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What to expect for Christmas worship

We are thrilled to be celebrating the birth of our Savior, and to welcome you to worship our newborn King this Christmas! 

If you're not able to join us for worship in person, please know that all of our Christmas services will be live streamed on our Facebook page, facebook.com/TrinityArcadia, and on our YouTube channel, youtube.com/c/TrinityArcadia.

If you do intend to gather with us in-person for worship, here is some of what you can expect:

Christmas Eve

  • There are two identical services of Carols & Candlelight at 5 and 7 p.m. The service is a modified version of Lessons & Carols and, as the name suggests, includes a lot singing, as well as a series of Scripture readings and a sermon.
  • The service will last about an hour.
  • Seating capacity is limited on account of our Covid-19 precautions. Please plan to arrive early to secure your seat.
  • Please enter the church building through the center double doors. This will help with traffic flow and also keep the sanctuary warmer.
  • Overflow seating will also be available in the parish hall with the service streamed in.
  • In the event that we are at full capacity when you arrive, you will have the option to attend in the overflow seating area or to return for a later service. Please know that the last thing that we want to do is to turn anyone away!
  • Physical distancing is observed at all services; sit only in every-other pew, and within pews please maintain a 6' distance between households.
  • Masks are required at the 5 p.m. service, and recommended but not required at 7 p.m.

Christmas Day

  • The service of Holy Communion will be held on Christmas morning at 10 a.m. This is a different service from the evening prior. It is the customary Divine Service from the Lutheran Service Book.
  • In previous years, the Christmas Day service has much lower attendance than Christmas Eve, and so if you are anxious about crowds or want to be certain you'll have a seat, you might consider attending this service.
  • All the above precautions remain, and masks are required.

We look forward to worshiping with you this Christmas! 

Neighborhood Ambassadors

Neighborhood Ambassadors are simply disciples of Jesus who share God’s heart in their various “neighborhoods"—whether those be at home, in the workplace, at school, or elsewhere. As St. Paul writes, “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20).

By virtue of his baptism, every Christian is already an “ambassador for Christ.” As Jesus says, “You are the light of the world”; not “you should be” or “you’d better be” but you are. This is an identity that you already have as a member of the priesthood of the baptized—whether you acknowledge it or not!

If you want to grow in your identity as a Neighborhood Ambassador, we're starting a 10-week training in October. 

After an initial workshop (time TBD), the training will comprise three parts:

  1. Completing a series of 10 "missions," along with a partner
  2. Viewing the Joining Jesus on His Mission curriculum from Pastor Greg Finke
  3. Engaging in periodic debrief sessions with Ambassadors from the cohort

As a result of this training, participants will be more cognizant of what it means for them to a Neighborhood Ambassador, and more confident to share God's heart with their neighbors.

To learn more, or to register, e-mail Pastor T. at pastortinetti@gmail.com. 

 

Public worship resumes May 30th-31st

With gratitude to God and a posture of humble faith, Trinity Lutheran Church will resume public worship on the weekend of May 30th-31st, gathering outdoors at the Chapel on the Beach at Camp Arcadia and with significant precautions in place.

Worshiping together as the people of God and receiving His gifts in the gathered assembly is essential to Christian identity and vital to Christians’ spiritual, emotional, and mental health. The goal of the Elders and Pastor Tinetti has been to return to public worship as soon as we could do so faithfully and responsibly. With the stable situation of the coronavirus epidemic in our region, the easing of the Governor’s restrictions, and the example of other churches in our area (and across the state) resuming public worship, we believe that time has come.

That being said, we know that we are in uncharted waters, and our congregation has the unique opportunity to resume in an outdoor worship space. While this does pose issues like inclement weather, reopening in what we define as Phase B provides an extra layer of protection and prudence. We think being more conservative and taking a month to learn of any issues arising from churches reopening in their sanctuaries is being good stewards and balances our desire to resume public worship with care for our members and neighbors. We plan to exercise this additional prudence and operate in Phase B for a month to start.  We’ll monitor any learning from churches reopening in their sanctuaries over that month, and during June the Board of Elders and Pastor will make the decision to continue into July in Phase B or move on to Phase C.

Please note that the following only addresses the matter of public worship, and not other important ministry issues such as Bible study, VBS, etc.  These will be addressed in due course.

