Worship will be live streamed on Facebook at 10:00 AM Sunday morning. If you want to connect, become a Friend to the St. John Facebook Page and live streaming should begin at 10:00 AM. Please go to the St. John Website to see announcements and changes, www.stjohnabingdon.org. We now have the capability of receiving donations by Credit Card. You will find the button above, just click.
From the Church Council President:
Dear friends in Christ:
It is July 29 as I write this, and the number of positive Covid-19 cases in Washington County stands at 157. In the 28 days (data is current through 5:00 p.m the day before) since the beginning of Phase 3, positive Covid-19 cases here in Washington County have increased 145%. This statistic alone is significant, and due in part to relaxing requirements that were part of Phase I and Phase 2.
Council met on Thursday July 23 via Zoom. Normally Council takes off the month of July; however, this year we knew that there were issues we needed to address, one of which is returning to in-person worship. We learned that none of the other Highlands Conference Churches plan to return to worship during August. Additionally, we learned that the pastors of the Highlands Conference have agreed to continue to produce virtual worship services for each Sunday in August. After lengthy discussion, Council voted to delay return to in-person worship through the month of August. We will resume this discussion at the next scheduled Council meeting on August 20.
Out of an abundance of caution due to increasing positive cases across Southwest Virginia, we collectively could not in good conscience recommend return to in-person worship. As an individual, I miss worshiping with you, my friends and siblings in Christ. When my sons were teenagers, I often advised them about good and bad habits, and how easy it is to form bad habits and how we have to work to facilitate good habits. I view worship attendance as a good habit—one that takes effort on our part, but also one that benefits us individually and collectively. As much as I would like to be sitting in the “Spencer pew” in our sanctuary on Sunday mornings, I know that as a Lutheran and as a Christian, decisions on behalf of St. John should always be made in the best interest of all of my St. John brothers and sisters. As members of Council, but also as our each other’s keeper, our love and responsibility for the entire body of St. John is a higher priority than personal freedom.
We are however working on a plan to return to in-person worship when safe to do so. But we will do this cautiously balancing the needs of individuals with the health and safety of the entire congregation. Returning is not as easy as simply opening the doors. For example, we will have to deep clean prior to and after each worship, provide separate ingress and egress, provide signage, and physically distance attendees in pews. We will have to re-train ushers, and get volunteers to help with the planning and implementation of these strategies. So if you are willing to help, please let me know.
Meanwhile I am thankful for the technology and ability of the Highlands Comference. May God’s peace be with you all.
Council Nomination Time!
When you think about worshiping God, what comes to mind? Praying, singing, going to church? How about serving on Council? The purpose of this article is to get all of you, the congregation as a whole, to start thinking about Church Council elections this fall, and the need for the nominating committee to start identifying names of nominees for the election. Council will establish a nominating committee in August, so expect to be asked. Better yet, approach a current Council member and volunteer! There is no better way to see how your Church is run than to be a member of Council! The three members rotating off Council this year are Ken Croghan, Chris Meacham, and Bill Spencer.
As you know, I use the term “election” loosely as constitutionally; Council nominee names are selected by lot. Each year, three new members rotate off Council so three new people have to replace the ones rotating off. Selecting Council members by lot has biblical connotations. The primary reason for “casting lots” is to render an impartial, unbiased decision on important matters. In Proverbs it is written, “[t]he lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” As a Christian, I believe God has a plan for each and every one of us. Let the Holy Spirit into your heart and ask for guidance. God will choose, he will not put you in a position to fail, but he will put three new Council members in a position to use their time and talents for the good of St. John.
There will be a congregational meeting in September to “cast lots.” Please prayerfully consider putting your name in the hat and let God enable us to choose the Council. My goal is to have 5-7 nominees in place prior to the congregational meeting notification. Seek out a Council member and be the first to put your name in the lot!
Bottled Water Available for the Congregation:
There are 23 cases of St. John water which have an expiration date of April 2020 that have not been used over the past two years. The Evangelism Team has placed this water downstairs at the St. John Preschool entrance. Please feel free to take some for your own use. Preschool will begin in September, so please pick up your water by August 25th. If you like, you can make a donation to the Evangelism Team/Backpack Program.
