The Covid-19 crisis is real, and we believe that it is important to act faithfully, without fear, but also to be proactive and use the many resources God has given to us. Pastor Jon and Pastor Jean have received periodic updates from experts such from organizations such as UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. They have also consulted frequently with Bishop Arends, and with colleagues from around the La Crosse Area Synod. Our primary concern is with the health of people and remaining connected, especially with those who are more vulnerable and potentially alone.
So, what can we do?
- Wash your hands! Wash thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. In the absence of soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Minimize physical contact, such as shaking hands.
- Minimize touching your face.
- During the Governor’s “Safer at Home” decree, heed that advice. Unless you need to, don’t go out – and if you do, keep your distance.
- If you haven’t gotten your flu shot, GET IT! The flu shot will not protect you from Covid-19, but it will keep you from an underlying condition that could make Covid-19 more dangerous, even deadly. And…if you get the flu you will tie up valuable resources. So, get the shot!
- Stay home if you are sick!
- Wash your hands (yeah, we know it’s a repeat – it’s that important!)
Remember that it is not just about protecting you, but also about our Christian and civic duty to be protective of others.
Our response as a congregation…
- Saturday/Sunday worship, along with midweek Lenten worship, is canceled until this crisis passes. This decision was not made easily, but it’s the right thing to do at this moment. For an interesting reflection on canceling worship, check out a March 13th article on “Five Ways To Be the Church When Church Is Canceled.”
- Each weekend a video featuring Holden Evening Prayer, along with a message from one of the pastors, will be posted by 6 PM on Saturday. You can access that worship experience on the “videos” page of this web site (www.oursaviorswestsalem.org/videos). We will also post a children’s message as a separate video.
- Wednesdays, from 7-7:30 PM, “Zoom” in for “Wednesday Prayer Around the Cross,” a time for brief devotions, conversations about our world in a faith context, and connecting. Go to https://zoom.us/j/520801254 at 7 PM. That link will be good each week. You may choose to download the Zoom software or not – your choice. If you are not familiar with Zoom, Zoom requires a microphone and camera on your computer, and allows all participants to see and hear each other (you can mute your microphone and turn off your camera if you like). You can also phone in, like a conference call if you prefer. We’re trying it out – hope to see you there!
- Holy Week and Easter worship is being developed. More details as we have them. For now the plan is:
- Maundy Thursday – we will try a zoom worship! Watch for the link.
- Good Friday – a “YouTube” video posted Good Friday evening to the video page.
- Easter – we’re working on it – more details to come.
- The Affirmation of Baptism (Confirmation) service will not most likely not be held on April 26, and will be rescheduled.
- Meanwhile, during this time a light will remain on the altar around the clock to remind us that even though the sanctuary is empty, God is still with us. And a light at the back of the sanctuary, shining through the stained glass window to Leonard Street below, will also remain on, to remind us that we are still called to make a difference in the world around us.
School lunch ministry
- Our Savior’s is working with others in the community, in partnership with the school system, to provide meals for children during the suspension of classes.
Moving forward the School District of West Salem plans to continue to provide FREE panther pack lunches to students while school remains closed due to COVID-19. In addition to the lunches, they have also started providing a sack breakfast. Both meals are picked up or delivered at the same time.
Starting on April 6th meals will be moving to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule to decrease exposure. You can choose to receive two days’ worth of meals on Mondays and Wednesdays. They will also be shortening pick-up time to 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Any child 18 years old or younger is eligible, but please be considerate to children who do not have access to food during non-school days.
To place orders, please fill out the form at the following link – Meal Order Form. All orders must be placed prior to 6:00 p.m. the day before pick-up.
If you don’t have internet access, you can call (608) 786-5301 between 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Monday-Friday. Please don’t leave a message, but call back until you speak with someone directly.
Lunches can be picked up at the West Salem Middle School (440 East Avenue) in the loop off East Avenue. Please do not exit your vehicle. Delivery will be drive-thru style, and someone will hand you your lunch. If you are unable to pick up, there will be delivery options within the school district boundaries.
IMPORTANT: Some contents of the meal will require refrigeration. If you do not consume the meal immediately, it must be kept at 41° F or lower in order to assure food safety.
*Special Dietary Needs: If you have special dietary needs on file with the school, please inform us of this when you place your order. We will do our best to accommodate while factoring in product availability and supply shortages.
Feed Our Children
In addition to the meals provided by the school, Hansen’s IGA has partnered with Feed Our Children West Salem to provide one free bag of groceries per week to families in need during the COVID-19 “ “Safer at Home” closures.
