An Invitation to Lent

Ash Wednesday and Lent invite us to honesty about our limits.  If nothing else, the past year has reminded us that we cannot pretend away the realities of sin, death, and the forces that defy God in our world.  And we treasure the traditions of Ash Wednesday and Lent because they help us cultivate that honesty and point us toward “the life that really is life,” anchored in God’s faithfulness (see 1 Timothy 6).

Our Wednesday evenings in Lent will again invite us for our sung Holden Evening Prayer service, considering together the sacrament of Holy Communion.  Our celebration of the sacrament has been different through the pandemic.  We miss gathering physically at the table so terribly – and yet have temporarily found new ways to trust Christ’s presence to meet us.  What do we believe about this sacrament?  Why do we treasure it?  We’ll consider this together on Wednesdays in Lent at 7:30pm.

You may have noticed that our evening worship time is different this year!  A large group of folks in our congregation are participating in the ecumenical Sacred Ground study and conversations around faith, race, honesty, and justice through this Lent, and we have moved worship to make space for that in our life together.  This part of discipleship is tremendously important – we’re grateful for those who are leading and participating, and are keen to see the ways the Holy Spirit will use their growth and faith to lead our congregation’s growth and faithfulness!

Lenten Sunday Worship for February 28, 2021

Important Note:

While COVID-19 infection rates are currently trending in a hopeful direction, until our whole community is able to gather safely, livestream worship will continue to remain our primary gathering. We also plan to resume in-person, additional worship on March 7; see below for more information.

Livestream worship at 9:00am

Our bulletin is here: February 28, 2021
Livestream video is here: https://youtu.be/TfGM3QfthXc

For Children and Families

Print a worship activity page for your kids!

Sunday School – a link to this week’s Sunday School will be on the CLC Facebook page as soon as it is available. You’ll find coloring/activity pages here: Lesson 2

Wednesday Holden Evening Prayer

Join us Wednesdays in Lent for Holden Evening Prayer, a time of gentle singing, candles, and exploring together what “Holy Communion” means for us.

Updating our Plan to Regather

CLC continues to monitor changes in local, regional, statewide, and national guidance.  With vaccines continuing to roll out into our area, and with recent downturns in various rates and metrics we are all feeling hopeful that we may be able to relieve the strictest pandemic precautions.  However, important ongoing guidance still cautions that “normal,” restriction-free gatherings lie some time in the future.

In our continuing prayer, reflection, research and guidance-collecting, Christ Lutheran remains committed to placing our most vulnerable as foremost in our thinking: until all our beloved can gather, we are not back to “normal.”  Until all of us are safe, we continue to voluntarily take precautionary restrictions.

Our Staff and Council have recently revised our “CLC Plan to Regather” to reflect recent guidance and our current understandings and approach to the ongoing pandemic.  Recent metrics and measures of COVID infections allow us to move, cautiously, into the right-most “Hybrid” column.  This allows us to return limited in-person worship opportunities; see below for information and plans for how we intend to move forward.  As always, please note that this is very much a “living document” that we are constantly revisiting and revising as situations warrant, and is subject to ongoing change.

In-Person Worship Opportunities

While livestream worship continues to be our primary gathering, recent COVID rates have moved in positive directions, allowing us to reintroduce additional, in-person worship opportunities next month, beginning March 7 at 10:30am in the Sanctuary.  In order to do so safely, we have put the following precautions in place:
  • If you feel in the least bit unwell, please stay home!  Help us keep our beloved community safe.
  • Masks are mandated, from the parking lot until we return to our cars.
  • Capacity is limited, and pre-registration is required; see https://clcvalpo.churchcenter.com/registrations
  • Seating is adjusted to provide 6-feet distance between rows, and we ask family groups to leave 3 chairs / 6′ of pew space between groups. 
  • Our HVAC system will run throughout our service with outside air intake maximized to increase ventilation.  We have installed UV sterilization filters in the Sanctuary and Church Hall systems to provide additional mitigation.
  • Hand sanitizer is available and encouraged throughout the building.
  • We will not use bulletins, hymnals, nor pass offering plates.
  • We continue to avoid congregational singing and unison, supported speech
  • Communion distribution has been adjusted to reduce the risks of contact
Our services will include: prayers, reading, preaching, and Holy Communion, with appropriate modifications to our distribution practices.  We will continue to monitor relevant guidance as we consider when and how to add additional components into our services.
 
Please note!
  • We can only begin these services if we have the help to do so!  As you know, worship requires many hands, and for us to gather, we need: ushers, readers, prayer assistants, communion assistants.  Please see our signup form and let us know how you will help — if we don’t have sufficient signups for a particular service, we will have to cancel that service.
  • In-person opportunities are dependent on continued positive developments in terms of infection rates, COVID metrics, and relevant guidance, and are subject to last-minute cancellation if necessary.
  • We are hard at work with plans for Holy Week and Easter, including when and how we will incorporate in-person options.  Watch your email, our webpage, and our Facebook for further information.
  • Again, because it bears repeating: Our livestream worship remains our primary gathering.

A word about Livestream Communion:

While we keep ourselves separate to steward each others’ health, we are including Holy Communion during our livestream on Sundays. Our goal is to experience Communion together, even while apart; immediate, not something available as a recording that someone might use later; organic, not something prepackaged or purchased; safe and accessible, so people don’t need to travel/have contact with others to pick things up. Please note: extraordinary times like these require us to depart from our usual practices. We all eagerly look forward to the time when we can leave these extraordinary measures behind and return to safely gathering in person on Sundays, as is our norm!

Here’s what you need to prepare in advance: Before Sunday’s service, choose a plate and cup that you will use for Communion in your space. Find some bread (whatever kind works for you; even a cracker can do in a pinch) and, if you have it, grape juice or wine. Note that if you don’t have grape juice or wine, that’s perfectly OK; our theology teaches that receiving Christ in one element (i.e. just bread or just wine) is more than sufficient! You can leave an empty cup ready as a sign of that overabundance of blessing. We also recommend having a candle handy, which you can light throughout the Sunday service, if that is safe for you, to help create a worshipful space in the midst of our homes which are also offices and schools in this time!