Cancellations

Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 6/7/2020

Welcome to our Service for The Holy Trinity and Bible Class!

First, the Service of the Word.

< PDF Bulletin >                     <PDF Sermon >                       <Service-Link>

Second, the Bible Class.

<Bible Class Link>

May the Lord continue to be with you during these turbulent times!  What a blessing it is to have Christ and hope in him for all things now and forever! You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers!

Your Pastors

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 5/31/2020

Welcome to our Service for the Day of Pentecost and Bible Class!  Hard to believe that we are at Pentecost and almost in June!

First, the Service of the Word.

< PDF Bulletin >                           <PDF Sermon >                    <Service Link>

Second, the Bible Class.

<Bible Class Link>

It is our ongoing prayer that the Lord will continue to bless and guide you in all things!  We continue to look forward to the day when we will be able to see you!

Your Pastors

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May 29, 2020

Update:  In an abrupt turnaround, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker’s administration will now allow places of worship in Illinois to reopen rather than fight the matter out before the U.S. Supreme Court.  However, on May 28, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued “COVID-19 Guidance for Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services.”  The guidelines continue to recommend gatherings of no more than 10 people.  Where the 10-person limit cannot be followed in places of worship, they are asking that churches consider limiting attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.  Furthermore, they are recommending discontinuing singing and group recitation.  The letter that you may read below and will be receiving in the mail was sent before this news came out.  So, what are we going to do at Pilgrim?  For the moment, we are in the process of digesting the news, weighing the IDPH Guidelines, consulting those we need to consult, considering logistics, and figuring out our next steps.  In the meantime, until you hear otherwise, the letter below stands with one change.  Instead of 10 for communion, we will be providing brief indoor communion services for groups of 20 in the all-purpose room.  Finally, we realize that some churches will immediately have services this coming Sunday, but most do not have weekly communion, and we are simply not ready.  After we have mulled over things, we will let you know of any changes.  It is our intention to get back to you very soon.

Thank you for your understanding and patience,

Your Pastors

Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

On the same day President Donald Trump deemed religious gatherings an “essential” activity and called for the resumption of in-person religious services, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker announced that outdoor and drive-in services would be allowed when the state moves into the phase three (May 29) of his “Restore Illinois” plan.  Furthermore, the “Interim Guidance for Communities” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state: “Take steps to limit the size of gatherings in accordance with the guidance and directives of state and local authorities.”  Before this announcement, Governor Pritzker had announced that under phase three, churches would be able to hold indoor services of up to 10 people, which still stands.  At phase four, this will increase and become more manageable for us at Pilgrim with indoor services up to 50 or by capacity.

Since we are not being asked to deny the faith, we will continue to support our governing authorities, based on the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:41, “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”  We want to protect the health of our members, despite the ongoing debates as to what aspects of COVID-19 are “real” or “imagined,” and how we should function economically.  If we are to err as a church, we would prefer to err on the side of caution, rather than throwing all caution to the wind, thereby giving the impression to some that we do not love our members.  Finally, we continue to maintain that an online and radio presence cannot be a long-term solution since we know that God has called us to gather around the means of grace, “…to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Heb. 10:24-25).”  Even in the case of shut-ins, who have genuine excuses not to be in church, they are visited and receive holy communion.

We have considered holding outdoor and drive-in services and have chosen not to do so for many different reasons, such as the unpredictability of weather, distributing the Lord’s Supper in wind, the anticipated increase in heat during June, the number of services we would have to do with limited technological resources, etc.  Instead, we are hoping that by the first Sunday in July, we will be in phase four and will be able to resume indoor services either by an up to number of 50 or by church capacity.

So then, what will we be doing in the month of June?  First, we will continue with our online and radio presence.  We will keep doing everything that we have been doing.  Secondly, we will be providing brief indoor communion services for groups of 10 in the all-purpose room.  When we say brief, we are saying around 15 minutes.  While we wanted to have these services in the sanctuary, the rigorous disinfecting that will be required between services will be easier and quicker in the all-purpose room.  Having said that, now for the details …

Here is what we are offering: 

  • We will be offering brief communion services every Sunday in June.  They will be on the hour, every hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • If the demand is greater than what we are providing on Sunday, we will continue into Monday.
  • If a Sunday and Monday does not satisfy the demand, then overflow will have to wait until the following Sunday.
  • You are not sinning against God if you choose not to come, nor will your pastors be hurt or think less of you.
  • It is recommended by many public guidelines that people who are older, or who have medical conditions should avoid a congregate setting.  Again, there is no reason why you should feel guilty if you chose not to attend.  Go with your “gut,” while understanding that there are no guarantees in Scripture that church going Christians are immune from catching COVID-19 and dying.

