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May 15, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As many of you already know, on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court lifted the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Safer at Home Extension. So, what does this mean for our congregational and worship life at Prince of Peace?

After carefully examining the Re-Opening Guidelines from the Evangelical Church in America and the Wisconsin Council of Churches, and from conversations with our Northern Great Lakes Synod-ELCA Bishop Katherine Finegan and Vilas County Health Department, the Prince of Peace Church Council has decided to continue with online worship services. Vilas County Health Department is strongly recommending that only family units living together should be together and that we are still in the “Safer-at-Home” designation until at least May 26. On June 1, the Prince of Peace Council will convene again to assess and evaluate when to slowly begin re-opening the church for worship. This decision will be made based on guidelines from the ELCA and the Wisconsin Council of Churches along with the recommendations of the local authorities.

Wisconsin Council of Churches Guidelines

Northern Great Lakes Synod – ELCA Resources

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Guidelines

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Guidelines

Badger Bounce Back Plan

I know that this is a difficult time for all of us and we want to be community together. It is one of the core values of Prince of Peace. And yet, more people are connecting with our mission and ministry through online worship, Zoom Bible Studies, Podcast Bible Studies and Facebook Live Devotionals. We are being church together through our phone calls, Google Meets, and cards and letters. Thank you for making difficult decisions and caring for each other for the sake of all of our neighbors and the vulnerable among us.

The six bishops of the ELCA in Wisconsin are asking us to remain steadfast in taking precautions to not contract or spread COVID-19. Vilas County Health Department is strongly recommending that anyone coming from outside of the county to self-isolate for 14 days. If you need assistance with food delivery, please contact me at 715.891.5975. In addition, if you are experiencing symptoms, free testing is available at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua beginning on Wednesday, May 20 from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. by the Wisconsin National Guard.

In the meantime, the church building is being prepared to open up safely with social distancing and following the guidelines from the ELCA and the Wisconsin Council of Churches. When we return together, things will be different than we are used to. The ELCA bishops keep referring to this period of time as a time similar to what the people of God experienced during the 40 years in the wilderness. While, hopefully, this is not for 40 years, it could be for a significant period of time. Together, we will navigate this time of wilderness and storms, knowing that Jesus is with us and the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us.

Please feel free to call me if you have any questions, concerns or just need to talk.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Andrea Fluegel