May 28 Letter to Congregation

MAY 22 UPDATES

Greetings in Christ’s name! Here are several updates from our congregation:

  • Council met Thursday evening May 21st. Here are several items which were discussed and approved:
    • Face to Face Worship will resume outside in June both on Wednesday nights (6:00 PM) and Sunday mornings (10:00 AM). at the Peace Chapel on the Northeast corner of our property.
      • Safety is a priority – so if you are in a high-risk population remember the state and CDC recommendations encourage you to stay home.
      • If you are feeling sick, please stay home.
      • If you have been exposed in the last 14 days to someone who has the virus please stay home.
      • We will continue our live radio broadcast and live-streaming of Sunday worship at 8:30 AM on 1270 AM.
      • There will be no hand shaking, no offering plates passed (there will be a basket to drop off your offering as you come to worship or as you leave), no fellowship after worship.
      • Singing will be limited.
      • Following CDC recommendations, we are asking everyone who can to wear a mask.
      • We will be practicing social distancing – plans are to mark spots on the grass.
      • We ask that you bring your own chair or blanket to sit on for the service.
    • Council agreed to enter into an experiment, adding a part-time position “Congregational Relationship Facilitator”. This person will work to build up relationships within the congregation including working on starting a small group ministry.  The job description and application will be available on the website next week or in the church office.
    • Council heard that finances continue to be strong because of people’s generosity and careful scrutiny of all expenditures by staff. Income exceeded expenses by $11,800.  Thank-you for your generosity. Please consider signing up for reoccurring on-line giving.  You can find our Giving Plus + app on your smartphone or on our website.
  • This weekend we celebrate our senior high grads. During worship there will be a slide show with pictures sent in by our grads, this will include a special time of prayer.

As always, we continue to be available to you.
God Bless
Pastor Mark

May 15 Updates

MAY 6 UPDATES

Greetings All!  Trinity Lutheran’s Church Council met last evening.  The council has decided that for now worship will continue through our on-line campus at least through the end of May.  In the meantime, council supports of the work of the Safe Opening Task Force to create recommendations for Trinity Lutheran’s Opening, council will watch the number new cases in this area and council will create a plan of congregational activities for the coming months.

Council had a good discussion leading up to the decision they made.  They are mindful of how important the gathering of our community is, how people long to be back together and at the same time are aware of the risk this virus possess – especially to those who are in a more vulnerable population.  Trinity has an excellent group of faithful leaders serving on council.  I am thankful for them and their work.

Trinity’s “Safe Opening Task Force” has met once and will meet again tomorrow (May 7th).  This group of people who have backgrounds in the medical field, public health and education are tasked with providing recommendations for council.

Your council will meet again for their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, May 21.  During that meeting council will continue to craft a plan for the future.  Your input is always appreciated, contact any of your council members.

Remember, we continue to worship every week.  You can join us at 8:30 on 1270AM Radio or for the Facebook Livestream of our worship.  An edited version of that livestream is posted later in the morning.  Your pastors are always available to you for conversation and prayer.  Please do not hesitate to call.

God Bless,
Pastor Mark Narum

MAY 1 UPDATES

With the announcement that businesses within the state may begin to reopen – the question arises, “What about worship?”  Thursday evening, April 30th, Trinity’s Church Council Executive Committee met to discuss that issue.  They have chosen to call a special Church Council meeting for next week for further conversation.

Below are two documents provided by the Western North Dakota Synod to help congregations.  These documents are a helpful framework for our process of making decisions.

  • The federal government has created Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, which states that Phase 1 of reopening begins when there are 14 days of declining new cases. Burleigh County has recorded new cases a couple of days this week which would seem to indicate we do not even meet the criteria for Phase 1 of reopening.
  • Your Executive Committee believes our focus needs to be on providing as safe a worship environment as possible before reopening. With that in mind they want the full council to have time to review the synod documents before making any decisions.
  • Worship does continue. We are continuing to provide opportunities to worship through our radio broadcast, live streaming and an edited version of the morning worship.  Add to this we are offering three different Bible Studies thanks to Pastor Brian Knutson and our partnership with St. Luke, Wishek.  Gracia Johnson is providing weekly Youth Lesson.  I am providing a weekly devotion called entitled “Thoughts of a Prairie Pastor.”