How to reserve your spot:

  • Please understand that it will be mostly first come, first serve.
  • After the first Sunday, those who have not communed will take precedence.
  • To make reservations for any given Sunday in the month of June, please do so from Monday to Thursday of the week before the Sunday you hope to attend.  For example, if you hope to attend on Sunday, June 7th, email or call the church office from Monday, June 1st to Thursday, June 4th.
  • Upon making your reservation, you will be assigned a time unless you have a reason to request a specific time.
  • If you have email, please make your reservation through plc@pilgrimlutherandecatur.org and give the number attending instead of calling the church office.
  • If you do not have internet access, please call the church office between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 217-877-2444 and give the number attending.
  • If you have non-communicant children, they may come with you.  Include them in your count.  This will help us to have the correct number of wafers and wine on the tables.  Children who have not been confirmed can go to a table that has no wafer or wine.

Here is the process:

  • Before you arrive, please consider taking your temperature.  If you have a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.778 degrees Celsius or above, please do not attend.
  • If possible, please avoid using the church restrooms.  Still, the restrooms in the Narthex will be open in case of emergency.
  • After being assigned a time, please do not attempt to enter the building more than five minutes before.  If you wish to see the Sanctuary, you may do so briefly.  However, we ask that you do not wander down to the church office area or the educational wing or to the kitchen.
  • Enter through the red doors.  Someone will either be at the doors wearing a mask and rubber gloves to open the door for you, or the door will be propped open for you.  Wear a mask.  If you do not have a mask, there will be some provided, as well as rubber gloves, hand sanitizer, and alcohol wipes.  Practice social distancing the best you can.  Refrain from physical contact with people.
  • Say “Hi” to the pastors because they miss you!
  • Go into the all-purpose room and take a seat.
  • A communion wafer and individual cup with wine will already be on your table.  It was placed there by one who washed and scrubbed their hands, wore a mask and used rubber gloves.  Again, children who have not been confirmed are to go to a table that has no wafer or wine.
  • The bulletin provided on your table has been produced and placed there by people who have washed and scrubbed their hands and wore masks and rubber gloves.
  • The Pastor will guide you in the rest.
  • When dismissed, leave everything on the table.
  • Exit the building so that we can prepare for the next group.  Someone will either be at the doors wearing a mask and rubber gloves to open the door for you, or the door will be propped open.

At this point, we have some information to share with those who are listening to our 1340 WSOY broadcasts on Sunday mornings.  There have been a couple of times when our show has been cut off due to a computer glitch at the station.  We have talked to Aric Lee about this and, as he put it, it is “driving him bananas.”  Anyway, he wants us to let you to know that if it happens again in the future, the next thirty-minute program will play, and then he will replay the Pilgrim broadcast again.

We want all of you to know how appreciative we are of your patience and support.  Your cards, calls, and emails are very encouraging and comforting.  You are all a tremendous blessing to us in so many ways.  Also, we are amazed at how you are continuing to support your church with your offerings through the mail.  Your faithfulness to the Word is always astounding.  Pilgrim is an incredible congregation, and we gladly boast in what Jesus has done in and through you!  Finally, as we have said in the past, if you need help spiritually or materially, please let us know that we may do what we can to assist.  If you know of a Pilgrim who needs help in one way or another, please let us know.

Beloved, we pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your souls!  We rejoice that God has made us shepherds of Pilgrim Lutheran Church!  We have no greater joy than that we have children who are walking in the truth!

Your Servants in Christ,

Pr. Brock and Pr. Bill

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 5/24/2020

Welcome to our Service for the Seventh Sunday of Easter and Bible Class!

First, the Service of the Word.

< Bulletin >                               <PDF Sermon >                               <Service>

Second, the Bible Class.

<Bible Class>

We hope that all is well with you and yours!  Your prayers and support mean a lot  to us!  These have been such difficult times for so many people for so many different reason.  Please remember that if you need help in any way, please feel free to give one of us a call or an email.  If you hear that a fellow Pilgrim needs help, please let one of us know.  We ask the Lord continue to guide us in all things that none of his sheep will be lost.  We trust that the Lord has everything in hand!  We pray that the Divine Service and Bible Class will be a blessing to you all!

