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The July 2020 Messenger #625
The July 2020 Messenger #625
Jul 1, 2020
From the Pastor
When Do We Reopen?
All of us long for the day when we can put the Covid virus in the rear-view mirror. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there will be a dramatic moment when an “All Clear” signal will be given, at least not for quite a while. Instead, in the months ahead we will be trying to manage risk in its various forms, knowing that no venture into public space is without some risk of catching and transmitting the virus.
As I write this, the state of Illinois is on track to move into Phase Four of reopening businesses and services. In Phase Four, the limits on the size of gatherings are expanded to 50 people.
That is good news, and in theory this step would allow Messiah Lutheran to reopen for Sunday services. However, Messiah’s Executive Committee has decided not to make that move at this time. Over the coming weeks, we will be monitoring events and considering carefully our next steps.
As I myself think about reopening, I’m sobered by three things.
First, in every list of risky activities I’ve seen, church services are ranked among the most hazardous—right up there with going to bars. That’s because traditional church activities—like greeting each other with a handshake, sharing close conversations, and singing and speaking together in an indoor space for an hour or so—all increase the risk of spreading the Covid virus.
Second, as states around the country have reopened in recent weeks, and people feel have felt more confident in going about public activities, churches have been among the sites where new outbreaks of the virus have arisen. This suggests that it’s hard for congregations to meet safely, even when people are aware of the risks.
Finally, many members of our congregation are in the age group that is most at risk for the serious consequences of Covid. This by itself makes me conclude that Messiah should not rush to reopen.
At Messiah, we want to proceed in the manner that respects all these realities. We want to care wisely for ourselves and our neighbors in the congregation and the community. “Love does no wrong to a neighbor,” writes St. Paul in Romans (13:10); “therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
I’m grateful for the way our community has held together in faith, hope, and love through these difficult weeks. If you have concerns and thoughts on reopening, I urge you to share them with me or the Executive Committee, as together we seek to discern what best serves the mission of Messiah.
In the meantime, let’s keep in mind these recommendations from St. Paul (Romans 12:12): “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.”
Faithfully, Pastor David
We pray for Trudi Handzel and her family as they mourn the loss of Trudi’s mother, Ruth Perzentka.
We also pray for the family of Reverend Arland Fiske, as they mourn his passing. The Fiske family came to Messiah in the late 1960’s and were members during Pastor Fiske’s tenure at Lutheran General Hospital School of Nursing as a religion instructor. Several of the Fiske children were confirmed at Messiah, attended Sunday School and were active in Luther League. Sons Paul, Michael and Christopher all became ministers.
Executive Committee Corner
Messiah’s Executive Committee has continued to meet virtually throughout the pandemic; keeping a watchful eye on all of us and Messiah’s ministries. In their June meeting they reviewed current Illinois guidelines and determined at that time there was still no official guidelines to resume services and gatherings were still limited to 10 or fewer. (Phase 4 of reopening had not been reached yet) Therefore, Messiah will continue to hold virtual services in July with a Zoom coffee hour ever 3 weeks.
Some of the groups that use Messiah’s facilities will begin to access the building with restrictions to remain only in the church building and to stay out of the Child Care Center portion of the building. Child Care Center reopened June 15 with specific safety guidelines. Meanwhile, communication with church staff through emails and meetings via Zoom. Assistance Ministry has held meetings via Zoom and received a $1000 grant from the Chicago Metro Synod. Eagle Scout project was approved. EC discussed holding the 2020 summer congregational meeting via Zoom. The Executive Committee continues to monitor Messiah’s financial obligations and encourages members to continue their giving via Facebook, Simply Giving and by mail.
We thank the Executive Committee for continuing to lead us through this difficult time.
Online Church Services Continue:
As the EC and Pastor David work together for us to return to worship safely, online church services are still going on. As a reminder, all of the church services can be viewed through two different avenues. All of the services are posted on the Messiah Facebook page as well as our YouTube channel under the name Messiah Park Ridge. The YouTube channel can be found at this web address, https://www.youtube.com/user/holzerp. If you need help accessing either viewing platforms please reach out to the church office and we can help.