We are looking forward to the day when we will be able to worship face to face again.  To prepare for that a task force is at work discussing protocols for safely worshiping.  When we do return, government standards call for strict social distancing., which will limit the number of people in the sanctuary and where we sit.  We need to look at our communion practices and other worship practices which have the potential of spreading this virus.

Please continue to keep your council in prayer.  Do not hesitate to reach out them to share your thoughts.  Know that I am always available for conversation as well.

God Bless you and keep well.
Pastor Mark Narum
Trinity Lutheran  – Head of Staff

Returning to the Sanctuary Synod Guidelines
Returning to In Person Gatherings Synod Guidelines

APRIL 27 UPDATES

Greetings in Christ’s name!  We miss seeing you for worship, church school, quilting or for those times people would just stop the office.  We look forward to the day when we are able to gather face to face again.  In the meantime, here are several updates:

  • A “Return to Worship” task force is being gathered.  We could still use two people willing to help us think through what practices will need to change when do return.  The virus will not be gone and we will want to do the best we can to keep people safe and healthy.
  • At the moment we continue to partner with Grace, Driscoll and St. Luke, Wishek.  This is a true partnership.  While we invite the people of these congregations to join us either through the radio or through Live Streaming – Trinity benefits by having another excellent leader help us with worship and an excellent leader providing Bible Study material for all three of our congregations.  It is a win for everyone involved.
  • Thank-you for your continued financial support of our ministry in Christ’s name.  Stewardship is believing that everything we have has been provided by God.  I am thankful to all of you who are joyfully sharing a portion of your time, talent or treasure.
  • We have worked hard to make it easier for members to give electronically.  First, through our website trinitybismarck.com, there is now a donate tab in the upper right corner.  It will take you to a spot where you can give electronically through “Give+” the same provider we have been using for years.   You may also add a “Give+” app to your smartphone.  Search the app store and follow the directions for setting up an account.  Whether through our web-site or through your smartphone, you have the choice of making a one-time gift or a recurring gift.  Again, thanks for your generosity – through your giving ministry in Christ’s name is happening.
  • Trinity has applied and been approved for the Paycheck Protection Plan through the Small Business Administration.  This loan will become a grant as long as the funds are used for payroll and no staff are laid off.  Through this federal program Trinity and the Banquet have received approximately $73,000.
  • A member has provided us with a Thrivent Regional Board Member Grant, $6,000 of it will go to the Banquet.  $4,000 is available to provide grocery grants to people in need.  Please let the church office know of individuals who could use this help.
  • Affirmation of Baptism (Confirmation) Services and First Communion celebration has been put on hold until this fall.  We will keep the congregation update.
  • Pastor Mark continue to collect the “laments” of people from our congregation.  What is it that you miss?  What are you grieving?  Take a moment to let us know – [email protected]

Blessings to all of you.  May God continue to walk with you in these days.

April 6 Updates/Easter Letter

APRIL 1 UPDATES

-In alignment with recommendations from the President, the CDC, the Governor and our synod – we will not have public worship at least until April 30, 2020. 

MARCH 19 UPDATES

-We are closing the church to public access. You can call ahead if you would like to meet a staff member or pastor. We will gladly spend time with people who need to talk and pray. The Banquet will continue to serve “take out” only at the North doors.
-Our Sunday morning Radio Worship will continue – join us on 1270 Super Talk – Sunday 8:30AM or go to our website trinitybismarck.com for an audio live stream of this service. A very small group of a sound tech, a couple of musicians and pastors will continue to provide the live worship service. The sermon will be posted in podcast form within the next day.
-In alignment with recommendations from the President, the CDC, the Governor and our synod – we will not have public worship at least until April 6, 2020. The week prior to April 6th council will reconvene to consider options going forward.
-A funeral policy has been put in place limiting any funerals to gatherings of no more than 10 people. In the midst of death know that our pastoral staff will walk with the family in the midst of their grief. We will work to provide live streaming of such services so other friends and family can be involved via technology.
-We will continue to use technology to provide worship resources for your family. Every Wednesday there will be a video with scripture reading, meditation and prayers.
-Pastors are available to talk with anyone experiencing difficulties – don’t hesitate to call.
God bless – know this at Trinity we are offing Christ’s hope for all. Pastor Mark Narum

March 16 Updates