KEEPING THE FAITH
When the pandemic closed churches a year ago, area pastors and priests didn’t just close the doors and nap for a month.
If anything, their jobs became that much tougher.
Though Pastor Kevin Frey, Father Brian Dellaert and Pastor Peter Faugstad all missed their congregations during that time, all followed recommendations to protect parishioners. All were anxious to reopen, and all did so cautiously.
None of the men knew of any outbreak caused by church services in the year of COVID-19 and all are looking forward to Easter week 2021.
JERICO LUTHERAN, WHICH celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2017, holds 300 parishioners with Pastor Peter Faugstad at the helm. He also pastors at Saude Lutheran Church and Redeemer in New Hampton.
He remembers hearing about the virus in January or February on National Public Radio.
“They were finding it in other places around the world, then in March, when you heard about cases in the U.S. on the coast, I had every expectation it would get to the midwest,” he said. “But I did not expect a shutdown in the middle of March.”
The parish was deciding whether or not to have an after-church gathering when the topic became closed for discussion.
“We went from talking about maybe not having a lunch to cancelling everything.”
The shutdown, where Gov. Kim Reynolds prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people may have taken Pastor Faugstad by surprise, but did he think the measures were too restrictive?
“Not at the time, we didn’t know the extent of the virus and how it would affect people. Not knowing any differently we just wanted to do our part.”
The rest of the story may be found in the March 30 Tribune.