Wausau Alliance Church

Coronavirus Update

 

Update April 10, 2021

Hello Wausau Alliance Church,

Over the last year, we leaders have been doing everything we can to lead and serve our body with both wisdom and love. Navigating the challenges of the lockdown and distancing and masking has been particularly challenging, but I can say with full confidence that we leaders have been entirely united as we have labored together. We lament the way COVID has affected our fellowship together, but we are praising God for the fact that it appears the end is in sight! Due to the end of Governor Evers’ mask mandate, and due to the decreasing COVID numbers in our area, we believe it is time to update our policy on mask-wearing while gathering together.

From this point on, our encouragement to you is to be led by your own personal convictions regarding masking while we gather. We realize there are some people who still believe masking is necessary and best. There are others who disagree and believe masking is unnecessary. Because of this, not only do we encourage you to be led by your convictions, but we also encourage you to treat others with the love and respect and care and concern that you would want to be treated.

We praise God that we have made it to this point! At the same time, may we not forget God’s desire for us to increasingly reflect the heart and character of Jesus to the watching world!

For God’s Glory,
Elders and Pastors of Wausau Alliance Church

 

 

Update January 8, 2021

Hello Wausau Alliance Church,

As we have been saying, there will come a time when conversations about COVID-19 will be in the past. Unfortunately, we aren’t in that place yet.

Over the last week we have been made aware of an unusually high number of COVID-19 cases affecting numerous families of Wausau Alliance Church. Because of this, out of concern for further spread, we have made the necessary decision to have our Sunday morning worship services for the next two weeks be fully online, instead of in person. After these two weeks are over, we will re-evaluate to determine if it is necessary to continue meeting virtually. This means Sunday, January 10, and Sunday, January 17 will be fully online.

In addition, we will be delaying all in-person mid-week ministry for at least 2 weeks as well. This means that the tentative plan is for mid-week ministries to begin January 27.

In light of all of this, we still have innumerable reasons to trust that the Lord is sovereign and that He is good.

Thank you for your understanding.

Pastor Greg

 

 

Update August 22nd, 2020

Hello Wausau Alliance Church,

There will come a time in the future where we will look back at 2020 and remember all of this craziness! Right now, however, we are still walking through it. Despite the instability of our world, let me remind you our Lord is a rock and a mighty fortress. God is the mighty One who saves. He is the Lord of Hosts who is sovereign over this world, our lives, our school systems, and our church. And as we saw earlier this summer, he is our Shepherd who intentionally leads us through dark valleys in order to bring us to green pastures and still waters. 

Over the last 6-8 weeks, we as leaders of Wausau Alliance have been hard at work developing a plan for the Fall that we believe is wise, appropriately cautious, but also confident in the Lord’s sovereignty and protection. We are confident this is Jesus’ Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. We also believe we do not wrestle ultimately against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers of this present darkness. We believe the church is God’s plan A to reach the world, and therefore gathering as a church is not just essential in the eyes of how this pandemic is using the word “essential,” but that it is also essential in God’s eyes to fulfill the mission God himself is engaged in in this world. With that, this letter is to inform you of our Fall plans.

 

SUNDAY MORNING

WORSHIP SERVICES 

Starting Labor Day weekend, we will transition our worship services to meeting inside the building. We will have services at 8:30 and 10:30am, with the Multipurpose Room (previously the Youth Room) as an overflow room where we will broadcast the service from the sanctuary. 

In order to accommodate physical distancing precautions, all of the rooms we use will be no more than 50% full. If the sanctuary fills to 50%, people will be asked to worship in the Multipurpose Room. 

Out of respect for the governing authorities God himself has put in place, we will be complying with Governor Ever’s mask mandate for all activity indoors. We will provide masks to anyone who forgets to bring one. With this in mind, it is important to remember Paul’s words to the Romans in Romans 13:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”  Romans 13:1-2

While there may come a time in the future that we as Christians are compelled to resist our governing authorities (as modeled by individuals like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Scripture), we believe it is important to realize that being required to wear a mask vs. being forced to worship a false god are two extremely different situations that require two vastly different responses.

In addition to having a plan to clean surfaces between services, numerous hand sanitizer stations will be installed throughout the building. 

We ask that you please stay home if anyone in your household is ill, and if your health places you in the “high risk” category, we would also encourage you to stay home. We will continue to livestream our service on Sunday mornings to best serve all families.