Phase A

  • Timeframe: current
  • Stream worship online
  • Upload sermon to podcast

Phase B

  • Timeframe: beginning Pentecost weekend, May 30th-31st
  • Meet at the Chapel on the Beach at Camp Arcadia, located at the end of Oak Street
  • Two services
    • Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m.
    • Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m.
    • A third may be added if necessary
  • Precautions
    • Attendance limited to 25% of Chapel’s capacity (= 75 people)
    • If possible, for purposes of determining capacity, notify Pastor ahead of time (pastortinetti@gmail.com) which service you plan to attend
    • Masks encouraged and will be available for those who need one
    • Guests at Camp Arcadia will attend a separate service from local residents and visitors
    • Those who are sick or showing symptoms are asked to stay home
    • Parking available in Camp lot; turnaround and handicap parking also available
    • Every other row of seats, adequate spacing between households
    • Sanitizer booths at entrance
    • Offering dropped into collection box
    • Seats and railings are disinfected between services
    • Single-use printed worship folders
    • Holy Communion will be continuous distribution with individual cups only
  • Worship will continue to be streamed online
  • Inclement weather contingency
    • In the event of inclement weather, services will be moved to Finch Park
      • Congregation will be notified via signs, e-mail, and Facebook
    • If the weather remains too severe, in-person service will be cancelled
      • Online service will still be available
  • Holy Communion will also be available at church on a household basis and by appointment

Phase C

  • Timeframe: TBD
    • The Elders and Pastor will continue to monitor the situation and make determination on a rolling monthly basis
    • Criteria will include stable infection rates in our region, learnings from area LCMS churches returning to worship in their sanctuaries, and progression through the phases of the MI Safe Start plan
  • Meet at Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Continue with multiple services
  • Above precautions continue to be observed, with modifications as necessary
  • Worship will continue to be streamed online in the near future

For some of you, this plan may be too cautious; for others, it may not be cautious enough. We believe that it balances our desires and our responsibilities as stewards of God’s gifts at Trinity Lutheran. We ask your continued prayers, patience, and understanding as we prayerfully seek to regather God’s people for worship with prudence and faithfulness. 

We also want to acknowledge that some parishioners may still feel uncomfortable gathering for public worship. No one should feel compelled to attend whatsoever. We respect the determination of each individual’s conscience, and will continue to provide pastoral care and access to the means of grace via other arrangements as needed. 

The COVID-19 epidemic is an evolving situation and this plan is subject to change. Contact Pastor Tinetti or one of your Elders (Chip May, Tom Dunn, Paul Scheppelman, Jack McKenna, and Mark Kuhlmann) with any comments or questions.

TLC Coronavirus Response

The coronavirus continues to spread throughout our nation, and we as a congregation must have a plan for response—especially as it gets nearer to us here in Arcadia. The purpose of this plan is so that we can move forward in a proactive posture of faith, rather than a reactive posture of fear. In these anxious times, it’s imperative that Christians be able to give a courageous and compassionate witness to the Gospel. 

In that spirit, and in consultation with our Board of Elders, I’ve developed a plan that identifies four critical actions for our church to take moving forward—recognizing, too, that the coronavirus situation is evolving and this will by no means be the last word on this matter. 

So, then, here are the critical actions that we have identified. 


1. A commitment to maintaining Word and Sacrament ministry in flexible and creative ways

Gov. Whitmer has ordered that there be gatherings no larger than 50 people, and President Trump went further and advised meetings of no more than ten. As Christians, it is important for us to honor those put in authority over us. And moreover, in love we must defer to the care of the weaker and more vulnerable in our community.  

Consequently, effective immediately we are suspending all on-site gatherings through Palm Sunday, April 5th. At that time the Elders and I will revisit this decision and determine a further course of action. Please understand that this decision was not made lightly, and I sincerely pray that it will be short-lived. 

Nevertheless, we will continue to nourish God’s people with His Word and Sacrament in the following ways:

  • Worship—A video sermon (from yours truly) will be made available for Wednesday evening and Sunday morning, and the latter will also include a home liturgy and links to hymns.
  • Bible study—I’ll lead a live and interactive Bible study at 10 a.m. on Sunday (we’ll be picking up in Acts 4). More details on how to participate in this in days to come.
  • Holy Communion—We’re going to attempt “drive-up Eucharist.” Parishioners will be able to pull up in their cars out front of church and receive the Lord’s Supper and be prayed with. I know it sounds hokey, but it is a way to receive God’s gifts without unduly endangering yourself or others. The first opportunity for this will be from 11 a.m. — Noon on Sunday. More details to follow. 

Again, I know that this is not ideal. I hope that you understand that we are taking these steps in order to ensure the continued Word & Sacrament ministry of Trinity Lutheran in a way that honors our temporal authorities and cares for the most vulnerable in our midst. 


2. Redoubling our efforts to care for the homebound, isolated, and needy

The last thing that we want to have happen as a result of this pandemic is that the least of these among us are overlooked or disregarded exactly when they need care the most. In conjunction with our congregational Elders, I will continue to ensure that these saints are receiving adequate spiritual care in a safe and responsible manner. 


3. Cultivating community amid social distancing

One of the greatest challenges of this crisis will be to our fellowship. We need to find creative ways to connect, while also honoring the social distancing requirements. To the extent that we can safely gather in small groups, I think that we need to find ways to do so—perhaps in get-togethers at the park, prayer walks, or service projects (being outside in general is advisable!). 

