My Dear Augustana,
As a community of faith, we trust God’s promise in Christ to love and to care for us and all the world. That promise gives us hope, especially during crises like the one that now faces our country and world. That hope brings us together and connects us to one another in the church, the Body of Christ.
That’s why it is so hard not to gather in these days—we naturally want to embrace one another--worshiping, studying, serving. Still, we find it necessary to follow the recommendations of the ELCA and Minneapolis Area Synod (along with federal and state guidelines)—to suspend all Augustana gatherings until further notice.
As we monitor updates from churchly and secular institutions, we will find ways to support one another. Modern technologies give us opportunities to stay in regular contact as we seek to serve our congregation, be of assistance to our neighborhood, and bear witness to the hope that is ours in Christ.
Events are moving quickly, and as things change, we will continue to be in touch with one another. I'll get the latest tomorrow morning at an online joint meeting of the Minneapolis and St. Paul Synods.
As I told you on Sunday, I have been exposed to Corona Virus (but have no symptoms of Covid 19 [thank God]). Because I can’t know if I have the virus, I will limit pastoral hospital and home visits, to phone calls, texts, and notes. I will be as present to you as possible in this time.
Last, please pass this along to anyone not on this listserv or anyone whom you know doesn't have email (and let me know, so I can update addresses).
The peace of Christ be with you,
Pr. BillThe Rev. Dr. William R. Russell, Pastor Augustana Lutheran Church