March 23, 2020

Dear members and friends,

This is a challenging time for us all. Just a month ago, the Coronavirus was hardly on our radar screens. Now, many of us are on home isolation, going out only for essentials like food and medicine. Others, who work in hospitals or grocery stores or pharmacies or other essential services, are still working, but trying to keep a safe distance from others. At Good Shepherd, all regular meetings, including worship, are cancelled at least until Gov. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order expires April 7. We will keep you posted. It did not seem appropriate to send out a full newsletter at this time, but we want to keep in touch.

Please call or email or text me with any concerns or needs. Leave a message and I’ll call back. As soon as it is safe to do so, I will undertake every member visits, focusing first and especially on our stay-at-home members. With my own illnesses this winter keeping me away, I am overdue to visit many of you! In the meantime, reach out to one another, reach out to me. If you need help, ask. We are the church together, even when we are apart.

During this anxious, dangerous time, God says to us, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. My rod and my staff, the comfort you.” God is our Good Shepherd who never lets us out of God’s sight. Jesus is our Friend who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death and leads us out through solitude and solidarity that restores our souls. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of love who hovers over us, as we swim in the waters of chaos, and throws us a lifeline. We are not alone. We are never alone, for God is with us. And we, fellow members and friends of Good Shepherd, are with you. Below this letter is a link to daily Bible readings and prayers. As you can, please read and pray: pray for our city, our state, our nation, our world. Pray for your church. Pray for one another. Reach out. If you have internet access, join us on Facebook, email, or check our website. I have started posting some messages on Youtube (click here). Together, we will get through this pandemic.

Our church office is open to pay bills, answer mail, and deposit offerings. Money is tight for many – especially for some who are laid off or out of work – but if you can, mail your offering to Good Shepherd. We do not know how long the stay-at-home order could be extended.

As we continue this Lenten journey – which has become for many of us a solitary pilgrimage – I pray that God gives you peace, watches over you and all of God’s children, and brings us through this valley stronger and more focused on God’s mission for us: Living and Sharing Jesus.

Pastor Eric Lemonholm