Congregations throughout the synod have been making many adjustments to their worship and ministry ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Even though many of us expected things to have returned to normal by now, that is not the case. Government mandates and advisories continue to have a varying impact on WELS congregations and schools. But, true to their mission, they continue to proclaim the saving gospel, and God’s people continue to worship in spite of the obstacles.
Similar challenges have affected the work of the synod. In synodical and district activities, as well at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry (CMM), our synod’s headquarters in Waukesha, changes have had to be made.
Throughout the synod, all large gatherings, including district conventions, were cancelled this summer. In-person meetings were replaced with virtual online meetings whenever possible. The workers at the CMM were initially given the option of working at home if the nature of their work permitted it. When the lockdown was declared, all employees were required to work remotely. When the lockdown ended, employees returned to the office in two phases, first with 50 percent returning and then two weeks later with all back to in-person work.
Now things have changed again. Here in Wisconsin, the governor recently issued a statewide mask mandate. Workers at the CMM are complying with this mandate, wearing masks in all public areas. We continue the policy of no meetings or gatherings in the building; individual visitors are allowed in the CMM only by personal appointment.
The policies governing meetings and other activities at the CMM are under constant review, with the next re-evaluation scheduled for Aug. 12. At that time, we will be determining whether meetings scheduled for this fall at the CMM can take place. We pray for a time when things can return completely to normal—for our synod and for our entire country. In the meantime, we continue to place our trust in God’s protecting and gracious care.
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder