At this time, the synod is monitoring the situation and will continue to provide our congregations with updates and guidance as we learn more.
But the most important piece of advice that we can give you right now is that if you are sick, regardless of why you are sick, you are encouraged to stay home and go see your primary care physician. In addition to COVID-19, we are experiencing a bad flu season and many of our congregants have pre-existing conditions which could make them susceptible to any illness. Taking proper care of ourselves also helps us take care of one another.
Some have expressed concern about how this new disease might impact our worship services. At this time, there is no evidence to support radical changes to our worship service or to encourage altering worship practices. There are, however, some practices that are always a good idea to consider when thinking about worship. For example, the use of hand sanitizer after the passing of the peace and before communion are easy ways to help limit the spread of illness in general. Additionally, some individuals may choose to simply pass the peace verbally or to only receive communion through the bread, a perfectly acceptable practice in the Lutheran tradition.
Again, we want to stress that we should not give into fear. As Bishop Eaton has so often reminded us, we are called to be church together. Our identity in Christ is fundamentally communal and as there are more cases, and even the first death here we should not push away those who are sick or may have been exposed. While there are proper precautions that should be taken, we should continue to love and support our brothers and sisters and not stigmatize them. Instead we should identify how to continue to minister and support them through prayer, phone calls, and material support, if they are being asked to self-isolate.
There are many things we still do not know about this new disease, but we should continue to work to be prepared and to support our brothers and sisters who are being impacted by this disease as well as supporting our brothers and sisters who are working to address this disease.
+ In Christ, Bishop Kevin Strickland, Southeastern Synod
You may download this letter as a PDF here.
Here are some other resources you might wish to consider when discerning your next most faithful step regarding the coronavirus:
Trinity Lutheran Church
705 Wilson Ave, Tullahoma, TN 37388
For all youth in 6th through 12th grades
Cost? $35 per person which includes Meals, Programming and an awesome t-shirt! The registration fee is for both adults and youth.
Who Can Come? This gathering is for 6th-12th graders from congregations in the WHOLE SOUTHEASTERN SYNOD, but especially for the Lutherans and friends of TENNESSEE. ALL are welcome.
We have a great weekend retreat planned for our youth! Friends are welcome at the event! Saturday afternoon, we have service projects and outdoor games planned. On Saturday evening we will worship as well as have some activities planned (and maybe a dance party). Sunday, we will worship with the Trinity congregation at their late service, and receive a blessing before heading back to our home congregations.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 1, 2019!!!
Please be sure to mark which of youth and adults attending would like to have leadership roles at this event.
Please download the Registration Packet for more details...
122 youth and adults met November 10 & 11 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hixson, Tennessee for All Tennessee. During the event youth from across Tennessee gathered to learn more about the "GODISNOWHERE" theme by participating in different activities throughout Saturday afternoon. Youth looked at where God was through an interactive Stations of the Cross activity, they also got to ask Pastor Ed Myers and Pastor Katherine Museus any question they wanted to ask, they learned about how we can be God's hands in the midst of disasters through the work of Lutheran Disaster Relief and put together hygiene kits for Lutheran World Relief. To finish out their service that day they moved mulch on to the church's playground. Worship started with a group of youth from Christ Kiswahili Lutheran Mission leading in song and during the confession participants were invited to take a piece of string to represent their confession and tie it on nails that formed "GODISNOWHERE" - a powerful way to see that God comes to us in the midst of our brokenness and as we communed together we saw God come once again in the body and blood of Christ. Special thanks to the volunteers of Trinity Lutheran Church for their hospitality and meals, as well as the ALL Tennessee planning team for their hard work putting it all together.