We continue to be blessed to have Pastor David and his wife Barbara lead our online worship with the technical direction and editing skills of Paul Holzer. In addition, some of our assisting ministers have added their voices to reading of the scriptures. Plus we’ve enjoyed musical contributions! For more information or to add your voice to worship, contact Pastor David at email@example.com.
Throughout the closure of Messiah, members have been meeting periodically for a virtual coffee hour using the video calling platform called Zoom. These “gatherings” are Sundays at 11:00 am about every three weeks and they have proven good food for the soul. The link and dial-in number changes with each scheduled session and they will be included in The Messiah Message Board email blast.
An Invitation from Pastor David:
I write in hopes you’ll be part of project to strengthen our life of faith at Messiah during the disruptions of the Covid pandemic.
Would you share a favorite Bible verse or Bible passage, and say something about why it has been meaningful to you?
It might be a verse or passage that has a long history in your life, or in your family, or been meaningful at times of joy or sorrow. Perhaps it’s a passage you’ve recently encountered that speaks God’s word to you in a fresh way.
Your response need not be long—just give the Bible passage and then add a comment of 100 to 200 words of your own about why you chose it.
The plan is to collect such reflections from various members of Messiah and include them from time to time in one of the regular emails that go out to the Messiah community. This sharing of scripture and personal stories is a way to encourage one another in faith.
Thanks for considering this! You can send your response to me at this address (firstname.lastname@example.org) — and feel free to write me if you have questions.
Singing favorite hymns has been a staple at Messiah during the summertime. We will continue the practice this summer. First, in the virtual Sunday worship services that are posted each week at Messiah’s Facebook page and YouTube, we will feature some of the favorite hymns selected in previous years. Second, we will provide a link on the Message Board to a performance of a Messiah favorite two to three times per month. Occasionally, a soloist will make an original recording of a favorite hymn that will be used during the online Sunday service.
Communication With Church & Each Other:
Phone messages, regular mail and email continue to be monitored throughout the week. If you are in need of pastoral care, please leave a message on the church phone or send an email to the church at email@example.com or Pastor David at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Pastor David and the church office are sending out several emails each week to help keep the people of Messiah connected during this time. If you have an email address that you receive messages from church, please be sure to check it regularly so you don’t miss any updates.
In addition to communicating with church staff, let’s continue to keep in touch with each other. A phone call, an email, a text or even a note via snail mail can make a difference in someone’s day. Being isolated at home can take a toll on all of us so let’s make sure we check in with each other and stay connected! “With Christ, Reaching Out……..”
The Messiah Message Board!
If you have information to share—celebrations, prayer concerns, messages or just news of interest to the people of Messiah—please pass it on to the church office via email (send to email@example.com). We will be updating the Messiah Message Board weekly. Please send news to the office by 5:00 pm on Wednesday.
OUR MISSIONARY: REVEREND DR. PHILIP KNUTSON
Check out Pastor Knutson’s blog at southernafricanconnections.wordpress.com
We were blessed to hear a message from Pastor Knutson during our online service on June 21st. He extended greetings from South Africa as he and his family remain in “Level 3 Lockdown” at their home. They had planned to visit the states and sponsoring churches this summer but will be unable to because of travel restrictions due to Covid 19. Pastor Knutson shared that there are some attempts to ease restrictions but meanwhile, churches are staying in touch and reaching out via social media.
Pastor Knutson also shared thought-provoking messages about the pandemic and highlight on racial injustice due to the killing of George Floyd. Check out the service and Pastor Knutson’s message at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8g4UWW4bzc
Music Ministry: Take My Hand, Lord
Grounded in America’s national story is a hymn that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. apparently loved quite a bit. According to Wikipedia, King often invited Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson to sing it at Civil Rights rallies to inspire crowds. He also had asked Ms. Jackson to sing it at his funeral. The night before his assassination in April 1968, King had actually requested that the hymn be played at a Mass he was due to attend that evening.
