Weekly Announcements from Pastor Valerie Brown-Greenly, Senior Pastor

Weekly Announcements from Pastor Valerie Brown-Greenly, Senior Pastor

Dear Friends,
This is the 105th email I have shared with you since the COVID 19 pandemic began in March of 2020.  As a means of communication, I will continue these weekly emails for the foreseeable future.  If your friends and family members, who are members and friends of Peace Lutheran are not receiving these weekly updates, please encourage them to contact the church office with their email addresses.  While we will continue to do a measured amount of mailing to the whole congregation, these emails, Sunday announcements, and information available on the website, are the immediate means for transmitting current information to our members and friends.  A special thank you to our ‘callers’ who have continued to update members and friends who have little or no technical access to information.  The discipline of contact you have sustained throughout these many months is amazing and appreciated!
Important Office Hours Announcement:  Due to the funeral for Rhoda Gallagher, there will be no office hours tomorrow (Thursday) morning.  The Gallagher funeral is at 11:00am, with visitation beginning at 10:00am.  Next week, office hours are limited to Wednesday morning from 8:30am-Noon and from 5:00pm-7:00pm, and Thursday morning from 8:30-Noon.  No office hours next Tuesday, October 12, due to the funeral for Tom Ronning.  The Ronning funeral is at 11:00am, with visitation beginning at 10:00am.  Thank you for your patience.
Tonight, we are welcoming confirmation students for regular classes.  Parents can drop off students prior to 6:00pm and pick them up again at 7:00pm.  For those families who may have missed confirmation sign up for 6thgrade – 8th grade students, it is never too late to join the class.  Please bring your child/children around 5:45pm and we will get them registered and ready to join class.
National Youth Group participants and parents will meet this evening at 7:00pm in the Sanctuary.  This will be a brief meeting.  One of the main goals is to turn in registration forms and deposits, along with gathering shirt sizes for ordering our tee shirts for our Peace Lutheran activities, services and events.  I will give you a brief update on the funding for our participants.  This is an important meeting.  If you cannot attend, please send a representative from your family.
High School Youth Group will meet tonight from 7:30pm-9:00pm.  Our Youth Director, Jessie Hodgson, will be leading the group, sharing devotions, and helping you plan some of your events and activities for the coming months.
New Members Gathering is this Saturday, October 9, at 10am.  This is for all individuals and families who joined Peace Lutheran this last year, and for all individuals and families who are interested in joining Peace Lutheran.  If you are unable to attend, please contact me and I will meet with you.  We will welcome new members on Reformation Sunday, October 31, at the 10:00am service.
Steve Gripp will be with us this Sunday, October 10.  As you know, Steve is relocating and will be leaving Peace Lutheran.  We will recognize him during worship and have a coffee/cake reception for him following the 10:00am worship service.  If you cannot join us, and would like, please send your cards and greetings to the church office and we will make sure he receives them.  Steve has been such an important part of our Peace Lutheran staff and Peace family.  We will miss him and we wish him well on this new adventure!
The Women of Peace Fall Boutique dates:
Thursday, October 28, set up
Friday, October 29, 4:00pm-8:00pm (Supper 5:00pm-7:00pm)
Saturday, October 30, 9:00am-2:00pm (Lunch 11:00am-1:00pm).
Signup sheets are available in the Fellowship Hall.  Masking is required throughout the building and during the event.  Participants may unmask at their tables when enjoying their meal.
Looking ahead: Reformation Sunday is October 31.  This will be a very festive worship as we welcome Pastor Norma Malfatti to the pulpit!  We will receive/recognize New Members and celebrate Holy Baptism.  Please mark your calendars, and join us in person or on live stream.  Wear red!  Pastor Norma is one of the Assistants to the Bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod.
Trunk or Treat is Sunday, October 31, from 5:00pm-6:30pm.  I would appreciate everyone who can, to please host a car in the parking lot.  You can begin parking any time after 4:00pm.  Please continue to bring bagged candy donations to the church office.  It’s amazing how many bags of candy we can distribute in such a short period of time!  If you are the parent of a confirmation student, hosting a car is a wonderful opportunity for your student to come and have fun handing out candy for the evening.  There will be a costume contest for all middle school and high school youth.  The one caveat is that everyone should wear appropriate costumes, be creative in your selections.
