We have created this page to help keep the St. Peter Lutheran Church and School community up to date with information regarding how the current coronavirus pandemic is affecting St. Peter activities. A link to this page will appear on our home page until it is deemed that it is no longer necessary. Please be sure to keep checking this page for updates. We will also be posting updates to our Facebook page.
St. Peter Lutheran Church Revised Guidance for Returning to Worship
Psalm 95:6 - Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
Psalm 118:24 - This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Just over a year ago, the Board of Elders adjusted certain practices of the Divine Service in response to the ongoing pandemic. These changes (which were intended to be temporary) were enacted to limit physical contact and ensure social distancing. After monthly review of generally improving virus statistics, availability and acceptance of vaccines and testing, CDC and health official guidance, updated information on the decreased likelihood of virus transmission from surfaces, seasonal timing and member input, the Board has decided to restore our prior practices beginning June 1; while respecting individual considerations.
Over the period of greatest impact, we managed to continue with live-streamed services, then in-person services with modified personal contact and proximity. Many of these adjustments, while necessary for social distancing and reduced contact, came with detrimental effects to worship, including some disruption of the proper practice and flow of the Divine Service, a reduction in Christian fellowship, undue effect on proper reverence and table approach to Holy Communion and the inability to shepherd the entire flock based on attendance. We believe now is the right time to return to our prior practices and in turn follow the Divine Service as intended.
We will once again receive Holy Communion by table as we previously did. This will include the option of receiving the Common Cup for those who prefer.
The Friendship Pads will be passed to assist us in recording attendance.
The Offering will be collected during the service as before with the Offertory.
We will continue the live stream as a last-resort option to hear the Word.
We ask that everyone continue to maintain self-responsibility and treat each other with kindness and grace, as we each have different health risks, opinions, and concerns. If you feel that you need to wear a mask or use hand sanitizer to protect yourself, please feel free to do so. If you do not feel well, take care of yourself, and consider deferring attendance for the safety of your neighbor. As always, if you cannot participate in the traditional practice, please reach out to our Pastors so they can ensure that you receive Holy Communion.
Obviously, things may still be different between individuals, as with anywhere. We each may still find ourselves unsure of how others want to interact. Is it ok to shake this person’s hand? Give a hug? Sit close? There’s probably no perfect formula, but as with elsewhere, be mindful of your neighbor. If you prefer reduced interaction, please don’t hesitate to say that you’re being extra careful. If you don’t need restrictions, watch for the visual and verbal cues from those you interact with.
If you have questions, concerns or need assistance as we return to our normal worship practices please bring them to the attention to one of the Elders or call the church office and leave a message for the Elders. We are commissioned to ensure proper order of services and provide spiritual care. Let us help as best possible to ensure that you receive that care.
Thank you for your continued prayers for your church and all our members.
The Board of Elders
St. Peter Lutheran Church
Patrick Bates, Brian Beckrow, Jim Bluemer, Jim Dempsey, Gary Hahn, George Hilbrandt, Bart Hubbell, Andy Neuenfeldt, Joel Wardin
John 4:23 - But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
Colossians 3:14-17 - And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
October 29th (1:30 pm)
To protect the health of our School Community and per the Emergency Order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on October 6, 2020, St. Peter will provide public notice to our school community regarding school-associated cases of COVID-19. Within 24 hours of being notified of a school-associated case by the Saginaw County Health Department (SCHD), this page will be updated to include new and cumulative COVID-19 case counts. Individuals identified as close contacts of school-associated cases will be notified separately and directly by the SCHD.
STATUS OF INSTRUCTION AND SCHOOL-SPONSORED FUNCTIONS
Instruction: In-person learning remains unchanged.
School-Sponsored Functions: No changes.
SCHOOL-ASSOCIATED COVID-19 CASES
New Cases (Since Last Update): 1
Cumulative Cases (Since Reporting Began): 1
Populations Affected: Student
August 18th (8:35 am)
The Board of Elders met and have decided to continue the "summer" worship schedule (Thursday 6:30 pm and Sunday 9:30 am) for September and October. The Sunday 9:30 am service will continue to be live-streamed as well. We feel this is the best option at this time to balance the worship needs of the congregation as well as allowing us to continue to protect the congregation using the existing cleaning and sanitizing protocols laid out in our Return to Worship guidelines. The Elders will be monitoring our attendance numbers and will continue to revisit and revise the schedule as necessary moving forward. We do anticipate some services, especially as we approach the Advent season, may require special attention. but having these two months to continue to monitor the impact of the seasonal change in attendance and the continuing changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic will allow us to use more data to make those decisions. We thank the congregation for their continued patience and grace as we move forward. Please continue to pray for your church and our staff, faculty and volunteers as we look to God for guidance as we navigate these challenging times.
Please direct any questions or constructive feedback to any member of the Board of Elders.
