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 Your health and well-being should not be superseded by the sense of mandatory attendance.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
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you'… You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:43-44, 48
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
There was a day, when like brothers and sisters in a family, you had squabbles daily, but anyone outside the family best not pick a fight with my brother or sister. On a larger scale, we may have squabbles with fellow citizens, but should someone beyond our national borders launch an attack, we are sure to respond in unison. If you were around on the day, September 11, 2001, you remember the shock on first hearing word of the planes flying into the World Trade Center. The first thoughts went to "this could not be…it must be accidental." By the time the plane flew into the second tower, we realized that this was not just a freak accident. While still in shock, we immediately began searching for answers. Who was responsible? Even as our nation turned from rescue into recovery, we sought to find the culprits who were responsible, so that we could hold them to account for their actions.
They say time heals, but so it also has allowed for other changes to take place. Were such an attack take place now, would we still respond in unison, or would we more likely be searching for the person, or persons, who allowed it to happen within our own borders.
We are a nation deeply divided by differences tied to political ideals. Those divisions have been the cause for crimes of hate; murder, assault on fellow citizens, rioting, vandalism, and theft have become all too common in daily news reports, even to the point that sides are polarized in cheering in encouragement or in condemning the acts as wrong. We often seek answers to legitimize our responses, by interpretation of law. More recently, I have even heard those who are Christians attempt sifting through God's Word, to validate their responses.
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." In the discourse preceding this quote, there was question by some that we might act differently depending upon whether you labeled one to be a neighbor as opposed to being and enemy. And in many cases, the quick labeling of one as "enemy" becomes much easier to claim, than calling one your neighbor. Jesus takes that crutch away from us if we are Christians.
For Jesus, it would have been much easier to call them enemies; the Pharisees and Sadducees (the Sanhedrin as a whole), Herod, Pontius Pilate and his soldiers, the Jews, the Romans…Jesus' disciples, you, and me. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans says, "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Romans 5:10). As the Son of God, Jesus willingly takes up the cross on which He will be crucified and will die, for those who are His enemies, to include you and me.
I pray that we may look upon others, not so much as an opposing force. In the coming weeks, we will again "take up our cross" in the season of Lent. We will be exploring questions, in our relationship to Jesus. Regardless how we see others in the world's view, may we see them as our neighbors as we "Return to the Lord!"
In His grace,