|New update - March 17th, 2020 - 5 pm:
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, has issued a new order for a statewide moratorium on mass gatherings of 10 people or more to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This order supersedes any previous Emergency Order that conflicts with this order. Effective at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all public and private mass gatherings are prohibited in the State of Wisconsin. "Mass gathering" is any planned or spontaneous, public or private event or convening that will bring together or is likely to bring together 10 or more people in a single room or single confined or enclosed space at the same time.
Update - March 17th, 2020
On March 16th, 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, ordered a statewide moratorium on mass gatherings of 50 people or more to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“Effective at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all public and private mass gatherings are prohibited in the State of Wisconsin. "Mass gathering" is any planned or spontaneous, public or private event or convening that will bring together or is likely to bring together 50 or more people in a single room or single confined or enclosed space at the same time.”
"This order may include, but is not limited to mass gatherings at: public or private schools, auditoriums, theaters, movie theaters, museums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms, meeting halls, exhibition centers, taverns, health and fitness centers, recreation centers, licensed pools, places of worship and religious gatherings."
We are working on a plan to continue to serve God's people with the Word of God. We hope to communicate that plan as soon as possible. This is a very difficult and sad decision for us to make. We will post up-to-date information on this page of our website as it becomes available.
The leaders of our Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod (WELS) sent out this email to our churches:
How will congregations handle government restrictions on public gatherings?
“Various governmental bodies have either advised or mandated that no public meetings with more than 50 people be held. Additional restrictions may be imposed in the future. Some may be asking the question, “Is this a time when we should obey God rather than men?”
A couple things should be remembered.
The Fourth and Fifth Commandments apply in a situation like this. We are to obey and respect the governing authorities as they carry out their God-given responsibilities, and we are to do all we can to protect our neighbors and keep them from harm.
At the same time God certainly desires that Christian gather together regularly for worship. In limiting the size of worship gatherings, the government is not attempting to deny our freedom of religion. Rather, government authorities have issued mandates that they believe will protect citizens from harm.
Since all of these biblical principles are valid, it is legitimate for our congregations to strive to comply with governmental regulations on the one hand and, on the other, to find alternate means to enable God’s people to be fed with Word and sacrament.
Recognize that this is an extraordinary opportunity to let our light shine as congregations and their members look for ways to serve the people in their communities in Christian love.
WELS Conference of Presidents