UPDATES in Helping Joplin through COVID-19 Coronavirus
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.Colossians 3:15-16
Re-Opening for Public Worship on May 24 with Limited Seating. Reserve a Pew for This Sunday!
READ THE PHASE ONE RE-OPENING PLAN
UPDATE: Sunday, May 17, 2020
Dear members of Immanuel,
Having been separated from our church friends for nine weeks because of the Coronavirus pandemic, we are finally making plans to reopen our sanctuary for Sunday public worship services. The first Sunday open will be May 24. We will be worshiping in two services at our normal times of 8:00 and 10:30.
We will be observing some special guidelines for a while until further restrictions are lifted. Because we are required to maintain “social distancing,” every other pew in the sanctuary has been taped off for non-use. In addition, generally only five to six people will be seated in each pew so that families and individuals can maintain a six foot buffer distance. In order to facilitate this, elders/ushers will seat people from front to back as they arrive. So, please understand that you may not be sitting in your favorite pew.
Also, because of the mandated limited number of parishioners allowed in the sanctuary, we will be requiring that you call the church office and let us know if you plan to attend and how many will be in your family. This will be on a first come-first served basis. When we reach 80 people for each service, we will be required to stop taking additional reservations. Call Kimberly Johnson in the church office at 417-624-0333 to be included in one of the services.
The following additional items are offered for your information:
- If you have a fever or feel ill, please refrain from attending church services.
- If you are over 65 or considered “at risk” due to an underlying health condition, please consider not attending.
- Although not required, if you have masks, you are encouraged to wear one.
- We will go without shaking hands and other physical contact.
- When you enter the church, go directly to the main doors of the sanctuary to be seated. Remember to maintain a six foot distance from others who are entering. Do not congregate in the narthex.
- When the service is over, you will be ushered out in reverse order from back to front by the elders/ushers. Again, do not congregate in the narthex but go directly to one of the exit doors.
- We will not celebrate communion on this first Sunday. Additional precautions must be developed first.
- To mitigate contamination possibilities, all hymnals, communion cards, pencils, etc. have been removed from the sanctuary. All items have also been removed from the narthex and visitor’s center, including the children’s activity bags. Attendance books will not be passed.
- We will use the video screens only for the services. No bulletins will be printed.
- Offering plates will be located on a table in the narthex rather than passing the plates in church.
- The nursery will not be available. Restrooms will be available for one person at a time.
- Hand sanitizers will be available in several locations in the church for your use.
- All touch areas such as pews, door handles, etc. will be completely sanitized and disinfected after every service.
- At this time, there will be no Sunday School or Bible Classes.
Although these guidelines and suggestions may seem burdensome, please understand it is with sincere concern for the safety and health of our church family that they are being incorporated.
It will be so wonderful to again be in God’s house together for worship. If you are unable to attend, or are still a little uncomfortable being out in a public venue, please continue to worship with us on-line at immanueljoplin.com. We will continue to live stream services for the foreseeable future.
Also, please continue to pray for the safety and good health of our church members and friends, our church staff and all who may be suffering from this terrible pandemic. Remember that, as our church name declares, GOD IS WITH US.
Yours in Christ,
Darrell Ideker, President
UPDATE: Tuesday, May 5, 2020 — As of Monday, May 3, the City of Joplin and State of Missouri are cautiously easing restrictions and allowing local businesses and churches to open up at 25% capacity with proper social distancing and other safeguards in place.
Immanuel’s campus is not open yet, but our congregation president has formed a “COVID Committee” to determine the best course of action to reopen our church for public worship. This committee is comprised of twelve Immanuel members, including community healthcare professionals as well as representatives from several church boards and professional staff.
It will likely be 2-4 weeks before we have all of the proper supplies, training and safeguards in place. In the mean time, please continue to worship with us online each weekend on Facebook, YouTube, and at immanueljoplin.com/SERMONS.
Please pray for our COVID Committee, that their wise planning would help us at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Joplin to return to public worship together as soon as possible.
COVID Committee Members:
NOTE: * indicates healthcare professional
- Darrell Ideker, chairman
- Dr. Laurie Behm, MD*
- Gary Dieckhoff*
- DCE Jason Glaskey
- Rev. Gregory Mech
- Ron Repplinger
- Whit Sanders, RTT*
- Jeff Schilling
- Brad Schweiss
- Donna Stokes, RN-IC*
- Richard Zimmerman, RN*
- Chas Ziulkowski
UPDATE: Tuesday, April 14, 2020 — The campus at Martin Luther School (and all Joplin area schools) will be closed for the remainder of the school year. Online instruction continues, thanks to the efforts of our amazing teachers. To our teachers and staff, MLS Principal Jeremy Schamber says, “I’m am very proud of the hard work and the hours you are dedicating to this new learning experience. I have put a lot on your plate. I understand how stressful this has been. Yet, all of you embraced these challenges because of your love for the kids and the mission of our school. I’m so proud of you! It is an honor for me to work and serve with you!”
Immanuel Lutheran Church continues to follow the city, state and federal guidelines for social distancing and sheltering in place. Our Immanuel Campus will remain closed through at least May 3.
Online worship services are being broadcast at the regularly-scheduled times on Facebook, YouTube, and at immanueljoplin.com/SERMONS. Though much of our staff is working from home, phone calls are being answered and messages returned from both the church (417-624-0333) and school (417-624-1403) during the week.
