We are Cancelling our regular worship services (Sunday and Midweek Lenten Services) until the ban on groups of 10 or more meeting is lifted. We hope that this will be a matter of just a couple of weeks.
Videos of Our Weekly Sermons Are Available in the “Sermons” Section Above.
The following is something I adapted from the web site of Rock of Ages Lutheran Church in Nashville, Tennessee. I think it states the situation very well…
We’re canceling church NOT because we despise preaching and his Word. (3rd Commandment)
I feel like this could use further clarification. These truths are still true—we ought not give up meeting together; we regard God’s Word as holy and gladly hear and learn it; worship is part of the fiber of our being; worship is our purpose. None of that changes. Corporate worship is still a blessed opportunity that we don’t take for granted. That’s still the case.
While we are going to cancel a few weeks of regular weekly worship, our entire lives are offered to God as living sacrifices to God in a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1). Our local congregation offers us opportunities to gather with brothers and sisters to encourage each other in the Word. We thank God for those opportunities! But for now, other biblical principles are coming into play.
While we are cancelling our worship services, you can still listen to God’s Word by accessing past sermons that you may have missed at St. Paul’s on the Sermons page of this web site. Also, please remember that the expenses of our congregation go on while we are not meeting regularly for worship services. If you wish, you can send offerings to our church’s address: St. Paul Lutheran Church W7870 Mason Street, Hortonville, WI 54944.
Any church in our fellowship that is canceling services is doing so reluctantly. That includes us.
We’re canceling church out of respect for our government. (4th Commandment)
While we respect a separation of Church and State, we remain citizens of both of those kingdoms. We honor and respect the government as one of God’s representatives he has given to us for our good. And our government, specifically the United States’ Center for Disease Control, has (strongly) recommended that no social gathering exceed ten people.
But doesn’t the Bible say, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29)? Yes, it does—but keep in mind the context. When the apostles uttered those words, those in authority over them were trying to silence their proclamation of the gospel. That’s not what’s happening here. The CDC warning is not Christian persecution or a silencing of the church’s message. It’s a warning made in our best interest and physical well-being, a mandate made with the goal of “flattening the curve” of the virus.
I anticipate that the Wisconsin government may strengthen their stance on social distancing before the week is through, but I think we already have enough guidance from our leaders to make this call.
We’re canceling church out of love for our neighbors. (5th Commandment)
The goal of “flattening the curve” is to keep each other safe.
This virus spreads fast, and it spreads undetected. People can carry the virus without experiencing any symptoms themselves. Additionally, those who contract it may not exhibit symptoms for days. Even if we’re not careful for ourselves, we owe it to each other to be careful—particularly for those who are most vulnerable to the virus’s effects.
For a novel virus like COVID-19, for which testing is limited and a vaccine is not yet developed or widely available, the best solution is to limit the spread. We can do our part at Rock of Ages to do just that. And thankfully, we live in an age where we can make use of technology to make that physical distancing a lot less emotionally or relationally—or spiritually!—distant. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Let’s test that hypothesis and get creative!
Given the circumstances, I truly think this is the best decision for us. If our church is going to take these measures, I urge you to take such measures for yourselves. Stay in his Word, both with our alternative opportunities and in your personal devotions. Take some time to distance yourselves from others. And, of course, pray to the God who has this all under control!
I’ll keep working hard these next few weeks to prepare for Holy Week. I’ll be praying for you, our church, our country, our world. I’m looking forward to seeing what blessings God yields from this. How will God grow and shape us through this ordeal? That remains to be seen, but we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). And yes, “All things” means all things.
God bless you all! See you soon.
Pastor Joel Lillo
Thank you for checking out our website. Here is a little information about our congregation.
St. Paul Lutheran Church is a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. As such, we believe…
- The Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God and, therefore without human error.
- Jesus Christ is the eternal son of God and is the only way to salvation.
- God communicates this Gospel of Jesus through his Word and the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We worship the Lord every Sunday morning at 8:30 AM. We offer the Lord’s Supper on the first and third Sunday of the month in our worship service. We also offer the Lord’s Supper after the service on those Sundays when we do not have it within the worship service. We also have a midweek service on Monday evenings at 6:30. St. Paul Lutheran Church in Stephensville Bible Study in Stephensville
In all of our worship services, we use a liturgy in worshipping God. This is a way of worshipping in which we have a conversation with God. God speaks to us through the words of Holy Scripture and through the words of forgiveness spoken during our confession of sin. We speak to God through our prayers and we sing our praises to our God through hymns and liturgical songs.
From Labor Day through Memorial Day, we offer Bible class after our worship service except on the second Sunday of most months when we have a fellowship following our worship service in the lower level. You are more than welcome to attend Bible class and/or enjoy some treats, coffee, juice, and Christian fellowship.
Our Sunday school is a little different than at most congregations. Because we want to encourage a greater parental involvement in their children’s religious instruction, we send out materials to our parents so that they can teach their own children in their homes. If you would like materials for home Sunday school (this consists of a portion of Scripture, a series of simple questions about the account, a PowerPoint presentation that allows you to teach it on a computer, and a set of activity pages), please let us know on the contact page and we’ll add you to our list.