May 25th (1:30 pm)
St Peter Lutheran Church Guidance for Returning to Worship
At the direction of both the LCMS and Michigan District, we will follow the recommendations of the CDC and our government in returning to “regular” physical worship at St Peter. The Saginaw area LCMS pastors, through discussion with our Circuit Visitor, have agreed to wait to open for worship together as a group of LCMS local churches. The date that has been selected, subject to further changes by the elected leaders, is June 7. There will be no Holy Communion until June 14 to allow time for training our members on how communion will be presented. See details below.
We will use common sense; if you are in high risk category, are sick or have been in contact with the coronavirus stay home and stay safe for yourself and others safety. No one should feel obligated to attend if they have concerns for their safety gathering in person. The service will continue to be streamed live and recorded, and we are working on plans for alternatives for Communion for those who may wish to avoid larger groups.
The church has been and will be cleaned and sanitized prior to each service, with special focus on any common use areas, door handles, restroom, etc.
If you are comfortable wearing a mask, please do so. Others may have reasons for not wearing a mask, so please be understanding of each individuals comfort level. All are expected to maintain appropriate social distancing as much as possible. Before you come to church make sure you bring your mask or other PPE items with you. The church has a limited supply of hand sanitizer.
Weather permitting, the entry doors to the church will be propped open, so that no one needs to touch them. We will close the outside doors during the service but will open them again prior to the close of service.
For the time being, there will be no attendance taken/passing of the Friendship Pad. The Elders will determine at what point in the future we will resume our attendance policies.
We encourage people to sit as families, but to maintain 6-foot personal social distancing space between families. People can use the entire church including the Chapel area. To assist with proper distancing, we may close every other or every third pew .
There will be no passing of the offering plate. The plates will be set in the narthex of the church for worshipers to place their offerings and tithes as they enter or leave services.
Communion procedures will be festival style. We will exit the pews to the side aisle and return down the center aisle, maintaining 6-foot social distancing between families. The Pastors will sanitize prior to and during the distribution and will place host in your hand and individual cup will be given to you. There will be no Common Cup for the time being. There will be a common blessing at the conclusion of the distribution.
To help us maintain social distancing as we leave church:
Ushers/Elders will excuse worshipers pew by pew.
Pastor will not shake hands following service but will greet from a safe distance.
Please continue to maintain appropriate social distancing if you choose to interact with others as you leave the narthex and in the parking lot.
If you have questions or concerns, please bring them to the attention of one of the Elders. We may not get everything right every time as we too are learning to navigate this new reality. Thank you for your patience with us.
Finally… A thought on moving forward (credit to Pastor Korte of Bethlehem Lutheran, Saginaw, MI)
”If there is one word to describe how we must navigate re-assimilation after COVID-19 exile, it’s this: GRACE. Some people will be confident, others cautious and most every stage in-between. There will be disagreements over acceptable post-COVID social norms between friends, church members and family. Hurt feelings will abound if we’re not careful. Extend lots of GRACE. Everyone is different. Wouldn’t it be terrible if after COVID-19 social distancing passes we “social distance” ourselves from others because of our inability to love others who approach Covid-19 differently than we do? It is extremely important that the church be a loving place full of GRACE. As leaders, we must lead the way showing GRACE.”
Thank you for your continued prayers for your church and all our members.
The Board of Elders
St. Peter Lutheran Church
Patrick Bates, Brian Beckrow, Jim Bluemer, Jim Dempsey, George Hilbrandt, Bart Hubbell, Andy Neuenfeldt
Note: To view a .pdf version of these guidelines, click on the button on this page.
May 15th (7:35 pm)
We will livestream our Ascension Day Service at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 21st. Also, beginning Sunday, May 24th, our Sunday livestreams will be broadcast at 9:30 a.m. as we move into our summer worship schedule.
May 3rd (11:55 am)
Per the governor's stay at home order, we will have livestream-only services until further notice. All services will be broadcast on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m.
April 10th (8:25 am)
With the governor's announcement yesterday of the extension of the stay at home order through the end of April, we will now have livestream-only services on Sunday, April 19th and 26th at 10:30 a.m.
March 23rd (8:50 pm)
As you probably saw today, Governor Whitmer has extended the closing of schools (and many other places) in her Executive Order. This means that we will not return to school until at least April 13. This also includes no child care until that date. Teachers will continue to communicate with you and your children during this week and then during the week of April 6. Next week is our scheduled spring break. We will not be sending home work and assignments during spring break.
March 23rd (7:00 pm)
The most precious gifts and treasures our Lord gives us are His forgiveness, life, and salvation. Through His innocent life and bitter sufferings and death, Christ has purchased and won us from sin, death, and the devil.
