On Wednesday, May 13th, Governor Hogan announced Phase 1 by which the lock-down presently in effect might be eased and the economy return gradually to whatever normalcy can be tolerated without a flare-up of COVID-19. The governor did reserve the right to reinstate the previous restrictions, should the virus come back to dangerous levels.
As per the governor’s plan and guidelines for corporate worship published by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its Delaware-Maryland Synod of which Trinity is a part, we will resume public worship on Sunday, May 31st. As per the governor’s plan, attendance is limited to 50% of the available seating. Since our nave seats several hundred, this should not be a problem (it would be nice if it were a problem!). Since it is difficult to practice social distancing in Fellowship Hall, our services for the foreseeable future will be at 10AM (a compromise time, ala the Unity services) upstairs in the sanctuary. We hope to have a blend of traditional and praise music at each or at alternating services. Here is what to expect:
- You must practice social distancing at the entrance of the main door to the church. You will be asked to remain at the end of the rail at the ramp door until the person in front of you has gone through the inner doors. If standing facing the church, these are the doors to the far left. DO NOT CONGREGATE IN THE NARTHEX OR OUTSIDE THE DOORS OF THE CHURCH!
- One usher in protective gear will be at the door to give you a bulletin and a communion kit (described below). The production of the bulletins will be done in such a way as to minimize physical contact with them. The person reproducing them will wear gloves&d place the bulletins in a box for the usher to hand to you.
- When you enter the church, you will you see tape roping off some pews, and tape marking off some areas of each pew, so as to allow separated seating for you and your family in others. so we can all keep at least 6’ feet apart. This is strongly worded in the governor’s directive.
- You must always wear a mask. The only exceptions will be the worship leaders who will remain in the chancel, and separated from each other and from you by larger distances.
- There will be no offering by way of the passed plate. There will be a box at the doorway for you to place your offering on the way out. Please be careful not to touch envelopes or cash which might already be in the box.
- We will attempt to leave by rows, again to practice social distancing. Wait for an usher to direct you out. DO NOT CONGREGATE IN THE NARTHEX OR OUTSIDE THE DOORS OF THE CHURCH!
- We will have communion, but it will be taken in your pew by way of an individual serving. The elements will be in a container much resembling the liquid creamer we put in our coffee. Upon tearing off the first seal you will find a wafer. Upon removing the second seal you will find grape juice. You will be directed by the pastor when to consume the elements. Wine is preferred to grape juice, but is not available in these cups, since they are generally used in congregations which use only grape juice. Please dispose of your kit by putting it in a box at the door. I understand the communion cups are difficult to open so you might want to bring napkins in case of spillage! If you have concerns about opening the wine portion, opening and consuming only the wafer is fine.
- Only the bathroom by Memorial Hall will be available for your use. This is to minimize cleaning.
- The service will be around 45 minutes, since it is difficult to wear a mask for a longer period.
- Please take your temperature at home before coming out. If you have a temperature, obviously you should remain there, and watch the service from home.
Some people will still be reluctant to come to public worship, so the service will be live streamed.
Under no circumstances should you feel
compelled to attend the service.
We all must make individual decisions about potential exposure to the virus. If you do not come, please be part of the service by watching on our live stream. Your financial support of Trinity has been very encouraging, and we hope it will continue as the situation unfolds.
A further note—since it is difficult to practice social distancing in the office area, restrictions as to who may enter there will remain in place. We do not want the staff to be infected. Signs at the Randolph entrance will tell you how to interact with the staff.
Pastors David and Greg have not been making visits. Fortunately, no one has been hospitalized lately. Walter Bell died during the lock-down. However, his family attended to his burial and Trinity did not play a part. Rules are especially stringent at viewings and services at the funeral home. Our pastors will not make visits to homes until it is safe to do so. Hospital visits will be on a case-to-case basis. It may be possible to arrange a Zoom meeting. Funerals will have to follow guidelines established by the funeral directors, except at church- where our own guidelines will be in effect.
