Church Updates

WLC Reopening Guidelines for Worshipers

WLC Reopen Process and Guidelines

These Guidelines are effective for Sundays June 7th through 21st. At our June 15th Council meeting, these guidelines will be subject to modification as deemed necessary by the West Lisbon Church Council. Any modifications will be communicated to the congregation on Sunday June 21st.

Worship Service

  • First and foremost, please remain at home and worship via the Live Stream if you have any concerns about physically gathering for worship. If you are sick, please stay at home. If you have a compromised immune system, please stay at home. Let me be clear, even though we are deciding to reopen with guidelines, the potential for risk still exists.
  • Secondly, come to worship, but come filled with the Holy Spirit and the Christian bond of peace and love. At West Lisbon Church, we have a congregation whose members have a variety of opinions on this whole coronavirus thing. I ask you to be civil, humble, and respectful of one another as we return to worship together. For example, some are “waiting at the door” so to speak to get back in on Sunday morning. Others still won’t feel ready to return. Both kinds of people belong to the Lord; we must be careful not to unfairly judge the Lord’s servants.
  • Thirdly, the Deacons, Trustees, Officers, and Pastor agree on the following guidelines for reopening West Lisbon Church for in-person worship. They are:
    • Masks - We will make disposable masks available and optional.
    • Entry & Spacing - When you enter the Sanctuary, please try to avoid crowding in the main entry. The points of entry to the building will be the main sanctuary entrance and the west fellowship hall entrance under the carport. Spacing is a great way for us to show respect for one another during this time. All other entries will be inaccessible. Every other pew will be closed, and our Ushers will provide guidance to make sure side-to-side seating keeps an appropriate physical distance. When you enter, you may sit in the open pews, but please understand that the Ushers may respectfully ask you to move in order to best utilize the seating that we have.
    • Overflow & Capacity - With the arrangement of every other pew, we have capacity for 100 worshipers. In the event that we exceed that number during this special time, we will provide overflow in the Fellowship Hall where the Live Stream will be available. Regarding restrooms, there should be no more than 5 people in the restrooms at a time. 
    • Greetings - Some people are already comfortable with hugs and handshakes. Other people are very much not okay with that much contact at this time. Be respectful in your greetings to one another. Ask if you aren’t sure. Modify your greeting and make it fun—try an elbow or boot bump. 
    • Communion - Since we are just getting organized for meeting again, we’ll re-introduce communion at a later gathering.
    • Offering - We still invite everyone to participate in online giving to the Operating Fund at westlisbon.com. Please note that the all online giving goes to the Operating Fund only. Giving to other accounts (e.g., missions, repair, memorial, youth, etc.) requires a handwritten check or cash with a written designation for those accounts. If you’ll continue mailing your checks in, let me invite you to do so early in the week, so that all checks can make it to our treasurer in bulk rather than in trickles. Upon returning, an offering box or basket will be located near the main Sanctuary entrance. Please drop your offering in the receptacle as you exit the worship service. The Trustees will collect and count the offerings as usual. Gentlemen, please wash your hands after counting the money and avoid touching your face during the counting process.
    • Bulletins - There will be two bulletins pre-placed per open pew. The online bulletin will still be available.
    • Water Fountain - The water fountain will be closed until further notice.
    • Hand Sanitizer - We have some at the church, but could use more as supplies diminish. If you can help with increasing our supplies, please talk to Emma Smith.
    • Cleaning - Our custodian, Emma Smith, has been regularly ventilating and disinfecting the building. She will continue to do so after each worship gathering. You can help lighten her load by picking up after yourself, not leaving trash behind in the pews, and by avoiding contact with door handles, light switches, etc.
    • Live Stream with People in the Building - The Live Stream will continue even after reopening, which means that you will be on camera at some point. By attending worship at West Lisbon, you are also agreeing to be viewed via the Live Stream of West Lisbon Church.
    • Exit - After the closing blessing, the worship team will play instrumental music. Please wait for the Ushers to dismiss your pew. It will be much like a wedding or a funeral in that way. The goal is to avoid a crowd in the main entryway. Once outdoors, feel free to visit.
Posted by Deacons of WLC

Pastoral Letter

Dear Members and Friends of West Lisbon Church,

Greetings to you in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the love of God the Father, and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit! 