For the next few weeks, the most important thing we do as Christians, joining together in corporate worship, will not be possible due to the ongoing health concerns in our country. Gathering together in worship allows us to have fellowship with one another, receive the forgiveness of sins, hear the voice of God proclaimed through the Gospel, grow in knowledge of the Bible, feed our souls with spiritual nourishment, and be loved and encouraged by one another. Given the importance of worship in the life of God's people, we are making every effort to continue to hear the Word of God in the best way possible, even though we are not able to meet together and receive His body and blood through the Blessed Sacrament.
St. Peter currently has three ways for you to follow our services online:
through the link on our website (www.stpeterhemlock.org/live-stream)
through our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/stpeterhemlock)
through our YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/channel/UC6d-S1L2vxcAoFfgR4rUGbQ)
If you have a SmartTV, Roku, Chromecast, or AppleTV device, you can also watch our services on your TV, which is a better alternative than viewing on a small computer or tablet. Just search for St. Peter Hemlock in the YouTube app on your device.
We invite you to join us as the following services are streamed online:
Wednesday, March 25, at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 29, at 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m.
Palm Sunday, April 5, at 10:30 a.m.
Maundy Thursday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m.
Good Friday, April 10, at 1:30 p.m.
Easter Sunday, April 12, at 10:30 a.m.
Recordings of these services are saved on each platform so you can go back and re-watch them at a later time or share them with your family and friends.
You can also give your offering online using the following link: www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/1857669
As we worship together in our homes, we remember that we join our song with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven who are gathered before the Lamb upon His throne and worship Him both day and night. The saints on earth and the saints in heaven praise Him who is the beginning and the end, the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit reigns as one God, now and forever.
March 23rd (3:00 pm)
The church newsletter will not be sent out this month. Due to the continual changes in the calendar and the new executive order, we will wait to send out a newsletter until we are back to a regular schedule.
March 22nd (6:30 pm)
If there is anyone that does not feel comfortable shopping for groceries or is unable to do so, please contact Madison Fehn at (989) 573-2695. She will be happy to make arrangements to get you what you need.
March 20th (10:30 am)
Click on the link below for this week's church bulletin.
March 18th (5:00 pm)
We've added a link in our main menu bar to allow you to access our Coronavirus Update page more easily. We've also included an Online Giving link under our Church menu if you would like to give online.
Our church services for tonight and this weekend (March 18, 21-22) have been cancelled, but we will be providing a live stream Lenten service tonight at 6:30 pm and our Sunday service on March 22 at 10:30 am on March 22. There was some work done with our streaming yesterday. You will notice some changes to tonight's service, and work will continue to be done in the next couple of weeks to provide a high quality worship service online. See the update below for more information on how to watch our services online.
March 18th (4:10 pm)
We'd like to update everyone on our social media presence that we have been working on the past few days.
Our Facebook page is now much easier to remember:
We have also created a YouTube live stream page:
(Note: the address will eventually be shorter, but for the time being it is the link above.)
We have also set up a Twitter account:
Our current live stream service is now connected to our Facebook and YouTube pages, so you can now watch our live streams on those platforms as well as on our website as you have in the past. You can also find links to all of these sites in the footer of all of the pages of our website.
We hope that these additional platforms will make it easier for our members to stay connected during these unprecedented times. If you have any questions or have any difficulty accessing any of these new platforms, feel free to contact Scott Neumeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Brian Heinlein at email@example.com.
March 18th (10:10 am)
Letter from Bart Hubbell, Chairman of the Board of Elders:
Members of St Peter Lutheran Church,
The pandemic crisis has dominated the news for several weeks now, and we have all seen and felt the impact this situation has, and will continue to have, on our daily lives. By now, many of you have probably seen the video from LCMS President Matthew C. Harrison.
It is a wonderful response on behalf of our Synod that is both reassuring and informative. In his address, President Harrison reminds us that according to the Fourth Commandment, we owe our local and national authorities respect. He also points out our duty of love to our neighbors according to the Fifth Commandment.
In the spirit of these commands from our Lord, we are unable to provide in-person worship at this time. The restrictions on gatherings are intended to slow the spread of the virus and we must do our part to comply with the law and our duty to protect our fellow man. We will continue to provide livestreaming and recordings of our services from the link on our website @ stpeterhemlock.org
We will be evaluating the status of restrictions on gatherings day by day, and will make decisions weekly to help you plan. There will be livestream service only for the weekend of March 21-22, as well as the Lenten Service on March 25. Further updates will be communicated through the Coronavirus Updates page on our website.
While the livestream and recordings can help us be in the Word, we also want to make available the Sacrament of Holy Communion in ways that comply with the current restrictions. While we work to determine if an option for small group (<10) in-person communion is an option in the near future, please be aware you can make arrangements to receive Holy Communion and other Pastoral care in a private setting. Please contact the Church office at (989) 642-8188 to make any needs known to us or make a private appointment with the Pastor(s).