 

SUNDAY MORNING CHILDREN’S MINISTRY 

Children’s ministry will be available during both worship services. This accommodates the childcare needs of our families, but also helps us best disciple and shepherd each member of the family. It is very important to realize that our children’s ministry will be contingent on ministry servant availability and community pandemic levels. Our plan for serving our children on Sunday morning is as follows:

  • Nursery and children’s church will begin September 13.
  • Due to limited capacity, we will require pre-registration for PreK-5th. This pre-registration will take place one time per semester per child.
  • Registration is by classroom, and each classroom has a capacity limit. 
  • Due to the fluid nature of nursery, the nursery will be available on a first-come first-served basis. Because we want to maintain a safe environment for your kids, if we are at capacity we regret we cannot accept your child. Filling out our nursery service preference form will help us avoid such a situation. Thank you for understanding and helping us serve you the best we can!

 

MID-WEEK MINISTRIES

Because our building space is limited, we will be altering our mid-week ministry. Our children’s ministry (pre-school through 5th grade) will meet bi-weekly on Wednesday nights, alternating with our Student ministry (Remnant). Our men’s ministry and women’s ministry will offer studies weekly on Wednesday nights. Here is more information from our pastors and ministry leaders. 

 

WAUSAUKIDS: (Pastor Aaron Rothermel)

We will be starting mid-week children’s discipleship activities in October. A few highlights:

  • We are extending our summer Quest Adventure Kit with Quest Adventure Club! We are very excited about this development. Stay tuned for more info. 
  • Quest Adventure Club will be meeting on Wednesday nights every other week, beginning October 7th, from 6:30-8:00pm.
  • 5th Graders are invited to an October 10th Adventure Day, an all-day outing.

Register your children ages 0yrs – 5th grade for Sunday and Wednesday on the Registration page, or the Church App. 

 

REMNANT: (Pastor Aaron Keller)

Remnant will begin meeting outside in September (Our Kick-off Night is the 16th) and resume meeting inside starting in October. We will be meeting in the building every other week, and on the “off” weeks we will be having either small group night or virtual programming. We are also planning on having 1-2 events per month as well as some family events in which we are specifically partnering together with WausauKids.

Overall, with the rotating Wednesday night schedule, we will be leaning much more into small groups and outreach. This has been a desire we have had for a while, and we are excited to see what the Lord will do in this season. 

 

MEN’S MINISTRY: (David Sliefert)

The Men’s Ministry exists to equip men to be the leaders God has called them to be, by teaching and applying biblical truths to men in their workplace, home, and in all their relationships. Accountability is and will continue to be an important priority for our time together. We will meet every Wednesday, from 6:30 till 8:00pm. 

 

WOMEN’S MINISTRY: (Nicole Schmidt)

While women’s ministry might look a little different this fall, we are very excited for what lies ahead. Each week, on Wednesday nights beginning September 16 from 6:30 to 8:00 PM, our women will be gathering to study the book of Hebrews. Our study time will include small groups, large group teaching, video teaching by Jen Wilkin, and will end in a time of worship. The format for this study encourages individual weekly study and also allows for women to come together each week and talk through what they are learning and studying in the book of Hebrews. Our hope is women from all ages and walks of life will gather to study God’s word together and to fellowship with one another. 

 

CONCLUSION

As I consider all of these plans together, I am excited to see how God is going to use YOU, the church, to carry on these crucial ministries. Once again, we fully acknowledge the fact that these ministries are in large part dependent on having the right number of volunteers in place to help carry on this work. Our greatest need we have at this point, is for workers to help in the children’s ministries on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Because our children’s ministry and student ministry will be meeting opposite weeks, it is an option for you men or women to help with the children’s ministry one week, and then attend the men’s or women’s study the opposite week. While that will lead you to miss some weeks of the men’s or women’s study, it will fill a huge need we have for people to rise up and serve the beautiful kids of WAC. 

We will continue to evaluate the COVID situation in our area and make changes if we feel it necessary.

Thank you for your patience with us as your leaders as we have prayed through and wrestled with how to best move forward with ministry. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of the ministry leaders or elders/pastors with questions. 

For God’s Glory and for the Advancement of His Mission,

Pastor Greg (on behalf of the pastoral staff and elders)

 

 

Update June 3, 2020, 3:40pm

Dear Wausau Alliance Church family,

We are so excited to gather physically as a congregation! It’s been way too long, and we are so excited to see as many of you as are able to attend. 

This Sunday, June 7, we will be meeting at 10 am on the church lawn (weather permitting). 

