Dear Members of Pilgrim,
It has been since March 15th that we last gathered at Pilgrim for a church service. Governor Whitmer's stay at home order ends on May 28th. (Edit: The order was extended to June 12. However, this does not apply to Houses of Worship.) After much deliberation and prayer, it is with great joy that the Lay Minister board, with some of the church counsel have decided to have our next church service on May 31st.
In Matthew 9:1-7 Jesus says to the paralytic, ”Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven” and then he says, ”Get up, take your mat and go home.” Jesus forgives sins first and then he heals the body. Jesus cared for the spiritual well being of the paralytic first before attending to his physical needs. As a church body, we must continue to meet the spiritual needs of our congregation and to offer the same to the community around us. Matthew 5:13-16 says, “Your are the salt of the earth...a city on a hill...let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds..."
God has given us physical Means of Grace through the Sacraments and through His Word. The gathering of the Saints is a vital part of the life blood of our church. God made us in His image. We were not created to be alone. To see our brothers and sisters in Christ, in person, to speak to one another, to laugh together, to pray together, to worship together, to sing together and yes, eventually to shake hands and hug one another once again, should be our ultimate goal.
We understand that many of our members are at a more vulnerable age and may have preexisting conditions that may dictate they still stay at home during this time. You may fall into this category, or you may not feel comfortable going out into the public yet. We respect your decision to stay at home and encourage the most vulnerable to do so.
We will be looking into ways of reaching out to those of you that will not be attending our services for a while. Please know that you are our brothers and sisters in Christ and as the leadership and as a congregation, you are in our hearts and prayers.
For those of you who are ready and willing to come back to church, we welcome you with “virtual open arms” and can't wait to see you again. Be confident that your leadership will be making this transition as safe as possible for everyone involved. We will be reopening in phases. For instance; in the first stage, there will be no communion, no bible study, no coffee hours and no large gathering in the narthex or church parking lots. As more information about keeping everyone safe in social environments becomes available to us, we can begin additional phases of our reopening plan.
Please be patient with your leadership. We are in uncharted waters. We need your prayers, your support and your cooperation in these matters. As your leadership, we are willing to listen to any concerns you may have about our reopening.
Phase one will be implemented as follows;
We will conduct our service much like we did on March 15th.
(Please see your email for a full letter including phone numbers for contacting Pastor and leadership)
In light of the recent Covid-19 ( Corona Virus) outbreak, and in the interest of the health and safety of all our members, Pilgrim will be cancelling all worship services until it is deemed safe to gather again. In the mean time, Pilgrim is committed to helping you stay in the Word, which brings comfort, peace, and strengthens faith no matter our circumstances.
It is important to remember in times such as these that while our building is an important meeting place for the Body of Christ, where we receive Word and Sacrament, God's Word and the power it contains is not confined to a building. "The word of the Lord remains forever” and we know that through His Word, God will sustain, uplift, forgive, and sanctify His people as He has from the foundations of the earth. Please read and dwell upon the following passages from Scripture:
"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,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress."
"fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
"But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you."
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."