Letter from Pastor Bradley E. Schmeling
At the heart of Gloria Dei’s mission is our call “to care, to heal, to serve, and to do justice.” To be faithful to the heart of Christ, Gloria Dei will cancel Sunday and Wednesday worship, all programming, and other events until March 26. We have heard the invitation from many in the health and medical community to work together to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. By practicing “social distance” and by canceling gatherings of several hundred people, we show our love for the neighbor and our compassion for the community.
As we move through these days of Lent, a time of drawing close to God, we already hear the angels at the tomb, saying “Do not be afraid.” Our decision does not come from fear or panic, but from deep trust that life is stronger than death, love is stronger than fear, and God will take care of the church. Our Lenten discipline has truly become “doing works of love” for the greater good.
The mission of Gloria Dei will continue in creative ways during this time of limited programming. Watch your email and our website for information about online worship for Sunday morning and other opportunities to connect with God and one another during these days. Faith formation has already developed some ideas for you to nurture your spiritual life at home that we will send by Sunday.
Our faithful staff will continue to serve, even as we sanitize and maintain the building. Staff may work from home, and we encourage anyone who feels sick or vulnerable to stay home. Rooted in justice at Gloria Dei, we believe it is imperative that we continue to pay our hourly staff their regular wage during this time even if hours shift.
One of the implications of canceling Sunday morning is that our regular offering will not be collected. It’s essential to support our staff and keep current with our responsibilities, and that we find ways to be generous even while we’re not together. Please mail your offering to the church or give electronically. Knowing that our income could be impacted, we invite those with extra resources to consider making a special gift.
In times of anxiety and crisis, the church finds its true mission to be a beacon of love and peace in the world. Let’s commit to praying for one another, for the church and for the world in this time of global pandemic. We know that it is often the most vulnerable that are more deeply affected by crisis. Don’t forget that March is food share month.
Reach out to those who may be isolated. Send a card to encourage a neighbor. Pray for your pastors, our musicians, and all the program staff and building staff. Breathe deeply into God’s grace to calm your fear. We have hope because Christ is on this journey with us. New doors will be opened, and new possibilities created. Watch for their emergence, even as winter gives way to spring. Life can’t be stopped, and Easter always comes!
Pastor Bradley E. Schmeling