School Closing Worship Service
Saturday Evening Worship 6pm
Sunday Morning Worship
Plan for Return to In-Person Worship
At a town hall on May 19, Pastor Gaertner outlined our congregation's plan to return to in-person worship services on May 30/31.
Our Shepherd Lutheran Church plans to begin to have in-person worship services beginning Saturday at 6pm on May 30 and Sunday at 8:30am and 11am on May 31. We will continue to offer the live-streaming of our worship services. Anyone who is in an at-risk population, sick, or uncomfortable at this time is encouraged to continue to participate in the digital format of our worship services. In all moments, our faith and confidence will remain in our Lord as we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.
We are living in an uncertain and unprecedented time. The response of the world to Covid-19 has placed a pause on many parts of our lives. This virus is a very real risk to the health and safety of our community. Our response to the virus will continue to affect the ways we offer pastoral care and corporate worship. Some of our plans will have to evolve if there is a resurgence of the virus.
Here are some of the procedures that we will follow to help ensure the safety of the people who participate in worship at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church.
A sanitizing team will ensure that the sanctuary, narthex, and bathrooms are consistently cleaned after a service.
We will provide signs at the entrances of our building informing people of CDC recommendations (masks, washed hands, hand sanitizer, etc).
Entering and Exiting the Building
There will be defined pathways for entering and exiting the building to encourage physical distancing. People will be required to wear appropriate masks when in Our Shepherd. We will have a limited number of masks available for people who have arrived without a mask. The pastor will wear a mask when it is likely that he will be within 6 feet of other people, including during the distribution of Holy Communion.
Occupancy limits in the Sanctuary
We will limit space in the pews. The normal capacity of the pews on the main level of our nave is around 440 people. We will limit the number of people in our sanctuary to around 25% of our normal capacity. There will be visible signs demonstrating appropriate spacing in the pews.
The offering plate will not be passed during the worship service. Plates will be placed on pedestals in the rear of the sanctuary.
Sharing of the Peace
We will suspend a sharing of peace that would encourage physical contact or moving around.
The choir will not meet until it is safe for them to practice and perform.
There will be no coffee hour served for the immediate future.
The nursery will be closed, but the service will be streaming to the television in the atrium.
Gathering during a pandemic while practicing physical distancing means that many practices will be different temporarily. It is important that these practices do not lead to present or future liturgical abuse or confusion about the offering of the Sacrament of the Altar. We do not want to foster fear or distrust among those who are gathered.
Continuous Line Distribution
Distribution through a continuous line will avoid the need to sanitize the communion rail between each table assembled. People in the line will maintain an appropriate physical distance of six feet from the households before and after them.
The pastors and any assistants will perform hand hygiene (with hand sanitizer) immediately before distributing Holy Communion. Hand hygiene is effective against this virus. In these circumstances, gloves are not needed to be worn by a pastor or assistants if they perform proper hand hygiene.
The pastor and assistants will wear face covering during distribution.
For the Reception of the Lord’s Body
During this return to corporate worship all receiving the Lord’s Body will be expected to do so with an outstretched hand instead of receiving host on the tongue
If a pastor or assistant senses that his fingers have made contact with a person’s hands, he will pause and use hand sanitizer. He may repeat this process as often as he judges necessary during the distribution of Holy Communion. It is not necessary, however, for him to use hand sanitizer between each communicant, unless he makes physical contact with a communicant.
For the Reception of the Lord’s Blood
The Blood of Christ will be distributed through the use of individual cups.
Other Opportunities for Communion
We will also provide opportunities during the week for small groups of people to receive Holy Communion. This will be a time for people, outside of the larger gathering of our weekend services, to receive the gifts of God. A pastor will be available at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church on Sunday afternoons between 1pm-3pm to provide this simple communion service.
Sunday Morning Education Hour
The Sunday morning Bible study, Sunday School, and Youth studies will continue in their online-only formats.
We want you to know that Our Shepherd remains committed to caring for our community during this time of upheaval. If you or someone you know in our congregation needs help with rent/mortgage, utilities, or other basic expenses, please let Pastor Gaertner or Pastor Woodfin know about the need. Our congregation has formed a “Love for Others” fund which is designed to help people in our congregation bridge out of crisis.
Our Shepherd Online Directory
On this page (below)
Saturdays at 6:00 PM
Sundays at 8:30 AM
Sundays at 11:00 AM (Facebook and YouTube Premiere)
Access to Bible study materials
Meeting ID: 445-262-987, Password: 941134
Meeting ID: 925-4568-0692, Password: 630310
Zoom.us: Men of Integrity led by Dr. Nimtz - Saturdays 7:00 AM
Meeting ID: 583-967-423, Password: 795121
- Zoom gatherings and Youth Nights - email Hanna Walsh at for meeting codes
- Check out our Youth Instagram Profile
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Here are some updates about worship, Bible study and Sunday School, communion, general operations, and supporting Our Shepherd and each other through this unique time in history.