We are also aware that some members of our congregation and community may have additional needs as normal movement is restricted by the coronavirus precautions, especially those who are at increased risk due to age or health concerns. Please let the church office know if you need any assistance with tasks such as picking up groceries, medications or other household items. Anyone interested in helping provide these services can also contact the church office.
We move forward in the knowledge that our God knows our needs and hears our prayers. He is with us through this and all trials and tribulations in our Christian walk until He brings us to Himself according to His plan and in His time.
March 18th (9:45 am)
During this time of uncertainty in our country due to COVID-19, we are thankful for the support from our congregational members through your prayers, words of encouragement, and patience. May God strengthen us through this time as we are comforted by His Word in knowing He is with us always.
With the uncertainty of worshipping together for an extended period of time, it is our hope and prayer that we can support you through our live streamed services. Your weekly offerings may be mailed to the church/school office or you may also make contributions through an online donation. Your online donation can be earmarked by typing a note in the designated spot while making your donation (General Fund, Missions, Building, etc.). Please note that this online system is set up for the school, but all funds are able to be transferred to the church. To access our giving page, click the link below:
We know many of our congregational members will be facing financial constraints as will our congregation. We pray that God would direct our ways and keep us Anchored in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May we take comfort in these words from Romans 8:38-39, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
March 16th (4:35 pm)
This morning the teachers met to go over strategies to continue educating children in a new way. We know that this will only be possible with the help of parents and guardians so we appreciate your patience and feedback as we go through these next weeks together. Our main goal is to help keep children engaged in learning activities without causing additional stress to your family.
Here are some helpful tips to consider as your life changes dramatically over the upcoming weeks:
Create and maintain routines
Set up a daily schedule for the whole family
Set up a wake-up time
Set a time for school work
Set a time for lunch
Establish time for breaks
Set a time for exercise and to get outdoors
Set a time for socialization while maintaining social distancing
Use this as an opportunity to learn and grow as a family
Use this time as an opportunity and not as a burden
Stay optimistic and empathetic! Help others around you to maintain optimism
Your child's teacher(s) has and will continue to communicate with you and your child(ren) in different ways. Please check emails and Fast Direct to determine the different ways you will receive information. We understand that using technology may work for some age groups but not all, so we are providing additional resources for your child(ren).
In Grades K-4, we will have a special pick up day tomorrow, March 17, from 5:00-7:00 pm. This will be drive-up service only. Teachers will be delivering packets of information and homework to you in order for you to have the necessary work over the course of the next couple of weeks. You may either pull through the car line or park in the parking lot. Classroom teachers will let you know if these items can be sent digitally so you would not have to pick up. We are trying to give work to enable students to continue to learn and without requiring teaching time from parents. Our goal would be to have students engaged in learning for about an hour throughout the day (older students may be a little longer).
In Grades 5-8, all students are able to access their school email accounts, Fast Direct, and Google Classroom. Teachers will communicate lessons and assignments to them by 10:00 am each day. If nothing is posted by 10:00 am, then students will not have work in that subject.
Technology is definitely a blessing for times like these, but please also keep in mind that we want children to have limited screen time and plenty of time for indoor and outdoor play. We also want to encourage parental supervision with the use of devices. With our recent assembly from ProtectYoungEyes, it is important to stay connected with what your child is doing online.
Our third quarter ended on March 13 (we changed it from March 20 back to March 13). Report cards for third quarter will be available this Friday. Fourth quarter begins today, but grades are not a top priority. Our goal is to ensure students continue learning during this unprecedented and unconventional time.
Thank you for your help and feedback. As things continue to change, we will keep you posted with new information. We have a page on our website which includes all updates and schedule changes.
As we continue in this Lenten season, may our eyes continue to be focused on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We know that even in a time of this pandemic, we can rejoice and be glad because of what His death and resurrection has given to all of us, forgiveness of sins and life eternal with Him in perfection (with no more sickness and disease).
March 15th (1:00 pm)
All worship services have been cancelled through this Wednesday. A livestream of this Wednesday's Lenten service will be available on our website. We are hoping to resume regular worship services next weekend, but that will be decided at a later date.
The chili cook-off has been postponed. If it is rescheduled, we will publicize the new date here.
School is closed through at least April 5th per the governor's mandate. The faculty will be meeting tomorrow morning to discuss what types of instruction may be made available to students over the next two weeks. We will still observe our regularly scheduled spring break on March 28-April 5. Parents and students should continually check their email, FastDirect, and Google Classrooms for updates.
At this time, our PTL Auction is scheduled for April 18th, and we are planning to hold this event on that night. We are looking at other dates in May or June in case it becomes necessary for us to postpone the event. We will keep you posted with any changes that may occur. In the meantime, you may visit the current auction donation summary log by visiting our fundraising page. You can click here to go to the page.