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From the Pastor's Desk

The Lord be with you!
 
Governor Evers has signed Emergency Order #12 “Safer at Home Order.” The complete text of the governor is available here. I appreciate the work our state and county government has done to safeguard the public. As Christians, we ought to follow this order under the scriptural teaching of the Fourth Commandment.
 
“We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.”
 
Saint John’s Lutheran Ministries is considered essential under the governor’s order. However, we will be limiting hours of operation and availability to follow the spirit of the directive. Please stay home, except for necessary travel, for the welfare of our neighbors.
  • The Child Development Center is open for regular service and accepting new families for care. You may direct inquiries for service to DDrew@stjohnsportage.com or call at 608-742-9000 – press 2. 
  • The school building is closed. However, the faculty and staff are working to facilitating distance learning with our families. Parents have been notified of ways to contact the faculty during the closure. We are also taking registrations of families for next year. General inquiries may be sent to Amanda Kohn, Ministries Coordinator, at AKohn@stjohnsportage.com or 608-742-9000 – press 3.
  • The church office is closed to public access. However, it will be staffed at alternating hours. Please call 608-742-9000 – press 4 or email churchoffice@stjohnsportage.com and the staff will respond in a reasonable about of time. 
Because the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ to strengthen faith in God’s forgiving grace, we will continue to offer individual/household communion for those that desire it.  But know this with certainty – especially when we are “safer at home,” the forgiveness of sins is not prevented when one cannot commune.  Forgiveness is delivered by the Gospel as it is read and preached and spoken by the royal priesthood (baptized believers – family devotions). The reason why we continue to offer the meal is the special assurance found as we eat and drink Christ’s body and blood.
 
We are following the governor’s order. This exception to the Safer at Home Order is found in the document (13.h.). During this time, we must not have more than ten people in the building and must practice social distancing as much as possible. If it appears (cars in the lot) that there are more than nine individuals in the building, please wait in your car until a household has left.

Please note the change (reduced) hours of availability:
  • Saturday 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • Monday 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • Wednesday 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
If you are in a high-risk category or have symptoms of COVID-19, please do not attend these service times. You may be placing yourself or others at risk. Please contact the church office if you desire the Lord’s Supper. A pastor will come to you.

We should all humbly and repentantly ask the Lord for the regular administration of the Sacrament to be restored to us, together with an end to the “deadly pestilent” that is killing thousands of souls who are precious to God, their Creator.
 
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:1–16, ESV)
 
In this uncertain time, I encourage every baptized child of God to be fervent in seeking opportunities to hear the Word of God as it goes forth from written sermons, letters, websites, emails, streaming videos, and other means. Take this opportunity to read the Word of God in your homes and ask God to end this plague and preserve His Church.  Live out your calling (Family plus Five) as His royal priesthood to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  (1 Peter 2:9, ESV)
 
In Christ’s service,
Pastor Greg Hovland
Pastor Rod Armon
 

 


Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
 
Colossians 2:6,7 ESV
 
(608) 742-9000 ext 129
ghovland@stjohnsportage.com
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