St. John Evangelism Team
Please check the website frequently for continuing updates.
Sundays: Worship will be live-streamed @10AM on Facebook
(also available on YouTube later in the day)
Property Work Day: Saturday, August 8th--8AM until done. No lunch provided--we will be observing Covid-19 safety measures.
Next Book Group: Sunday August 23rd, 3:00PM--we are reading How to Be An Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi.
Prayer chain: Richard Brumleve, who is now back at home.
Lisa Roberts, who had successful surgery at UVA on Wednesday July 22nd, is recuperating at home.
James "Randy" Sheets, Lisa Depew's brother, in need of a kidney transplant.
Prayers of Christian Sympathy for the family and friends of JoAnna McSwain Trent, grandmother of a friend of Chris Dixon, who passed away recently.
We pray for all on the front lines: doctors, nurses, medical personnel. We especially pray for:
Kelly Read, who is with Mt. Rogers District Health Department;
Alex Depew, who works at a hospital in Richmond;
Kayla Nobles Abrego, Sue Croghan's granddaughter, who is a nurse in Littleton, Colorado.
Continuing prayers for: Helen Findley, Doris Vaught, Ben Vaught, Jerry French, Sara Kluttz, Vicky French, Holly Salmon, Elaine Counts, John Norman, Gabe Cross, Kyler Milligan, David Mullins, Danny Bailey
Homebound: Marty Dunn, Vickianne Dotten, Frances Grim, Ann Godsey, Barbara Wright, Nancy King
If you have names to add (or ones to be taken off) the prayer chain, please email Joan at the church office.
During this time of in-person worship being cancelled, we will be making contact by email and online, with Worship on St. John's Facebook page and also on You Tube, and meetings on Zoom.
St. John has a subscription to Zoom. If anyone in the congregation has a need to get in touch with family, please contact Pastor Scott if you would like to set up a meeting through this option.
We thank you for your continuing financial support of the ministries of St. John. You may use the "donate using credit card" button above to contribute online, or mail your contributions to the church.
St. John is following guidelines set by the ELCA, the VA Synod of the ELCA, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Washington County Health Department to determine when we may worship in person again. At this time we encourage people to continue to worship with us on St. John's Facebook page and on YouTube. Please be assured that as soon as it is safe to return to in-person worship we will do so.
It is a very different August, just as it has been a very different 2020 beginning in March of this year. As I am writing this article Covid-19 Cases continue to explode in Southwest Virginia. I know that there are churches that have started back to "in person" worship on Sunday mornings, however we at St. John have not. We continue as a part of the Highlands Conference to provide an online worship experience each Sunday morning at 10:00 AM on Facebook and YouTube. You can participate at 10:00AM on Sunday or at a convenient time later in the week.
The Congregation Council at the July meeting, along with me, decided to wait to begin "in person" worship through August and evaluate the Covid situation at the August meeting as to status of worship in September. We are beginning the process of preparation for "in person" worship by forming a Task Force to help put the necessary procedures in place for safe worship. Please know that we all want to get back to "in person" worship, however it needs to be in a safe environment. As we move forward, and if the statistics begin to improve, there is a possibility that we will start back with Outdoor Communion on Sunday afternoon, watch for information on the Website and Email.
I thank you for your continued generous monetary support as we move through this very difficult time. As you see in the Financial report St. John is doing well in the area of Finance at this point. Please continue to support the ministries of St. John. Thank you, thank you!!
St. John Lutheran Church
807 East Main Street
Abingdon, Virginia 24210
Welcome to St. John Lutheran Church in Abingdon, VA!
St. John Lutheran Church, Abingdon is a community of faithful believers of Jesus Christ, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the highlands of southwest Virginia. St. John is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Virginia Synod. Take a few minutes to browse the pages of this Website for more information about the ministries of this place. If you have any questions or would like more information please contact Pastor G. Scott Homesley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The stone cross on the hill" photo © 2008 "Tambako the Jaguar," used under a Creative Commons license from flickr.com.