Your Pastors

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

05/19/2020

We are very grateful to God that many of you are antsy to get back to church! We would be broken hearted if no one complained!  We feel the same way!

However, as you most likely already know, at the beginning of May we learned the details of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s plan to reopen Illinois.  He is enforcing a 5-phase plan.  The plan is operating on a “region-by-region basis.”  We are region 6.

You may obtain a PDF copy of the plan here: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/restore

We are currently in phase two, which began on May 1.  Governor Pritzker later announced in May that churches could meet with 10 or fewer people.  The earliest we can reach phase three will be May 29, and our region is on track. Once in phase three, churches will remain limited to gatherings of 10 or fewer people.   So, as we move into June, churches will continue to be under the 10 or fewer rule.  After consulting the State COVID-19 hotline, only 10 people can be in a church at one time, no matter how large the building may be, which honestly, isn’t fair when you compare it to other places.

The earliest that one may reach Phase 4 will be June 26th.  Under phase four, church gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed.  This will indefinitely remain in effect until one of the following occurs:

  • a vaccine is discovered,
  • a treatment is discovered,
  • or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period.

If a resurgence of the virus occurs, Governor Pritzker may choose to go back to phase one, which would re-implement the stay-at-home guidelines Illinois began in March.  Currently, Governor Pritzker filed to criminalize lock-down opposition and to extend his “emergency” authority from 30 days to 150.  This will take effect on May 20th unless the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules rejects it, which is unlikely.  Since you are citizens in Illinois, we encourage you to express either your support or opposition to both local and state officials. If you believe that the rules on churches are inordinately restrictive, you need to tell them what you think.  Contact information is at the end of this letter.

At the end of April, we stated that we would continue to do what we have been doing until the end of May. At the end of May, we have every expectation that we will be in phase three.  In the month of June, Pr. Bill and I have been talking about ways to open for groups of 10 for brief communion services.  We will send you more information on this soon.  Also, we intend to continue our online and radio presence in June.  We realize that this is not what many of you want to hear.  We ourselves are surprised that “flattening the curve” has turned into this.

It is our hope that by the end of June, we will be able to move on to phase four. This will mean that we can have up to 50 people in church.  While this will be a pain, we believe that we will be able to accommodate weekly services again at Pilgrim.  The up to 50 people in church rule will change the way we do things, for what will most likely be a considerable length of time, for as long as Governor Pritzker choses to enforce his 5-phase plan.

We are trying to explain things in the kindest way and support the governing authorities. The last thing that we want to do is jeopardize the health of our elderly, or those with pre-existing conditions.  Our hearts go out to small business owners, their employees, and their families; for that matter, all who are suffering and losing so much.  While we are not being asked to do something that requires us to deny the faith, we wonder why the rules for churches take no consideration for the size of a congregation and building capacity.  At least with the 10 and under rule we can offer the Sacrament of the Altar.  After all, being indefinitely online and on the radio is not a long-term solution for what we Lutherans call “the mutual conversation and consolation of one another around the means of grace.”

At Pilgrim, there are those who have been sympathetic to what the authorities are asking us to do, and there are those who have been critical, and a lot of in-betweens. To be honest, we have been feeling pressure from both sides.  The pressure from both sides should be directed toward local and state authorities.  Under the present circumstances, it would be unwise to pit the two sides at Pilgrim against each other.  While the following words of Paul are not entirely applicable to the situation before us, they are, for the moment, a helpful reminder: “… we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 9:12).”

For now, we are leaning on the side of using caution, trying to strike a balance the best we can under the present circumstances, until something requires us to do otherwise. We understand your frustration, because we ourselves are frustrated.  We also realize that we are not in absolute control of what goes on at Pilgrim, nor would we want such power.  It is only our goal to do the best we can in a very challenging moment.  To that end, at least for the time being, we are inclined to do the best we can to work within the state guidelines for the sake of our neighbor and one another, even though there are many incongruencies.  We are also watching what develops in the real world and are willing to adjust where and when we can, so long as it is in good conscience.

We love you all! We miss you!  You are continually in our thoughts and prayers!

Your Servants,

Pr. Brock and Pr. Bill

To contact the Governor’s Office, please use the following information:

Please Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, please anticipate longer wait times.

