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Coronavirus Announcement: We will be Resuming Service

We are happy to announce we will be resuming service this Sunday 5/31. We'll be following the guidelines below in the coming services. You can also find an outline of them on the homepage. Thank you so much for your patience, and we look forward to seeing you again this Sunday!

05/12 Coronavirus Announcement

Good afternoon friends and family at Forest Oaks Lutheran Church. More information regarding this Sunday's worship service:

One comment I received was in reference to bulletins. The bulletins for worship will be laid out in the pews at the proper spots for social distancing. The idea is they will mark were to sit so that social distancing is maintained and it eliminates the need for ushers handing out the bulletins. Once again, it this Sunday's service will be different from what we're used to in terms of routines, the goal is to provide an opportunity for people to gather in God's house to pray and praise and receive the Lord's Supper.

In brief to give you an idea of how we're going to receive the Lord's Supper is as follows:

I am going to set up folding tables around the cancel area. A small paper plate will be placed on the table which will contain the "host," (the wafer and the wine which will be in individual cups. Each plate will have two cups, one with the wine, one with the "water" for those who can't drink the wine. So, each plate will have three items, a wafer, a cup of wine, a cup of water. There will be a wafer, a cup of water, and a cup of wine on each plate. Water and wine will be on each plate contained in two separate cups. There will also be a wafer on each plate. The water will be in one cup, the wine will be in a separate cup. Choose which cup you want to drink and drink it. There will be three items on each plate and only three. There will not be two, nor will there be four. "Five is right out." I'm saying this in as many ways as I can possibly think of because no matter how I say it, someone will ask, "what about the people who don't take the wine?" I understand now why parts of the Bible are so repetitious). Each group that comes forward will stand at the plates containing the host, I will invite the communicants to "take and eat," "take a drink."

After that group has received communion, they will return to their seats and the next group will come forward where more plates will be waiting for them. The common cup will not be offered, not because we deny the power of the common cup, it just complicates what we're trying to do. So for practical reasons, the common cup will not be offered. Yes, it is very different from what we're used to doing, but by doing it this way, we maintain safe distances from each other, including the distance between you and me during the Sacrament.

Much love my friends and I will send you more information as we prepare to have worship in God's house this Sunday.

Peace and joy - Pastor Fischer.

05/11 Coronavirus Announcement

Greetings my friends and family at Forest Oaks Lutheran Church.

Yes, you have heard correctly, we will be open for public worship this coming Sunday, May 17th, 2020 at 9:30 am. Now, for some ground rules we going to follow for the safety and well-being of everyone.

First and foremost, we're asking that everyone wear face masks. This is for the good and well-being of everyone. I know there are some who don't agree with this for a number of reasons, but the fact remains, you cover your face either with your hand or arm when you sneeze or cough. You would never dream of walking up to someone and coughing or sneezing all over them. We know how germs are spread, plain and simple. Nor would you enjoy it if someone coughed or sneezed on you. Chances are, if you knew someone had a cold, you wouldn't sit next to them and allow them to "breath" germs all over you, (unless for some strange reason you wanted to catch a cold).

That's the mentality behind our request for masks. Wear them for yourself, wear them for your brothers and sisters in faith. Recall what Saint Paul says about eating meat offered to idols. If it's going to make your brother or sister in faith uncomfortable in worship because you're not wearing a mask, then you must think of them and wear a mask. If you don't you are disturbing their worship and distracting their mind and Satan will really enjoy that. Shame the devil my friends and do what is right for the sake of everyone.

If you don't have a mask, I will send out a video on how to make one. They are super easy to make. If you have a scarf or bandana, that will work as well. If you're afraid of your glasses fogging up during worship, wash your glasses with soap and water and usually, that fixes things. I'll send out more information on these things as the week progresses.

Secondly, bring hand sanitizer and use it. While we do have a very limited supply at Forest Oaks, we don't have enough for everyone, and quite frankly, it kinda defeats the purpose of "social distancing" and watching what you touch if everyone is using the same bottle of hand sanitizer. If you don't have any, we do have some, but let's use as little of the stuff we have at Church so if you have your own, please bring it and use it.

Thirdly, social distancing. Please, Please! PLEASE! respect social distancing. Six feet apart at least. There will be no gathering in the fellowship hall and no gathering in the Narthex. You can see people and chat with them, but no close standing, and ABSOLUTELY NO HUGGING OR HAND SHAKES. Once again friends, I know this is different from what we normally do, but for the sake of everyone, let's follow these rules.

Fourth, as far as seating is concerned, once again, social distancing will be the norm. If you are married and live in the same household, you can sit together, (if you want to). Otherwise, space six feet apart. We will have the pews marked as to where you can sit, please act accordingly for the good of all.

Fifth, communion. This is perhaps the biggest reason I feel it is time to gather. We have gone without the Lord's Supper for a very long time and the Sacrament is essential to our faith relationship with God. It will be different and it's hard to explain in writing. This Thursday, Jesse Ward and I will be creating a video of how it will work and it will be easier to explain on a video than in writing, so when the video comes out, watch it and you'll understand what we're going to do.

Sixth, offering. The offering plates will be placed at the doors of the Sanctuary, so we will not "pass the plate." Simply drop your offering in the offering plate either when you enter or when you leave.

Seventh, length of service. This will not be a normal length service. We will sing hymns. We will have a confession and absolution, we will do part of the liturgy, there will be readings from the Bible and I will have a very short message, (I promise, in fact, I already have it done and it's very short). While I am well known for being long winded, during these times and under these circumstances, we don't need to be sitting in one room with each other for too long.

The main point of this worship service is for the congregation to return to God's house, offer our prayers to God, be absolved of our sins and receive the body of blood of our dear Savior. Friends, more information will follow as the week unfolds. We're still putting our heads together as we examine every aspect of how we can open safely. If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to send them to me.

I ask that you spread this word to a many members as possible. While we have a large number of our members on our email system, not everyone is, so help me spread the word and make a few phone calls, write a few notes, send up a few smoke signals.

I want to stress this as well. If you're still uncomfortable coming out and being in public, I totally and completely respect that. While on the one hand, I don't want you to get in the habit of skipping worship, during these times, I totally understand that some may feel this may be a little too soon to open. That's totally acceptable and I will not judge you nor will God. Quite frankly, I do not anticipate a "packed house." I'm thinking we're going to come out of this time of isolation the same way we went in, with smaller numbers in worship. I get it and I understand and our prayers will be with you.

I love you all dearly my friends and my heart is filled with joy at seeing you again in God's house very soon.

With much love and affection - Pastor Fischer.