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April 11, 2020

Good morning all,

As a new practice this year, Jon and I are planning on tying bundles and strips as prayers to Ann Hoover’s magnolia tree in front of the parsonage. I encourage you to do this as well, even in a small way, as a calling out to God and a sign of hope. Do it at home or drive by the church on S. Fletcher and add a prayer ribbon of your own. I’ll leave a tub with strips out there by noon today.


Peace to you, my friends, and hope in Him,

Pastor Kathy



In a teaching from the desert fathers, “an old Desert Father was asked what was necessary to do to be saved. He was sitting making rope. Without glancing up, he said, “You’re looking at it.” Just as so many of the mystics have taught us, doing what we are doing with presence and intention is itself prayer.

At this time of social distancing, I want to emphasize contemplative insights and practices that help us heal our sense of separation and isolation, promote connection and awaken a sense of creativity and responsibility for all beings. 


People in almost every faith tradition across the world have ways of hanging simple objects as expressions of prayer, sending forth love, courage and healing into the world. Many churches celebrate Advent and Lent by tying ribbons, banners, or cloth around trees to enrich the celebration. As Easter approaches, perhaps this practice will help you in your embrace of new life and resurrection. The Lakota and Cherokee people use prayer ties (tobacco or cornmeal wrapped in cloth) as offerings of prayers, intentions, and gratitude, tying them to trees or leaving them in sacred places. All who come in contact with the prayer ties are blessed by the intentions and prayers. In Ireland, Scotland and Wales, people tie strips of colored cloth called “clooties,” to ask for blessings. Buddhist prayer flags hold prayers blown by the wind to promote peace, compassion, and wisdom. 


For this week’s practice, we invite you to create a version of prayer ties. The prayer ties can be tied to a favorite tree, bush, plant or other element. Although many indigenous traditions use tobacco and cloth representing the four directions, for your prayerful intentions you can use any fabric at hand and add offerings of seeds, special stones, written prayerful words, etc. We have permission to share this particular version with you from the First Nations website Dances for All People. We thank them and Sister Joan Brown for introducing us to this beautiful practice. 


To make prayer ties: 

  • Gather alone or with family/community in a contemplative, devotional manner. 
  • Cut cloth into small squares about 4 x 4 inches. 
  • Place prayer intentions of gratitude, healing, wisdom, for those suffering, etc., in center of cloth.  
  • Take string, yarn, or strips of cloth to tie into a bundle.    
  • With prayer, song and gratitude, attach the prayer bundles to a tree or sacred place outdoors. 
  • Visit this place with prayer and gratitude often. 

Thanks to Fr. Richard Rohr, my daily devotion, and the Center of Action and Contemplation for this idea. 


~ Pr. Kathy

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March 31, 2020

Dear Ones in Christ,


You’ve heard it said that these are unprecedented times – In my more than 60 years, I personally experienced sheltering/lock-down only once and that was during the riots of Summer 1967 in Milwaukee. But as some have reminded us, we’ve lived through challenges a number of times of hardship, isolation, and most particularly rapid life change in the last century.

~the depression. ~WWII in the U.S. and in Germany. ~the great polio (paralysis) outbreak of 1947-48. ~the civil rights and anti-war movements in the 1960’s. ~9/11


We are having to rethink what is ‘essential’, and whether our own actions put ourselves or others at risk. We are having to reimagine meals and mealtime; work and free time; family time and alone time. None of us want this, but we know that we are doing it for those in our community who are older, weaker, and more vulnerable AND for ourselves. We here at Zion (Mary, myself and a very small team of healthy volunteers) are having to recreate worship, communications, and fellowship to accommodate this separate but together time for us all.


Our primary ‘live’ engagement link for Zion Lutheran is our Facebook group page.

After Easter, I will also be offering a Fellowship time for members or those who are interested. If you need help accessing Facebook for the first time, or want to learn how to access a Zoom chat call Mary/me for help between 10 am and 2 pm Monday-Friday at the office (734- 475-8064). Leaders and members are also reaching out to one another.


Living in the land of the free, gathering with members of our community to worship and share peace, reconciliation, and the gift of the means of grace (Baptism and Holy Communion) has always been a choice. Today, as I rethink our Holy Week worship, I am acutely aware of the sacrifices we are making by staying home from worship, and the challenge this is for many of us. Thank you all for your grace and kindness as we continue to create and modify worship to make this ‘worship-ful’ for so many of you.