And while I’ve not always been the biggest fan of social media, now is a time when it can be to our advantage. If you don’t already have a Facebook account, I encourage you to sign up. And let’s not forget the more old fashioned means of phone calls and—dare I say it—letters. Perhaps we will emerge from this crisis with a more robust and well-rounded approach to communication!


4. Caring for all our Arcadia neighbors in need

As the coronavirus outbreak spreads, our congregation must be prepared to serve all of our neighbors in need. To that end, we’re organizing the Arcadia Care Team (ACT—catchy, right?) in order to coordinate and mobilize care for our community. I’d like to invite anyone from our community, not just church members, to help with this effort; we need all people of good will to link arms for the sake of those in need. We’re also going to seek to partner with others, like BACN and the Manistee Council on Aging, that are already doing good work in our community. If you want to be part of this effort, click here to sign up now—and spread the word. Furthermore, if you yourself are at risk or in need, call the church office (889.3620) or e-mail me (pastortinetti@gmail.com) to fill us in on how we can help. 


Conclusion

Look, friends, it may yet turn out that this pandemic peters out with a whimper. I hope and pray that that will be so! In that case, we will have been well prepared for naught; so be it. But at this point, it frankly doesn’t look like this thing is going away any time soon. And so this is a time for us as Christians to look to Christ Jesus alone and not be dismayed. We need to be courageous, compassionate, and creative to meet this challenge in faith. By God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, we will do so.

When we as the people of God courageously and compassionately band together in a time of crisis, not only does our faith and fellowship grow stronger, but the world gets an unmistakable witness to who God is and what He has done for us, and for all. 

May He grant us courage and wisdom for the facing of this hour. The Lord be with you!

Your shepherd,

Pastor T.

Live stream of worship on Sunday, March 15th

We will be gathering for worship on Sunday, March 15th, but for those who are unable to join us for whatever reason, a live stream will also be available. Visit our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/trinityarcadia, at about 9:25 a.m. to tune in.

You can also follow along with the worship folder here

COVID-19 update

Heart for Arcadia Task Force Update # 2

The Heart for Arcadia task force met again on Wednesday, March 4th, clarifying its vision for the HFA initiative: to tackle the problem of loneliness (in its many manifestations) in the Arcadia area, further transforming the congregation in the process as one that shares God's heart more and more. 

After recapping the conversation from the previous meeting, the task force spent some time reviewing historical accomplishments of Trinity Lutheran, such as the assistance given to the Burgess family and, more recently, to the Rogers and Shoults-Sullivan families. It was noted that TLC has a track record of being a catalyst for community-building in Arcadia. 

The two templates that had risen to the top for the task force were Need Adoption and Institutional Renovation/Targeted Transformation. Will Mancini defines these templates this way:

  • Need Adoption—Your church’s vision is to adopt a specific need you identify, often through compassion or mercy, typically triggered by studying the needs and then responding to them.
  • Institutional Transformation—Your church’s vision is to rejuvenate an institution that matters to God, most often a ministry that historically has been significant but has lost a degree of relevance, focus, or momentum.

Taken together, the task force envisions a church that is devoted to showing mercy to its neighbors in need (= Need Adoption), which transforms the culture and mindset of the congregation into one that intentionally and regularly devotes itself to serving the community sacrificially (= Institutional Transformation).  Recognizing that it’s more effective to act yourself into a new way of thinking, rather than think yourself into a new way of acting, the task force asserts the priority of practicing our faith. Nevertheless, the relationship is cyclical: as we act on behalf of the needs of our community, it transforms our hearts and minds, and as a consequence we act in mercy—and so on. 

This first attempt at the vision for the initiative did leave one question open: is there a particular “need” that we wish to “adopt”? The task force discussed a more open-ended approach—that the congregation simply apply itself to works of service generally, without a specific need in mind. But one need especially emerged from the discussions that resonated with the task force as a whole: loneliness. 

Loneliness is a pervasive cultural problem with profoundly spiritual roots. Although those who are socially isolated are often the most lonely, in our contemporary society even young people who are surrounded by their devices feel a sense of being alone. And in a rural community such as Manistee and Benzie Counties, this loneliness can be felt even more acutely by people of all ages and walks of life. Pastor also wrote on this in a past Inklings

Thus, in its rough draft vision for the Heart for Arcadia initiative, the task force has placed an emphasis on adopting and addressing the need of loneliness (in various aspects) in our area, toward the end of the ongoing renovation and transformation of our congregation. The next meeting will refine this big-picture vision and begin to work toward its practical implementation.

The members of the task force are Amanda Babcock, Kent & Terry Babcock, Bill Beck, Dana Care, Tom Dunn, Ben & Esther Loosemore, Sarah May, and Pastor Tinetti. Congregational members are encouraged to participate in the task force by providing feedback and questions to any member of the task force. 

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