I have really loved my devotional time in the prison epistles of Paul. One of the things that is always clear in his letters is his concern for the well-being of the churches while he was imprisoned. I pray you are safe and well in every way. I welcome drop-ins here at the church office, especially in the afternoon. If you need to talk or to get out of the house for a bit, feel free to drop-in and say hi. If you’d like a special visit from me, just ask. I don’t want to impose at such a time as this, but if you request a visit—I’ll mask-up and come say hello. Speaking of drop-ins, council members will be making the rounds this month to your houses to deliver a little book that I’d like us all to read together. It’s called Lessons from a Sheep Dog: A True Story of Transforming Love by Phillip Keller. Keller tells the story of his sheep dog “Lass” and of the spiritual principles he learned for his walk with God through his friendship with a “man’s best friend.”

In the last week, I have read a few, short articles that I believe express biblical thinking and approaches to the spiritual challenges of the coronavirus epidemic. First, Martin Luther in 1527 wrote an open letter entitled, “Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague.” Luther knew that there are two great dangers in the time of a pandemic or plague. The first is that Christians might abandon the sick out of fear instead of being available out of love. The second is that some may tempt God by taking circumstances too lightheartedly or acting too independently, without a care for others. Rather, he encouraged everyone to do their part in “putting out the fire of the burning city.” For what else is a plague or pandemic, but a “fire” that must be treated with caution, an overcoming spirit, and the fellowship of a community? 

All this to say, stay the course. Slow and steady. Love everyone in need. Do not neglect good and practical medical advice, as Luther advised people in his day. People—our elderly and our sick—are still at risk. The temptation to hastily return to “normal” and ease restrictions to the neglect of expert medical guidelines is real. Let’s industriously turn our circumstances into opportunities. We can always promote Christ’s agenda—no matter our circumstances. Just like Paul did while imprisoned. Our next sermon series will focus on 4 liberating truths for Christians from the imprisoned apostle. I hope you’ll continue to dial-up the live stream and stay connected.

For our own state and region, it appears that we are in a phase where we can enjoy and utilize gatherings of 10 or less people. We have already welcomed the worship team back into Sunday’s live stream worship service. At our Council Meeting on Monday, we’ll be evaluating how else or whether we may be able to utilize this in order to bring people together. One of my growing concerns in addition to bodily health is mental health. My hope is that we can create and utilize ten-person gatherings as a first step in restoring in-person fellowship.

Finally, thank you for sticking with it. Keep going. Have compassion for one another, especially when we get angry and frustrated. Our compassion now will enrich our fellowship later. Stay safe, but look for industrious and creative ways to do what we can. Remember our graduates in prayer this month. Our teachers, administrators, 8th graders, high school seniors, and students of all kinds have had quite the unexpected school year. Memorable for sure, but also, they’re missing out on many of the enjoyable celebrations and traditions, or at least experiencing them in ways that they never imagined. I want to extend my personal thanks for the impressive way I’ve seen local teachers, administrators, and parents handle all the adjustments. Our 8th grade graduates are Clay Friestad (LGS), Brooklyn Hatteberg (LGS), Kiara Wesseh (LGS), Lily Britz (Homeschool), and Gabi Maxwell (Milton Pope). Our high school seniors include Molly Breen (Yorkville Christian), Zach Szobar (Serena), Kenna Borton (NCHS), Meggie Scott (NCHS), and Lexi Long (NCHS). I wish all of our grads a hearty congratulations for their accomplishments and pray for perseverance and grace from God as they continue their studies or training in such a time as this. 

Before ending my letter, please be aware that some have reported having received suspicious emails from an email address that looks like mine, but it is not. If you receive any strange emails that you aren’t sure are from me, please call me to verify. 

God’s Richest Blessings to You in Christ,

Pastor Rex

Posted by Rex Howe

Social Distancing Guide for Meal Delivery

Friends of West Lisbon,

Delivering meals is an important way that we show our love for one another throughout the year. It especially brings an added warmth and connection right now as we are practicing social distancing. As we continue to minister in this way to loved ones, please allow me to advise you to practice these temporary guidelines when delivering meals:

  • Remember, many carry the virus without knowing it, so act as if you could be a carrier.

  • Wash hands when preparing food and before delivery.

  • Take hand sanitizer or disposable gloves with you to use for delivery.

  • Avoid touching your face. Strongly consider wearing a mask.

  • When arriving, please call or text the person so that they know you’ve arrived. Discuss how and where they would like you to place the meal(s).

  • If they’re interested, enjoy talking to them at an appropriate distance.

  • Upon returning to your vehicle, sanitize appropriately and as necessary with hand sanitizer or by removing gloves.

  • Try to deliver your food in disposable containers, so that the person/family does not need to return anything to you.

  • Share any other helpful advice with the rest of us!

In Christ,
Rex J. Howe
Senior Pastor
West Lisbon Church

 

Posted by Rex Howe

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