Let us remember that GOD is with us ALWAYS!
Credit to Bethany
Walker, seminarian from Luther Seminary
From Julie Silver, MD, Harvard Medical Center:
has been years since I have posted anything on this page. As a
physician at Harvard Medical School, I have amazing access to the
best information and resources for #Covid19. I know people are
getting a lot of information, and not all of it is accurate. My
friend - Dr. Reem Ghalib - posted this summary. It is a very
helpful social media post because it explains how the numbers work
(albeit the way we understand the numbers is evolving as we learn
more - things could be better or worse than early data suggests).
Regardless, it's easy to see how the numbers get big fast and why
the medical system might be overwhelmed - putting patients who need
help at risk of not getting it. Please read and share with your
loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Urge people to be calm and
logical in their decision making. Err on the side of caution. In
regards to the info below, note that "coronavirus" is used
generically to mean the specific strain Covid-19.
much confusion, misinformation and denial is bouncing around on
social media about the coronavirus that I thought I would try to
explain, in plain language, why the experts see this as such an
will see the claim online that this virus is a lot like the viruses
that cause colds, and that if you get it, it will probably just seem
like a bad cold and you are very unlikely to die. Depending on who
you are, these statements are probably true. But they are
incomplete, and the missing information is the key to understanding
is a coronavirus that is new to the human population, jumping into
people late last year from some kind of animal, probably at a
wildlife market in Wuhan, China. It is related to the viruses that
cause colds, and acts a lot like them in many ways. It is very easy
to transmit through the respiratory droplets that all of us give
off. But nobody has ever been exposed to this before, which means
nobody has any immunity to it.
virus is now moving explosively through the human population. While
most people will recover, about 20 percent of the people who catch
it will wind up with a serious disease. They will get pneumonia
that causes shortness of breath, and they may need hospitalization.
of those people will get so sick that they cannot be saved and will
die of the pneumonia. The overall death rate for people who develop
symptoms seems to be 2 or 3 percent. Once we have enough testing to
find out how many people caught the virus but did not develop
symptoms, that might come down to about 1 percent, optimistically.
is a large number. It is at least 10 times higher than the
mortality rate for the seasonal flu, for instance, which in some
years kills 60,000 or 70,000 Americans. So, just on that math, we
could be looking at 600,000 or 700,000 dead in the United States.
But it gets worse.
people with existing health problems are much more vulnerable, on
average. The mortality rate of coronavirus among people over age 80
may be 15 or 20 percent. It appears to have 7 or 8 percent mortality
for people aged 70 to 79. Here is the terrible part: If you are a
healthy younger person, you can catch the virus and, without
developing serious symptoms yourself, you can pass it along to older
people. In other words, as the virus spreads, it is going to be very
easy to go out and catch it, give it to your grandmother and kill
her, even though you will not die yourself. You can catch it by
touching a door knob or an elevator button.
Scientists measure the spread of an epidemic by a number called R0,
or “R naught.” That number is calculated this way: for every person
who develops the illness, how many other people do they give it to
before they are cured (or dead) and no longer infectious? The R0
for coronavirus, in the absence of a control strategy, appears to be
a number close to 3 – maybe a bit higher or lower, but in that
ballpark. This is an extremely frightening number for such a deadly
Suppose you catch the virus. You will give it to 3 other people,
and they will each give it to three others, and so forth. Here is
how the math works, where you, the “index case,” are the first line:
in just 15 steps of transmission, the virus has gone from just one
index case to 14.3 million other people. Those 15 steps might take
only a few weeks. The index person may be young and healthy, but
many of those 14 million people will be old and sick, and they will
likely die because they got a virus that started in one person's
United States is not at this point yet, with millions infected, as
best we can tell. We don’t really know. We do know that cases are
starting to pop up all over the place, with many of the people
having no known exposure to travelers from China, so that means this
virus has escaped into our communities.
not have approved treatments, yet. We do not have a vaccine. The
only tool we really have now is to try to slow down the chain of
can be done. In other words, R0 is not fixed – it can be lowered by
control measures. If we can get the number below 1, the epidemic
will die out. This is the point of the quarantines and the
contact-tracing that you are hearing so much about in the news. But
the virus is exploding so fast that we will not have the labor
available to trace contacts for much longer, so we have to shift
strategies. This has already begun, but we are not doing it fast
now likely that the majority of Americans will get this virus. But,
slowing it down is still crucial. Why? Because the healthcare
system has limited resources. We only have about a million hospital
beds in America. We have well under a million ventilators. If
millions of Americans get sick enough to need treatment, we will
have a calamity on our hands. What will happen is a form of
battlefield triage, where the doctors focus on trying to treat the
young and allow the older people to die.
is not theoretical. It is already happening in Italy, where people
over 65 are being left alone on hospital gurneys to suffocate to
death from pneumonia. They basically drown in their own sputum.
There is simply not enough medical capacity to take care of them.
