COVID-19 Update from the Pastor

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate, I would like to share with you some words that Martin Luther wrote to a fellow pastor amid an outbreak of the plague in 1527. Luther writes:

“God has created medicines and provided us with intelligence to guard and take good care of the body so that we can live in good health… act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire which instead of consuming wood and straw devours life and body? …Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely, as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God… If the people in a city were to show themselves bold in their faith when a neighbor’s need so demands, and cautious when no emergency exists, and if everyone would help ward off contagion as best he can, then the death toll would indeed be moderate. But if some are too panicky and desert their neighbors in their plight, and if some are so foolish as not to take precautions but aggravate the contagion, then the devil has a heyday and many will die. On both counts this is a grievous offense to God and to man—here it is tempting God; there it is bringing man into despair.” (Martin Luther, “Whether One May flee From a Deadly Plague,” Luther’s Works vol. 43, p. 131–132)

Luther takes an approach that we all might emulate. Rather than being dismissive or panicking, we acknowledge the seriousness of the situation in taking precautions for the sake of those around us, all while trusting in our Heavenly Father.

To slow/reduce the spread of the virus and keep from overwhelming hospitals, medical professionals, and their resources, the state and federal governments are taking and recommending strong measures to establish social distancing. During this pandemic, this social distancing is one way that we can love our neighbor in a similar fashion to Luther’s own suggestion.

In our congregational life, we too will be taking appropriate steps as we care for our own health within the congregation as well as for the community.

We will be moving all of our worship services online. You will be able to participate in the Wednesday evening services at 6:30pm and the Sunday morning services at 10:30am via live stream.

The services will be streamed live via our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeKkm3LY3uqU0-57RQzC5-g

They will also be streamed directly to the church’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/FirstLutheranOdenton/

During the week, information intended for the church office is preferably received via phone or email at this time.

Additional devotional resources can also be found at http://alecfisher.me/

As the pandemic continues, please continue to consult the CDC website:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

and the Maryland department of Health:

https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/

I will continue to provide updates regarding congregational life. Throughout all of this we will also be seeking new avenues of interconnectedness within the congregation as well as find ways that we as a congregation might serve our community. We will also be streaming Bible studies and devotionals as well as seek out resources for communion study online in addition to utilizing our phone lines. I pray that our new online resource would help us to celebrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ even in such uncertain times. Even in the midst of illness and cultural chaos, God will see us through this.

New information about this virus is discovered every day, and with it the situation changes everyday. We are told that this will not be a fast process. We could be looking at a big change in the way that we do things even for the next few months. It won’t always be easy, but we will take it one day at a time.

During this time, I pray that we would discover new avenues of relationship and interconnectedness—even at a distance—and new opportunities to serve our broader community, especially those who have no congregational home to rely on. We don’t know how this will affect the local economy and those around us, but I encourage you to think about how we might serve those those in need when those greater consequences become evident. When life for those around us becomes uncertain that is often when the gospel is heard best. Let’s show others that even when it seems everything is going to pieces, we have peace in our Lord Jesus Christ. We have hope in him. Our Lord reigns over heaven and earth. He will bring us through this.

I leave you with the words of Jesus:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Please pray with me:

Almighty God, Heavenly Father, give us grace to trust you during this time of illness and distress. In mercy put an end to this pandemic that afflicts us. Grant relief to those who suffer, and comfort all who mourn. Sustain all medical personnel in their labors and cause your people ever to serve you in righteousness and holiness; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect in Times of Epidemic)

The peace of Christ be with you all,

Pastor Alec

Worship, March 22nd 2020

 

For this Sunday, pastor will be following the Online Worship Bulletin.

Worship, March 15th 2020

Click the play button above to watch the pastor’s message from March 15th, or watch directly on YouTube.

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Announcements

CAP Collections

CAP is collecting canned soup for the month of February  Please consider donating to help feed the less well-off!

Roast Beef Dinner Coming Up

The Ladies Auxiliary Roast Beef Dinner is April 25, 2020 4:00 – 7:00pm.

Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Dinner Rolls, Green Beans, Mushrooms,
Carrots, Salad and Desserts. $14/adult or $7/children (ages 6-12)  Under 6 – Free. Carry-outs available. For tickets call the Church Office or contact Denise Bach. Proceeds to go toward Organ Fund.

Online Giving More Important Than Ever

With in-person church service temporarily suspended, please remember that the church supports online giving as well as accepting donations by mailing them to the church office.

