PALM DESERT — In an unprecedented move for the Rev. Derek Fossey, he is suspending the physical Sunday worship services at Hope Lutheran Church due to the coronavirus and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s  order to cancel large public gatherings.

“In all my years of ministry I have never canceled a service,” Fossey wrote in an urgent message to parishioners. “We are not doing this as a result of fear, but out of a sense of responsibility. This is what love requires of us in this season. While I believe worship is an essential part of our life of faith, Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser, have ordered the cancellation of large public gatherings.”

In order to truly love our neighbor it often means we must make sacrifices, Fossey said.

“Because many of our worshipping community are vulnerable to this virus, or have close loved ones who are, we have decided to suspend our physical gatherings for this weekend,” Fossey said. While we are suspending our physical gatherings, we are NOT suspending our mission! We will continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ online.”

The mid-week Lenten service and soup supper are also canceled.

“While this crisis is still in flux, so is our response,” Fossey said, adding to stay tuned for further updates.

Hope Palm Springs meet this Sunday for worship services with strict precautions as well as offering a live feed on Facebook, the Rev. Tim Edmondson told Uken Report. Hope Palm Springs is a mission start of the Pacifica Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). It is a partner faith community to Hope Lutheran Church in Palm Desert.

“Being a smaller community, we fall outside the meeting guidelines prescribed by the governor,” Edmondson said. “Our posture is completely flexible and we may not meet the following Sunday perhaps, but for this week we will still have a physical gathering.”


Image Sources

  • Hope Lutheran Church Pastors: Facebook