The United States appears to be about two weeks behind Italy on the
epidemic growth curve.
do we need to do now? We need to cancel all large gatherings – all
of them. You have probably seen that the N.B.A. has postponed the
rest of its season. Other sporting events, concerts, plays and
everything else involving large audiences in a small space – all of
it needs to be canceled. Even if these events take place, do not go
to them. No lectures, no plays, no movies, no cruises – nothing.
at home as much as possible. Stay out of restaurants. I would
cancel any travel that is not absolutely essential. Work from home,
if you possibly can. You may have to go buy groceries and medicine,
of course, but make the trips quick and purposeful. Wash your hands
assiduously after you have been in public places, for a full 20
seconds, soaping up thoroughly and being sure to get between the
fingers. Sunlight and alcohol will kill the virus.
please stop passing around statements on social media claiming that
the situation is not serious or is being exaggerated. This is a
national crisis, and conveying misinformation to your friends and
family may put their lives in danger.
Click HERE to
see a larger version of the map PLUM map
The origins of PLUM go back to the year 2004 when
our sister congregation at East Liberty Lutheran became vacant
and was unable to provide the resources to call a pastor.
Pastors Beth and John recognized that East Liberty’s situation
was similar to that of many of our small congregations. So, they
put their heads together, along with the members of East
Liberty, Christ and St. Andrew, to develop a plan of action.
That work led to the PLUM model for addressing the pastoral care
needs of small congregations in our Greater Pittsburgh area. It
is from those discussions, the fantastic support of our
congregations and our synod, constant prayer, faithful action
and humble beginnings that the Pittsburgh Lutheran United
Ministries has, and continues to, evolve. PLUM continues to meet
the needs of small congregations and now has eleven churches as
part of this cooperative ministry. These churches include:
Bethany Lutheran Church – Dormont
Christ Lutheran Church – Duquesne
East Liberty Lutheran – East Liberty
Lutheran Church of our Saviour – North
Messiah Lutheran – Munhall
Resurrection Lutheran – Oakdale
St. Andrew – East Carnegie
St. Paul’s Lutheran – Canonsburg
Trinity Lutheran – Mt. Oliver
Zion Lutheran – Coraopolis
In these first decades of
the 21st Century, Pittsburgh Lutherans are giving
birth to a renewed enthusiasm for the mission of the Gospel.
Ten congregations have begun to respond to God’s Call for
transformation. They have discovered that the best way to live
into this calling is through an intentional cooperative
ministry. We call it "Pittsburgh Lutheran United
Gradually our members are
learning that faithfulness to the challenge of the Gospel
requires a move out of the confinement of our church buildings
and unbinding the restrictions of traditionalism. This will
renew the congregations’ commitment to the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”
Bringing the joy of the
Gospel into the streets and homes of the people living around
our buildings requires a transformation of our congregations.
This is neither an easy task nor is it a ‘quick fix’ for
congregations that are in various stages of decline,
discouragement, and detachment from the Gospel’s Call.
The great prophet Elijah
provides an illustration
(1 Kings 19). Having defeated the
false prophets of Baal and publicly challenging the political
powers of his day, Elijah escaped arrest and began a journey to
Mt. Sinai. In his exhaustion, he sat under a broom tree and he
thought he might die there. Instead of dying, angels came with
food. He continued his journey in the strength of God’s
providence only to hear God say to him, “What are you doing
(1 Kings 19.13b)
This question was
followed by instructions from God. Elijah had a new mission
So it is with PLUM’s twelve
congregations! As we have turned the corner from survival to
mission, members have begun to think in terms of the church’s
mission. Some initial examples of their transformation into
this new mission include:
Moving a Saturday Summer worship out on the front porch
(including fire pot and a fellowship of marshmallows and hot
dogs). This has attracted the attention of passers-by.
Giving a block party for the neighborhood. This has
resulted in baptisms and new member families.
Cooking, serving and delivering over 1,000 full turkey dinners
Two congregations, whose financial resources are very
limited, made the decision to take 10% of the weekly
offerings and divide them evenly between support of the ELCA
and a local mission or benevolence (a different group is
chosen each month).
The new enthusiasm recently inspired two visitors at one of
our churches to step forward with an interest in building
outreach to children and youth.
Two congregations are now offering a free lunch program for
7. Two congregations host monthly diaper banks, which
offer new and gently used baby supplies to individuals in
the local community. They distribute items such as diapers,
baby wipes, baby clothes, baby/toddler toys and equipment,
and other baby supplies to over 100 children each month.
is the identification of $400.00 each month, in each
congregation, caused by a reduction of the congregation’s
monthly contribution towards pastoral care. The Pastoral Team
and the PLUM Board are challenging each congregation to put that
money into a Congregational Mission Fund that would be
used for new mission efforts. In other words, each
congregation could have $4,800 mission dollars annually, or
collectively PLUM would have $43,200 mission dollars available.
The ultimate goal is to
see each congregation as a Mission Outpost. We hope to
see the Gospel’s mission at the center of the congregation’s
planning, ministry, and life.
It is the Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM)
mission to be LIVING CHRIST’S LIGHT OF HOPE IN OUR
COMMUNITIES. PLUM will:
Provide stability of Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care.
Foster opportunities for connectivity among individuals,
congregations, and communities.
Develop lay leadership for sharing the Gospel.
Encourage freedom to care for neighbors.
Vicar Mandy Gilberti
Rev. Brenda Henry Rev. Sue Devine Bishop
Kurt Kusserow Rev.
Paul Koch Rev. John
to learn more about Our Pastors!
Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110