June 1, 2020
On Monday, June 1, 2020 the elders conducted the monthly meeting, at which we reviewed the updated policies concerning church services in the state of Illinois. Beginning next Sunday, June 7, 2020, we will be conducting worship service at 10:00 a.m. Every attempt will be made to follow guidelines as published by the Illinois Department of Public Health. If you are part of a high-risk category, having health issues that preclude your attendance, please contact Pastor Kern, and he will plan to come to you for a visit. Your health and well-being should not be superseded by the sense of mandatory attendance. Our Bible Class and Sunday School will not begin again until a later date. The following steps will be taken, in order to meet guidelines:
Please understand this process is new to all of us. Some of what we do may appear to be totally "off-the-cuff." If there is something we can do to improve upon our service, please let us know. We pray that one day, these practices that impinge upon our fellowship as a congregation may be a memory of the past.
May 4, 2020
In a meeting this evening the Elders and the Pastor met, with the consultation of Diane Bertels (a nursing professional), and Rich Bertels (our congregational chairman) to discuss our ability to worship under the Illinois guidelines, and the possibility of receiving the gift of the Lord’s Supper once again. The governor in a recent statement found cause to exempt places of worship from a list of activities prohibited under the “stay at home” policies, while still leaving in place the ceiling of ten persons in any place at any one time. Face masks are mandated when the six-foot distancing is not kept.
While we appreciate the new ruling, that allows us to gather in small groups, we also recognize the restrictions are intended to keep our members, as citizens of the state of Illinois safe. That is after-all the purpose and cause of civil government, even as Martin Luther provides us in Catechetical instruction, regarding the Fourth Commandment.
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper remains important to us, in the message of salvation it brings into our personal lives, both in this world and for life eternal. Nevertheless, it is not our action of attending the meal…the frequency of attendance over period, but rather the faith that our Lord assures us by way of His meal. Some may find a hunger for the Meal more frequently than another. We look forward to the time when we may be able to partake of His Meal in communion with each other, but for now we will do so in group sizes that will protect us from the virus.
Because of the limitation of the numbers to assemble at any given time, we will continue to distribute worship services by way of the internet, for those having the ability to do so. We have provided copies by mail for those who are unable to do so. The church will continue to be open for prayer on Sunday mornings from 9:00 a.m. through 11:00 a.m. Beginning immediately, opportunities to receive the Lord’s Supper will be made by appointment with Pastor Kern. Please contact him, by way of the parsonage/church phone at (618) 377-6221 or his cell phone at (618) 610-0669.
January 6, 2014
Views from church on December 22 with ice reflecting in the trees.
December 7, 2013
In the event that this website is temporarily unavailable, consider bookmarking this link, where the service transcripts are also available.
Excerpt from Latest Newsletter
Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:9-13
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
Though New Year's Day is a national holiday in the United States, it is not, strictly speaking, a part of the Christian church calendar. It is, however, important to recognize that the life of the Church is clearly grounded in the liturgical calendar. According to this calendar, which began November 29, the First Sunday in Advent, we remember the first day of January, as the day of the circumcision of our Savior, Jesus (the Lord saves), the name of which crowns the entire year.
St. Paul wanted the Church at Philippi to know the significance of the name Jesus for her day-by-day life of faith. This congregation was close to the heart of Paul, and the feeling was mutual. What troubled Paul was that the congregation was having a hard time, so he again reminds them of the rock-solid comfort they could find, in the name of Jesus, to include everything He had done and will do for them. Paul does this by quoting the prophet, Isaiah, saying, "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.'" (Isaiah 45:22-23).
Even as Paul speaks to the struggle of the Philippian believers, we may be asking how this pertains to each of us. We face our own challenges in the twenty-first century; we look forward to dumping all the problems we faced during the year 2020, moving into the year 2021 so that we can forget them.
To the Lord Jesus Himself, the cross always was and always shall be His most glorious moment. It was His "hour." He was "lifted up," that is exalted above every other name in heaven and earth and under the earth. The cross marked His victory over sin, death, hell, and Satan. The very moment when the work of redemption and eternal salvation was completed, He shouts, "It is finished!" The glory of our Savior can be summed up by two words, "the cross!" His resurrection testifies to the fact that the victory won at the cross was a real victory. The empty tomb shows us that each blessing won at the cross—ever last one of them—has already started to flow to you and me.
This in mind, St. Paul turns his attention to the Philippians and to us. What about us? What about the hardships we have faced this past year? In the verses surrounding our text, Paul issues statements, that make sense to us only when we view them in the light of the cross. "Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ… for it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have" (Philippians 1:27, 29-30). Shortly after this text, Paul says, "Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise, you also should be glad and rejoice with me" (Philippians 2:17-18).
People who bear the name of Jesus, as people who have received through the cross all the blessing we could possibly need and desire for time and eternity, as people who have been baptized into His death and resurrection, we have become new people. As we take up our cross and follow Him, the cross becomes our glory too.
As we approach the New Year, seeking to put the year 2020 to rest, let us do so with the rejoicing in death—the death of Jesus, the Savior. Just as we participate in Jesus death, we shall also participate in His resurrection. In tears and in laughter the joy never ends! In Jesus, our joy is as lasting as His glory.
In His grace,