Dear siblings in Christ,
After two years, we continue to wrestle with COVID-19. The recent surge in the Omicron variant has led to more anxiety and confusion. Our mental and physical health system is swamped by this disease with increased hospitalizations, and the challenges of grief, social isolation and loneliness — all as we try to keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy.
Your church has invested over $100,000 in technology upgrades thanks to grants from the Good Shepherd Foundation and gifts from individual members. I encourage you to make use of our online offerings as a way of mitigating risk to yourself or others. Our worship services are streamed and archived online. The majority of our other ministry offerings offer a hybrid meeting option as well. If you are not feeling well, please use the resources we provide by worshipping online.
The Centers for Disease Control has not issued any new restrictions on gatherings in person, even amid this new variant. Therefore, we have remained open for in-person worship for those who are comfortable doing so.
For those who wish to continue gathering for worship in person, we are making the following mitigations:
- The number one thing you can do for yourself and others is to complete your vaccinations. I cannot stress enough the differences in outcomes for those who are fully vaccinated versus those who are not vaccinated when infected with this virus.
- Wearing a mask is mandatory at both campuses in compliance with Dane County Public Health ordinances. Because of the infection rate, our resident virologist, Dr. Paul Friesen, recommends switching to a KN95 mask instead of a cloth mask.
- Our worship band at the Verona Campus is reducing the number of musicians present each Sunday and will remain masked while singing.
- The choir, bells and other music groups at Madison Campus will be on hiatus until at least the end of January.
- Communion elements will go back to being picked up at the entrance to the sanctuary or worship center to avoid the possibility of being near others outside your bubble.
- The coffee station at Madison Campus will be closed for the next two-four Sundays.
Our staff, with our committees, will work to make the best decisions for online, in-person and hybrid ministry, offerings services based on context and comfort level. Those decisions are being communicated directly to those involved in those areas of our life together.
Please know that we are doing our best to pivot with each new piece of information or news that comes our way. Therefore, these decisions are made and may change on a daily basis. Please check our website (gslcwi.com), Facebook page or reach out to the church office if you have specific questions.
Dear friends, I am tired of this, and I know you are too. We will continue to walk with each other, bear each other’s burdens, forgive each other and grant forbearance to ourselves and each other. God will help us weather this storm.
Pastor Chris Enstad