The Council of ALC has approved a tiered plan for re-opening. The health and safety of our members and visitors continues to be our main concern. ALC has now moved back into TIER 1 of the re-opening process based on COVID case surges in the area.
SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM PASTOR JOEL
In consultation with Staff, Executive Team, Church Council, the Post-Coved Teams and in conversation with local health professionals, it has become obvious that the COVID infection/hospitalization numbers are going up at an alarming rate in Tarrant County. I believe this will only continue as people insist on travel, and attending family gatherings and other social gatherings during the holiday season.
Due to that reality, we are suspending worship and all other all-community events at Advent Lutheran Church.
I’m grateful that we had 8 weeks of safe Sunday worship where nobody traced a COVID-19 diagnosis to church attendance. It has been wonderful to see many of you after not seeing you for many months. I am personally sad that this reality is among us at this time of the year when we value our faith community so much and welcome many guests to worship and serve with us. I ask you to be patient, support your congregation and continue to connect with us for online worship at 8:30 and 11am on Sunday and Wednesday evening at 7:00pm.
Our worship team will continue to meet safely for practice and the production of our holiday worship services. Members will be asked to help with this by recording at home and sending to us video to include in online worship. The Food Pantry, Quilters and Life Shelter workers will continue to serve during this suspension, because they are few in numbers, and they have continued to serve church and community safely for the 8 months of the pandemic so far.
We have been between Tier 2 and 3 in our re-opening plan for the last two months. As originally stated, we could move forward or back. We will be moving back to Tier 1 for the time being.
Peace, Pastor Joel
A NEW DAY AND A NEW CHALLENGE . . .
On Monday night this week, Bishop Gronberg met with our Church Council to discuss the information that we now know is a reality – Pastor Edy and Ingrid will be leaving to go back to Colombia for 13-15 months on Friday morning this week.
We, with the ELCA and NTNL Synod, have been working for a year to try and change his visa status but the waiver of residence has not been received, due to an immigration lawyer error and a very slowly-moving State Department. What that means is that Pastor Edy and Ingrid will need to go back and reside in Colombia till they receive the waiver, or until they satisfy their residency requirements and re-apply for religious worker visas again.
During that time, Pastor Edy will continue his ministry to Adviento/Advent online, as we are all doing at this point. He has also developed a theological program for potential Hispanic leaders that is being considered by some and used by other seminaries across the country. He will continue teaching those classes online. In the meantime, the NTNL Synod will designate an interim leader to be the “point person” for Adviento, to do any ministry that is needed “hands-on” in Pastor Edy’s absence. I will announce that leader when he/she is chosen.
I hope you will take this time that Pastor Edy and Ingrid are away to celebrate what he has done as the mission developer of Adviento, and to pray for his continued ministry with us and in whatever way he is utilized by local Lutheran churches in Colombia.
You can contact Pastor Edy during this time by using his firstname.lastname@example.org address. Contact the church office for mailing address and phone number.
Also, we will be collecting a love offering to help them with their expenses beyond the budgeted expenses for their time in Colombia. If you choose to do that, you can write a check to Advent and put Pastor Edy on the memo line or you can also designate funds from your online account for Pastor Edy through Advent church. He has not asked we do that, but it is a wonderful way to continue to support him, and I know some Church Council leaders have already made a contribution to his support.
Above all, put Pastor Edy and Ingrid in your regular prayers for patience, encouragement and hopefulness over this “enforced” period of separation from his ministry and our community.
Advent Lutheran Church is in the Northern Texas-
Northern Louisiana Synod of the ELCA.