We are so happy that our community of faith will once again be able to meet in our beautiful sanctuary. Please, please, please observe the guidelines above so we can all be safe! We pray that the rate of infection for COVID-19 will continue to decrease and that our regular opportunities for social interaction will return.
If you have any questions about what is contained in this article, please call the church office at 301-733-2878 or email us at email@example.com. If you have other suggestions as to how we can be safe in worship, please feel free to share them.
– Pastor David
In this “Zoom” meeting the Rev. Ann Svennungsen, Bishop of the ELCA Minneapolis Area Synod, introduces esteemed epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm who goes on to discuss the nature of the Pandemic and the re-opening of in-person church worship. It is a telling look at What we Know and What we Don’t Know.
Osterholm graduated in 1975 with a BA in Biology and Political Science from Luther College. He completed his Master’s in environmental health in 1976, and a Master’s in Public Health and in 1980, he received his PhD in Environmental Health. Osterholm is a frequently invited guest lecturer on the topic of epidemiology of infectious diseases. He serves on the editorial boards of nine journals, including Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology and Microbial Drug Resistance: Mechanisms, Epidemiology and Disease, and he is a reviewer for 24 additional journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Science.
In 1 Peter 5:6-7 we read: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” The Apostle Peter assures us that God will hear our humble, honest, and trusting prayer, made in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!
PRAYER VENTURES: May 2020
These petitions are offered as guides to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world. Thank you for your continued prayers for the life and mission of this church.
1 Remember in prayer the leaders, voting members and others of the Rocky Mountain Synod gathering online for a digital synod assembly. Pray that the Spirit will strengthen, guide and encourage them in proclaiming the gospel, growing the church, serving our neighbor and doing God’s work in an ever-changing world.
2 There are more than 100 Asian congregations and ministries in the ELCA. We remember in our prayers these congregations, ELCA Asian and Pacific Islander Ministries and the Association of Asian and Pacific Islanders, and ask God to bless their work with distinct, unique groups and communities as part of a common yet diverse Asian community.
3 Jesus is our Savior, guide and shepherd, whom we have faith in and trust with leading us through life in this world and to a new life ― life eternal ― that we could not have imagined or created on our own. Praise God!
4 Give thanks for the service and witness of U.S.-based mission personnel and of young adults serving in the Young Adults in Global Mission program, who have been brought home from their work with global companions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pray for their physical and spiritual health and that they will continue to respond to God’s call to serve in our church, our congregations, related organizations and society.
5 Ask God to help us have faith in how God leads, comforts, protects, nourishes and loves us all the days of our life.
6 Pray that we will be guided by the spirit, manner and example of Jesus to be humble and gracious in our faith, service and daily lives.
7 Ask God to help us endure the risks and difficulties of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, doing good, working for justice and serving our neighbors in need.
8 Give thanks for the work of the ELCA Domestic Mission unit, directors for evangelical mission, synod staff, coaches and consultants, and other partners assisting congregations as they renew themselves as communities of faith engaged in God’s mission ― locally and globally.
9 Pray that children and youth who suffer domestic abuse will experience the physical, emotional and spiritual care of concerned, skilled adults who intervene in their situations and help provide the safety, healing and trustworthy love for which they yearn.
10 Remembering Jesus’ words to Thomas — “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” — we pray that they will empower us to embrace Jesus as the son of God and our salvation, and fill our lives with confidence to perform works of love, mercy, justice, truth and kindness.
11 Pray for our outdoor ministries and their year-round and summer staff, who are working to adapt their ministries, programs and ways of serving congregations and communities during these times of COVID-19.
12 Pause throughout the day and give thanks for the simple things of creation that enrich your life and faith and fill you with joy and wonder.
13 Give thanks that God knows us intimately and listens to our prayers, and that God is our rock, refuge and source of steadfast love in all circumstances and in all places.
14 Pray for students of all ages as they participate in online classes, wonder about their school year, prepare for finals and graduations, and long for their normal social interactions and school activities.
