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  • Writer's picturePastor Bill

A Pastoral Letter…

The Season of Epiphany, January 7, 2022

Dear Friends,

I hope you will attend worship this weekend at Saint James on Saturday or Sunday.

And I hope you will consider attending one of our online services.

For the last 3 days, the pandemic numbers for Polk County have been 20%, 21% and 22%. It has nearly doubled over the past week.

Now, let me be clear: I support the decision to faithfully offer in-person worship services despite the pandemic. We know that on any given weekend, someone needs to gather in-person in the sanctuary. Worship is important and in-person worship is better. We can mitigate some of the danger of public worship with masks, distancing, purell, etc.

But we cannot eliminate all the danger of gathering and singing indoors during a significant surge. Our medical community is being stretched thin and publicly asking for our help (see Sunday’s DSM Register). The help they’re asking for is getting vaccinated, wearing masks, hand-washing and social distancing. For Saint James, social distancing means more people online and fewer people in the room.

So listen, I’m your pastor. I love you. Please attend worship this weekend and think about attending one of our online services. They are safer. They make room for social distancing. And the current surge won’t last forever.

Saturday, January 8 5pm on Facebook Live or In-Person

Sunday, January 9 8am on Facebook Live or on Zoom

Sunday, January 9 9am on Facebook Live or In-Person

You can join an online service at

One way or another, I hope to see you soon.


Pastor Bill Bernau

Saint James Lutheran Church Johnston, Iowa

P.S. A friend asked me how long I would feel this way about online worship. I hope this surge will fall as quickly as it has risen. So, let’s pray for the day when the positivity rate is falling quickly and below 15%.

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