For online giving see our donations page, or go directly to:

https://felc.churchcenter.com/giving  

 

Ladies Retreat

All ages welcome! Date: May 29 – 31 Location: Brenda Gerhardt’s Farm in Somerset, Pennsylvania.  Join the ladies of the Church and bring a friend. We have Rustic and Indoor accommodations. We have a service project planned at a local Teen Ranch consisting of Horse Maintenance and Painting. We’ll have Fellowship, Worship, Campfires, Singing, Games and Activities. If interested please sign up on Bulletin Board at Church entrance by May 17 or contact Brenda Gerhardt.

Looking for a Christian Therapist

Compassionate Grace Counseling Center — a busy, growing, Christian based mental health clinic located in Brooklyn Park, MD — is looking for an energetic, organized, Christian therapist with LCSW-C licensure to provide counseling services on a contractual, part-time basis.  Prior insurance credentialing preferred but not a must. Contact Executive Director Rev. Dr. David R. Maack at 410-636-0123 or email dmaack@compassionplace.org.  

 

YouTube Page Now Active!

In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak the pastor has committed to providing more online content, possibly in place of future in-person events.  As such, we’ve stood up a new YouTube channel for the church.  Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeKkm3LY3uqU0-57RQzC5-g.

Local Heroes Dinner a Big Success!

Our Local Heroes dinner, held March 1st, was a big success and we’ve posted some pictures from that event.  Check them out.

Thanks to all of our local heroes for everything you do!

LMS Bull & Oyster Roast

Join us on Saturday, April 25, 2020 from 1:30 PM till 5:30 PM at Richlin Ballroom, 1700 Van Bibber Road, Edgewood, MD 21040 for a Bull & Oyster Roast to benefit LMS Compassion Place ministries. There will be door prizes, a 50/50 raffle, a Silent Auction and music.  Please help by filling a table of 8-10. Cost is $50 per person and tickets are available now.  Call 410-636-0123 or email: tickets@compassionplace.org.  More information and a complete menu can be found at the Compassion Place web site.  Enjoy a fun evening and great food while helping folks in need.  Thanks for your support!  

A Message From the Pastor

March 20th, 2020


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I pray that you are well as we face this ongoing pandemic and the changes that have been brought to our society. I encourage you to continue to take the situation to heart and do what you can to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As community is vital for us as people, and especially for the church, I am putting together a Care & Kindness Team to make phone calls to others and help out if there is a need (i.e. groceries). If you are interested in being a part of the team or have identified a need, then please let me know. We are also looking into online spaces to Bible studies via video chat and will give you more information when it is available.

As we will not be using our church property for an unknown amount of time we had a team, headed up by Donna Van Dine, come in to do a deep clean so that it is ready for us whenever we do have the privilege of using our facilities again. I’d like to communicate a message from Donna: The clean up went well. We got a lot done. I’d like to thank Heather Collins, Mark Gilliam, John McElwee, Amanda Mencik and Ursula Pinckney. You all rock!!  Thank you again.

This Sunday will mark the first week that our service will only be accessible online. It will still take place at the normal time (10:30am). The service will be streamed live via our YouTube channel and via the church’s Facebook page

During this time, many people will be at home much more than they’re use to and unable to take part in the typical things that keep them busy on the weekends. This might be an opportunity for them to encounter church (though an impersonal version of it) when they would not have otherwise. I see this as a great opportunity for gospel proclamation to many who would otherwise never hear it. The link for the service will be up on the church Facebook page 10-15 minutes before it begins. I encourage you to share it to your own Facebook page to broadcast it as far as possible. You might be surprised who watches it! 

As our income is based on weekly offering (done in person), alternative forms of giving have now become pertinent. You may mail in your envelope or give online. We started doing this some months ago, and it has made things much easier.

For online giving see: https://felc.churchcenter.com/giving  

For further instruction see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oqxq 

I miss you all and pray for you all regularly. My prayer is that our heavenly Father would bless you and keep you safe during this time. As Jesus reigns over heaven and earth, he also continues to work within it. May he continue to work in and through you to bring you closer to him. If you would like to chat during the day or if there’s anything that I can do for you at this time, you can reach me at 410-672-3358.

In Christ,

Pastor Alec


In addition to the pastor’s message above, you can read more from the pastor on his Facebook page as well as his blog.

Upcoming Events

 


 

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all church events are cancelled until further notice.

 

Sunday service, however, continues online at 10:30 AM each Sunday morning.  Pastor will be leading service via our YouTube channel and via our Facebook page, and should also be available above.  Please virtually join us Sunday as you always have!

 

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About Us

From its humble beginnings almost 80 years ago, First Evangelical Lutheran Church has brought the Gospel Of Jesus Christ to Odenton and the surrounding areas.

Come and join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM for worship as we come together in fellowship to grow as disciples of Jesus.