Finally, a word about financial stewardship. Our congregation voted in a budget at the last annual meeting that funds the mission and ministries we share. I ask that you prayerfully consider that, as a part of the body of Christ and a member of it, you continue to give financially to your Church and our ministries based on that budget. January and February are generally leaner times for Zion while Lent and Easter bring us back on even footing or put us ahead. We continue to do much of the work of the Church, even though it looks different than a month ago. Thanks to many who have continued to send in their envelopes or have given electronically. We will gratefully receive your Lent and Easter gifts by mail or electronically any time in the coming weeks.


The Holy Week packet you have received or will receive has been customized for your family.

Those without Internet access will receive a second packet next week. You can find more information about preparing for Holy Week under the Worship tab on our website.


Be well,

Pastor Kathy

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March 25, 2020


Good morning, all;


As a result of Governor Whitmer’s executive order which became active at midnight, March 24th, 2020, Zion Lutheran Church will suspend public operations at the church building until further notice. This means the building is closed. Pastor Kathy and Mary will continue to work honoring the Stay at Home order. We are currently working on the April newsletter and will continue to provide updates via the Friday Update and the Zion website. Both are also available by phone (see phone numbers below). Pastor Kathy, along with Council member for Communications Terri Long, will continue to have an active presence through our Facebook page including daily posts, worship on Sundays, and live prayer time on Wednesdays. We understand that internet speed is making it difficult for some to access some of the posts. Please be sure to like our Facebook page and return there often for updates. We will continue to do our best to make viewing possible for most.


     Zion Lutheran – Chelsea MI


Those not accessing internet (about 3 dozen individuals/families) will receive a weekly packet from Zion that includes a bulletin, the current Friday Update and any correspondence from us. Please honor the Executive Order, Stay Home and Stay Safe. Call Pastor or Mary if you need anything from church. If you are over 60, or have health conditions that increase your chances of contracting COVID-19, please let your family, a neighbor, or someone here at church deliver groceries and prescriptions.


Remember, God is with us and calls us to be wise in times like these. I am looking forward to worshipping together as soon as it's safe.


Be well,

Pastor Kathy

734-475-7977 (home)

715-579-6780 (mobile)


Mary Tobin

734-255-1031 (mobile)


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March 13, 2020


Good morning,


The COVID-19 virus has now placed our state in an 'official state of emergency'. These are strange and unprecedented times. Gathering together and worshipping God in these times seems where we all would prefer to be. That said, I received two letters just after 5 pm yesterday from our Bishop and the ELCA/Episcopal Bishops of Michigan regarding safety measures around the virus outbreak and based on the strong recommendation of our Bishop, the Bishops of the state of Michigan, and conversations with Rick Eder this morning, we are taking the following three actions:

  • We are suspending worship and virtually all face to face activities at Zion Lutheran Church – Chelsea beginning today and through April 4, 2020. Our next worship service will be Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020, though depending on our local realities at that time, a decision might be made to extend this face-to-face suspension. All people without email capability will receive a phone call from me today.  This is the wise and responsible thing for us to do given the current state of health and the call for extreme safety measures. 
    • A pre-recorded video will be available via at least one source late Saturday evening, with the hope of livestreaming a worship service for March 22nd.
    • Mary and I will continue to work from the office or be available by telephone.
    • The church will receive a deep cleaning next week and the following week, upstairs offices, bathrooms, and key areas will be maintained.
    • We will continue to stay in communication with you via email and eventually phone updates.
  • I have cancelled my long-planned professional development trip to Phoenix which was to take place this Sunday evening through the following weekend, and a brief visit to my parents, moving it to a later date.
    • I will be available for pastoral needs by telephone or, in an emergency, I can come visit as long as I am 100% healthy.
    • Community of Saints members will be calling those they usually visit over the next couple of weeks.
  • Barb Satterthwaite and I will offer a coffee hour in the narthex/gathering area this coming Sunday morning, March 15th between 9 and 10:30 am for anyone wishing to gather for a time to pray and have conversation around the announcement of my upcoming retirement that was received this week. 

Please contact the church office if you find yourself ill and unable to get the groceries you need. We are working to put a team together who can shop and deliver an essential grocery list for you.  Rick Eder is away on vacation this week. He is available via email and sends his best wishes during this unsettled time.


Blessings and safe days to all of you. Please call me if you have concerns or want to talk. 


Pastor Kathy

715-579-6780 (mobile)      

734-475-7977 (home landline)


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March 12, 2020


To the Saints at Zion Lutheran - Chelsea,


As concerns and anxiety around the public transmission of the coronavirus continue locally and in our broader society, we wanted to reach out and let you know about our preparedness planning here at Zion. We are reminded from Psalm 56:3, “when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Together we face this challenge faithfully and courageously, knowing that we are beloved children of God. We place our trust in our Savior Jesus Christ.