It’s “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” You can find it in the ELW, no. 773. Thomas Dorsey, a Chicagoan who worked at Pilgrim Baptist Church as its musician, composed the hymn in the 1930s. An African American, Dorsey is considered the “Father of Gospel Music,” In August 1932, he wrote the verses when his life was falling apart because his wife, Nettie Harper, had died in childbirth and their infant son, Thomas Andrew, Jr, died a day later. Dorsey adapted a melody first written in the mid-19th century, a tune called “Maitland.” The loss of his wife and child, coupled with several nervous breakdowns, had led him to consider taking his own life. But he was able to traverse these dark days and eventually committed himself both to the creation and playing of Gospel music and the work of the church of Christ. Today, countless U.S. congregations from diverse denominations, as well as around the world, sing “Precious Lord.”
Dorsey is credited with composing 400 blues and jazz songs as he developed this new genre called “Gospel” music. “Precious Lord” stands at the zenith.
Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand.
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light.
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.
Click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as1rsZenwNc to hear Mahalia Jackson sing all three verses of this splendid hymn.
Assistance Ministry is again providing nutritious lunches to our guests which began Monday, June 29. We began with bagged lunches, served outside. We have provided masks as well as hand sanitizers available for our guests. Thanks to Trudi Handzel for making the masks! Guests will not come into our church building at this time and if they have specific requests...socks, toiletries, etc., we will hand it to them. The first day back went well, with 5 guests showing up for assistance. We hope that in the coming weeks, the news will spread and more of our “regular” guests will start coming again. We are looking forward to reconnecting with them. We are also thankful for the $1000 grant from Chicago Metro Synod. We will meet soon to determine how to best use this generous grant!
Please keep our guests in your prayers. We are hoping that they are all healthy and safe.
With thanks, Connie Kaufman
Summer at the Child Care Center
The summer program at the Child Care Center has started!
The number of children being served initially will be considerably fewer than usual. Work schedules and child care needs are still in flux for many families, said director Karen Black.
The CCC staff will adhere to Illinois guidelines for reopening preschool programs, which includes limiting admission to the building, limiting class size, staff: child ratio and restricting contact between children in different classes. Because of the new health protocols, lower enrollment, and limits on class size, it’s projected that the program will incur a financial deficit this summer.
Children have a beautiful way of overcoming difficult times and they quickly return to acting as children do. We hope all of the children attending the summer program will have a fun and carefree summer.
For more information on CCC Activities and Programs contact CCC Office at 847-825-3767 or see the website at www.messiahchildcare.com
Quilts & Kits
We continue to work at home to prepare items for quilts and kits. Since we don’t know what the coming months will bring, we are not sure if we will be able to assemble our usual offering of quilts and kits this year. However, there may be some good sales coming up to help stimulate the economy so if you see any good deals go ahead and grab some items or let us know where the sales are. Even if we don’t assemble kits, we can save the items for next year! The personal care kits contain 1 bath towel, 2 bars of 4 or 5 oz soap, 1 toothbrush, 1 sturdy comb and 1 nail clipper. The school kits contain 4 70-page spiral notebooks, 5 ball point pens, 5 pencils, 1 pair blunt tipped scissors, 1 eraser, 1 pencil sharpener, 1 ruler and 1 box of 24 crayons. We also are happy to take donations of flat sheets (any size) or material for our quilts. Please let us know if you plan to donate any supplies. We have been asked to host the LWR truck again this year, October 3 & 4. We have said we will as long as its within state guidelines for safety.
Carol Hrodey & Trudi Handzel
This Month in Worship
We’re including the scripture readings for July. Once we know when services can resume, we will reach out to Worship Teams.
July 5th Fifth Sunday of Pentecost
Zechariah 9:9-12 Zechariah 9:9-12 Zechariah 9:9-12 Zechariah 9:9-12
July 12th Sixth Sunday of Pentecost
Isaiah 55:10-13 Isaiah 55:10-13 Isaiah 55:10-13 Isaiah 55:10-13
July 19th Seventh Sunday of Pentecost
Isaiah 44:6-8 Isaiah 44:6-8 Isaiah 44:6-8 Isaiah 44:6-8
July 26th Eighth Sunday of Pentecost
1 Kings 3:5-12 1 Kings 3:5-12 1 Kings 3:5-12 1 Kings 3:5-12
From Pastor David’s Midweek Reflection, June 3rd
Yet another unarmed African American killed at the hands of white police officers. The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers unleashed a wave of protests across the nation. Floyd’s death elicits deep anger. It also provokes a disturbing, despairing question for many people: Is there anything that will get the nation’s leaders to believe and act as though black lives really do matter?
