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Messages - GalRevRedux

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Your Turn / Re: Masks
« on: July 30, 2020, 11:07:55 PM »
We returned to public worship on June 28. Pews are marked to indicate proper seating for social distancing to be maintained. We take temps of every person on arrival, and keep track of who attends so we are prepared in case contact tracing is needed. Everyone wears a mask. We have a box of surgical masks in case someone forgets. Hand sanitizer is everywhere, little bottles are in all the pew racks. At first, community reading was minimized and we held off on hymn singing. This coming Sunday a hymn will finally be included.

Hymnals and pew Bibles are stacked up on a shelf for the time being, though now we are being informed that it might be ok to use them without extensive post-worship sanitizing. We are weighing it all out.

We are a small congregation and i am only the Interim Pastor. Even in our small setting, we agonize over every decision. With the age of our members, we have to be extra cautious. The younger folks have not come back yet. Hopefully we will not be locked down again, but rates are climbing in Illiniois so it would not surprise me.

No one complains about the masks.


Your Turn / Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« on: July 29, 2020, 06:16:40 PM »
Charles, I am so sorry for your loss. My feline companions make isolation bearable. I thank you for loving your kitty so long and well.


Forum Blogs / Re: Prayer Requests (New)
« on: July 20, 2020, 08:30:02 PM »
I am heartbroken to lose a woman who so quickly became a trusted and dear friend. Knowing she and Joe are together and in the bright presence of the Lord is reassuring.

Thank you, John, for sharing this sad news.

Rest eternal grant her, oh Lord.


Your Turn / The Babylon Bee stings again!
« on: July 02, 2020, 05:47:05 PM »
I tried to find the existing thread but could not. My apologies.

The Bee takes a jab at the ELCA:


Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: June 15, 2020, 10:45:12 PM »
This link was sent me earlier today by email.  There is a little rough language.

I am a big fan of Regie’s blog. He is rough but he lives in reality. The challenges of raising his special needs daughter with fierce love are brilliantly expressed.

Your Turn / Re: Singing in Church
« on: June 10, 2020, 07:26:32 AM »

Homeschool science time. Everybody get a straw, and some paper to make spitballs.

Go on outside. Now, make a spitball. Put it in one end of the straw. Blow throw the straw with the same force as if you were speaking.
Mark how far it goes. Repeat 4 more times to get an average distance.

Repeat the process, but this time blow into it as if you were bellowing out "Holy, Holy, Holy."

Want to to guess which spitball traveled further?

And now you see the reason for restricting singing. I am very tempted to quote Jessie Pinkmann at this point, but will refrain.
I don't see the reason for restricting singing. Common sense says that if you exhibit no symptoms of being sick, you likely are not getting anyone else sick. Part of the Covid panic was the idea that large numbers of asymptomatic people were nevertheless spreading the disease to vulnerable populations. But that was mostly just a theory extrapolated from very sketchy, preliminary data and and one widespread anecdotal case in which a local outbreak was traced to a choir. No actual evidence I'm aware of contradicts the common sense approach. The scientific consensus seems to have solidified around the common sense idea that asymptomatic people are not spreading the disease to any alarming degree. Hence the taking of temperatures before entering hospitals. But anyone who knows anything about homeschool science knows that when some claim is counter-intuitive, it bears the burden of proof or must be accepted on faith in a trustworthy source. The idea that singing is dangerous lacks both of those criteria.   

Jus to note , this.

Your Turn / Letter from former Papal Nuncio Vigano
« on: June 09, 2020, 12:08:08 PM »

Has this already been discussed? It arose in our local pastors’ group this morning.

I apologize if this is old news.


Your Turn / Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« on: June 06, 2020, 07:59:04 AM »
I keep hoping a payment will show up. In any form.

Your Turn / Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« on: May 13, 2020, 09:13:30 PM »
Threads like this make me feel that I dwell in a theological “Groundhog Day” of despair.


Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: May 10, 2020, 11:41:41 AM »
Today Bishop Lecakes (president of the Atlantic District) sent a document to pastors in the Atlantic District called, "Return To Operations." We are at least another month (at least) away from returning to corporate worship in downstate NY (Westchester, Rockland, NYC, LI), but this was sent now in the interest of being well prepared. Major kudos to Bp. Lecakes, the praesidium of the Atlantic District, and the district's Task Force 8 (disaster preparedness/relief). This is a thorough and helpful document. I'm very thankful for the leadership of our district during these days. It's been top notch.

I've heard from several friends in other districts that they are not receiving much guidance, so I'm sharing this just in case that's also the situation for some of you.

M. Staneck

Thank you Atlantic District. This document is helpful and runs along the lines of what we have been pondering in our congregation leadership.

Thank you for sharing this most practical resource. I have been sharing articles and lists with my people that can only be described as draconian. This is more accessible.


Your Turn / Re: Online Communion: NALC Bishop Selbo Weighs In
« on: April 08, 2020, 10:09:43 PM »
Bishop Selbo shows uncommonly (for Lutherans) sound "episcopal common sense." (Surprised to know that his background has been "low church" since it hardly shows in this statement.)

