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***A Letter for Members and Visitors Concerning Changes Made Due to COVID-19***

Dear brothers and sisters,


Peace to you in Christ. The purpose of this letter is to outline how we will move forward as a congregation in the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

As God’s people, we face three priorities: (1) To continue the worship of our God and Savior Jesus Christ in this world; (2) to love our neighbor as ourselves by caring for their health needs; (3) to remain subject to our civil leaders as they seek the common welfare. To strike a right and reasonable balance between these various priorities, the board of elders and I are presenting the following solutions:

I. Sunday Worship: Our Sunday worship is a mixed bag. Some continue to work during the week. Others belong to the high-risk population and are staying self-isolated during the week. It is important that we not introduce coronavirus to the high-risk population in our congregation.

Therefore, our usual Sunday worship will be divided into two services:

  • Sunday at 10:30AM – This service will be for our non-high-risk members and especially for those who must work or be “out and about” during the week. This will allow you to worship without the fear of spreading disease to our more at-risk members.

  • Monday at 1:00PM – This service will be for our high-risk population at St. Matthew, i.e. the elderly and retired. This should be thought of as our “quarantine service”. It is for those who are otherwise remaining isolated during the week. This will allow you to worship without being exposed to those members who have been out and about during the week.

  • The church will be wiped down and aired out between Sunday and Monday.

  • Under no circumstances should a member who is still working attend the Monday service.

  • Do not attend Sunday morning if you really belong to the Monday crowd.

  • Do not attend service if you are sick. Inform the Pastor of your condition and stay home.

  • Or, Stay Home – No person should feel obligated to attend either service during this unique time. You are free to safeguard your health, and in many cases, should stay home.

II. Wednesday Services: Please do not attend if you are high-risk or ill/symptomatic. 

III. Lenten Cookies & Easter Breakfast: We should treat these events as canceled until further notice.


So far, Ohio’s crowd prohibitions have not applied to religious gatherings. But what will happen at St. Matthew if there is a state mandated “lockdown” even on churches?

  • Services will be canceled

  • Pastor Stephens will continue to prepare and preach sermons which will be recorded and made available on this website and on our Facebook page.

  • Daily devotion and/or Bible study material will be made available online as well.

  • Pastor and/or the elders will call all members once weekly to ensure all needs are met.

  • If services must cease, Pastor Stephens will make himself available at church on Sunday mornings (9am-11am) for individual/family pastoral care, including prayer, God’s Word, Confession & Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper – all on an individual or one-family basis.

  • Pastor will also available for individual/family pastoral care by appointment on weekdays and Saturday.  

What about Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter?

Mandates and precautions are changing so rapidly that it’s best to address these services as their time approaches, so please await further communication.

Offerings: Weekly offerings are part of our worship. Church expenses continue even during this time. Please continue giving your weekly offerings in generosity, love, and thanksgiving to our God and Savior (Matthew 6:19-21), even when you cannot attend. The church mail will be collected regularly.

Hospitals & Nursing Homes: Clergy is permitted to visit at end of life to bring communion. Please make it a priority to inform Pastor Stephens of all hospitalizations and emergencies.  

What else?

  • Give thanks to God. We receive both the good and the bad from His Fatherly hand.

  • Use this time as a reminder of your own mortality and need of repentance (Luke 13:1-5). May the Lord have mercy on our fragile natures!

  • Keep your eyes on Jesus, who continues to be the founder and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2).

  • Worship. When you cannot worship in church, worship at home.

  • Grow in faith and love. It is Lent. Let quarantine or self-isolation be your Lenten fast. Let it be a time of deliberate increase in your Bible reading and home devotions.

  • Do not miss this devotional opportunity for the sake of social media, cable news, or Netflix binge-watching.

  • Watch out for each other’s needs.

As said above, we will remain dedicated to continuing the public worship of our Savior Jesus Christ in our church building for as long as this remains a possibility. PLEASE FOLLOW THE SUNDAY/MONDAY GUIDELINES GIVEN ABOVE.

Jesus loves you all and has died for you. More than that, He has been raised and lives for you. You will all continue to be cared for as a precious member of Christ’s flock either in church or at home. Your Father in heaven will provide for all your needs. Do not be anxious about anything (Mathew 6:25-34).


Jesus said: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” [Matthew 10:29-31]

Peace to you all in Christ,

Pastor Curtis Stephens, together with the Board of Elders

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