15 Pray for synod leaders who are discerning new plans, formats and dates for their assemblies with concern for the health and well-being of leaders, voting members and others; pray the Spirit will guide their plans and strengthen their unwavering work of proclaiming the gospel, growing the church, serving our neighbor and doing God’s work in the world.
16 Give thanks and praise to God that our church and lives are built on the solid, enduring foundation of Christ; pray that we, as siblings in Christ, will be bold and welcoming in our invitation to our neighbors to believe, have faith and experience the blessings of community with us.
17 The love of God and the Spirit of truth dwell within us and prevail in our daily lives. Pray that with this knowledge and inspiration, we will feel encouraged to follow the commandments and ways of God and to exemplify love, truth, mercy and service in the world.
18 Thank God for our special relationship with the Reformed Church in America, a full communion partner with the ELCA since 1997; pray for the church, its diverse ministries and its members and leaders; and pray that together we will find mutual support, new partnerships and new resources for the work of sharing the gospel and serving our neighbor.
19 Pray that our baptism into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will banish our fears of doing God’s work in the world and will prepare us daily for sharing the gospel and serving our neighbor with gentleness and reverence.
20 Give thanks for parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents whose example and convictions teach children and youth the values of compassion, generosity and respect for one another.
21 Ascension of Our Lord While we look forward to everlasting life and being with Jesus in heaven, pray that we will live with confidence and joy in the promise of salvation and the presence of the Spirit, which sustains and equips us for the work we are called to today as people of the good news.
22 Remember in prayer our ELCA missionaries, global companions and international leaders. Pray for their health and well-being as well as their continuing witness and service in the world even though some of our work together may have been temporarily suspended.
23 Think about the blessings, wisdom, revelations and gifts you have received by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ; give thanks for each one.
24 Give thanks, praise and glory to God for restoring our relationship with our Creator and unifying us ― beloved children of God ― through the love and sacrifice of Jesus.
25 Memorial Day Today we remember, mourn and give thanks for the military men and women who have given their lives in pursuit of justice, peace and freedom for our country and all nations.
26 Pray that the Spirit of God working in us will help us value every generation for its faith, wisdom, gifts and diverse life experiences, and that we will not disparage or discount one another because of age, mistakes or differences of perspective but instead will give thanks and affirm and support one another as members of the body of Christ, which includes all generations.
27 Pray that we will be mindful and responsive to those who have become more lonely, isolated or distant over the past weeks and months, and that they will feel more connected and comforted as we reach out to one another and discover new ways of being in community and relationship with each other.
28 Give thanks for the commitment, creativity and compassion of teachers, teacher assistants, professors, educators and school staff who, facing difficult and uncertain situations, have persisted in attending to the educational and personal needs of their students ― our children, youth and young adults.
29 Pray for congregations, Christian education leaders, youth and family ministry leaders, and volunteers preparing for summer programs, that they will deepen and stir the faith of members and reach into neighborhoods and surrounding communities with the gospel and an active spirit of hospitality and service.
30 Pray that our church’s endeavors to foster understanding and unity between Lutherans, other Christian denominations and other faiths will yield abundant fruit for the glory of God and for healing our rifts and our brokenness.
31 Day of Pentecost Lift up prayers of joy and thanksgiving for how we are united in one Spirit yet manifest diverse gifts, abilities and wisdom for sharing the gospel, building up the body of Christ and serving our neighbor.
Attached is a flyer for the Zoom sessions that I will be hosting on Stress Less with Mindfulness and Spirituality starting next week for 5 weeks. It is 5 weeks but it’s not necessary that anyone needs to attend every week. It is truly just a way to help people to manage their stress and understand it better during this COVID-19 and our need for social distancing.
As I work on the class this week, I will determine the best way to provide handouts to participants and will share with you. I am looking forward to this exciting adventure at this critical time for our world. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.
