Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Many congregations throughout the synod have been, or soon will be, forced to find alternative ways to gather around God’s Word. My wife and I have already spent two Sundays worshiping at home via the online worship provided by my congregation. I’m gratified that so many congregations have moved so quickly to continue to serve their members with the comfort and guidance of the Scriptures.
This Sunday evening, Palm Sunday, I will be delivering a brief message to the members of our synod in an online video broadcast. The message will be broadcast live at 6:00 p.m. (central). I invite you to access that message live online. I look forward to speaking with you. If you are not able to view the video when it is broadcast live, it will be archived online.
A week later, we will be celebrating our Savior’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. Our Easter Sunday worship will be different than any we have ever experienced. Most likely you will gather “virtually” with members of your congregation (or that of another congregation) to gaze at the empty tomb and praise God for what he has done for us.
Not to replace your Easter morning worship, but to supplement it, we will be offering an opportunity for our entire synod to gather online for a special Easter Sunday evening service to be broadcast from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary at 6 p.m. (central). We will gather as one family of believers, from across the country and around the world, not only to celebrate our Savior’s Easter victory but also to express our unity of faith and mission as members of the Wisconsin Synod. The theme of the service will be, “Together at the Empty Tomb.” Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary President Earle Treptow will deliver the Easter message. A small choir, along with a few instruments, will enhance the worship with music and songs of praise. I’m thankful to Pastor Jon Hein, coordinator of WELS Congregational Services, for planning and coordinating this event. I look forward to being with you for this special Easter celebration. You can watch it live online. Stay online after the service for a live Q&A session hosted by President Treptow and Rev. Hein, where viewers can ask questions.
Elsewhere in this issue of Together, you will find information and resources that we have gathered to help congregations begin to make use of the CARES Act. This information, as well as the information provided on the synod website, will be continuously updated whenever anything new develops.
One other important item: President Mark Zarling of Martin Luther College has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus and has been hospitalized in Mankato, Minn. Please join me in approaching the throne of grace, fervently asking God to keep President Zarling and all those afflicted by this worldwide pandemic in his loving care and to grant them a full recovery. Our times, as well as President Zarling’s, are in God’s hands—no better place to be.
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder