Regarding Worship at SMT

St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church

Hoboken, NJ

Saturday March 14, 2020

Dear Christians,


We all know this is a worrisome time.  Each of us is tasked with making decisions that are faithful to the needs of our families, friends, colleagues, and self.  This includes making difficult decisions for those who depend on us. Following the best information that we have, we are taking precautions to protect our community. Some are more difficult to make than others.

The precautions that we are taking include serving our Lunch Time Ministry (LTM) guests to go meals only, discontinuing our social time after worship, modifying our worship practices, and increasing hand washing and sanitizer usage.  Parish council and other meetings, including Bible study, will be done online. Our parish secretary will be mostly working from home. The recovery groups using our facilities have discontinued their meetings. Seniors, those with compromised immune systems, underlying health issues, and children should stay home. There will be no Sunday School. In all likelihood these precautions will have to be increased in the weeks ahead.

I believe these actions are in keeping with what has been recommended.  However, in all honesty, I do not feel that they are enough. It may not be logical, but I  told all of my family not to go to church this week. My parents are seniors in good health, my siblings and their children are not in any risk groups.  There is very little virus activity indicated in their area. Logic indicates that present precautions for them are enough for now. My heart and my intuition tells me another.  While we are having a service Sunday morning...

From my heart, I must also encourage you to stay home when and if possible.  This includes Sunday worship!

Just as I love my family, I also love this congregation, our membership, and our guests.  Our parish touches so many more lives than just those that we have in worship. For our LTM guests, the recovery and support groups that meet in our building, our volunteers, and the greater neighborhood, we are the closest thing that hundreds of people have as a spiritual home and refuge. This is the family that God has given us to nurture, and nourish. It is best for all of us to physically distance ourselves as much as possible.

There is much more to be said. For now, I will close with the words of a favorite hymn by the late Harry Emerson Fosdick of Bronxville NY and Montclair, NJ.  The tune is Welsh.


God of grace and God of glory,

On your people pour your power;

Crown your ancient church’s story,

Bring its bud to glorious flower.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage

For the facing of this hour,

For the facing of this hour.




Pastor Gary

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St. Matthew Trinity · 57 8th St. · Hoboken, NJ 07030 · USA

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