Lisa McCoy, MS, RDN
Senior Agent – Western Region
Family and Consumer Sciences – Healthy Living
Washington County Office
7303 Sharpsburg Pike, Boonsboro MD 21713
University of Maryland Extension
In the US, we are just beginning to feel the spreading effects of the coronavirus. New York now has 25,000 cases, and it doubles every 4 days or so. Seattle and Chicago are similarly impacted. Maryland will not be far behind. At this stage, we can learn from other places. Some of the best learnings are:
- Wash hands every 30 minutes – don’t touch anyone
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others – avoid crowded places
Much of this is called “social distancing”. Deploying it well reduces the spread of infection, and enables the healthcare system to avoid being compromised. So Trinity is increasing the amount of Social Distancing. Here’s how you can help:
- Communicate with the Office and Pastors as much by phone and email as possible
- If you MUST come in to the church, make an appointment with David, Greg or Rich
- Use the 15 Randolph St door only. Once inside, climb the stairs, and stop at the table. Your contact will meet you there. Unless otherwise arranged by appointment Visitors to the actual church offices are now limited to the following people: David, Greg, Andy, Ricky, Rich, Colleen and Jeff
Trinity offers scholarship to member students attending institutions of higher learning. Applications are available in the church office. This year, $500 is available to each student applying. Any active Trinity member accepted into or attending an accredited college, university or trade school can apply. Be sure your application contains everything required and is as complete as possible. Applications returned to church by May 3, 2020 will be reviewed by the Christian Education / Family Ministry Team.
Each year when Thanksgiving boxes are distributed, Carol Brashears and her team of volunteers give our community recipients an opportunity to fill out a prayer request as they leave. TLC members then pray for these people. Here are two examples of what we have received:
This is the first time I have had to ask for help and it’s very hard. This is not really a prayer but a thank you because I did not believe I was about to lose my home that I worked very hard and something happened. So thank you. God bless you.
Love, Taylor & Eric.
I pray to love God and I hope He loves me and everybody else. I hope, I hope. That’s what I want to say.
LETTER FROM GRATEFUL SCHOOL STAFF
Dear Carol, Jeff, and volunteers of Trinity Lutheran Church,
At the end of another school year, we are taking time to reflect back and thank members of a community who have supported our students’ needs. When communities and schools work together, students are more successful!
Eastern Elementary staff members are beyond appre- ciative of all the services that Trinity provided this past year to make our school a better place! We thank you for weekly nutritious Micah’s food bags and the turkeys and Thanksgiving food boxes for our students and families in need. Thanks too for the testing mints and all the prize incentives for students who receive them for showing re- spect, readiness, and responsibility.
The generous support from individuals like you made it possible for our school to better meet the needs of our students and families. Again, thank you! You truly made a difference! Looking forward to continuing our partner- ship with Trinity Lutheran Church!
Vanessa Mannick, School Family Liaison
Picking up a bag of lentils offered at our Food Pantry, the woman asked us, “How do I eat this?”
Often preparation of fresh foods given us by our local grocery is also questioned. So Tim Higgins (a dietitian, nutritionist, and chef at Meritus Medical Center) and Jeff Reed presented a three-day program at our Food Pantry, “Cooking for the Seasons,” this past November. Tim, along with Catherine Feaga, DO, a family practice physician, and Kezia Ellison, MD, a Meritus family medicine resi- dent, set up tables of food prepared for our outreach guests, using provisions provided to us by the Maryland Food
Bank. To taste and learn how to make healthy recipes with ingredients from the Food Pantry, guests were shown the products before use (in this case lentils, pork loin, rice, green peppers, peas), the recipes to follow, and then an opportunity to sample the dishes, which included lentil soup, lentil tacos, lentils and rice, pork stew, pork roast, and roasted peppers.
The result was wonderful warm samplings, appreciative guests, and a desire to continue this collaboration in 2020. Thanks to Tim, Jeff, and the team at Meritus for making the sharing of food with families more practical, healthy, and meaningful.
ON THE MOVE
As the number of hungry grows and as TLC volun- teers continue to age, the Outreach Team, in collabora- tion with the Property Team, determined new room as- signments to allow easier access to the tons of food moved into and around the church for distribution. Food that had been stored two hallways away from the Food Pantry is now more available to staff, located in Jeff’s old office next to the Food Pantry. Jeff is down the hall next to the Lit- eracy Council Room. Thanks to all who helped make the moving possible during the holiday break!
