From The Pastor…
The bell has rung! When in high school and college, while sitting in class, we were always waiting for the bell to ring to signify that the class time had ended and that it was time to move on to the next class. Well, for me at Redeemer, the bell has rung! Below is an excerpt from the letter that I submitted to our Redeemer Church Council and was read by President David Albright on July 17, 2020.
Dear Church Council and Members of Redeemer Church,
After being your Pastor for eleven years, I officially announce my resignation as Pastor of our beloved Redeemer Church, Zuehl, Texas. This letter and my announcement to Council at our June meeting will make my resignation official, however, per my contract, I will need to give Redeemer Church three (3) months’ notice before I officially complete my ministry here.
This has not been an easy decision to make. Several years ago, when I turned sixty-five years old, I contemplated retirement; however, I postponed that decision.
My ministry at Redeemer has been great and rewarding for myself, along with Sharon. These eleven years have been fruitful and very rewarding. Truly, I will miss being Pastor to many great, wonderful, and loving parishioners.
My most determining factor in choosing this time to retire is that the Coronavirus has caused financial issues, and the market has become very volatile. My United Church Pension has become very unstable, and the financial advisors are not predicting a bright future. Therefore, I need to begin drawing my pension.
On my paperwork from the Pension Boards, I checked off, and Council President David C. Albright signed a document that I could continue at Redeemer for my required three months or longer so that I would make sure that Redeemer would not be left “shepherd less” due to the Coronavirus.
Indeed, the decision to resign as Pastor of Redeemer Church is not an easy one. Our hearts are still in Redeemer Church. However, the time has come for me to move on to a different type of life style. And, the Coronavirus has been the trump card in making this decision, along with my recent heart bypass surgery.
According to the Pension Boards, UCC, in whatever pastoral ethical way that Redeemer sees fit, I can assist and help out with ministry at Redeemer. Council President David C. Albright is aware of the signed document (that I referred to earlier). Per my contract, my final date will be September 17, 2020. However, according to the Pension Boards, UCC, since I am retiring, I can assist in ministry in whatever ethical way that Redeemer sees fit, until a new pastor is chosen. Council President David C. Albright signed a document that stated that I could continue in ministry after September 17, 2020. However, after my three months of completion work (September 17), I have now decided that I will only be willing to work on a part-time basis, and an interim minister will need to be chosen by Redeemer.
In my forty-three years of ministry, I never looked forward to writing this letter. However, the time has come.
Signed with a heavy heart,
Grace and peace,
Rev. Leroy (Lee) M. Zillmann
April 12, 2020
"This flower had to struggle through the asphalt of the Redeemer Church parking lot so that it could finally bloom such a beautiful flower. All of us are struggling through these rough times with the Coronavirus, but when all this is over, we, too, shall bloom and come back to a beautiful life. God, help us in our present struggles so that soon, we may again bloom in beauty."
Blessings, prayers, and health to all, Your Pastor, Rev. Lee M. Zillmann
Things have really changed in the world. I cannot believe all the changes that have taken place in our world over the last few weeks. How do we cope with all the upsetting, agitating, horrifying things that we see daily in the news?
A good scripture passage to help us through these difficult times is Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.”
Yes, with everything bombarding us with Coronavirus/Covid-19, let us keep our faith and trust in the Lord. Let us pray unceasingly to our God, and especially lift up not only ourselves for health and strength, but also our beloved family members, our first responders, and people whose jobs cause them to come in contact with others each day. May our prayers bring us a sense of peace in these difficult times. May the peace of Christ be with you and sustain you each and every day.
Since county, city, state, and federal regulations are keeping our person-to-person contacts to a bare minimum, your Pastor is not able to make personal visits with parishioners, allowing him to be a carrier of the virus from one person to another and to another. Therefore, each day, he is using telephone calls to keep in touch with our members, especially our more “mature” folk. Your Pastor has enjoyed these personal contacts through telephone conversations.
One thing that I encourage is to watch worship services on television or listen on radio. I have done so, and it is inspiring. On Sunday mornings, there are various services as well as on the Catholic channel. They encourage everyone to remember their own particular church with prayers and offerings. Our Council President David Albright will have more to say on that issue.
To end on a high note, Redeemer will celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter, even though it will possibly be at a later date. We all need to experience the Resurrection Story, especially in these difficult times.
Blessings, prayers, and health to all,
Your Pastor, Rev. Lee M. Zillmann
Notes from Council –Restrictions
Due to the spread of the Coronavirus/Covid-19, our Council had to take certain precautionary measures. Redeemer has to abide by the restrictions set by our Guadalupe County, Texas State, and U.S Federal Government. Your Council and Pastor gathered all this information and discussed it thoroughly.
Since there are now cases of Coronavirus in Guadalupe County, we have been advised to what we can and cannot do. We can have no gatherings of more that ten (10) persons. People must keep their safe social distancing of six (6) to ten (10) feet apart. This applies to any church gathering. These restrictions are impossible for the church to have control over, so we are cancelling all services and activities.
Weddings: postpone until this pandemic is over. Funerals: Guadalupe County officials have declared a local state of emergency. On Friday March 20, County Judge Kyle Kutscher declared Guadalupe County a “Local State of Disaster.” In keeping with these laws and guidelines, local funeral homes will not be able to handle formal funeral services in the church. Fort Sam Houston Cemetery will allow no one at the service. The funeral home transfers the casket to a military vehicle, and the military does the burial (without family); a service can be held later.
If the body is cremated, the service can always be held at a later date, but, if there is a casket, there can only be a short graveside with no more than ten people present, standing ten feet apart. A memorial service can be held at a later date in the church. There can be no food at any funeral service, as is customary at Redeemer – too many hands touching too many things.
There is no way that we can sanitize the pews, the door handles, the bathrooms, the chairs, the kitchen, the floors, and the list goes on and on.
Therefore, according to Council action, there will be no services of any kind held in Redeemer Church or in the grove until the OK is given by the County, State, and Federal Government.
As to when we will have regular Sunday morning services, we just don’t know. We have to get released from the restrictions placed upon us by the agencies listed in the above paragraph. We will get the word out as to when. These are truly tough times. Let’s work together to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Rev. Lee and Sharon Zillmann