Congregational Business

COVID-19 Response

(updated 6/27/2020)

Three more circles have been created outside for Small Groups to meet at Incarnation, but the building will remain closed through July for group events, including worship. (Please see previous update for information about funerals and baptisms) The Reopening Task Force will meet again to determine what will happen in August, but please know that online worship will continue to be available even when we are able to gather in the building again.


(updated 5/27 at 2:30 p.m.)

An update from the Re-Opening Task Force:

On May 23, Governor Walz announced that places of worship may open at indoor occupancy of 25% or a maximum of 250 individuals, beginning this week. In response to the Governor’s announcement, the St. Paul Area Synod Bishop, Patricia Lull, released a statement that summarized the Lutheran church’s response. She emphasized the values that guide our decisions as Lutherans. She wrote, “One is respect for the wisdom and guidance of our public leaders, especially Governor Tim Walz. We also value actions that ensure our own safety and the safety of others. We are committed to the needs of the many generations that belong to our churches, who carry different levels of risk in any exposure to the COVID-19 virus. We are equally committed to the needs of our neighbors, especially those with daily needs for housing, food, and health care. We cling to the assurance that God is guiding and leading us throughout this pandemic, and we value decisions made in local contexts by those who are called to lead in each congregation. Those values have not changed this past week.”

The governor stated that no faith community should feel compelled to open their facilities or provide services if they are not comfortable doing so.

In response to this, the Re-Opening Task Force recommends that Incarnation continues our ministries online, including worship, through June 30. The staff office hours will remain virtual. Although our building may be closed, the church is you and all that you are doing through prayer, staying home, making masks, making phone calls, picking up groceries, washing your hands, sending letters . . .  the list goes on. Thank you for being the CHURCH!

The task force has recommended that we offer Baptism and funeral services as needed. The Baptism services are recommended to be held in the Peace Garden, weather permitting, and will follow the policies that will be outlined by the task force. We are currently determining the requirements for the Sanctuary use for Baptism and funeral services of 25 people or less.

The task force also recommended that Small Groups could meet outside the Incarnation building if they chose. We will be creating “circles of faith” on the parking lot that will allow for groups of 10 or less to meet while being appropriately physically distanced. Participants must bring their own chairs and materials, and they should wear masks. The building will remain locked and closed at these times so bathroom facilities will not be available.

The task force continues to work with the council and will look to the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC guidelines.

Patience, understanding, acting on sound information, and love for each other are key to our healthy future.


(updated 5/25 6:00 a.m.)

On Saturday, May 23, Governor Walz announced that places of worship may open at 25% occupancy beginning this week. The re-opening task force is meeting weekly to determine how Incarnation will move forward. Our priority is the safety and well-being of our congregation and staff. We will look to the pillars of our church to guide us as we consider future plans while still prioritizing the health of our community members.

For now, there will not be on site worship for May 31 and you will be updated with any decisions that are made regarding reopening the building. Creating an online worship experience was already planned for 2020, before the pandemic, and so it will still be available for all who wish to worship from home.

We give thanks to God for your faithfulness and generosity.


(updated 4/23 at 7:30 p.m.)

The Incarnation Council and staff leadership met remotely on April 20 to discuss Incarnation’s building closure status, but made no change to the previous May 8 deadline. It was decided that they would continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidance of the state before reopening the building. When the building reopens to the public, the staff will have created a strategy to help reduce the risk to people’s health as best as possible and will continue to provide online worship for those who choose not to leave the safety of their homes. When this strategy has been finalized, you will be given a detailed description so you may assess if you feel comfortable entering the building and are aware of our best practices for people’s behaviors while inside. We continue to pray for your physical, mental and emotional well being in this time.

Please note, we are able to process mailed in gifts once a week. Thank you for your generous support.


(updated 3/25 at 2:00 p.m.)

After careful consideration, the Incarnation Council and staff leadership has decided to continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and will not reopen the Incarnation building until after May 8. Another meeting will happen on April 20 to reassess the situation and you will be notified of any changes. This means there won’t be any in-person gatherings, including Holy Week and Easter. As disappointing as this new is, we believe we are called to do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and in promoting the health of our larger community.

Please know that the staff has made online connecting and resources more readily available. Holy Week and Easter worship will still happen in an online format and worship leadership is brainstorming creative ways to bring the incredible story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to your homes. Please note that the one exception to this rule would be in the event of a funeral and then pastors will create a plan to hold a modified service and will work with the family to ensure the safety of all.


(updated 3/15 at 11:30 a.m.)

The Incarnation building and Incarnation Office will be closed to the public until March 27. This is a fluid situation that Incarnation leadership will be monitoring and will reassess our situation on March 23.


(updated 3/13 at 1:00 p.m.)

As a staff and with the Council of Incarnation, we have been intentionally and prayerfully discerning how to respond to both our individual needs and our communal responsibility in regards to the COVID-19 virus. To keep our community healthy and to do our small part to help “flatten the curve”, it has been decided to postpone all gatherings and events at Incarnation through March 27, including worship for this Sunday, March 15 and March 22. While most cases of the coronavirus will be mild, there will be those who need medical assistance from doctors and hospitals to recover. The best way for us to help doctors and hospitals right now is to practice social distancing so the virus spreads more slowly, allowing medical communities to keep pace with the virus.

This is a fluid situation that Incarnation leadership will be monitoring and will reassess our situation on March 23. We will be in communication with you frequently as new circumstances arise or new decisions are being made that may affect your ministry or group. If you don’t already, this is a good time to update your email address in Incarnation’s database and start following on Facebook.

Please note:

  • Worship will be online for March 15 and March 23.
  • Wednesday worship will be online for the rest of Lent.
  • All programming and events are canceled through March 27.
  • The Incarnation Preschool is closed.
  • Children, Youth and Family staff have prepared for online materials.
  • Discover Incarnation is postponed until a later date.
  • The building will be closed to the public.
  • In case of emergency, an illness, a hospitalization, or a death, contact the Pastoral Care Line at 612-276-2797.
  • To update your email address, contact Amy Martell, Office Manager at amartell@incarnationmn.org.
  • You may find email addresses for staff here.
  • You may find online giving here or may mail a check to: Incarnation Lutheran Church 4880 Hodgson Rd., Shoreview, MN, 55126.

(Updated 3/12)
Incarnation is monitoring the guidance of the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Minnesota Department of Health concerning the coronavirus. We will be observing what measures the school systems are taking and will communicate to the congregation should any changes be made to worship or our public spaces. If you wish to speak with someone about this further, please contact Danette Griffith at 651-484-7213.

Please note:

  • We are currently asking people to refrain from shaking hands or hugging and to instead greet others with a smile and a wave or by placing your hand over your heart.
  • Gatherings and events may be canceled on short notice due to health concern reasons.
  • Staff are increasing efforts to sanitize frequently touched items like door handles and table tops.
 
Stay informed about how to be prepared and best safety practices:

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