Dear people of Grace,
Late Friday afternoon we received several updates from the Governor, CDC, other levels of government and our own Bishop Pedro Suarez, regarding public gatherings. The Bishop himself suggested that congregations “abstain from congregational gatherings at least for the rest of this month of March. This includes Sunday worship and mid-week gatherings.” I have been in frequent and on-going conversation with Council President Fred Borchers, other leaders and members of staff. It is with an abundance of caution, Grace Lutheran will cancel Sunday worship and public gatherings for the next few weeks. This includes midweek services and Lenten dinners.
The doors of the church sanctuary WILL be open tomorrow, March 15, for those who wish to come and pray, meditate and reflect. I will be on the premises for conversation, prayer and visitation; though I will practice ‘social distancing’ and will maintain a minimum 3 ft distance. In the days ahead we will also seek to be creative in using social media, FaceTime, You Tube live etc. to remain in contact as a community of faith. This is a position that I, on the one hand, would rather not take, but we do so, not just for the sake of ourselves, but for the sake of the ‘other’; indeed for the good of all. We will look for ways in which we continue to “be church” together. My prayers are with you all.
As a reminder, giving is still available online through our webpage: http://gracetampa.org/tithes-and-donations/ or through USMail.
A prayer from our Bishop –
We know that your heart overflows with compassion for your whole creation.
Pour out your Spirit on all people living with this illness, or who are living with
anxiety about this illness, for which there is not yet a cure. Be with those who tend
to the needs of the sick. Strengthen us all in body and spirit, console us when anxious,
comfort us in grief, and hearten us in discouragement. Help to remind us that you
claim us as your own and are with us wherever we go.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
March 14, 2020