Pastor McCall will conduct service on Sunday’s with just a person to record the service and himself. Each Sunday service will then be put on the Mount Olive website in full. In addition, video and audio cd’s will be available at church the immediate following Monday of each Sunday service for you to pick up during the week as you travel to and from your essential stops. Whether you listen online or pick up a cd, Pastor encourages you to set aside time each week to worship together as a family or as an individual. See Pastor McCall’s Mar 27th update with God’s Word here:
“11So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ”I Corinthians 8:11-12
Dear beloved saints in the Lord,You are likely well aware by now of the shelter in place order given by our Governor, effective at midnight tonight, March 27th. President Forke, myself, and my fellow pastors in the Southern Circuit have been trying to respond in a faithful and God pleasing way and as quickly as possible to the ever changing circumstances surrounding how this impacts worship and the church. I ask all of you to pray for Pres. Forke, the pastors and churches and members of LCMS congregations here in Billings, and all the Church across the United States. It is indeed a difficult and stressful time for our entire nation. However, we know that we serve a faithful and loving God who promises to work all things for the good of those who love Him. So it is with boldness and confidence that we walk by faith and not by sight into these uncertain days, being sure and certain of the love and promises of forgivness and life given to us in our Baptism by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.Several thoughts, spurred by edifying and constructive conversations with many people, especially fellow pastors, have led me to the following decisions concerning worship at Mount Olive. First, in conversation with my unchurched neighbor, who is a nurse at one of the hospitals here in Billings, I have seen genuine fear of the unknown. She is terrified of contracting the virus and has pleaded with her neighbors to stay home and comply with this order. I know that there are many people like her throughout Billings and throughout Montana. As Christians we are commanded by God to guard our conduct among the Gentiles so that there can be no charge of evil against us (1 Peter 2). We also as Christians know that our Sabbath rest is in Christ (Hebrews 4:9-10) and not in the observance of a certain day or time. My insistence on observing the Sabbath on a certain day (Romans 14) and in a certain way would, at this time, as Paul says to the Corinthians, clearly sin against my neighbor and wound her conscience as well as many others in our community. I do not wish to do this to her or anyone.Second, President Forke, has advised all churches to comply with this shelter in place. This is in part because this order does not single out churches, but rather almost all business and gathering places in the entire state. So unlike the Yellowstone County order we are not being singled out in some way for persecution. The secular authorities are doing what they feel is best for the citizens of the left hand kingdom, which is precisely what God has placed them in their offices to do (Romans 13). That being said, Mount Olive will comply with the shelter in place and cease public worship services until such time as the shelter in place is lifted. In the mean time, I will conduct service on Sunday’s with just a person to record the service and myself. Each Sunday service will then be put on the Mount Olive website in full. In addition, video and audio cd’s will be available at church the immediate following Monday of each Sunday service for you to pick up during the week as you travel to and from your essential stops. Whether you listen online or pick up a cd, I encourage you to set aside time each week to worship together as a family or as an individual. Keep up good 3rd Commandment habits. Get dressed, remove distractions, focus on the service, follow along in your hymnal, sing the hymns. Internet services are not ideal but they are a tool to help us through this time. My prayer is that by Easter Sunday we will be able to worship together in God’s house and celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.In compliance with this shelter in place order, I will also not be doing Matins and Vespers at church each day as I have been doing. If you desire the Sacrament between now and April 10th, I ask that you contact me and I will make arrangements to meet you either at church or at your home for a brief service of Confession/Absolution with Holy Communion. Again, I realize this is not ideal however I am trying to strike a balance between honoring with 4th Commandment while at the same time practicing good spiritual care for you all. No request for the Sacrament will be turned down and all necessary precautions will be taken by myself to ensure I am as sanitized and safe as possible. Finally, please pray for the church, for our elected officials, for doctors and nurses, for those who are ill, for those who are unemployed, and all who are in need. Our Lord Jesus Christ has promised to hear the prayers of those who call upon His name and we come before Him with full confidence in this. The Lord be with you all and bless and keep you in His care.
In Christ Jesus,-Pastor McCall P.S. Please also call and pass this information along to those who may not have an email address on this list. I have been attempting to gather more and more email addresses but I know not all members even necessarily have email. Thank you!