All Saints Sunday is November 7.  During worship, we will acknowledge those of our loved ones and members who have entered the Kingdom of God these past two years.  The Sanctuary will be decorated with arrangements of white roses given in memory of departed loved ones.  The names of those remembered will be printed in the bulletin.  If you are interested in purchasing a rose in memory of a loved one, please make out a check in the amount of $5.00 per rose, and include your name(s) and in whose memory the rose is being given.  You may use a pew envelope and/or include the information on a sheet of paper.  Please place it in the offering plate, mail it to church or drop it off at church.  The last day to order is Sunday, October 31.  
In conversation with a close friend last week, we were discussing my dissertation and how COVID 19 has affected the church in the present, and what kind of impact COVID 19 will have in the future.  In the conversation I mentioned the following to her, and I will mention it to you in this email:  “This isn’t when the church folds, this is when the church thrives.”  The church thrives when we remember that challenges and hardship last a season.  The church thrives when we remember who we are as Christians and who we are to be in the world.  While the culture around us struggles to find its footing, we do not, because our foundation is in Christ.  
During this season, I have been encouraged by the strength of sacrifice by our members and friends.  I have seen you reach out to help others in so many ways.  In this email, I want to thank you for your ongoing ministry and mission, it is a joy to work alongside you.  I also want to thank you for your generous and ongoing giving and gifting, whether through the Food Shelf ministry, community outreach opportunities, or through your generous financial gifting to Peace Lutheran.  With that, I hope you will consider signing up for First Fruits, or that you might begin a pattern of digital giving?  Why do I ask this?  The main reason is, we have two worshipping communities, those who are in person with us and those who worship on live stream.  I don’t see this trend coming to an end.  Live stream is here to stay, and is a wonderful tool to keep us connected.  First Fruits and other means of digital giving, and of course, offering envelope giving, keep Peace Lutheran and its ministry on strong financial footing.  Steady financial and sacrificial giving and gifting keep us trending to strength and abundance, and sustain us in doing the kinds of outreach and ministry which is the fabric of our worshipping community.  It’s not about keeping the lights on, it’s about sharing the light of our Lord with others.  If you have any questions about First Fruits or other means of digital giving, please contact the church office and speak to either Arlen Missling or Deb Bode, our interim bookkeeper.  Deb Bode is in the office on Wednesday afternoon and would love to help you get signed up.
We had the first Pfizer Booster clinic last week.  While everything went well, we need to remind you when you sign up for a Pfizer booster, you must be beyond six months out from your last Pfizer vaccination.  There were a few who were unable to receive a booster due to being close to the six-month mark but not beyond it.  Thank you to Dr. Julie Jackman and the Genoa team, and the Peace Lutheran team for offering these opportunities.  Our next Pfizer Booster clinic is Monday, October 25.  Importantly, if you want to receive your booster, you must contact me on my cell phone, by call or text, and I will get you scheduled.  If you make an appointment for October 25, please remember, you must bring your vaccination card and insurance information.  It is not a problem if you don’t have insurance, as there is no charge for this clinic.  You will also have the opportunity for your flu shot at this clinic.  Please let me know if you wish to receive both.
COVID 19 update:  We will continue to mask throughout the building.  Several times a week, I’m asked why we continue with masking?  Here is the long answer:  The State of Minnesota, through the updates of MDH, report continued levels of infection which are above the 5% threshold.  In addition, we have members who cannot be vaccinated, those who have chosen not to be vaccinated, and families with children under 12 who cannot yet be vaccinated.  Masking helps to protect those most vulnerable among us, and is in line with the practice of our faith, namely, caring for the neighbor.
The next comment is, “Well, I have had my vaccinations and even my booster.  Why do I need to mask?”  Here is the long answer.  It is wonderful you were able to be vaccinated as it helps to protect you from severe disease, hospitalization and perhaps death, but it doesn’t protect others if you have COVID 19 and are asymptomatic.  Studies have shown vaccinated individuals can still carry and can transmit COVID 19 to others, perhaps others who don’t have the same protection, namely those who cannot be vaccinated, have chosen not to be vaccinated, and families with children under 12.  While the viral load carried by the vaccinated may not be as strong or contagious, there is still the possibility of transmission to someone who is more vulnerable to the virus.  Again, masking is in line with the practice of our faith, namely caring for the neighbor.
Masking throughout the building is one way we can continue to worship in person, have confirmation classes, youth groups and the other large gatherings and activities we all enjoy.  As soon as it is deemed safe not to mask, the requirement will be removed.  For now, the practice of masking correctly with others will be required.
I hope you have a good week!  I’ll see you in person or on live stream this coming Sunday.
Take care…Be safe…
Pastor Valerie
Cell:  612-280-6493     Email:  bvalerie65@yahoo.com
Church:  763-757-4459     Email:  vbrown-greenly@peacecoonrapids.org
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