To pick up a bag you must first fill out the form below from the links below. There is a new form for each week, sign up time will close on Wednesday the week before pick up. You will then be able to pick up your bag the following week on Wednesday or Friday from 3-7:00 on the week(s) you filled out forms. Hansen’s will choose family-friendly staples for your bag. You will not be able to substitute any items. You must also give the grocery staff the information that you provided on this form in order to pick up a bag. Bags will not be distributed if you have not signed up. You may call when you get there (608-786-1730) and they will bring it out to your vehicle OR you may come in and ask a store employee to get it for you. PLEASE be patient, they are offering this as an essential service provider and donating their time to assemble these bags. They are very busy right now. *Hansen’s will not be taking these orders by phone.
If you have a child in your household 18 years old or younger you are eligible, but please be considerate to families with children who have a limited budget during this time.
If you have questions, please direct them to email@example.com with grocery in the subject line.
- THANK YOU for your support of this ministry…and for your prayers!
- The Care and Share Food Pantry remains open for business! The pantry, an ecumenical venture supported by the whole community and housed at Our Savior’s, is available Saturdays from 10 AM to Noon. Recipients need to bring two forms of identification.
- The pantry continues to rely on your generosity. While the building is closed, we will be present on occasion. To make a contribution call ahead to make arrangements for drop off.
- Sunday School…
- Sunday School classes are suspended until further notice.
- Children will be sent material for Sunday School, to use with a video posted each Saturday on the video page.
- If you want a copy of the material, contact Pastor Jean or use the “contact us” form.
- Confirmation activities will soon resume via zoom. Details will be sent out to parents before Easter.
- Confirmation students may view videos each week to submit worship notes. Parents have been sent “e-mail forms” for their children to complete and return via e-mail. If you haven’t received the form from Pastor Jon, please contact him. He’ll get it to you.
- Adult Bible study continues!
- Wednesday mornings, from 9:30-11 AM – Bible study, via Zoom. Each week go to https://zoom.us/j/187713252. I’ll be waiting for you!
- Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM. Zoom in at https://zoom.us/j/570417034.
- Most local nursing and assisted living facilities are now closed to outsiders, leaving us unable to connect with residents. We will try to find other ways t7th go connect.
- We are also aware that the hospitals are restricting visitors. While we may not be able to physically visit, we can telephone and provide support. Let us know when you are hospitalized.
- Beyond that, please contact us with pastoral care concerns. You can call the office, use e-mail, or the “contact us” form on the web site. We will connect with you – we can keep you in prayers – and even if we can’t visit, we can do some “telephone-care.”
- Moms! Don’t miss the Mom’s group. They are going strong, even in these days of crisis and confusion – check out their Facebook page for more information. Look for “OSLC West Salem Mom’s Group” – it’s a private group, but just ask – they’ll let you in. It’s been a busy place!
- We are praying! Every day, Monday through Friday, from 11:45 AM to Noon, someone is praying in their own space. Wherever you are, join them. And if you want to be one of the regularly scheduled pray-ers, let us know – we’ll sign you up! And listen for the church bell – we’ll ring every day at 11:45, as prayer time begins.
- The office and building are currently closed, other than the regular Food Pantry hours on Saturday mornings (10 AM – Noon). The pastors will frequently be in the office, but will not allow entrance to the building. Messages will be checked, and e-mail always gets through!
- If you know someone who has a need – an older individual unable to get what they need, someone needing childcare, or other needs, let us know. We have a growing list of folk willing to help out to make a difference. Maybe you could join them?
- Pastor Jon offers frequent “reflections.” You can access them on the “Pastor’s Blog” page, or send Pastor Jon an e-mail to get on the list.
- Remember that your financial support continues to be important.
- Though worship is not happening, the work of Jesus continues. From feeding hungry families, to connecting with those who are now distant from others, to proclaiming God’s work through Jesus, God’s work is happening. Lives are being touched as in a variety of ways we proclaim God’s message of hope to a very troubled and fearful world.
- This would be a great time to begin electronic giving. Click here to learn more about the options for electronic giving (there are several!) We thank you for all you have shared with us, and as you are able, we ask for your continued support.
- We will keep this page current, so check back frequently for updates.
The Apostle Paul says: “There is nothing in life or death that can keep us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:38-39). Not even Covid-19!
And Jesus says: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
These are tough times. We are frightened, anxious, and weary. But we are not alone. God is good, the grace of Jesus fills us, and the presence of the Holy Spirit surrounds us.
We may be distant from each other, but God is not distant from us, and the God who is in our midst holds us together as the Body of Christ!
Reliable links and resources…
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – resources for the church and the public – www.elca.org/publichealth
Centers for Disease Control – a variety of resources from the Federal Government – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html
Wisconsin Department of Health Services – a state resource with lots of information and links – www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm
La Crosse County Health Department – some local connections on Covid-19 – www.co.la-crosse.wi.us/health/
Gundersen Health Systems – local health system resources – www.gundersenhealth.org/services/infectious-disease/coronavirus/
WXOW – lots of additional links for more information on Covid-19 – wxow.com/2020/02/28/links-coronavirus-resources/