A Word from Pastor Jim

I remember the drills. Not the dentist; that is a different story. Not the drills that my golf coach had for us; that, too, is a different story. The good news or bad news is that if this coronavirus goes on for weeks or months, you may indeed get to hear all of my stories.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the drills from grade school. “Class, we are all going to be practicing our drills this morning.” I was thrilled! I hated math. I could not spell. My best subjects were recess and drills.

“Now class, if there is an emergency, we will tell you what to do. So, do not panic, everything will be OK. Now, who knows what to do if there is a nuclear attack by the Russians?” The fat boy in the back of the room who could not spell or do math, quickly raised his hand. “Jimmy, what do we do?” “We get under our desks and cover our heads and wait for the blast to pass.” “Very good Jimmy! Now class, let’s practice and remember, do not hurry or panic.”

What followed was three minutes of a simulated nuclear explosion. I am guessing that our school was gone and most everyone we loved was incinerated, but we were safe under our desks.

“Now class, what do we do if there is a tornado coming? Jimmy, let someone else answer, I promise you we will go to recess soon.” Rita raised her hand. “Mrs. Burke, we go out in the hall and stand with our heads against the lockers to protect us.” “Very good, Rita. In a minute the alarm will sound and we will not panic. Just walk by rows out into the hall to the lockers and take your places until we get the all clear signal.”

I am not sure what those drills were for, but I guess I did feel safer when I heard about tornadoes or Russians. But in reality, it was an illusion. Life is inherently dangerous. Even if we play it safe, follow the rules, wash our hands, eat low-fat foods, and look both ways before crossing the street we can still be caught up at any moment in a calamity.

The coronavirus is a crisis that is not of our making. We had nothing to do with it, but it is here. Suddenly, and with very little warning, we are all imperiled. Getting under our desks or standing in the hallway will do little to lessen the risk. Our finances are in shambles, our roads and cities are locked down. We are not allowed to worship together. We are, however, fortunate to live in a place where we can still go out for recess. In major cities, the opportunity to walk the beach or the neighborhood has been taken away for public safety.

We are not responsible for this crisis, but we are not helpless either. We were baptized for moments like this. We have the opportunity to be beacons of hope to our neighbors. We can order food from local restaurants. We can use technology to reach out to friends, old and new. In the church office, we are making every effort to keep in contact with some 1,000 people.

Let’s be clear, this will get worse before it gets better. We know that we will not be worshiping together for at least eight weeks. The virus is here, we have several in our parish who have tested positive already. We know that there will be more.

The drills. The drills will not protect us 100%. Life has no such guarantees. Do not be afraid, and do not panic. Here is the drill: wash your hands, stay away from others, pray for health care workers and first responders, pray for those who have tested positive for the virus, send a card, email, or letter, and hold on to hope. This crisis will not last. This virus will have a shelf life, and brilliant scientists are working to defeat it.

And finally, do not forget my favorite subject: recess. Get out of your house and go for a walk, enjoy the sunshine and the beauty of Whidbey Island, breathe deep knowing that God is with us and we are in this together.

My love to you!



Pastor Jim

Our Life Together and the Coronavirus

Our Life Together and the Coronavirus

A Word From Pastor Jim About Our Life Together and the Coronavirus

At TLC we care about our community and the well-being, abundant life of all.

There is no need to panic about the coronavirus, but we will use best practices to be prudent and responsible. Our staff is monitoring the situation and we are thankful that to date there are no reported cases of coronavirus in Island County. However, we do know that the senior population is the most vulnerable and so we will proceed with caution.

In light of the recent events in the State of Washington we will be making some temporary changes in our worship practices.

There WILL be church this Sunday at 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m.

There will NOT be Holy Communion this Sunday. We may suspend the celebration of Holy Communion altogether for some period of time.
If you are sick or have any symptoms, you are encouraged to stay home and watch the sermon online.

We encourage everyone to wash their hands upon arrival at TLC. We will dispense with hugs and handshakes until the Coronavirus situation is better understood. Ushers and greeters will greet you, but will not make physical contact. There will be no greeting line after the service. The coffee hours will be conducted as usual, with servers wearing gloves. Please wash/sanitize hands before attending coffee hour.

This Sunday we ask you to take your bulletins home with you for recycling.
We will suspend the printing of bulletins until further notice.

We are not canceling regular church activities at this time; we are simply asking everyone to use good sense and precaution.

Lenten Services will go on as scheduled, but the Lenten Meals have been canceled. Holden Evening Prayer Services will take place every Thursday at 7 p.m.

You can always watch sermons online at TrinityLutheranFreeland.org, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TrinityLutheranChurchFreeland.

Fear will not win the day! Do not be afraid, but do look both ways before you cross the street, do stay home if you are sick, and do wash your hands.

My love and prayers to you all!




Pastor Jim

Ash Wednesday Service, February 26 at 7 p.m.

Ash Wednesday Service, February 26 at 7 p.m.

Join us at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26 at TLC for our Ash Wednesday service.

This marks the beginning of Lent, and in the following weeks we will gather on Thursday evenings for a soup and bread supper together at 6 p.m. and then gather for a Lenten service using the Holden Evening Prayer selections.

For those who do not drive after dark or cannot make the evening service, please stop by the Sanctuary between 9 and 10 a.m. for an imposition of ashes and a prayer.

The Whole Theological Enchilada Continues Feb. 18

The Whole Theological Enchilada Continues Feb. 18

The Twice-Monthly 10-Session Evening Co-Ed Class: continues  TuesdayFeb. 18 from 6:30-8 p.m.

Dr. Jerry C-H will teach “The Whole Theological Enchilada,” tracing the ways Western Christianity has been impacted by historical and cultural factors to become what it is today.   This class will meet in the Fireside Room on the first and third Tuesdays January through May.  While it is helpful to attend all sessions, you may enjoy individual sessions if you have travel or other commitments on some of the meeting dates. 

A New Year for Women’s Ministries

A New Year for Women’s Ministries

A message from Shaleen Camery-Hoggatt, Director of Women’s Ministries at TLC…

Blessed 2020 to you and yours! This week we’ve received the gift of a fresh start–new beginnings in the form of a new day, a new week, a new month, a new year, and a new decade. Wow–all that symbolized in the turning of a calendar page! As you plan your days and commitments in 2020, know that you are invited and welcome to participate in the many events and programs at TLC. Below is information about some of them that begin next week:

Women Growing in Faith Together:
Join other TLC Women for GIFT this Tuesday, January 7th from 10-11:30 am in the Fireside Room. GIFT is a weekly gathering of women engaging in Bible Study, exploration of spiritual practices, sharing, praying and supporting each other on life’s journey. This week’s topic is “Embracing the New Year in Four Steps.”

New Twice-Monthly 10-Session Evening Co-Ed Class: Beginning this coming Tuesday, January 7th from 6:30-8 pm, Dr. Jerry C-H will teach “The Whole Theological Enchilada,” tracing the ways Western Christianity has been impacted by historical and cultural factors to become what it is today. This class will meet in the Fireside Room on the first and third Tuesdays January through May. While it is helpful to attend all sessions, you may enjoy individual sessions if you have travel or other commitments on some of the meeting dates.

Contemplative Bible Study/Praying the Psalms: You are invited to participate this Friday, January 10th from 10-11:30 am in the Fireside Room for the weekly co-ed Contemplative Bible Study. Guidance and resources are provided to learn and explore a variety of prayer practices in this reflective approach to praying the Psalms.

TLC Women’s Retreat 2020 will be at Warm Beach May 29-31. Sign-ups begin this Sunday, January 5 at church.