Blessed Holy Week to all.   Peace, JOHN

This excerpt makes quite an impression. I think it is clear that +Bp. Selbo sees himself as evolving in his understanding of his role as our bishop.

I was even more impressed by seeing this in context. At the Webinar he hosted for the NALC clergy, he addressed this subject saying that he felt he could not tell the pastors what they had to do. His delivery and discomfort made it clear he wanted to forbid such a practice.

Now comes this letter, which begins with our +Bishop describing his process of reflection, discussion and decision. He describes his own process of owning the responsibilities of the office and enumerates some of the constitutional duties involved in his office. He describes consulting with our past bishops, and the ramifications of these new, extraordinary practices on church unity and ecumenical relationships. I was truly grateful for this.

Since the congregation to which I belong had announced the intention to do “virtual communion” on Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday, I am awaiting their decision. The letter allowed that it might be too late to change plans already in place. Waiting to see what our pastor decides.



As Donna said in the post prior, it has the potential to turn Holy Week celebrations into a cause for dissension and grief.

As an aside, when they gave a recipe for bread so that everyone could participate in the process, did they include instructions for what to do with the rest of the unknown number of consecrated loaves after the service.?

No, no instructions. I guess we are supposed to keep peanut butter handy for post worship fellowship.  ;)

Yesterday I received an email from the congregation to which I belong. The pastor outlined plans for Holy Week and Easter.

He then explained that we would be participating in a virtual communion on Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday. He explained how it would work, and even included a recipe for communion bread so we could all participate in this process.

I was devastated. The way he partly put the burden of this decision onto the church council disturbed me. But the whole concept of this upset me far more than I had anticipated. Of course I am sure it will be popular in our congregation. But it just feels so forced, precious and inappropriate to me that I couldn’t  imagine my pastor had said “okay.”

Paul Hinlicky expanded his initial FB post on this subject into a most meaningful article which I have found very helpful.  I link it here.

Having promised at ordination to see to the oversight of the administration of the sacrament in good order, this just rattles my cage. I have not yet discussed this with my pastor - I will, I must.

I grieve.


Your Turn / Re: Worship can be livestreamed, but communion can't?
« on: March 23, 2020, 05:47:42 PM »
Paul Hinlicky posted the following on Facebook today. Thought you might find it a worthwhile contribution to this discussion.

Further thoughts on Eucharistic fasting. As I think 1 Corinthians and the Lutheran Confessions make it abundantly clear that the Lord’s Supper is a communal meal for the faithful gathered in koinonia/sharing of the body and blood of Christ to eat and drink together from the one loaf and the one cup, there are additional reasons having to do with our culture that I think we should recognize. The fast imposed upon us by the virus summons us to sober social self-examination. I would refer to two books that I’ve read in recent times in corroboration.

The late Jean Bethke Elshtain was a friend of mine, especially in her years of fascination with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Vaclav Havel. Her final book, Sovereignty: God, State and Self develops an innovative and penetrating critique of our culture of “excarnation,” the opposite of Christian belief in divine incarnation and the ultimate redemption of the body. Her point is that the modern dream of the domination of extended things by thinking things initiated in Descartes’ philosophy has brought us to a point where our greedy “lust for domination” has turned against the human body itself, which we increasingly regard as nothing but a thing, putty in hands to be manipulated by never satisfied egoism. Of course the body is fragile and vulnerable. But in Christian faith that state of creatureliness is to be affirmed as something precious, not a liability to be overcome or even left behind by technology. Against this culture of “excarnation,” the church must uphold the integrity of the Lord’s Supper as a koinonia in the body and blood of Christ, – particularly the Lutheran confession, which has held to the bodily presence of Christ in the supper. You cannot transmit the body of Christ, which is the loaf designated by Christ’s word of promise, This is my body, through fiber optic cable or Wi-Fi while the thought of transmitting the words of institution to households de facto privatizes and factionalizes the Lord ’s Supper.

The second book is Johann Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – And the Unexpected Solutions. This is a book I would urge every pastor to read because, like Elshtain, Hari argues against the pharmacological tendency toward separation of the thinking thing, the brain, from extended things, the social and physical environment. As a college professor I have watched in amazement in the last 20 years as a generation of young people has descended into a fog of anxiety and depression all the while striving to maintain the real utopianism of the modern self with its inflated ambitions, utterly disregarding all the negative signals they are getting from their own bodies.

What has all this to do with Eucharistic fasting during this time of the pandemic? As in divine love it is the glory of Christ to descend into our hands, into our mouths, into us who are bodies that he may bind us together with all the other bodies to whom he communicates himself, so it is Christian love, recognizing the organic solidarity of the common body of humanity, temporarily to refrain from the real Lord’s supper (and not to put out and ersatz Internet Lord Supper’s), is a sacrificial act of love for the sake of those most vulnerable to the epidemic.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: March 02, 2020, 05:13:03 PM »
This morning I attended a lecture by Dr. James Dobbins who is a University of Illinois epidemiologist working with the CDC. I learned a great deal about research, disease spread, the current issue and also the realities. He advocated for due caution but no panic.

One resource he recommended is this to-the-moment map from Johns Hopkins. Worth a look.

I will be happy to try and answer any questions regarding this presentation.


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