Letter from the Governance Board, RE: COVID-19

To Our Congregation,

As Our Savior Lutheran Church actively monitors the evolving conditions related to COVID-19, we recognize the significant impact it has made on everyone’s lives over the last several weeks.  We are having extensive discussions to effectively plan and mobilize how we continue to nurture and grow our ministries while being committed to connecting people to Jesus Christ.  We will continue to keep you up to date with our current thoughts and actions surrounding COVID-19, but please know information is rapidly changing

We are navigating in uncharted waters and after careful consideration from the recommendations of LCMS and adhering to guidance from the state of Maryland and the federal government; Our Savior Lutheran Church will be suspending in-person worship, meetings, and Bible studies until further notice.  None of us ever imagined that an entire Holy Week and Easter would be at risk of being suspended, but it is currently a reality.

This past weekend in light of the virus, we continued to successfully live stream our worship services.  Live streaming during this time allows us to have some community while still adhering to the limitations of public gatherings.  Only individuals supporting the ministry and those conducting streaming operations will be permitted in the Sanctuary.  At no time will this be more than ten people.  This change will continue until we receive new official guidance.

The decision to suspend in-person services was made at the strong recommendation of health care professionals and government officials in an effort to help stop the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable members of our community.  Currently, we do not know when in-person services are expected to resume, but we will continue to monitor the current situation and will update you accordingly as the situation involving COVID-19 continues to develop.

Our Savior Lutheran Church will continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation and will adjust our precautions as needed.  Please watch our website, Facebook page, and your email for updates.  Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.  Please join our team in praying for everyone and for the needs of our community.

Sincerely,

Your Governance Board

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Streaming Services

Individuals may watch services from home online. To join our Live-Steam use the following link: http://oursaviorlutheranchurch.yourstreamlive.com/

  • 8:15AM and 11:00AM service will include Pastor, Organist, Streamer, Sound Operator, Worship Assistant, and Reader
  • 9:30AM service will include Pastor, Praise Team Leader and small Praise Team, Streamer, and Sound Operator

Weekly Emails

  • The Grapevine with news, notes, and prayer requests will be sent out weekly in PDF format
  • In a prelude to Sunday worship, a weekly email will be sent out with creative ideas and links for growing disciples in the home.

COVID-19 Assistance

  • We are in the process of organizing ways to identify people in need and to deliver food and other necessities to people who become homebound by quarantine.  If you or anyone you know becomes ill or quarantined, let us know how we can help.  If you are healthy and willing to help, please let us know.

ZOOM – Video Conferencing (https://zoom.us/)

  • Youth Group continues to meet digitally under the leadership of Natasha Bowlds
  • Where possible, leaders will conduct Bible Study and necessary meetings digitally

Phone Ministry

  • Elders are increasing their care through phone, text, and email.  We continue to investigate systematic ways of utilizing our Breeze Database to make sure people are contacted.

Weddings and Funerals

  • As of March 19, Governor Larry Hogan limited public gatherings to 10 of fewer people for the foreseeable future.  To ensure that we are in alignment with these guidelines, attendance at weddings and funerals must be limited to no more than 10 people until new guidance is received.

Office Policy

  • Staff members are currently permitted to telework.  However, the church remains open to those in need.

Open Arms Child Development Center

  • Open Arms has an urgent need for more hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, disinfectant spray with bleach, and paper towels.  If you have some to spare, please consider donating it to Open Arms.
  • 3 and 4-year-old half-day programs are closed March 16-27, as per the policy of PG County School schedules
  • The Open Arms Family Appreciation Dinner was postponed until further notice

Giving

Our church and school staff are continuing to work hard during the closure.  Not having worship on weekends is likely to have an impact on our ability to fund ministry.  So please, use electronic giving or mail your offering.  We recognize that some people’s incomes are being reduced, but encourage those who are able, to give generously.

  • Electronic Giving:  To give using this method, please go to our church’s website (www.oslclaurel.org) where you click on the yellow donate online button go to a secure web site.  There you will be invited to set up an account.  Once you create an account, there will be two options for e-giving:
    • Electronic check: Enter your check routing number and account number, the amount you want to contribute, and whether it is a one-time contribution or a recurring contribution – weekly, monthly, etc. and you’re ready to go.  Our Savior prefers the e-check option for two reasons: first, it passes almost all of your contribution to the church (the credit card option has much higher fees), and second, if you choose a regular giving option such as a weekly amount, the funds continue to flow to Our Savior regardless of the weather or other factors (as mentioned above). There is a 40 cent charge to the church each time you use this option.
    • Credit Card:  With this option you will use the online giving link on our website to go to a secure web site where you enter your credit card information, the amount you want to contribute, and whether it is a one-time or ongoing contribution. Once entered, it is easy for you to return and contribute an additional amount in the future, so you could give weekly but not automatically. The processing company charges the church 3.8% to process this transaction and offers the giver the option to cover that charge in order to give the church the full amount they intend.
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