No Judgments, Just Jesus

A Letter from Our President

A letter from Immanuel Church’s President

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27

The taverns are fair full of gadabouts making merry this eve.  Though I may press my face against the window like an urchin at a confectioner’s, I am tempted not by the sweetmeat within, a dram in exchange for the pox is an ill bargain indeed. Samuel Pepys, 1665 

We are reminded by the Apostle Paul whether we are together or alone we are all members of the body of Christ, his Church.  Rest assured Immanuel still continues to function, although in an altered fashion during these times of “safer at home.”  Jenny is working to keep the church open daily for a shortened period of time.  If you need to come to church it is best to call ahead to make sure someone is there to let you in.  Members are being called to find out how they are doing, if they need anything, if assistance is needed or just to let them know someone is there.  We are fortunate not to have many in extreme distress or isolation.  Pastor Rich continues to prepare our weekly services although in an altered format.  Both Sunday morning and Wednesday evening messages are available on You Tube; you can access them through our church web-site and Immanuel’s Facebook page.  For those who have mastered the world of social media, a time to connect with Pastor Rich after the Wednesday evening service is available on Zoom, but without the soup and solitude.  Corporate worship individually, but in spirit together is still available.  Church members continue to give either electronically, through the mail, or by dropping off their offering at church.  Circle of Friends and the collection of donations is temporarily suspended.  Food pantry items are being held at church for members in need.   As best as possible the work of Immanuel moves forward, although differently.  And, we continue to be the body of Christ either individually or collectively, but at a distance.

The business of Immanuel is being maintained during these times.  Consistory was to meet on Thursday April 16 and the spring Congregational meeting was to be held on Sunday, April 19.  As the Scottish poet Robert Burns said: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft a’gley, An’ lea’e us naught but grief an’ pain For promis’d joy.”  When appropriate these meeting will be rescheduled.  Thankfully there is nothing pressing at this time.  If Consistory needs to meet, a way will be found to hold it safely.  Our finances continue to be monitored by Liz Ratzburg, Treasurer, and Cindy Komro, Financial Secretary.  The physical state of Immanuel continues to be monitored by Dave Hammen, property ministry leader extraordinaire, the basement water problem seems to be fixed, the lighting in the South parking lot is being worked on and other items are planned to be addressed.  The church continues to be maintained with cleaning and enhanced sanitation of the door knobs/handle and other areas by our custodian, Sophie Landowski.  When times return to normal, our house of worship will be ready to go.  Easter may be celebrated a little later than usual this year, but He is still risen and His work continues.

So, in these unique times of impatient waiting and self-isolation remember and practice the examples and sacrifices of the past.  Do as the seventeenth century London diarist Samuel Pepys did, avoid crowds.  Or, as the English village of Eyam did when struck by the plague in the same year.  Lead by their minister they walled themselves off from the surrounding area, suffered a great number of deaths, but saved their neighbors.  Or, follow the advice of the Milwaukee Health Department during the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic: avoid crowds, self-isolate, wash your hands, etc.  Good advice never grows old.

I hope this finds you well and anxious to return to worship when the time is right.  And, may God bless you and keep you during this time of self-sacrifice.

Doug Stewart