Monday - Friday Pastor Woodfin or Pastor Gaertner provide a live devotion at 8:45am and 8:45pm that can be watched on Facebook or YouTube.
Orders of Service
Our Shepherd is publishing a guide for each worship service. The guide will include readings, songs, hymns, and any responsive readings contained in the services. You can access the guides by going to www.ourshepherd.net/resources/news. We’ll also include the PowerPoint slides within the livestream itself.
Recordings of Worship Services
All worship services are available as recordings on YouTube and Facebook after they are completed. You do not need Facebook or YouTube accounts to access these videos. You’ll be able to see them by following these links:
(YouTube has the best interface for quickly finding videos of worship services, devotions, and Bible studies)
Playlists of Worship Videos
The video below is the most recent worship service we have uploaded to YouTube. In the upper right corner of the video you will find an icon with a fraction number. Click on this icon and you will find a playlist of our previous worship services.
NURTURE: BIBLE STUDY, CONFIRMATION,
and SUNDAY SCHOOL RESOURCES
Bible Study: Our Shepherd’s Adult Bible Study on the Gospel of Matthew will livestream at 9:45 AM. A recording of the class will be available afterward. Please see instructions under “WORSHIP” above to access either the livestream or the recordings.
Bible Study Playlist from YouTube
We begin offering in-person worship services with the celebration of the Lord's Supper on the weekend of May 30/31. On Sunday, May 31, between 1pm-3pm a pastor will be in the sanctuary to offer simple service of holy communion to anyone that would prefer a small group setting.
Office hours are not possible during the Stay-at-home, Stay-safe order from our governor. Call 248.646.6100 or email according to the list below, and we’ll talk.
All board and committee meetings, and all Bible studies, are finding their own ways to meet interactively online. If you are part of a group which regularly meets at Our Shepherd, please contact the group leader.
You can sign up for the Two-Minute News email by visiting our Next Steps page on our website.
If you desire a personal conversation with a pastor or staff member, please call or email! We look forward to talking with you, praying with you, and sharing this experience in ways that point to Christ and bring us closer to Him.
SUPPORT – OS and Each Other
We continue to support our faculty and staff, and operation costs continue. Please plan to support the ministry of Our Shepherd purposefully and proportionately. There are three ways to give:
- Online at http://ourshepherd.net/give/.
- Text the word "give" to 248.430.4403 and follow the link to complete
- Mail your check to Our Shepherd, 2225 E. 14 Mile, Birmingham MI 48009
We understand that in some cases, income has been affected by the COVID-19 situation. If you need assistance in the form of groceries, or from Our Shepherd’s Love for Others Fund, please contact one of the pastors in confidence at 248.646.6100. Your fellow members have generously given to provide resources in times of need.
We’ve got members and friends who do not use the Internet as their main source of information. If you know someone like this, please give them a call and let them know about the opportunities we’re providing to virtually gather together and hear God’s Word of comfort and strength.
- We encourage you to check on neighbors, family, and friends to make sure no one is forgotten.
- The pastoral staff will still visit those who need pastoral care, especially emergency hospital visits, as we are able and allowed. We will call ahead to our homebound members and friends to make sure they would welcome a visit.
- If any member or family of the congregation is in need of anything urgent, including groceries, medication, or help from the Love for Others fund, please call the church office at 248-646-6100.
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay-Home / Stay-Safe .
We will keep you informed as we move forward through these interesting times, knowing that our Heavenly Father will never leave us nor forsake us, and that it is often in great challenges that the light of His love shines brightest. Please pray for all those who have been affected in ways large and small by the coronavirus.
We are temporarily apart, but never alone! Let’s all continue to reach out and connect through technology, telephone calls, and perhaps even old-fashioned pen and paper, knowing that our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer God is always with us, and promises to never leave us nor forsake us. This loving encouragement in Hebrews 10:23 applies to us today, just as it did in the time of the early church:
“Let us hold steadfast to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful!”
We love you all! We miss being with you, and we know that when we are able to come together again, it will be a time of great joy and thanksgiving to God. We’ll see you all online.
Your safety and health are important. Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us.
Pastor Gaertner (
Pastor Woodfin ( )
Pastor Vieregge ( )
P.S. When Martin Luther was dealing with The Black Death plague, he wrote these wise words that can help inform the way we approach things happening in our world right now...
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash no foolhardy and does not tempt God."
Luther's Works Volume 43 pg 132 the letter "Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague" written to Rev. Dr. Johann Hess