These past weeks have been unpredictable and rapidly changing, day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour as the entire world is dealing with the threat of Coronavirus. There is still so much that is unknown surrounding this virus and it can leave us in a place of fear and uncertainty. Events are cancelling, schools are closing, restaurants are transitioning to carry-out only… even Disney World felt the need to shut its gates to encourage social distancing in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus.
I remember the first time I took Marsha and our children to Disney World 35 years ago. Kelly was about four and a half and Paul was nearly two. Paul was too small to be able to ride the roller coasters, but Kelly was just tall enough to ride, so I asked her if she wanted to ride with me. “Now, Daddy, they aren’t scary, are they?” She asked me. “No, they will be fun!” I told her as we got in line to ride Space Mountain. If you’ve been to Disney World, you know about Space Mountain. It’s a roller coaster completely enclosed in a building, totally dark, so you can’t see much of anything except “stars” in the sky. There are ups and downs, twists, turns… and there is no way to know what will happen next because you can’t see the tracks. I was having a ball, but Kelly was screaming at the top of her lungs! Not knowing what was going to happen, the fear of the unknown made this amusement park ride a terrifying experience for young Kelly.
That’s where we are right now. We are riding a roller coaster in the dark as we continue to get all this information about the coronavirus. This past week we’ve all been asking questions: How dangerous is it? How do we stay safe? What’s the right thing to do? How long is this going to last? We have so many questions and few answers at this point. It’s like riding a roller coaster in the dark. The impact of the virus is affecting every person in our community—even if everyone remains physically healthy. Greed and fear are driving the stock market and things are shutting down. We want to believe that we are in control of our lives, so when it becomes clear that we are not, it’s easy to let fear control our actions.
We are in the season of Lent, a reflective season where we have the chance to examine our faith at a deeper level to see the inherent need each of us has for a Savior. We have the chance to look into our hearts, let go of distractions, and focus on the most important experiences of our faith. Right now, you and I have are facing uncertainties about health, the economy, what may happen. It might appear that there is much that we’re not in control of, that we tend to lose sight over the things we can control.
We are in control of our outlook on life and how we spend our time. We decide our attitude; do we choose gratitude or fear? Will we allow ourselves to become self-centered or will we continue to focus on the needs of others?
Let me make a suggestion. Right now you and I should be having a daily devotional, every day we’re taking time to read our devotionals, we’re spending our time in prayer, and as we spend our time in prayer and as we’re reading our devotionals we focus on how much we love God and we will focus on how much God loves us. Faith is trusting in God’s constant love of us as His children and that helps us deal with not being in control of the circumstances that happen around us. Christ came to set us free from all that would hold us back from living the life for which He had created us. We can practice gratitude and focus on the needs of others – even when we are riding a roller coaster in the dark.
COVID-19 UPDATE – March 17, 2020
As we continue to monitor the developments regarding COVID-19 concerns, St. Luke’s is adjusting the ways we can experience worship, grow in our faith, and stay connected as a family of faith. We want to let you know about some of the things we are doing to follow the guidelines from the government.
As of March 17, all St. Luke’s programs and activities as well as outside groups that meet at any of our campuses are canceled through March 31.
Additionally, church offices are closed to the public and staff will work remotely when possible. Staff members will continue to be accessible via phone or email. In person meetings with pastors or other staff will be by appointment only and social distancing will be practiced. All of the staff are actively working to ensure that our family of faith remains connected through these unprecedented times.
St. Luke’s Childcare Centers will remain open per the guidance of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. We are increasing sanitization practices and remain vigilant in providing hygiene protocols to children and employees.
St. Luke’s wants to provide a sense of normalcy in our lives so we will continue to broadcast Dr. Long and Rev. Lambert’s WNA class on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. We will also live stream worship on Sundays at 10:50 a.m. We are actively developing additional ways to share, grow and serve through this situation. Please continue to look for St. Luke’s Daily Devotions and additional content on our website and social channels.
We are encouraging community groups and Sunday school classes to meet digitally through Slack and Zoom meetings. If you are a leader of a group please contact Rev. Josh Attaway at email@example.com to learn how this can be accomplished.
Please continue to be in prayer for all of those affected by this virus in Oklahoma and around the world. The church office phone number is monitored 24 hours a day, please call if you have a prayer request or any other needs. The church number is (405) 232-1371.