Also, many thanks to Ed and Jane Drawbaugh for put- ting new flooring over the asbestos tiles of the Food Pan- try. It is a cleaner, safer, and padded(!) surface for volun- teers to use.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The Food Pantry needs cereal, chicken noodle soup, boxed desserts, and crackers. The Clothing Bank needs towels, blankets, sheets, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, and shampoo.
“And this is it. This is the life we get here on earth. We get to give away what we receive. We get to believe in each other. We get to forgive and be forgiven. We get to love imperfectly. And we never know what effect it will haveforyearstocome.Andallofit…allofitiscom- pletely worth it.”—Nadia Bolz-Weber, Lutheran minister
– June Habeck Holler
Micah’s Backpack Update
How we are continuing this ministry during the school closure
As soon as we found out that schools were going to be closing in response to the coronavirus, we quickly packed another bag of food, so that before the children left school on March 12, they had 2 weeks’ worth of food to take home with them.
Since then, we have had 3 food distributions at various sites, through the Washington County Public School Meal Machine. The first distribution was done in conjunction with the school system. Churches were able to take the bags to the schools or to a distribution hub, for school vans to take the bags to the Meal Machine sites. This was a good plan but only lasted one time, because the school system was busy expanding their sites to 19 around the county, and could no longer help us with the distribution of the bags. So we actually had to put a hold on the program, until we could plan the next step. We knew for many reasons that it was not feasible for the churches to hand out the bags on their own. A Micah’s volunteer at First Christian Church, Cindy Reeder, heard of our dilemma. Cindy is also very connected with the United Way. The Micah’s Steering Committee had a meeting and with the help of the United Way, the YMCA and Potomac Case Management, Micah’s is up and running!
Here is how it is working now:
– The churches still pack the bags and deliver them to the YMCA.
– A team of volunteers from the United Way remove the bags from the sponsors’ vehicles.
– Potomac Case Management employees then take the bags to the Meal Machine Sites. These case workers are very familiar with many of the students and their families.
– They distribute the bags to the children (we give them two bags as the distribution is held once every two weeks).
The first distribution under this new model was on April 3rd, at 4 sites: Pangborn Elementary, Otterbein Church, Hager Elementary and Salem Avenue Elementary. We had 22 sponsors participate by bringing over 800 bags, so we served over 400 children.
The second distribution was held on April 16th, and we expanded to 5 sites. We had over 1000 bags brought by 24 sponsors, so this time close to 500 children were served.
THANKS BE TO GOD!
We have tried to maintain social distancing while packing at Trinity. As usual, Jeff has beendoing setting up. I have been going in as well, as have Chuck and Sharon Poland, new volunteers with the Micah’s ministry at Trinity. They have helped with the packing. Chuck has a pickup truck that will hold all of the bags. He then brings them to the YMCA to drop off. Packing and taking the bags out for distribution the same day has helped us limit the foot traffic in the building. Believe me, we will need all the Micah’s volunteers to keep things going when school gets back to normal.
God continues to bless this ministry. We are most thankful and we are most grateful for the United Way getting other organizations involved so that we may continue to give out the bags. When we thought we were going to have to shut down the program, United Way asked, “How can we help”? God is good.
Our next planned distribution will be on May 7th.
The feedback Potomac Case Management has given us is that the children are thrilled to get their bags. The school system is dong a tremendous job getting food into the hands of the children. With close to 50% of all students getting free and reduced meals, the need is great. We are so thankful the program has been able to continue during this time.
Please keep the Micah’s families in your prayers.
– Carol Brashears
Joyful Noise Choir practices will resume at the beginning of March. Jane Drawbaugh (and others!) will once again be working with young people at Elgin Station.
Watch next month for updates and a possible perfor- mance date for a spring program. Boys and Girls Club is so grateful for this partnership with Trinity. Please keep us in your prayers.
for more information!