Dear Congregational Family,

 

1.  Connection:  We are all feeling a certain amount of disconnection right now!  This is really difficult and makes us realize even more how God created us to live in connected community with each other!  It is for our health and sanity as well!!  We are trying staying connected together as a church family throughout this time, by utilizing the following means:

 

    1. Email:  Two on Tuesday – which you are reading right now!

       

    2. Social Media: We have been recording and posting our worship services (Wednesday Lenten Services, and Sunday Services) online.

      1. Go to ruthfred.org where you can simply click on the service and watch it on youtube, or go to our Ruthfred Facebook page, podcasts, etc. 

      2. I have also been regularly posting a 2-4 minute word of encouragement on our Ruthfred Facebook page as well.

      3. Please “like” and share these services in order to widen our outreach to others at this time.  We have had hundreds of viewers from all around the nation already.

         

    3. Phone Calls: Pat Lutz has been helping me tremendously to call on many of our members during this time.  Our leadership team has been doing the same.  I am so delighted to hear that so many of you are doing this on your own and caring for those who God brings to your mind.

       

    4. Zoom: Vicar and I are teaching Confirmation online by using the Zoom app.  The youth love it!  Brandon is also connecting the youth this way as well several times a week.  Please let him know (brandonfouks@ruthfred.org) if your youth is not yet connected.  Our council is also getting connected online for meetings.

       

    5. Bible Reading: I am so glad that so many in our congregation are reading through the Bible together!  Those doing it with the Bible app are able to comment with each other about each day’s reading as well.  If you want to connect in on this, send Don Roose a text message at: 412-584-2112.

       

      2.  Online Services:  Special thanks to Andrew Vogel and David Compel for making this possible.  We are putting much effort into making the services available as we know they have been of great value to our congregation to help us stay (and even grow) closer to God and to one another through this season.

       

      3.  God at work:  As I reflect back over this past year, even just the past three months, I marvel how God was preparing us, providing for us, and bringing together the right people and technological skills to lead and enhance our ministry for this time!

       

      4.  Future plans: Every day is certainly a new day!  I think we all realize this now.  We are living and ministering on a day-to-day basis.  Even though Allegheny County now has “shelter at home” regulations, I am thankful for the religious exemptions which allow us to carefully continue recording and uploading services from church.  It is certainly different preaching to an empty sanctuary, but I in my mind, I imagine you all here in your regular places!  I look forward to when we will all be back together in the sanctuary again!

 

5.  Finances: Thank you to many of you who have continued to faithfully give as you are able, to the ministry of our church!  This is of significant importance as we desire to:

 

  • Continue our ministry at Ruthfred.

  • Continue to worship the Lord through our tithes and offerings. 

  • Continue to support our many benevolences and missions through Ruthfred’s benevolence fund giving. 

  • In order to do this, you may:

    • Give online at ruthfred.org.  It is easy and secure to sign up for online giving.  It is all set up, and a growing number of people have been utilizing it this past year already. 

    • Give your offerings by mailing them (as some of you have been doing) to the church office at: 

Ruthfred Lutheran Church

3401 South Park Rd. 

Bethel Park, PA. 15102.  

 

Our leadership financial team has already put together a plan to securely count, credit and deposit these gifts.  Thank you in advance,  for your continued generosity in this matter!

 

6.  C.S. Lewis:  Lewis lived during WWII and during the Cold War which followed.  During the Cold War, everyone lived under the shadow of fear of the Atomic Bomb which many feared would annihilate the human race forever from the planet.  Below is an excellent quote from Lewis during this time.  It gives some wisdom for today as we live under the shadow of societal fear of the Coronavirus.  This does not mean to make light of the seriousness of the virus in any way, but it does cause us to consider life and death and the confidence that the Christian can have in living life in the Lord.  Even when we are surrounded by panic, we can have peace.  (An excerpt from Lewis follows below.)

7.  Lenten Services:  Our theme is “Seek the Peace of the Neighborhood” which is based on Jeremiah’s (chapter 29) call to the people of God to love their new neighbors in Babylon, with the Peace of the Gospel.  Thankfully Jesus came to our neighborhood to bring us the Peace of Salvation.  God calls us to live out that peace and to share it in our neighborhood as well.  The service for tomorrow is on Prayer and will be available online.

 

8.  Sunday Sermon:  The message will be from Joshua 24.

 

God bless you as we continue,

           “Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God”

                                              Pastor Carlson

 

Present Concerns: Essays by C.S. Lewis

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors – anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.