The vast majority of the protesters have been peaceful, and at times police and protesters have indicated their support for one another. But incidents of shootings, looting, and violence have ended lives, damaged neighborhoods, and deepened the pain.
At such a time, it is crucial that we listen to what our black brothers and sisters in the faith are telling us about their experience. We need above all to understand how things look from the perspective of those who live with discrimination every day, who are fearful whenever family members encounter the police, and who yet try to find reasons for hope.
Posted below are the comments of our bishop in the Metro Chicago synod, Yehiel Curry. A Chicago native, Bishop Curry is one of two black men who serve as bishops in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. His reflections speak directly to the pain of this moment in the life of our church, city, and nation, and point us to the ultimate source of healing and hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
— Pastor David
Immediately [after seeing the video of George Floyd dying with a policeman’s knee on his neck], I became fixated on the posture, the eyes, and the sounds of George Floyd as life began to leave his body and his face began to change. I moved my cell phone closer to my face and I continued to stare. I thought of myself, my brothers, my nephews. . . .
I saw all of us in this, our neighbor, George Floyd. What’s next? I wondered. Will racial profiling lead to an officer’s knee on my neck? As George stopped breathing, I paused the video. I closed my eyes, and I cried some more. I cried for George Floyd. I cried for Ahmaud Arbery. I cried for Breonna Taylor, and for Dreasjon (Sean) Reed. I cried for Trevon Martin and Tamir Rice. I cried for Walter Scott and Laquan McDonald. I cried for all of these children of God, and for the countless others, known and unknown, who have fallen at the hands of racism and brutality.
As my tears slowed, I felt compelled to sit in the tension of the moment. Hoping against hope, I restarted the video—looking for some sort of resurrection. Instead, I saw Officer Chauvin’s knee. His demeanor was so cavalier, and he appeared to be so comfortable, that one might mistakenly think that this act of murder was normal or routine.
I shared the video with the hashtag #ImTiredOfThis and turned off my phone. I was not okay! And yet, like all among us who experience racism, micro-aggressions, over-policing, and harassment every day, I quietly packed away this experience and returned to my life routines. But the things we pack away can’t stay packed away forever.
Within communities impacted the most by both police brutality and COVID-19, suppressed trauma has been transformed into direct action and civil disobedience, empowering communities to organize for justice throughout Metropolitan Chicago, Minneapolis, and the United States.
Unfortunately, some suppressed traumas have also ignited looting and the destruction of property. Such activity is neither the cure for the pandemic of systemic racism nor the perpetual brutality exercised against Black and Brown bodies, but it is a symptom of these things.
When developing a cure for a disease, doctors, scientists, and specialists of all kinds assemble with one common goal—to find a cure. Distinct from simply treating symptoms, a cure gets at the root of the thing that was causing the symptoms in the first place, so as to eradicate the disease.
Family in Christ, we need a cure. Our siblings are dying. If we choose to remain silent while benefiting from privilege, then we become complicit in that death, ensuring that justice and change will not be achieved.
Social statements are good and fine, but for change, for real and lasting change, we need to be in relationship. We need to come together with a common goal, striving collectively to eradicate racism and injustice in our communities, in the church, and in the world. May it be so, and in the words of 1 John 3:18, may it be so not in word or speech alone, but in action and in truth.
In this season of Pentecost, I pray for the Spirit to fill us all again with a renewed passion for God’s reign of justice and love, and a deepened desire to live out God’s mission in this synod, to proclaim the Gospel, make disciples, and do justice—liberating, life-giving justice—in Jesus’ name - Yehiel Curry
Wear A Mask!
The following was posted on the Facebook page of William Jones, former president of Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas:
“Last night I was out of town visiting a friend who has cancer. I had taken him to order out food and to get out of his house a little. We were putting our face masks on before entering a restaurant (after driving with the windows down), when a middle-aged man slowly passed by in his car and yelled, 'Scared, huh?!' It took me and my friend (and others who were nearby) a couple of seconds to get over the shock and realize what was said.