Please see Zion’s website for up to date information:


We note that as of this date, there have been two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. Nearly three dozen more are in the process of testing. Governor Whitmer has declared a state of emergency to maximize efforts to slow the spread of disease.


The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for religious communities can be publicly accessed here:


COVID-19 symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include: fever, cough, shortness of breath. (In addition, anyone with flu symptoms, which include: fever, body aches, diarrhea, sore throat, should follow these same precautions.)


Zion is committed to enacting all reasonable preventative measures that we can. The most effective preventative measures that we know of today are:

  1. Frequently washing hands for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Stay home if you feel sick or have any kind of illness.
  4. Stay home if you are a senior, especially if you have a compromised immune system or respiratory concerns.
  5. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of the tissue.
  6. Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces.


We have begun to enact these measures with regards to our staff; staff are expected to stay at home if they have any kind of illness. We invite you to do the same.


In Worship our preventative measures include:

  1. Sharing of peace should be done without physical contact. Share the peace only with words.
  2. Holy Communion will be with individual glasses and wafers. Servers will glove.
  3. Pastors will be available for conversation after worship services, but not to touch or embrace.
  4. Please use hand sanitizer as you enter and leave the pews.
  5. We ask that prayers continue for those who have contracted COVID-19, those who are ministering to the ill, those in the medical field, those working on a cure, and those working on prevention.
  6. Pastoral prayer can be on the phone (by voice, text, Facetime and Messenger) with those in need.

We are currently making efforts to provide a broadcast of ‘worship’ beginning this Sunday. Stay tuned to email for details on how to access this.


Become familiar with Zion – Chelsea’s online presence:



   *This is now our official Facebook page. We encourage those who use the previous one to migrate here.

Friday Update: Sent via email by 3pm on Fridays.

   Contact Mary Tobin if you have announcements to be included,


E-Giving: Zion offers e-giving, an electronic funds transfer program whereby donations are made to Zion without the donor having to write a check. There are two convenient ways to sign up for e-giving:

  1. Sign up online for e-giving, using the secure payment service; or
  2. Download an e-giving authorization form as a PDF file at and return it to the church office.

 ELCA presiding bishop addresses concerns about COVID-19: This is a link to The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, response to the coronavirus. Below is a paragraph from her letter.

“We are living in the time of the coronavirus. We are also living in the time of social media and constant, relentless news coverage. Many of our people have the same concerns as those in Luther's day (Plague of 1527). Many of our people are anxious. Luther's counsel, based on Scripture, is still sound. Respect the disease. Do not take unnecessary risks. Provide for the spiritual and physical needs of the neighbor. Make use of medical aid. Care for one another, especially the most vulnerable.”

- Bishop Eaton


If we find that someone who has been at Zion has tested positive for COVID-19 we will inform you. At this time, however, public health officials do not publicly release the names of those who have tested positive for COVID-19. Any such disclosure is voluntary on the part of the individual who tests positive.


If you or someone you know believe you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 current protocol, regardless of symptoms, is to self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days. If one subsequently develops symptoms, current guidance is to call your primary care physician (PCP) by phone first. Do not show up at the doctor's office unannounced. The PCP will advise on current testing procedures. Health officials are asking concerned individuals not to go to Emergency Rooms, unless there is a genuine acute emergency of some kind.


The CDC is not currently requiring the closing/canceling of faith community gatherings even in the face of one (or a small number) of positive tests connected to that community. That could change. They do recommend that those age 60 and over refrain from attending religious services.


We remain committed to the health and well-being of all who attend and are associated with Zion Lutheran. We will stay in contact with you on this issue as needed, and you may contact our staff at any point in time with questions or concerns. If you wish to stay apprised of the latest health-related information for Washtenaw County, we invite you to join us in following the latest information from our local health department here:


When anxiety is high in our culture, worship continues to be a primary location for the proclamation both of the good news of Jesus Christ and of the continuing compassion and care of God in the midst of our humanity. It is a place where we can find solace and reassurance in the midst of our fears. Especially in times of need, the Sunday assembly of Christians around Word and Sacrament is an important sign of resurrection hope in the midst of fear and trouble. We taste and see the Risen Christ’s presence in the community gathered around Word and meal.


Be well,

Rev. Kathy Tulman 715-579-6780 (cell)

Rick Eder, Council President

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