Springfield                                                                  Chicago

Office of the Governor                                               Office of the Governor
207 State House                                                          James R. Thompson Center
Springfield, IL 62706                                                   100 W. Randolph, 16-100
Phone: 217-782-6830 or 217-782-6831                      Chicago, IL 60601                                                                                     Phone: 312-814-2121

 

To contact the Mayor of Decatur or the City Manager, please use the following information:

Julie Moore-Wolfe, Mayor                                         Scot Wrighton, City Manager

c/o City of Decatur                                                     Email:  wrighton@decaturil.gov

1 Gary K. Anderson Plaza                                            Office Phone Number:  217-424-2801

Decatur, IL 62523

Email: JMoore-Wolfe@decaturil.gov

Office Phone Number: 217-424-2804

To contact other Decatur administrators, please use the following information:

https://www.decaturil.gov/departments/city-administration/contact-us/

Macon County Board

https://www.co.macon.il.us/departments/county-board/macon-county-board-members/

Chairman                                                                          Vice Chairman              
Kevin Greenfield
 R-7                                                  Debra Kraft R-5
3205 S. Point Pleasant Rd.                                        9817 Nevada Road
Decatur, IL 62521                                                          Blue Mound, IL 62513
H 864-2349 Office 424-1472                                   C 519-0285

Other State Officials:

Representative Rodney Davis 13th District                Representative Sue Scherer (D) 96th District

243 S Water Street                                                     Springfield Office

Suite 100                                                                     P: 217-524-0353

Decatur, Illinois 62523                                                F: 217-524-0354

P: 217-791-6224                                                         District Office

F: 217-791-6168                                                         P: 217-877-9636

F:  217-877-9659

Email: staterepsue@gmail.com

State Senator Andy Manar                                         Rep Dan Caulkins

Springfield Office:                                                      District Office
119A Capitol Building                                                 715 W. Imboden Drive
Springfield, IL 62706                                                   Decatur, IL 62521
Phone: (217) 782-0228                                               217-876-1968

Decatur Office:
Macon County Office Building
141 S. Main St., Suite 502
Decatur, IL 62523
Phone: (217) 429-8110

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 5/17/2020

Welcome to our Service for the Sixth Sunday of Easter and Bible Class!

First, the Service of the Word.

< PDF Bulletin >                   <PDF Sermon >                     <Service Link>

Second, the Bible Class.

<Bible Class Link>

It is our prayer that the Online Service and Bible Class will continue to be a blessing to all.  It is our prayer that the Lord will soon bring us back into our house of worship so that we may be with one another and receive Holy Communion.

You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers!

Your Pastors

Progress May 17, 2020

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 5/10/2020

Welcome to our Service for the Fifth Sunday of Easter and Bible Class!  Hope all of you are doing well!  You are missed!

First, the Service of the Word.

< PDF Bulletin >                     <PDF Sermon >                      <Service Link>

Second, the Bible Class.

<Bible Class Link>

It is our prayer that the Online Service and Bible Class will continue to be a blessing to all.

May the Lord bless and guide us in all things!

Your Pastors

Progress May 10, 2020

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 5/3/2020

Welcome to our Service for the Fourth Sunday of Easter and Bible Class!  Hope all of you are doing well.

First, the Service of the Word.

< PDF Bulletin >                               <PDF Sermon >                               <Service Link>

Second, the Bible Class.

<Bible Class Link>

You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers!

With much Love in Christ,

Your Pastors

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 4/28/2020

As many of you already know by now, the shut-down order has been extended in the State of Illinois until the end of May. What does that mean for churches?  We are expected to remain under the current, recommended guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19.  At Pilgrim there are those who are understanding of these guidelines, and there are those who are critical.  We sympathize with both.

Nevertheless, Paul writes in Titus 3:1-2, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Perhaps the hardest part of all of this is to obey the eighth commandment by explaining everything in the kindest way, especially, when rulers and authorities are disagreeing among themselves.  It seems simple to hold onto the fifth commandment by helping and supporting our neighbor in every physical need.  At the same time,  we do not wish to eventually fall into the category of neglecting to meet together in order to encourage one another as we see the Day drawing near, as it says in Hebrews 10:24-25 and the third commandment.

At Pilgrim, we will continue to support our rulers and authorities while asking the Lord to bring a speedy end to COVID-19. Unless there are further developments that lead us in a different direction, we will comply with the extended shut-down order.  Above all, we pray for the spiritual well-being of God’s people and the conversion of those who do not have the gospel.  In the month of May, we will continue to make available the following:

Our overall concern is for your spiritual well-being during the shut-down order. We also are concerned for your physical well-being, especially, the necessities of life.  So, if you need one of the pastors, please feel free to contact us:

Church office: 217-877-2444

Pr. Brock – pr.brock@pilgrimlutherandecatur.org or 217-358-0133

Pr. Bill – plc@pilgrimlutherandecatur.org or 217-358-0487

You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. We miss being with you and are constantly looking forward to getting things back to normal.

