Please note: We are keeping our online information as up-to-date as we can. We are unclear when gatherings and events of any size will be scheduled. Please check our calendar often and keep in mind that future event details are subject to change. It is difficult to create a calendar for the future when information changes frequently.
Bethany's Task Force for Safely Regathering
Video posted Wednesday, January 20, 2021:
We remain in Phase 1 of the safer at home for safely returning to worship. Numbers have shown improvement, but are still not where we need them to be. We would like to see cases at less than 10/100,000, and test positivity rate at less than 5%. We are presently at 30-50 cases/100,000 and test positivity of 11% in Barron County as of January 20.
Several of our task force members recently attended a webinar from the Wisconsin Council of Churches and their 2.0 version of safely regathering recommendations. They stressed that life and health of neighbor should be our number one guiding principle. As churches are leaders in our communities, it is important to model wisdom, restraint and safety in the choices we make. They stressed that this should be done creatively! (We are blessed with so much creativity at Bethany.) They also stressed that our church is resilient. Christianity has been around a long time, and it is not going away. They discussed ways to hasten return to worship which included: 1) immunizations when available, 2) limiting return to worship until case rates are reaching number goals above and 3) being creative in opportunities for participation.
Our choices are not always simple. When I was a child, I had a coin fall from my pocket and miraculously it was landed as neither heads nor tails, but on end. I learned to think differently. At this time, our choice is not as simple as open or closed; we need to turn our thinking on its side! Stay safe, stay healthy, wash hands, use your masks and get immunized when it is available. Oh, and be creative in your faith! If you have questions, contact Pam Crouse, chair, at .
Dear Pastors, Deacons, SAMS and Lay Leaders of the NWSWI,
Covid 19 is not over. We are all tired of it. However, we can’t let down our guard and slide back into a normal activities yet. We’ve all made sacrifices and are missing some of our favorite activities; especially Sunday morning worship in our church buildings. I am too. The virus is now more active in Wisconsin
than ever. Now is not the time to let down our guard. Now is not the time to go back to worship inside your church building.
This morning I met with Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Religious leaders, and this afternoon I sat in on Gov. Tony Evers COVID 19 briefing with the DHS representative Andrea Palm, Dr. Westergard and THEDA CARE President Dr. Androva. Here’s what they said:
The situation here in Wisconsin is very serious. Alarming trends. Intense virus spread, exponential spread…both community and on the college campuses….significant…not just colleges.
Yesterday, Sept 30, WI had highest number of deaths in the state since this pandemic began…27
The state of WI has 72 counties. 45 are categorized as very high rate of infection, the rest are in the HIGH rate.
Four days in a row our state has seen record numbers of NEW positive cases – more than 2000 each day, as well as record numbers of hospitalizations…some hospitals are near capacity.
At both of those meetings, Governor Evers and Lt. Governor Barnes called upon the local elected leaders, business leaders and leaders in the faith community for help!
* Keep workers and members of your congregations safe;
* Help individuals believe this is serious - they need to take individual responsibility to keep themselves, their families, neighbors and community safe. Every one of us has a role to play;
* Wear a mask any time you leave your house, keep at least 6 ft apart, wash your hands, stay out of large indoor gatherings, avoid gathering with people you don’t live with, stay home except for essentials, cancel in person gatherings, and stop all large group gatherings;
* This is not politically motivated. This is a health crisis. I don’t care what political party you affiliate with. You are a beloved child of God and I don’t want you to die. At the end of the day we don’t want people to die or get critically ill from COVID 19. And, you do not want your church
to be the point of community spread.
* We need full public cooperation to flatten the curve, reduce the rise in the number of cases. Challenge misinformation. Hold your leaders accountable so they make safe decisions.
So here is the bottom line. Please keep your people safe. This is my recommendation: Do not gather for worship inside your church buildings right now. Continue online worship with Facebook live or Youtube. Use Zoom for meetings. Call on the phone. Facetime. Do what you need to do to keep your
people safe. Do the right thing, even if it is the most difficult. For more information check out….
Please pray with me:
Compassionate God, These are difficult days. There seems to be only bad news. We long for the ways things were before the coronavirus affected all our lives. We especially wish to gather together in our church buildings and to worship you in that familiar and comforting space. We wish to sing our favorite hymns of praise to you. We hunger for the bread and wine you give us in Holy Communion. Help us to be patient and wait until it is safe to gather again church for worship.
We pray for those whose loved ones have died of COVID-19, comfort them in their grief.
We pray for those who are sick with the virus, struggling at home or in the hospital, bring healing.
We pray for researchers and scientists, may they develop a safe vaccine.
We pray for the frontline health care workers, doctors, nurses, therapists, EMTs, and hospital workers, keep them safe so they can care for those who are sick.
We pray for schools, administrators, teachers, staff and students keep them safe and help them learn during these stressful days.
Help each one of us do what we can do to stop the spread of this terrible disease. Help us to make small sacrifices so that all might live.
Lord God, these are difficult days. We are weary and discouraged and fearful. We lift up to our prayers today knowing that your Holy Spirit will intercede for us even when our words fail. Amen.
Together In Christ,
Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson
From the ELCA: Considerations for Returning to In-person Worship
Resuming Care-Filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic by The Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments endorsed by The United Methodist- Evangelical Lutheran Church in American Full Communion Coordinating Committee
Returning to Church and Returning to Church: Church Music by The Wisconsin Council of Churches
Returning to Church Update - July 2020 by The Wisconsin Council of Churches
Barron County Public Health Department latest information on COVID-19
COVID-19: Badger Bounce Back from Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Face-to-face worship is not being held at this point. In the meantime, our 8:00 a.m. Sunday worship will continue to be broadcast on WJMC 96.1 FM & 1240 AM and our 8:00 a.m. Sunday worship services will be live-streamed on our home page, Facebook and archived on our website for watching at any time.
Cable TV options are available as well on channels 992 (Charter) and 993 (Mosaic) at 11:00 a.m. Sundays and 7:00 p.m. Thursdays.
While our staff will continue to work, the doors will be locked. While the frightening and uncertain situation surrounding us inevitably raises anxiety, God remains our solid refuge and strength (Psalm 46).