The Bulletin for
- Sunday, June 28th, can be found HERE
- Sunday, July 5th, can be found HERE
- Sunday, July 12th, can be found HERE
- Sunday, July 19th, can be found HERE
- Sunday, July 26th, can be found HERE
Information about Communion on June 6th and 7th can be found HERE
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
It is with heavy heart that I write this letter, letting you know that due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Wharton County, we will not be having in-person worship at the church this Sunday.
As I’ve previously written, Federal Guidelines call for the area to have a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percentage of total tests for 14 days. There was a very small window at the end of May-early June where that was happening, but then cases began to climb again.
On June 1st, Wharton County had 58 total reported cases of COVID-19, with 16 active cases.
On June 24th, Wharton County had 144 total reported cases of COVID-19, with 80 active cases.
On June 25th, the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management released information on the distribution of the confirmed cases:
- Boling: 2 cases
- East Bernard: 17 cases
- El Campo: 65 cases
- Hungerford: 4 cases
- Louise: 3 cases
- Wharton: 50 cases
On June 25th, Gov. Abbott issued an executive order suspending hospital elective surgeries in Bexas, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties to preserve hospital capacity. Gov. Abbott also announced that the State of Texas will pause any further phases to open Texas as the state responds to the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
To quote the Governor, “I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business.”
So what can we do?
There are 5 specific things that we can do as Christians to assist in slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19.
- Pray for God’s mercy and protecting hand to sustain the health of the ill, the vulnerable, the elderly, those who must work to provide for their families, the medical workers who care for the ill. Pray that everyone considers the welfare of their neighbors, of the vulnerable, and those who need our support to avoid being put at risk of contracting COVID-19.
- Take this seriously. Remember that the majority of the people who are infected with COVID-19 show few if any symptoms. In fact – strange as it may seem – people tend to be the most contagious before they develop symptoms. In addition, we still do not know about long term health effects, but physicians report seeing high rates of blood clots (causing strokes), inflammation of and damage to the heart muscle, cardiovascular damage, lung damage, neurological symptoms, and kidney damage. We are still learning what this virus does and how to treat it. This is NOT ‘just a flu’ and we cannot afford to treat it that way.
- Wear a mask. Your wearing a mask protects me. My wearing a mask protects you. The virus itself is tiny, but is spread between people in ‘respiratory droplets’ – small droplets formed from our speaking, breathing, coughing, sneezing – that travel from an infected person to a new host. Even a cloth covering traps most of the respiratory droplets and reduces the spread of the virus. As the state opens up and more people are out in public, wearing a mask becomes more important – not less.
- Wash your hands. In addition to the respiratory droplets, objects around an infected person can become contaminated and help spread the virus to a new host. (These contaminated objects are known as ‘fomites’ ) Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds breaks down the virus, and helps prevent its spread. Wiping down faucet handles, door knobs, and commonly touched surfaces with a disinfectant helps prevent fomites from infecting new persons.
- Social Distance. Limiting face to face contact with others is another way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This ties in with wearing a mask – staying out of the range of any droplets the other person produces from singing, talking, breathing, coughing, sneezing, shouting – and keeping distance from any fomites the infected person creates around them.
What do we do as a church?
As Pastor, the elders and I will continue to monitor the reported cases of COVID-19 in Wharton County. When we again meet the Federal Guidelines of 14 days with downward trajectories of the percent of positive cases out of tests, then we can announce the reopening of the church building.
In the meantime I have two items for you:
- I encourage you to continue to join in for services over the radio or streaming online. We are still members of the body of Christ, and our Lord Jesus continues to reach us with his Word for comfort, forgiveness, and salvation. I encourage you to take these times to create your own devotional schedule – read through a book of the Bible, review the small catechism (especially if you haven’t picked it up since your own confirmation!), maybe start reading the Large Catechism
- Several weeks ago I asked about interest in reading the next volume in our Immerse Bible series. I wondered if it would be better to re-read ‘Messiah’ – the New Testament, or to continue with ‘Prophets’ – a large chunk of the Old Testament major prophets. There were not many responses, but of them, 2/3 asked to re-read Messiah.
Let’s read the New Testament Together!
With this feedback, I’d like to announce a challenge for us to read the New Testament together over the next 16 weeks. We previously read Messiah over 8 weeks, and everyone agreed it was just a little too much for us to keep up with. We’re going to split the amount of reading in half, and take time to dwell and meditate on our God’s holy Word.
We’ll spend the next two weeks for signups and distributing books, starting our reading, and have our first discussion group the week of July 12th. I’m flexible on how we can have our discussion groups – either with phone, video chat, email – I welcome feedback on that.
In the meantime, I ask you to let us know if you want to participate by clicking the link below. (It seems like I’m always asking you to click something, aren’t I?)
I look forward to hearing from you, and readings God’s Word together with you.
I remain your servant in Christ,
Rev. R.W. Lutjens