“Yes! Yes. I am scared, sir. I’m scared for my friend and those like him. I’m scared for my son, Thomas, who has no kidneys and has been on dialysis at home for 10 to 12 hours every night for the past two years.
“However, in addition, I’m in love. I’m in love with my son, my friend, and others I know who are medically compromised. I’m in love with some doctors, nurses, and some first responders that I know. Yes, love is an emotion. It’s also a commitment to others. As someone who desires to be a follower of Jesus, I sincerely want to love people. I wear a mask out of love. It’s a simple thing to do and a small inconvenience to help slow the spread of this disease. If it helps to save one life, including the life of my friend or my son, it is worth it to me.
“For some, this is a political issue. It’s about political races. OK. Fine. If you want to make this political, make love and life your agenda and wear a mask. If you want to make it about a political race, make it about the human race and wear a mask. If you want a campaign slogan, try, 'Be kind!'.”
We pray for each other, our congregation, our families, our community, our state, our country and the world during this challenging time.
Those who mourn:
The family and friends of Ruth Perzentka, mother of Trudi Handzel
The family of Reverend Arland Fiske
Those who are ill, in recovery, or facing adversity:
The Dumerer Family The Hauser Family Don & Mary Jane Kovach Trudi & Jim Handzel
Bob Kallas Richard Levy Daniel Kovach Carol Hrodey
Marilyn Borgeson Joe & Nick Levy
Maria Raicia (mother of Laura Hauser)
Sonja Snell and Larry Morris (family of Bill and Cindy Decker)
Katie Brandon and Carol Rudy (friends of Dotty Burger)
Jessica Saul (daughter of Tim Saul)
Domonic & Leah Mareuccilli Family, Anne Flick (Friends of the Lippert Family)
Teresa & José (aunt & uncle of Cookie Bonilla)
The family of Bonnie Bomhack, Pat & Ted Gradt, Jack & Joanne May, the family of Julian Hernandez, Kathy Nilles (friends and family of the Jensen Family)
Ron, Carol, Margot, Maggie, Steve W., Mary, Bruce, and Terry DeSchepper
(friends of David Swanson)
George, Gari, the Beierwaltes Family, Pattie & Chris, Aaron, Sandi, & Tom Farley, J.T., & Becky (family & friends of the Handzel Family)
Ed & Toni (friends of Rich Seggeling)
Eunice Morris (mother is Cindy Decker)
Those who are homebound:
Arlene Baranowski Barb Loverme Dorothy Nagel Eva Thoren
Those serving in the armed services and first responders:
(those known to us & all those who serve)
Brandon Ajyek Tim David Tyler Daye Jarred Engvall Bobby Hanson Jenni Hanson Mikey Hanson Andreas Johnson Claudine Ward Jason Koesler Joey Rosequist Brian Nagel Eric Nagel David Nagel Officer Matt McGannon
Those attending college and graduate school:
Thomas Yager Phil Holzer Nick Levy Novena Christal
Haley Lippert Dina Salemi Arden Sasak Adam Hauser
Jake Saul Jessica Saul Christian Travis Ryan Hauser
Kevin Kovach Trygve Jensen
Those who celebrate:
Debbi Dietrich, 7/4 Carol Hrodey, 7/4 Jeanne Dumerer, 7/5 Stephanie Yager, 7/5 Alice Hulerstrum, 7/7 Lester Thurow, 7/7 Adam Hauser, 7/8 Ryan Hauser, 7/8 Joyce Tjhio, 7/9 Kimberly Bujalka, 7/11 Kevin Kovach, 7/11 Michaelene Marchetta, 7/11 Dorothy Nagel, 7/11 David Swanson, 7/18 Eric Ryczek, 7/19 Hannah Lippert, 7/20 Karen Black, 7/23 Clifford Paulus 7/23 Haley Lippert, 7/27 Bob Bisgard, 7/28 Evelyn Allemeier, 7/29 Thomas Yager, 7/30
Anniversaries this month
David & Julie Jensen, 7/8 (31 years)