UPDATE: Saturday, March 28, 2020 — A message from our congregation president, Mr. Darrell Ideker…
I spent a good deal of time this past Friday talking with health care professionals, Pastor Mech, Chief Elder Jeff Schilling and other church leadership here at Immanuel about the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having, or will have, on our community.
It is with a sad heart that I am here to inform the congregation that we will continue our suspension of public worship services through the month of April as our community continues to fight the coronavirus battle. Although our state and local leaders have not yet forced a shelter-at-home policy, it is likely soon to happen. Even so, the social distancing and “no more than ten people in a group” gathering guidelines that remain in effect preclude our worshiping together at this time. Our Martin Luther School will also be closed through April 24, as are all area schools.
As unpleasant as the decision to suspend our worshiping together is, especially as we approach Easter, the highest festival season of the year, please know that it is made in the best interest of our membership and our church staff. We want to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible.
In the meantime, please make sure to log on at immanueljoplin.com or on Facebook LIVE at facebook.com/immanueljoplin to worship with us remotely on Sundays and for Lenten services.
And please continue to mail in your weekly offerings. It is critical at this time when we are not able to meet together that we keep financially sound.
-Darrell Ideker, congregation president, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Joplin
UPDATE: 8:00 am, Sunday, March 22, 2020 — Our first Online-only worship service is a success! Pastor Mech, our organist Betty Lingenfelter, and DCE Jason Glaskey recorded the service then posted it on Facebook on Sunday morning, so that God’s people from Immanuel could gather together to worship Jesus. After its “premiere” on Facebook, the service and sermon have also been posted to immanueljoplin.com, on YouTube, as well as an audio-only Podast. If you need help figuring out how to access the worship service online, call Jason Glaskey at the church office M-F from 9 to 3pm.
UPDATE: 9:00 pm, Tuesday, March 17, 2020 — At the Church Council Meeting this evening it was decided that Immanuel-Joplin’s campus will be closed for all meetings, activities and worship services until at least Palm Sunday, April 5. Services will be streamed on Facebook LIVE. Also, sermons, updates and other resources for your family will be posted regularly on immanueljoplin.com.
Our Martin Luther School principal met throughout the day with area health officials and school administrators. In a collective decision, area schools decided that classes will be suspended through April 3.
Immanuel’s Church Council plans to meet again on March 31 to reassess the possibility of re-opening our campus.
We are still here for you! Call the church office at 417-624-0333 if we can help you in any way. In times of uncertainty, we will cling to Christ!
UPDATE: 11:30 am, Tuesday, March 17, 2020 — As we watch and weigh the recommendations from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) we have decided to suspend our Wednesday evening Lenten Meals.
As of right now, worship services are still scheduled on our campus for 4:00 and 7:00 pm on Wednesday, March 18. Worshippers are asked to follow Immanuel’s COVID-19 Safety Measures, detailed below. Remember: 1) Do not come to church if you or someone in your house has not been feeling well. 2) Wash hands, use hand sanitizer, and keep a safe social distance from others. 3) All services will be streamed on Facebook LIVE and reposted later on immanueljoplin.com. An audio version of the sermons will be included in our podcast as well.
Immanuel’s Church Council will be meeting this evening (3/17) to discuss other future plans and possibilities. Do you have questions or input? Call the church office at 417-624-0333 or fill out our Contact Form.
COVID-19 Safety Measures at Immanuel
(published March 14, 2020; updated March 18, 2020)
NOTE: As of 3-18-20, our campus is closed for all meetings, activities, and worship services until further notice.
To show our care and concern for the health and safety of our members and community, Immanuel Lutheran Church will make these temporary changes to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus:
- We encourage those who have not been feeling well to refrain from attending worship and other church activities.
- We will go without shaking hands and other physical contact. Smiles and kind words are always encouraged.
- Hand washing and use of hand sanitizer will be emphasized. Pastor and Elders will also re-sanitize before serving Communion.
- Only individual cups will be used in the Sacrament for a while.
- Offering plates and attendance books will not be passed. Offerings will be received in the back of the church as the congregation exits the service. Immanuel’s online giving tool, GIVELIFY, is also available. (See our online giving page.)
- Special food safety measures and extra cleaning of our facilities will be observed.
- Worship services will be streamed on Facebook LIVE for those who are unable to attend in person. (Follow @immanueljoplin on Facebook.)
- Following health guidelines, Louie Comfort Dog will not be making visits for several weeks. Pastoral visits are also being limited at certain facilities.
- A group of volunteers from Immanuel will be available to do shopping, run errands, or otherwise help those with the highest risk, including older members, those with compromised immunity or chronic illness. Call the church office at 417-624-0333 to see how we can help someone in need. (Fill out our Contact Form if you need help, or would like to help.)
- Our staff and leadership will continue to monitor the recommendations of the CDC and local health officials, making adjustments to our plan as necessary.
Go to immanueljoplin.com and check social media regularly, as worship services and other important messages are posted to keep you both encouraged and informed.
A Message from LCMS President Harrison Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic
The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod | Pastor Matthew C. Harrison | lcms.org
(published March 13, 2020)
A Pastoral Letter Regarding Public Worship During the Coronavirus Outbreak from President Lee Hagan
Missouri District | The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod | Office of the President | mo.lcms.org
(published March 12, 2020)