Updated on June 9, 2020
Update June 9, 2020
Dear ULC Family,
It is with great joy that I get to share with you that we are re-opening ULC for in-person worship starting June 21! As we look forward to being together again, I want to make you aware of a few things.
- Worship gathering will be offered three times on Sunday mornings: 8:00a (led with organ), 9:45a & 11:30a (both led with our band).
- Holy Communion will be celebrated at all three gatherings and also hosted outside from 12:45-2:00p for those who do not wish to or are unable to worship in-person.
- The 9:45am gathering will still be live-streamed on our Youtube channel with the same level of quality we’ve maintained in prior weeks.
- Starting June 21, The Common Cup will be open on Sundays from 8:30a-1:00p if you would like to pick up a beverage before or after worship.
Safety Precautions //
- In an effort to maintain social distance we are limiting the amount of people at each worship gathering to 40 people. A link to sign up for in-person worship will be sent weekly in the ULC News the Wednesday before each Sunday. You will need to pre-register for worship.
- All worshippers will be required to wear a mask while in the building. If you do not have a mask, ULC will be happy to provide one for you.
- We ask that all people maintain a social distance of 6 feet from anyone you do not live with at all times.
- We encourage everyone to bring their own hand sanitizer, but we will also have hand sanitizer placed throughout the building.
- Gathering hosts will seat you and your family to ensure we maintain proper distancing.
- There will be arrows on the floor of the sanctuary to direct the flow of communion and entering and exiting the sanctuary. (Communion will be done “drive-thru/continuous-line” style)
- In order to have time to sanitize between each gathering, we ask that people leave the building relatively promptly after worship. We will have a tent(s) set up in the backyard of the Chapel for those that wish to socialize after worship.
- There will be no coffee provided, no meals, no nursery, and no children’s ministry. (Children’s Message will occur at the 9:45 gathering)
- There will be no bulletins, no hymnals, no balcony seating, and no passing of the offering plate. (There will be an offering basket stationed in the sanctuary for people to drop offerings off)
- While we recognize the risk associated with singing, we are going to allow singing in worship. We will have windows open to maximize airflow in the sanctuary.
How We Treat Each Other //
- If you are uncomfortable with returning to in-person worship, please do not feel any pressure or guilt for not joining us right away. We look forward to worshipping with you virtually.
- If you feel our safety restrictions are “too much,” please understand that we want to provide the safest place possible for as many people as possible to worship with us and hope to lessen restrictions over time.
- We know not everyone is on the same page in regards to resuming in-person worship. With this in mind I want to encourage you to extend grace, patience, and love to those who view this return differently than you. The enemy would like nothing more than to divide the church and hamper our mission, let’s not let not give him a foothold.
- It should be noted, we are a church that greatly values outreach and inviting people to worship is a great way to reach out to our friends and neighbors who don’t yet trust in Jesus. Obviously, our current restrictions make this difficult, but not impossible! Please feel free to invite friends to join you in person as spots are available and you can always invite folks to “attend” online.
Brothers and sisters, I ask for your patience. As I’ve told some of you, I did not take a class in seminary on “How to Pastor During a Pandemic.” You all have been so gracious and patient with me, our staff, and lay leaders through all of this and I ask for that to continue. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns about any and all of this. It is an honor and gift to serve as one of your Pastors. I am grateful for all the ways God has used you in these (i’m gonna say it) unprecedented times. I am confident that our best days as a church lay ahead as we continue to mobilize generations to join Jesus on his mission.
17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face…19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy. –1 Thessalonians 2:17,19-20
grace and peace,
*Communion at ULC update – April 2020
As ULC has suspended in person worship during the COVID-19 pandemic, several people have asked whether or not it is possible for us to celebrate Communion during this time. While we are encouraged by this question, unfortunately, the answer is no, we aren’t communing at this time. The encouragement from the leadership of the Michigan District, LCMS and Synodical leadership is for churches to temporarily suspend celebrating the Lord’s Supper. In the spirit of walking together with our brothers and sisters in our church body, we are honoring the recommendation from our leadership and looking forward to the day when we can celebrate around the altar again!
If you have any questions about the theology surrounding this decision, we encourage you to review the following links or reach out to one of our pastors.
Dear ULC Family,
This morning I spoke with one of our elders who reminded me of these words from 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)
As COVID-19, commonly known as Coronavirus, continues to spread we certainly recognize the tribulation of our world, but in the midst of it we can take heart knowing that our Savior has overcome the world. He is with us. He is for us. And nothing can separate us from His love.
In that confidence we are free to love our neighbors well in the midst of this crisis. Here’s what that looks like for ULC in the next couple weeks:
- Pray for those who are sick.
- Pray for healthcare professionals.
- Pray for leaders who have difficult decisions to make.
- Pray that God’s joy, peace, and love would flow through us to others.
- Pray for a quick resolution to this health crisis.
2) ONLY DIGITAL WORSHIP FOR THE TIME BEING
- In consultation with healthcare professionals, our elders, staff, and council we believe the best way for ULC to love our neighbors is to not gather physically right now.
- We will continue to evaluate when we can gather together in person again and be sure to communicate that with the ULC community.
- We will record a livestream worship service at 9:45am on both Sundays. The link for the livestream will be on our website, sent to your e-mail, and on all our social media platforms. Please join us digitally and share the link with others!
- If you cannot make the 9:45 livestream the video of the service will remain up on our YouTube page.
- Any classes scheduled to be held on ULC’s property for these next two Sundays are also suspended. Leaders will be in touch directly with those affected.
- If you don’t already, you can give your offering online.
3) DISCERNMENT ENCOURAGED FOR ANY ULC RELATED GATHERINGS
- Whether or not midweek Bible Studies continue will be left up to the leaders and participants in those studies.
- Community Group leaders are encouraged to discern with their group on whether or not they meet during this time.
- We are in contact with regular renters at ULC to cancel any gatherings over 100 people.
- Our custodial staff continues to take extra caution to ensure our building is exceptionally clean.
4) INCREASE OUR CARE AND COMMUNICATION
- Christians, this is our time to shine. This is our time to show God’s love to a hurting world. We encourage you to find ways to do that in your daily life during this time
- We are in contact with Hope Clinic and other care providers to find ways for us to serve alongside them. Complete this form to get involved.
- We are in contact with our students to see if there are any students who are in need of a home or help during this time.
- We are pulling together a care team to find the best ways for us to serve our city in the days ahead. If you are interested in being a part of that team, shoot me an e-mail.
- Families in need of childcare during the school closures can contact Pastor Marcus for assistance. Some of our students are available to help out!
- If you are in need in any way, please contact me and we will do what we can to serve you.
- Our staff will be working this week to develop and implement a strategy to best maintain a sense of community and care digitally over these next couple weeks.
Brothers and sisters, the Psalmist writes, God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:1-2,7)
May you be encouraged to know that you have a God who is with you, and from that place may we love our neighbors well at this time.
Grace and Peace,