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Church Service Information Regarding COVID-19

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

Today, Pastors Radunzel and Haakenson, along with our Leadership Team, discussed the spiritual well-being and physical safety of our congregation. This is in response to Governor Pritzker’s mandate to cease all gatherings of 50 people or more. In addition, WELS President Mark Schroeder sent out the following guidelines for churches to consider:

Various governmental bodies have either advised or mandated that no public meetings with more than 50 people are held. Additional restrictions may be imposed in the future. Some may be asking the question, “Is this a time when we should obey God rather than men?”

A couple of things should be remembered.

  1. The Fourth and Fifth Commandments apply in a situation like this. We are to obey and respect the governing authorities as they carry out their God-given responsibilities, and we are to do all we can to protect our neighbors and keep them from harm.
  2. At the same time, God certainly desires that Christians gather together regularly for worship.
    In limiting the size of worship gatherings, the government is not attempting to deny our freedom of religion. Rather, government authorities have issued mandates that they believe will protect citizens from harm.
  3. Since all of these biblical principles are valid, it is legitimate for our congregations to strive to comply with governmental regulations on the one hand and, on the other, to find alternate means to enable God’s people to be fed with Word and sacrament.
  4. Recognize that this is an extraordinary opportunity to let our light shine as congregations and their members look for ways to serve the people in their communities in Christian love.

Two principles stand out:

  1. The 4th commandment instructs us to honor, respect, and obey our authorities. It would be one thing if the government was trying to take away our civil liberties, but that does not seem to be the case here. So we submit to the representatives that God has placed over us.
  2. The 5th commandment instructs us to look out for our neighbor’s physical well-being, and we have an elderly congregation. Our thinking is that while many may feel we are overreacting to the virus, there is no harm in being overly cautious. Neither Pastors Radunzel nor Haakenson believes the souls of our members will be unduly hurt by canceling worship services for the next two weeks.

Therefore, we will NOT be having Wednesday evening Lenten services (suppers are canceled too) or Sunday morning worship services (Bible class is canceled too) until after April 7th. (That means we will NOT have our last three Wednesday Lenten services or suppers or Sunday services on March 22 or March 29). At that time we will reassess accordingly. Much of what happens will depend on the Governor’s mandate. As of now, Illinois is under a 'Shelter-in-place' order for non-essential businesses and organizations until April 7th.

As Christians, we know that our times are in God’s hands, therefore we do not fear like those who don’t know God. We are blessed to know Him, especially through the person of His Son, Jesus. In Jesus, we see a God who not only controls all disease but who also personally attends to the individual. Find your comfort and courage in Him. Know and believe that He hears your prayers. Worship Him in the privacy of your homes.

Sunday’s sermon will be available on our website at www.ilwaukegan.com. We will also be streaming sermons on Facebook Live on the Church Facebook Page. Should you need a physical copy mailed to you, do not hesitate to ask for one.

Finally, should anyone like to speak to our Pastors or Leadership Team, feel free to reach out to them.
God bless.

Pastor Seth Haakenson