The ministry of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church continues during these pandemic days. Here’s what’s going on:
In compliance with the governor’s orders and the hearty recommendation of Bishop Allende, there will be one Sunday worship service at 9:30 a.m. through May 31. It will be available only on a live-stream; no in-person attendance at Holy Trinity.
With deep thanks to Allonna Stefanik, we now offer ASL interpretation as part of our Sunday liturgy. Bob Foutty continues to innovate, discovering ways to include more faces, more voices, more interactivity and information as part of our Sunday experience. Deacon Ruth and our choir section leaders enliven our worship with their musical contributions. We continue working to improve both the creative and technical quality of these efforts, and are thankful for both your feedback and your patience.
The stream will continue to be accessible via Facebook Live and through our website (holytrinityakron.org). We will make every effort to assist those who need help connecting to the live-stream. Please email questions to our technology usher Lesli Eisenhart at email@example.com.
Bob Foutty and Andrew Numbers are developing a plan to further develop and continue our live-stream capability. We believe that a richer, more complete online presence is already proving to be a vital aspect of Holy Trinity’s ministry and that it should continue beyond the current pandemic. We expect to share this with Council at its May meeting.
Morning Devotions (Scripture and prayer) continue Monday - Friday at 8 a.m. via Facebook Live for the foreseeable future. Pr. Lor Breyley joins the line-up on Wednesday, May 6; Vicar Debbie Pinnegar will be setting aside this responsibility after May 15 as she prepares to move on to her new call.
Discipleship and Fellowship
Men’s Bible Study, the Women’s Retreat, and in-person Sunday LIFT activities remain suspended. They will be re-scheduled when the situation permits.
Women’s Bible Study will meet again on May 16 via Zoom at 10:00am. Rachel Nunez will host. It’s a BYOB (bring your own breakfast!) affair with conversation from Gather magazine.
A “take-home” version of the Sunday LIFT intergenerational discipleship activities is being distributed through the MidWeek Word emailing and by USPS. A similar slate of Worship+Plus activities has been developed for the first eight weeks of this summer, beginning Sunday, June 7.
Bedtime Story and Prayer with Miss Rachel (Núñez) continues on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings at 7 p.m. via Facebook Live.
Prayers for All People, a weekly virtual prayer meeting, is being led by Pr. David on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. via Facebook Live.
Our online Bible Study continues via Zoom each Wednesday at 130pm through May. 14-18 persons are currently studying the Psalms, led by Rachel Nunez and Vicar Debbie.
“The Luther & Lager Hour,” a time of fellowship and informal theological discussion happens on Thursday evening at 8:00pm. Pr. David and about two dozen others gather for discussion via Zoom based each week on a quote from Martin Luther.
Dare to Love More Food and Resources (DLM)
DLM, in partnership with Akron Public Schools’ Project Rise, has begun a new food distribution program to existing client families. 864 meals were provided to our clients during April.
DLM received an ELCA Daily Bread Grant ($500) and raised an additional $2650 by direct appeal through LWR and Love Offerings. We have applied to the Akron Community Foundation for a grant from their Community Response Fund to further shore up DLM operations.
Team and Committee Meetings
In keeping with the governor’s order, face-to-face ministry team and committee meetings are cancelled through May 31. Essential meetings are to be conducted by digital means (Zoom, Google Meetings, etc.) at the discretion of the chair.
Choir and other musical group rehearsals are suspended until further notice.
Giving and Financial Stewardship
Members and friends are urged to continue needed financial support for our ministries by giving via mail (USPS) or online means (accessible through the website) as they are able. Thus far, the response from the congregation has been heartening and generous.
The congregation has applied for and will receive proceeds from the Payroll Protection Program of the recently passed CARE Act. This forgivable loan in the amount of $93,700, approved by action of the Congregation Council, provides assurance of income protection (specifically for salaries and utilities) as the economic impacts of the pandemic carry into May and beyond.
Hospital, nursing home, and home visits remain suspended. All shut-ins and persons deemed to be at-risk are being contacted by phone by staff members and our lay visitation team. If someone needs to be contacted, please email Rachel Nunez (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Vicar Debbie Pinnegar (email@example.com) with current contact information on those who are hospitalized or in need of our prayerful attention.
Staff and Facilities
The church building is closed to all non-essential gatherings. It is being thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Office hours are 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. primarily for mail delivery/pick-up. Staff is working remotely as much as possible. If you must visit the building, please call ahead to make arrangements.
We are exploring best practices for re-opening in-person gatherings in a way that honors the public health situation and CDC guidelines, and recognizes the psychological impact of moving from quarantine to physical gathering. This will be a slow and measured process. An initial assessment will be ready for sharing with Council at the May meeting.
What We Can Do
Continue to reach out to one another: cards and notes, social media, phone calls, texts. Especially for persons in leadership positions, I urge you to be supportive and present via these means to members, friends, and neighbors. This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that Christian fellowship is not bound by a lack of physical proximity.
Pray…for public health workers…for those who are ill…for those doing the research necessary to develop a vaccine…for those whose lives and livelihood are put in jeopardy because of the economic disruption that this is causing.
Stay informed. The Ohio Department of Health website and the Governor DeWine’s daily briefings continue to be excellent sources of the most up-to-date information.
Be the non-anxious presence for those around you. In an atmosphere of anxiety, fear, and increasing impatience (even anger) at the situation, we have can be a source of calm, comfort, and common sense for our families, friends, and neighbors. The presence of Christ among us is the source of our hope. And that hope makes this kind of response possible. Share it.
Guard your own physical health with good hygiene practices, rest, and exercise.
We are the church. Because of that we have knowledge that is valuable in these times: Christ is risen. Christ is with us. Christ goes ahead of us. Christ holds us…in life, in death, and in the life that is to come. This is the good news that orders our own lives, and that we have to share with others. May the assurance of that Good News be your peace and your strength.
Pr. David, on behalf of the Holy Trinity staff