We will do our best to make any cancellation calls on Saturday evening by 7pm. This will be announced via our church app, as well as an email to our mailing list and a facebook post. 

As an important way for us to love our neighbors, we will be following social distancing practices for the foreseeable future.

Here are the key details to know:

  • Because we do not have projection capabilities outdoors, we will be singing familiar songs and providing the words to music on our church app–like an e-hymnal!
  • Rows to sit will be marked with orange reflective poles.
  • We will not be providing childcare or children’s programming.
  • We will not have bulletins or passing offering plates.
  • We encourage you to give online through our app or your bank. We will have an offering box available on our Connect table. 
  • The building will be open for bathroom use.

We ask that you:

  1. Bring your own lawn chairs.
  2. Wear a mask before and after the service. We will have masks available for you to use, if you do not bring them. 
  3. Sit in the designated rows on the lawn indicated by reflective poles, with 6’ between you and other households.
  4. Stay home and stream if appropriate. 
  5. Come ready to worship the Lord as a church family!

We will stream the outdoor service online to best serve those that are not able, or should not attend in person. 

  • Please stay home if you or any household member have any symptoms. 
  • If you are at higher risk for COVID, we encourage you to connect through our live stream, and please let us know of ways that we can continue to serve you.

We look forward to seeing you soon! We are so excited to worship the Lord together in person again!

WAC Staff and Elders

 

 

Update May 28, 2020, 9:00pm

Dear Wausau Alliance Church family,

As we move closer to meeting together again on Sunday mornings, we want to make sure you have insight into our decision-making. Since closing gatherings, we as leaders have taken seriously our responsibility to lead decisively and wisely. It is and has been our desire to meet as soon as possible. At the same time, we also recognize that there is good reason to be cautious—even though the state ended its executive order with the Supreme Court ruling.

Our response below is guided by medical recommendations; we consulted a team of medical professionals, led by Dr. Bill Bowler (one of our members). Dr. Bowler is an infectious disease doctor and is at the very frontlines of the COVID fight in Wausau. Together, they have drafted the following letter:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”  -James 1:5

Last week, WAC pastors, elders and medical professionals (including one who has been directly involved with pandemic preparedness for the Aspirus Health System) met to seek God’s wisdom on when to begin meeting again at the church for corporate worship. The pastors and elders have a God-given responsibility to “shepherd the flock”, which includes keeping them safe; in this case with regard to COVID-19. Accordingly, the following key features of the pandemic were considered:

  • The COVID-19 virus is highly contagious, and is most efficiently transmitted (contagious) in the asymptomatic or “pre-symptomatic” phase of illness. There is very high viral shedding during the pre-symptomatic phase, and during the first week of illness.A single COVID-19 patient can spread the disease to a median of 5.7 people, making it twice as contagious as the 1918 Spanish flu.
    • For example, a recent CDC report detailed a church in Arkansas where 2 symptomatic people attended a church event and later tested positive for COVID-19; 35 of 92 attendees later contracted the virus, and 3 died; while 26 other people in the community with links to the church event contracted the virus, with 1 death. Although this event occurred early in the pandemic, before mitigation measures (masking, social distancing, strict hand hygiene, and disinfection) were in place, the report illustrates how contagious the virus is.
  • Singing is an especially effective way of transmitting the virus. Another report from early in the pandemic is of a choir practice where one minimally symptomatic member of the choir transmitted the virus to multiple other members, resulting in at least one death.
  • Infectious droplets can hang around in the air for 8 to 14 minutes after just talking. Masking is thought to decrease transmission by as much as 75%.
  • This is a particularly “nasty” virus. It produces a myriad of clinical abnormalities, some of them very severe. The fatality rate is estimated to be up to 1.4%; substantially higher than the 0.1% fatality rate of seasonal influenza. It is NOT “just the flu”. Even among survivors, there can be substantial morbidity.
  • The elderly, immunocompromised, and persons with common “underlying conditions” (hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cardiopulmonary diseases) are particularly vulnerable to severe infections. In WI, 15% of symptomatic people require hospitalization, with roughly 1/3 in an ICU. The majority who have died are age 60 or older.
  • There have been 1.76 million cases in the US, with over 103,000 deaths.
  • Our 6-county region of North Central Wisconsin has entered a particularly vulnerable time; May 16 thru at least June 7, the 3-week time period after the State Supreme Court nullified Gov. Evers mandated “lock-down”. Up until then, our region had comparatively few cases compared to the rest of the State. Now, with the opening of bars and other businesses, the complacency shown by many regarding masking and social distancing, and the influx of travelers from “Southern Wisconsin” and Illinois, our region is at risk of a significant “surge” in cases. Already, rates in Shawano County have increased significantly (110 per 100,000 population) and has surpassed Marathon County (33 per 100,000).

