Dear Friends in the Augustana and Santa Maria community,

It has been an extraordinary week. The situation with the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 is continuing to evolve rapidly, and we are learning new developments almost non-stop.  I want to assure you that Augustana has been actively discussing and is working to address the developments to date.  This message addresses a few important updates.

First, after much prayerful consideration and discussion with members of the congregation, we are going to conduct webcast-only services for the next few weeks.  It was a difficult decision to suspend our in-person services, but we are mindful of our role in the greater community, and the advice from our religious and governmental leaders on the benefits of working together to slow the spread of the virus.  We are held together by our faith and our community, and we will demonstrate this unity during these difficult times.

Happily, over the next several weeks, ALBuM will broadcast our services.  This Sunday morning, Pastor Kleiber will conduct a Service of the Word at 10:30 am, which will include a reading or scripture and an inspiring sermon. The broadcast will be available live on our ALBuM Facebook page and on YouTube.  Pastor Caceres is exploring the possibility of sharing readings, prayers and a meditation in Spanish via Facebook Live for the 2:00 pm Santa Maria service. Carrie Pritts, our Director of Children and Family Ministry, is also working on options to engage with children and families virtually.  Please join us via the internet as we celebrate Lent, and please do not show up in person on Sunday.  Following this Sunday, we welcome your input on how we can improve the experience.

Second, the church office will remain open during the week. Church meetings will be conducted via conference call or ZOOM. Our pastors and staff will continue to connect and engage with our faith communities through in ways that preserve health and well-being.

Finally, we recognize that there may be difficult times ahead for our members, whether they be financial, medical, or spiritual.  Please let us know how this faith community can be of assistance.

The Augustana council will continue to monitor the Coronavirus situation and will communicate any new developments via email and/or the Augustana Facebook page: Augustana Lutheran Church – DC. Please make sure that your contact information is up to date on our new system, Breeze.  If you are having trouble logging in on Breeze or if you have not received an invitation with a link to log on to the Augustana Breeze web page, AugustanaDC.breezechms.com, please contact Danny Barlow dannybarlow@gmail.com

We ask for your understanding and cooperation as we navigate this unprecedented situation.  We invite your prayers and encourage you to view this helpful video from Bishop Eaton: Bishop Eaton on COVID-19.

We put our trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is with us always.

Faithfully yours,

Ron Mueller
President, Augustana Lutheran Church/La Comunidad de Santa María