Message from Bishop Gronberg
On January 30, 2021 I participated in the annual TLU corporation board meeting online. In that meeting we were honored to be joined by Dr. Douglas Boyer, Director, TLU School of Music. He gave us some pointers on how TLU has, in the time of Covid-19 worked to have rehearsals for ensembles that are both as safe as possible and productive for the development of musicians. His notes are below. I would only add that to follow these guidelines takes a significant level of sophistication related to knowledge of facility air movement as well as absolute discipline from those participating. Please be careful in any circumstance where you might desire to have live music practices until Covid-19 cases are in a significant level of decline and vaccine penetration is high.
The following is from Dr. Boyer and in his voice…
“Thank you for your inquiry about recommendations for how to hold a safer worship service during coronavirus. I am not a Covid-19 specialist nor do I make any claims that this approach will work for all congregations. The protocols below involve the basic pillars of mitigation of the virus: masking, distancing, sanitizing and ventilation. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions. Stay well!
- Check ventilation in sanctuary (and/or other gather spaces) with an HVAC specialist. ASHRAE recommends a fresh air exchange rate of 8-12 changes per hour in a room regardless of size.
- If monetary resources allow, investigate with your HVAC specialist about the installation of UV lights into the ductwork of meeting places/sanctuary. This should be seen as an overall investment for the health of the congregation both now and in the future. The UV lights will continue to mitigate the spread of viruses, bacteria and allergens following covid-19.
- Masking of congregants throughout the service.
- Distancing of congregants. Block off every other pew. Mark 6 foot spaces on the open pews (easily removable blue or green painting tape works well) to give congregants a visual image of a six foot length.
- Dismissal of congregants in a way that does not allow them to pass through the bio-aerosols of others. (e.g. row by row in one direction)
- Save any congregational singing for the final 10 minutes of the service. The research data shows that, even with perfectly fitted masks, bio-aerosols begin to spread the moment someone sings. Exponential expansion and spread of the virus begins at approximately 25 minutes – this means that limiting the singing to the end of the service and for only a few minutes will help mitigate the spread of the virus among congregants.
- If you hold multiple services in the same space on the same day, allow adequate vacancy time in the space to allow for complete removal of the bio-aerosols. Your HVAC specialist can provide you with the air exchange rates. 8 air exchanges per hour is the minimum, and 12 air exchanges is better.
- If you do hold multiple services, disinfect high touch areas after the vacancy time and right before the next service. Do not allow people into your worship space during the vacancy time.
- Have hand sanitizer and disposable masks available at every entry point with instructions to mask, distance and sanitize hands for the safety of all congregants.
- Final note – community singing is one of the most dangerous activities during Covid-19. Schools of Public Health and research studies on bio-aerosol production have determined that even 9 masked singers should remain 12 feet apart and not stay in the same room for more than 30 minutes, regardless of the size of the room. This is how we approach our rehearsals at TLU – limit students to 9 in the room and limit the rehearsal time to 30 minutes. Limiting your service to 45 or 50 minutes is a good idea – and save any hymn singing for the very end of the service.”
Webinar: Whose Job Is It Anyway?
ELCA Schools Connect
TODAY, Tuesday, February 2, 11am Central
Boards, budgets, schools, and Churches; how do they all fit together? Getting the relationship right continues to hinder the success of many programs. Join Pastor Kendra Mohn to discuss simple practical steps that can be regularly implemented to ensure your mission will remain true and your ministry will be enhanced.
Pastor Kendra Mohn has served Trinity Lutheran Church and Children’s Center in Fort Worth, TX since 2010. She and Children’s Center Director, Diana Smith, work collaboratively with the TLCC Board of Directors to create a ministry focused on providing appropriate educational as well as spiritual development.
Connected, Generous, Free to Serve | Conectados, Generosos, Libres para Servir
In her January/February column for Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on the past year and looks toward 2021. The pandemic has taught us a lot about our church and about ourselves. We are connected. We are generous. We are freed to serve. Read her column in English: Connected, Generous, Free to Serve o lee su columna en español: Conectados, Generosos, Libres para Servir.
Bold Women’s Day—observed annually on the fourth Sunday of February—celebrates all Lutheran women who have acted or are acting boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ. Some women are bold in their unceasing prayers. Other women are bold in their service to those in need. Still other women are bold in their advocacy or through their hospitality. Whether we live out our bold story of faith in the workplace, family home or community, our faith compels us to make a difference in the lives of others. It’s all about living out our baptismal call, about being a disciple of Christ. Click here for resources.
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific. Click here for resources. #IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge
Where in the world is?
Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 across our territory since November 2020, the bishop and staff will be engaging in no non-essential travel or in-person meetings through at least the beginning of 2021. For previously scheduled and essential meetings, the staff will wear masks anytime they are near people, either inside or outside a facility. All synod business will continue to be conducted online.
Bishop Gronberg, Pastor Totzke, and Pastora Bañales – Feb. 5-6: Synod Council and Deans meetings
Pastor Totzke – Feb. 8: Shepherd King, Lubbock
With the ever-changing guidelines and recommendations in our world right now, as we maintain physical distance in social solidarity, please keep in mind these events may be moved online, postponed, or cancelled:
- Feb. 3: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – The Sacred Work of Grief, Part 6: The Places That Have Not Known Love with Rev. Solveig Goodin-Nilsen, Zoom
- Feb. 4: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Feb. 4-6: ELCA Extravaganza 2021, Online
- Feb. 5: Synod Council and Deans Meeting, Online
- Feb. 6: Synod Council and MEF Meeting, Online
- Feb. 10: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Counterstory: The Writing and Rhetoric of Critical Race Theory with Aja Martinez (UNT), Zoom
- Feb. 11: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Feb. 13: Public Witness Team meeting, Online
- Feb. 17: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – Growing Young: Jesus’ Message with Rachel Alley and others, Zoom
- Feb. 18: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Feb. 24: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – The Untold Story: Black Lutheran History, Part 2 with Dr. Larry Clark and Dr. Richard Stewart, Zoom
- Feb. 25: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Mar. 3: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders – The Sacred Work of Grief, Part 7: Jesus’ Death and Metabolizing Ancestral Grief with Rev. Solveig Goodin-Nilsen, Zoom
- Mar. 4: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Mar. 4: Interim Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to Jason (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration for upcoming NT-NL News.