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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. 

Heart for Arcadia Task Force Update #1

The Heart for Arcadia task force met again on Wednesday, February 19th, to review the twelve vision “templates” from Will Mancini’s book God Dreams and come to agreement on which of the twelve might be most relevant for Trinity to pursue over the next few years.

The twelve templates fall into four categories: vision that advances, rescues, becomes, and overflows. The task force was largely drawn toward templates that fell under the “advance” and “rescue” categories, with Institutional Renovation (rescue) receiving the most support, followed in a tie by Needs Adoption (rescue) and Targeted Transformation (advance), and then Geographical Saturation (advance). 

Learn more about each of the twelve templates here

Pastor led the meeting and began the conversation by sharing an anecdote from the recent Arcadia Township visioning session, in which the 70-80 attendees identified “assets” to the community. Among those mentioned were the Marsh, Arcadia Bluffs, Camp Arcadia, and others. But Pastor noted that no one (other than himself) mentioned Trinity Lutheran Church. He challenged us to imagine what would have to be true so that, if another such meeting were to be held in five years, the first asset that would pop into people’s minds was Trinity.

The discussion then turned to each of the twelve templates, and the task force members’ comments about them. In the course of the discussion of the various templates, three themes especially emerged: geography, transformation, and mercy. 

Geography—Though not all members of the task force ranked Geographical Saturation, per se, as one of their most meaningful templates, there was a consensus among the group that we want to focus on our particular place, generally Arcadia Township. 

Transformation—A recurring theme in the discussion of several templates was the desire for our congregational culture and mindset to be renewed to active ministry. Gratefully recognizing that we have received many blessings in 138 years, and that God has done much good in and through our congregation, we desire to revive and renew that energy. 

Mercy—The third theme that seemed to be interwoven throughout the conversation as we discussed several different templates was mercy: compassionately serving the needs of our neighbors. This theme was especially apparent in the Needs Adoption template, but emerged elsewhere as well. There is a sense that serving our area’s needs is a means toward the end of transformation for both our congregation and our community at large. The task force discussed the need for us to have a posture and mindset toward serving the needs of others. 

For their next meeting, the task force will be relating those three themes into one single idea, and begin developing the big picture vision that will serve as the “beyond-the-horizon” goal for the Heart for Arcadia initiative. 

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. 

Advent at TLC Arcadia

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Each Wednesday in Advent (Dec. 4, 11, & 18) we will gather for Evening Prayer at 6 p.m., followed by a soup supper. The theme for our Advent services is "Love Comes Down," looking at the Apostles Creed. Join us!

An open letter to our community

Dear Arcadia neighbors,

We are grateful for all the input, consideration, and kindness expressed over the last few weeks regarding our church bells.  We strive to be a good neighbor in all things. Two days after the public forum, our congregation voted to keep the bells as they have been.  Again, we thank you for your participation at the public forum, your written comments, and the conversations you had with us.  

We think that this event can open a new chapter in the relationship between Trinity and the village.  We hope to foster the kindness and respect that has been shown to us throughout this period.  As a first step, since the bells will continue to ring, we respectfully ask those with signs in their front yard to take them down. 

In the coming months, Trinity will be exploring ways to expand its relationship with the village.  Again, your ideas and thoughts are helpful and welcome.  Maybe you have an idea of how that relationship can expand.  Ideas such as movie nights, community potluck suppers, public presentations on timely topics, and even helping to launch a coffee shop have been suggested.  Maybe  you have other ideas.  Please, let us know.  Again, we aspire to be the heart of our village and so to serve our neighbors.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and concerns with us, on this and other matters of importance in our community. We love Arcadia and are honored to be able to serve this beautiful place we all share.

Sincerely,

Trinity Lutheran Church

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