Because of the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, St. Luke’s is canceling all in-person worship and classes across our campuses tomorrow, March 15. We will stream a special Online Only service during our normal 10:50 a.m. worship time.
The health and wellness of our church and Oklahoma City community are important to us as we continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly.
During these trying and uncertain times, we are still called to be the church. Please continue to be in prayer for all of those affected by this virus here and around the world. Consider inviting a friend to worship online for a message of hope. We will continue to keep you updated about future events and programming.
Dr. Bob Long, addresses the concerns around the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the current situation at St. Luke’s concerning worship for Sunday, March 15. Dr. Long also shares three things that we can do right now in this uncertain time.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably felt a wide range of emotions lately with all the coverage of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As followers of Christ, we are not called to live in fear. But it is also important that we don’t act recklessly so as to negatively affect our own health or that of another. As a church, we are called to balance the ministries of bringing people closer to God, serving those in need, and worship – with the concerns that are brought about by COVID-19.
To be perfectly clear, we have not heard of anyone in our family of faith who has been tested for the virus or who has been exposed to it. Yet in the wake of different organizations suspending their events, I wanted to let you know of the actions we’re taking to be the church here and now.
First, we are not canceling worship. If a mandate is given for us to close, we will update you, but we are planning to have great worship at all of our campuses according to the normal schedule. We have heard from a few individuals that they felt it best to watch the service online rather than attend in person. If you feel uncomfortable attending worship in person, please join us live at 10:50 a.m. on Sundays at stlukesokc.org/live or on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/stlukesokc.
Second, we will let you know of any scheduling changes of our programming.Currently, everything is continuing as planned with two exceptions. We have become aware that some schools are telling students that if they travel during spring break to a place that is a “hotspot” or becomes one, that they won’t be allowed to return to class until a time of quarantine and/or screening. Because of that, we have decided to cancel our middle and high school spring break mission trips. We are planning activities for them to participate in at the church.
Third, we have been implementing a plan to allow everyone to feel as comfortable as possible when attending any programming at St. Luke’s. There are those in our family of faith whose physicians have advised them to limit touching other people. Out of respect to their needs and out of a desire to prevent any awkward situations between two people who have different levels of comfort right now – we are going to ask people to do more smiling and “elbow bumping” and only shake hands or hug if you have asked the other person first. Of course this will be difficult for the time being because we are a friendly congregation! But, please do your best to consider the needs and feelings of the other person; they may have a greater concern of the virus than you. We are working to create an atmosphere that people will know that they can still come and be able to maintain the level of contact of which they feel comfortable.
Cleaning Our cleaning crew does an incredibly thorough job throughout the week covering the entire church. We have been working with them to provide repetitive cleaning to areas that encounter the highest contact; they will be utilizing hospital grade disinfectant.
Food Service While our kitchens continue to maintain the highest standards, we will change the way we serve food. Rather than have “serve yourself” buffet lines, we will have servers wearing gloves serve the food to each person.
Holy Communion Holy Communion is a very important sacrament but we will not serve it during Sunday morning worship for several months. When it is served at times other than Sunday morning worship, we will hand each person a small individual cup and piece of bread. All of our communion servers will continue to practice handwashing and use hand sanitizer.
What can you do? Wash your hands. Use soap and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. This is one of the primary ways to limit the spread of the virus. Be thorough when you wash and do it for at least 20 seconds. You can sing the Doxology or recite the Lord’s prayer and make it a devotional moment!
Stay connected. We will continue to have worship and ministry programming. If you are sick, please stay home and watch our online service or television broadcast, Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on KOCO Channel 5. If you decide to stay home, please let us know so that we can stay connected.
Stay informed but not inundated. Listen to your physician’s advice but take a break from the constant barrage of news. Be sure to make time for God each day. Spend time reading your Bible and your daily devotion. Write down three things each day for which your grateful.
Share God’s Love If you know people who either don’t have a church home or who are staying home from their church, make sure to let them know about our online worship service or television broadcast. Send notes of encouragement to people you know – especially those who are alone.
Pray Pray for the development of a vaccine, pray for those who are sick; pray for those who have lost loved ones; pray for all medical staff; pray for people to not give in to fear; and pray for opportunities to share God’s love and bring hope to the world.
In times like these, it’s good to be a part of a family of faith. I’m grateful to be part of the family of faith with you!
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To notify us of a prayer request, please fill out our form, or call the church office at 232-1371.