With Love in Christ,

Pr. Brock and Pr. Bill

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 4/26/2020

Welcome to our Service for the Third Sunday of Easter and Bible Class!  Hope all of you are doing well.

First, the Service of the Word.

< PDF Bulletin >                     <PDF Sermon >                           <Service Link>

Second, the Bible Class.

<Bible Class Link>

You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.  Thank you so much for your feedback.  We are very grateful that the Services, Bible classes, Daily Devotions, Sunday School Lessons, and the Progress have been a blessing!  Also, thank you for continuing to financially support your church through your offerings.  We miss you and are just as tired as you are of not being able to meet together!

With much Love in Christ,

Pr. Brock and Pr. Bill

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 4/19/2020

Welcome to our Service for the Second Sunday of Easter and Bible Class!

First, the Service of the Word.

< PDF Bulletin >                     <PDF Sermon >                    <Service Link>

Second, the Bible Class.

<Bible Class Link>

You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.  As you know, Illinois is under a shut-down order until April 30.  We have been continuing to monitor the situation, and when we have a complete picture, we will be letting you know what’s next for us.

Until then, may our Risen Savior give you comfort and strength!

Pr. Brock and Pr. Bill

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 4/12/2020

Welcome to our Easter Sunday Service and abbreviated Bible Class!

First, the Service of the Word.

< PDF Bulletin >                               <PDF Sermon >                               <Service Link>

Second, the abbreviated Bible Class.

<Bible Class Link>

Blessed Easter!

In Him who is risen that we might rise!

Pr. Brock and Pr. Bill

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 4/10/2020

Welcome to our Good Friday Service!  We are grateful that you chose to be here!

Please “click” on the following and you will be ready for the service.

< PDF Bulletin >                               <Service Link>

Also, for those of you who may not know, we have added a page on our PLC website called “Daily Devotions.”  Your invited to listen to them.  Here’s the link:  https://www.pilgrimlutherandecatur.org/daily-devotion/

We miss you!

Next stop is Easter Sunday!

Pr. Brock and Pr. Bill

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 4/9/2020

Welcome to our Maundy Thursday Service!  We are grateful that you are here!

The word “Maundy” means “commandment.”  It refers to when Jesus was in the Upper Room with his disciples and he said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another (John 13:34).”

Please “click” on the following and you will be ready for the service.

< PDF Bulletin >                               <Service Link>

We look forward to the day when we can get back to our church house and receive the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ together!

Until then, may the Lord continue to strengthen and preserve you in the true faith through His Gospel and Baptism.

May God bless your worship!

Pr. Brock and Pr. Bill

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 4/6/2020

Three important items:

  1. We will have Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Services posted on YouTube. You will find the links to those services at https://www.pilgrimlutherandecatur.org/ under “Cancellations,” on the appropriate day.
  2. We intend to have an abbreviated Bible Class every week. The Bible Class will not be a continuation of the regular Sunday classes. We will resume our Sunday classes when we return.
  3. Finally, we are pleased to announce that we have a new page on our website called “Daily Devotions.” Each day will be a new devotion that will run somewhere around 5 minutes. Here’s the link: https://www.pilgrimlutherandecatur.org/daily-devotion/

Thank you for taking the time to watch our videos. We have heard many of your comments and are very happy to know that it has been a blessing to you during the stay at home order.  Presently, that order is in effect until April 30.  We are praying that April 30 will be the end of it.  His will be done!

In the meantime, you continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. We pray that the Lord will protect you and give you strength in Him who died and rose for us!

May the Lord be with you!

Pr. Brock and Pr. Bill

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Dear Pilgrim Brothers and Sisters,

UPDATE 4/4/2020

Welcome to our Palm Sunday Service! We are grateful that you have come to join us!  Today we are pleased to announce that we also have available an abbreviated Bible Class!

First, the Service of the Word.

< PDF Bulletin >                                <PDF Sermon >                                                <Service Link>

Second, an abbreviated Bible Class.

<Bible Class Link>

Thank you for taking the time to be here! While we understand the gospel command and the importance of being assembled together, we pray that this will strengthen you in the meantime.

You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

May God bless your worship!

Pr. Brock and Pr. Bill