MARCH 31st, 2020 UPDATE

Dear members of Hope,

Beginning Sunday, April 5th, we will hold shortened Services, particularly so that our membership may receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

We will limit each service to 9 people or fewer and follow CDC guidelines. Such gatherings are fully allowed under Indiana’s “Stay at home” order of March 24th.

Special sanitizing precautions will be taken, and we will follow the “social distancing” guidelines of spreading out by 6 feet in the Sanctuary. Please do recognize that the precautions are not a guarantee against exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Also know that these precautions are not the result of fear. We are not afraid of sickness. We are certainly not afraid of receiving our Lord’s gifts. We are merely trying to prevent the spread of this virus, protect the health of others, respect the instructions of health and government officials, and make everyone as comfortable as reasonably possible.

The current options for these Services are Sundays at 9:30am, 10:30am, and 11:30am. Please contact me to sign-up to attend a Service. We must know ahead of time if you are coming. You can call me, text me, message this page, or email me to sign up. I will let you know which Services still have openings and offer another Service time if all are full.

Out of love for our neighbor, we would always ask people with any communicable sickness to stay home. If you are ill, have symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, have been exposed to someone who has (or may have) the COVID-19 virus, or are at high-risk for complications from the COVID-19 virus, please remain home and call me so that I can minister to you. Please seek medical advice in those matters. Don’t be “guilted” into coming if you need to remain home. If you need to schedule private communion, contact me.

The readings/sermons will continue to be posted on our website and Facebook page.

We are also producing some videos of abbreviated Services and those are also posted to the front page of our website and Facebook page.

If you have any questions, or are in need of prayers, counsel, or simply someone to talk to, call me any time.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” (Psalm 46:1-3)

– Pastor Locklair

MARCH 17th, 2020

Dear members and friends of Hope,

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

            The purpose of this letter is to inform you that, due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all Services and activities at Hope are suspended for the time being. This decision was made based upon the advice of health officials, the recommendation of the President, the regulations of local governments, and the urging of our own Synod’s Board of Doctrine and President. You have probably already seen many churches are doing this, and that gatherings larger than ten (10) have been advised against everywhere and made illegal in several states already.

            We want to stress to you that this decision is not made out of fear. We are not afraid of contracting COVID-19. The reasons for this decision are: to aid in slowing this virus, to respect our governing authorities, to help our medical community not become overwhelmed, and to do everything we reasonably can to protect others by not passing on this virus.

            Gathering to receive God’s gifts is still vital! Spiritual health is far more important than physical health. We will not be giving these things up (as Scripture urges us to not give them up!). The gathering to receive will simply be taking a different form for the time being.

            First, the readings and sermons for Wednesdays and Sundays will be posted to our Facebook page and church website. Pastor will continue to produce these new materials for each Service that is missed. You will be able to gather in your homes to listen to them or read them online. If you need help finding the information, please call me. If you are unable to use the internet, please inform me so that I can put you on a mailing list.

            Here are the online links:

            www.hopeportage.org

            www.facebook.com/HopeLutheranPortage

            Second, we will send out information for scheduling private communion for individuals/families. We will continue the vital, regular communion life of our congregation in this private fashion, gathering in groups fewer than ten to receive the Lord’s Supper regularly.

            Third, we are exploring the logistics of holding multiple weekend Services at church with fewer than ten people in attendance at each one. Our desire is to do that very, very soon.

            Please continue to support Hope with your offerings. Though the work of Hope will take a different form for the time being, it will continue. A loss of offerings would be devastating to our continuation as a congregation. Please mail your offerings to the parsonage. For security, we suggest mailing checks.

            Our goal is to return to regular Services as soon as we possibly can. Please call me with any questions or concerns or if you need other spiritual care. We can talk on the phone or, if possible and you are comfortable with it, I can visit you in your home.

Take to heart the comfort Scripture offers us in any and all hardships:

 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1-3).

“God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10, 11).

  • Pastor Locklair