This page is intended to provide current information about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as it relates directly to Zion Lutheran Church.
For the most up-to-date general information, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health.
In-person worship services are suspended until further notice. All upcoming services will be online, including Sunday mornings at 10am, Lenten Wednesdays at 6:30pm and Holy Week services TBA.
Friday, March 27
The church building is now closed through at least Friday April 10th, and we encourage members to abide by the governor’s plea to stay at home.
Some staff may be in the building at times to perform essential functions such as preparing online worship. At these times, one door in the main entrance maybe open for pick up and drop off of items such as at-home Sunday school kids and daily devotionals.
We will continue to monitor inbox messages to our Facebook page, emails to pastors and the general mailbox (firstname.lastname@example.org), and voicemails at 763-682-1245.
Join us for online worship on Sunday at 10, and remember: We are not a building. We are the church. Wherever we meet.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Last night the council approved the following actions with regard to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions were taken in response to restrictions being in place and an associated slow-down that could last for a number of months or even longer.
- the activities of the Call committee are suspended.
- a hiring freeze for vacant staff positions which includes an administrative assistant position and multiple Children, Youth and Family positions.
- The church building is closed for meetings, Bible studies and other large and small group meetings except for Woman, Infant and Children (WIC), Wright County. Meetings for essential functions (coordinating and producing online worship etc.) will continue and Zion staff will have the authority to determine what meetings are essential.
- Zion staff will continue to work but hours will be reduced, and some will be laid off. See more details below.
- The review of the financial situation of the church will increase in frequency.
Effective on Sunday, March 29, which is the start of a new pay period for the staff, various staff positions will be laid off or significantly reduced in hours. Because each position is affected differently, the impact on each staff member will be different. Every staff position has been addressed and notified of the plan. The reduction in salary also affects the Pastors.
Members are encouraged to attend Wednesday evening and Sunday morning services online and to continue to support Zion financially. Information on new ways to give to Zion electronically will be posted in the near future and members are encouraged to mail in their offering. We need to continue to work together and to support one another as much as possible in these uncertain times.
Monday, March 16, 2020
Much of the council and staff met this morning, and leadership posted an update to Facebook this afternoon. You don’t have to have a Facebook account to watch content on our public page. When Facebook brings up a sign in box, you can click “NOT NOW” to bypass it.
A printed/text update is in the works.
Wednesday worship options will include a children’s message online at 5pm, and Holden Evening Prayer online at 6:30pm. We are still working to catch up the calendar with all the changes.
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Church leaders met today to plan for Sunday’s online worship service. Join us live on Facebook at 10am for a service which will include liturgy, children’s time, and a message from Pastor Ted.
We emailed ‘everyone’ a couple of times this week, since things were changing so quickly … but going forward, we’ll generally send information relating to COVID-19 and the impact on worship and schedules only to those who have requested our email newsletter and/or regular updates.
Friday, March 13, 2020
Today the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommended a series of community-level strategies to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus in Minnesota communities. One of those recommendations was that organizers such as faith-based organizations cancel gatherings with 250 or more people.
Zion’s individual worship services typically have an attendance of 100-250 each. Out of an abundance of caution for Zion’s attendees, particularly those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, Zion’s leadership met today and made the difficult call that Zion’s in-person worship services will be suspended until further notice.
We ask that you do not come to the church this Sunday, but plan to gather virtually. Pastors and staff are planning an online service, including a sermon, for 10am on Sunday. We will be updating this page, social media, and sending an email on Saturday with details and more information.
Please check the church calendar for the status of other events, and check again as plans could change daily.
Thank you for your flexibility in this difficult time.
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Zion has taken the following actions to address the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- Select staff and leadership have subscribed to alerts and notifications published by the MN Department of Public Health and will monitor recommendations daily.
- Recommended that members do not use handshakes during the Sunday morning greeting during the services and to use other forms of greeting such as the fist or elbow bump or simple head nod.
- Encouraged all staff and members to wash their hands often and thoroughly with soap and hot water.
- Increased the number of hand sanitizer available throughout the church building. Attendees are encouraged to use hand sanitizer in all areas of the church as often as possible.
- Suspended Holy communion service by intinction. Holy communion in the foreseeable future will be by individual cups and wafers.
- Encouraged members and staff who do not feel well to stay home and not attend services, meetings or gatherings at church.
- Video of each Sunday’s message will be posted on Zion’s Facebook account (Facebook.com/pg/ZionBuffalo/videos – you do not need to have a Facebook login to view videos) and audio continues to be posted on Zion’s website (ZionBuffalo.org/podcast).
Zion encourages members to stay informed of this situation and to assume the level of risk for themselves and their family based on their specific medical conditions and their own peace of mind.
As of March 12, 2020, the MN Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control has not recommended that gatherings such as worship services in the state of Minnesota be suspended. As the virus continues to spread, Zion will continue to monitor this situation closely and will cancel services and programs and implement additional controls if recommended by the MN Department of Public Health. Suspending worship services would lead to additional complications and concerns.
Saturday, March 7, 2020
We recognize that at this time of the year, and particularly with current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) concerns, many are thinking about steps to take to limit the spread of respiratory diseases. This might include more frequent hand washing, greeting your worshiping neighbor with a smile or fist-bump rather than a handshake, and staying home when you have cold or flu symptoms or if you are at increased risk of complications.
“Luther’s counsel, based on Scripture, is still sound. Respect the disease. Do not take unnecessary risks. Provide for the spiritual and physical needs of the neighbor. Make use of medical aid. Care for one another, especially the most vulnerable.”Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (https://www.elca.org/News-and-Events/8025)
Please stay informed (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html) and do what is best for you and your family. We will be using individual cups for communion for the next few weeks. To serve those who do need to stay home, look for a livestream of our message each Sunday morning on our Facebook page.