A PASTORAL LETTER FROM OUR BISHOP BILL TESCH

OF THE NORTHWESTERN MINNESOTA SYNOD

 

Everyone is encouraged to please click on this link and read Bishop Bill's timely pastoral words about our responsibilities toward each other as brothers and sisters in Christ:  http://nwmnsynod.org/assets/Pastoral-Letter-July-23-with-letterhead.pdf

 

** Beginning July 25, 2020, per Governor's Executive Order 20-81, people in Minnesota are required to wear a face covering in all public indoor spaces and businesses, unless alone. **

{More information regarding this requirement may be found on the MN Department of Health website at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facecover.html.}

 

** AT ITS JULY 21ST MEETING FAITH LUTHERAN CHURCH COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY AFFIRMED AND ACCEPTED THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE SMART SAFETY TEAM, TO "STAY THE COURSE" (AS WRITTEN BELOW) GOING FORWARD. **

 

A Letter From Our Smart (Safety) Team Leader ... Janet Zastrow

Subject:  Faith Lutheran Smart Team Update & Recommendation to Council July 21, 2020

 

Dear Faith Lutheran Congregation,

Faith Lutheran’s Smart Safety Team was established upon recommendation of the NW ELCA Synod in response to COVID-19, to support the congregation during this time of the pandemic.  Members of the Smart Safety Team include:  Janet Zastrow (Team Lead), Marlene Schoeneck (Council President), Kevin Lee (Worship Team), Polly Perkins (At Large), Donna Steidl (At Large), and John Riggle (Pastor).

To support recommendations made to Council, the team gathers data from Federal, State, local and national health care websites such as the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.  Meetings are held regularly to develop recommendations for presentation to the Council to aid them in their decision making.  All comments and feedback from the congregation are appreciated, reviewed, discussed and considered when making recommendations.

At this time, after thorough discussion and based upon data reviewed, the Smart Safety Team is recommending that Council stay the course and offer online and drive-in services only at this time. 

While a decrease in the total number of positive COVID-19 cases was indicated overall in the state of Minnesota during the month of June, Douglas County has continued to trend upward.  At the beginning of the national pandemic in March through April, Douglas County remained at 0 (zero) cases, then began to slowly increase to a total of 55 positive cases as of June 25th.  In the last 3+ weeks that total has almost doubled to 104 cases as of July 21st.  What’s important to note is that it took 3 months to go from 0 to 55 cases then only 3 weeks to go from 55 to 104.

Why is this significant?  Because it indicates community spread.  Community spread, as defined by the CDC, “means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.”  According to local public health, the majority of positive cases in Douglas County are due to community spread.

Summary:

To make recommendations for a safe phased reopening of the church, the Smart Safety Team reviews multiple measures and metrics.  Two of these measures are sustained downward trend and mitigation of cases.  With no sustained downward trend indicated at this time, the Smart Safety Team has recommended to Council to stay the course.

Members of the congregation are welcome and encouraged to reach out to any member of the Smart Safety Team with questions or comments.

Respectfully,

Janet Zastrow, RN, MBA

Chair, Faith Lutheran Smart Safety Team

 

** Please Note: Janet has also been serving as a Triage Coordinator, for us, ever since we had to close our church building, and institute a Calling Tree within our congregation.  Thank You Janet! **

 

Letter Gov Walz

Everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19

  • Wear masks when in public. 10-50% of virus carriers are asymptomatic wearing masks helps control the virus and has been shown to lower COVID-19 spread.
  • Avoid enclosed spaces with groups of people, where the virus can linger in the air for long periods of time.
  • Get tested if you have cold or flu-like symptoms - Find testing locations.
  • Stay six feet away from others.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.
  • Up-to-date guidance is available from the Department of Health.

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