operations and to stay in touch regarding pandemic guidelines. We have decided that we will begin in-person worship starting Sunday, July 5th at 9:30 AM. Michigan is still under “stay at home” orders until May 28. We feel that setting a target date for worshiping in person a month later will give ample time for leadership to prepare the church facilities and processes for gathering, and for us to consider what we’re comfortable with as members. 

We plan to take many safety precautions in reopening, including:
• We will hold all doors open so there will be no need to touch handles.
• The inhabited areas of the church will be disinfected before every service through a special cleaning service. Hymnals, attendance folders and all other paper/pencils will be removed from the pews to ease cleaning and reduce contamination.
• There will be no handouts of any kind.
• Ushers will seat congregants, keeping a six-foot distance between different families and/or individuals.
• Facemasks will be required. If you have one, please bring it with you. We will have spares available for those who don’t. Hand sanitizer will be available.
• We will not be celebrating Holy Communion during July. For now, dwelling on the Word is sufficient until we can commune again. (Salvation is not dependent upon receiving the consecrated bread and wine.)
• There will be no Greet and Meet with our fellow worshipers.
• Because singing tends to spread germs more than speaking, the Worship Team will provide the music, but there will be no congregational singing.
• Congregating in the narthex before or after worship will not be allowed for now. As you leave the sanctuary, please continue out the doors to your cars.
• We will be taking the temperature of worship workers as a precautionary measure of safety.
• We will continue to Livestream the service for those who cannot or desire to not yet attend in person.
• We are encouraging our at-risk members to continue to worship from home for awhile if you are able, but know that this is your decision. We are most concerned for your health.
• The lower level Fellowship area will be closed off for now, including those rest rooms. The rest room in the Narthex will be open.

As you can see, with an abundance of caution Trinity is opening for in-person worship with a single service this summer. Due to the 3rd party cleaning and sanitizing in between worship services, the availability of supplies, and assumed initial lower levels of attendance, we feel a single service for the summer is the safest for all. As attendance increases, we will bring back services as it is safer to do so. The gathering of all other ministries will be assessed this fall.

Trinity Lutheran School continues to educate the students through online methods. We had a fairly seamless transition to online work due to the use of technology already embedded in students’ daily activities. Our teachers have readily adapted to online education and are staying in touch with parents and families. School will stay “in session” through May 29.

The Early Childhood Center opened on May 18 for families of essential workers. Initially this has been for a greatly reduced number of children, but it is growing slowly.

The May 31 semi-annual Voters’ Assembly meeting has been moved to July 19, immediately following the worship service (approximately 11:00 AM). This meeting includes election of Council members.

THANK YOU to all of you who continue to maintain your contributions during this time of online worship, and to those who have been able to give an extra measure. The Church Council is working every avenue available to us to help Trinity through this unusual time, and to care for our workers during the various closures. More detail will be given at the Voters’ Assembly meeting of the steps we have taken. Your tithes and offerings are important like never before as we work to maintain our ministries and sharing of the Gospel. Your gifts are allowing us to continue to educate our students, provide Livestream worship services, minister to our members and pay our regular bills. In all things, let us remember, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore, my heart greatly rejoices, and with
my song I will praise Him.” Ps 28:7.

Finally, we humbly ask for your grace and understanding as we together move forward
towards a reopening of our ministries.

God’s blessings to you all,
Philip Moilanen
Council Chairperson