In summary, anytime you have a lot of people together in an indoor space and one of them is infectious, you can have a lot of cases. One person’s decisions can impact others; what they do can affect others because this virus is highly contagious. This virus will be with us for a long time.

After prayerfully considering all of the above, WAC “shepherds” have decided to be very deliberate in resuming corporate worship at the church. Depending on the trends in new cases over the next 2-3 weeks, the TENTATIVE plan is to meet as a congregation, outside, on June 7 at 10:00am.

We will ask you to:

  • maintain social distancing
  • wear a mask while mingling before and after the service
  • practice strict adherence to hand hygiene and disinfection

Some will no doubt find this plan objectionable; however, a shepherd has a responsibility to be wise in order to lovingly protect the flock, even if this love seems hard. By God’s grace, we pray that over time, we can resume more “normal” operations.

Sincerely,

Dr. Bill Bowler
Dr. Dave Mathias
Dr. David Holz
Noel Boismenue
Dr. Nathan Grabher
Dr. Eric Minnihan
Dr. Jon Laack

 

We have two options for services going forward into the summer. The first is our online streaming as we have been doing. We encourage those who are high risk and require those who have illness in their home to do this option. Our second option is an outdoor service that will be held on our lawn, weather permitting, following the above recommendations. Any outdoor service cancellations due to questionable weather will be announced via our app, facebook, and email—and online services will be available instead. We will have no nursery or children’s service’s during this time.

To reiterate, we ask that if you or someone in your family has any symptoms, please stay home. We will give you further information next week.

We covet your prayers during this time. We are seeking to provide wise and faith-filled leadership. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

For God’s glory,

WAC Staff and Elders

 

 

Update March 20, 2020, 9:46am

We have been monitoring the unfolding Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and are seeking to operate with wisdom, neither overreacting or underreacting to the Governor’s declaration of Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19. We are guided by and compliant with state and federal recommendations.

We have online services that are made available each Sunday morning by 8am for viewing from home. Currently, these are pre-recorded and they will be available for you throughout the week. We encourage that you establish a regular “service time” and develop a routine that works for you so you can have consistency in that from week to week.

As this situation continues to change in coming weeks our methods of delivery may as well. Stay tuned for updates as we are continuing to navigate this new season.

All other physical gatherings until further notice are canceled.  This is not a static situation; things will change as we continue to closely monitor the latest developments. Stay tuned for more updates; the most up-to-date info will be on this webpage. Subscribe for push notifications on our church app to receive alerts when there are any significant changes to this page

 

Sermon Video Streaming:

Every Sunday there will be a home worship guide included alongside the online service. Check Sunday morning for updated info. There is a worship music playlist, along with lyrics, as well as discussion questions you can think about together.

Home Worship Guide       Give Now

 

Sermon video will be available by 8am each Sunday, through the church app, and additionally at the link below.

Watch / Listen Online       Watch On Our App

 

What We are Doing in Response:

  • All services are canceled until further notice.
  • All church events are canceled until April 6th and further ongoing evaluation will determine how much longer this is extended. . 
  • We have online services available for streaming anytime after 8am each Sunday morning. There may be changes to this in coming weeks, stay tuned for updates. Subscribe to our push notifications on our app.
  • We are implementing daily sanitizing practices of office surfaces and door handles
  • Office hours will remain relatively normal, but with implementation of social distancing practices.

 

What We are Asking That You Do:

  1. If you or anyone in your family are sick, please stay home. The symptoms for COVID-19 are subtle enough that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
  3. Please don’t shake hands, just wave. 
  4. Follow CDC Level 3 and Level 4 recommendations for self-quarantine.
  5. Familiarize yourself and follow CDC recommendations: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Please help us cover our ongoing costs of ministry by giving online or through the mail. Our operating expenses do continue during this time.

At uncertain times like these, we can be bearers of hope. We encourage all of you to be praying for those in health care and governmental roles for wisdom as they carry out their vocations, and for us as the people of God to exercise faith and not succumb to fear. Remember in prayer those around the world who are being impacted. We are praying for you, and are encouraging you to remember with us, that God is faithful, and he will sustain us with loving care.

WAC Staff and Elders

 

2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”