FROM THE PASTORS

FROM PASTOR ANN MARIE WINTERS:  ABOUT GRATITUDE…AND ˝THE MAKE A LEAP OF FAITH˝ CAMPAIGN

As I write this letter, I have just received news of the birth of a new baby.  You may guess that this was the birth of Joelle, the daughter of Michelle and Joe Jarzembowski, and the granddaughter of Diana Bauman.  Joelle is a miracle.  She is a blessing.  This family prayed for and blessed Joelle all along the way, and as a church family, we joined in those intercessions.  Now, God has graciously gifted us with a new life.

I don’t know how you feel, but I am brought to my knees in thanksgiving and praise to God.  A birth has the power to move me to tears of gratitude.  I am writing this letter about gratitude really.  We need to feel thankful.  It is good for us.  Gratitude opens our minds and hearts to what is new and worthy of our thanksgiving to God.  Gratitude enlivens us to what is good and praiseworthy in our lives.  Gratitude nourishes the saint within us.

So, first, I want to thank each of you, my brothers and sisters.  Thank you for your steadfast dedication to God.  Thank you for your prayers for me and for our church.

Secondly, I wish to thank you for your generous thank-offerings to God through the church.  Would you be willing and able to continue or increase your giving in 2018?  Also, we suggest that you try to make a leap of faith on four days this coming year.  That is, will you step up your giving on four Sundays this year to simply try a tithe or an increase that would be a leap of faith for you?  The first “Make a Leap Sunday” is November 26.  You will receive a letter and an Estimate of Giving card in the mail.  Three other “Make a Leap Sunday” opportunities are planned for February, May, and August 2018.

May God continue to pour out his plenteous blessings on us all,
Pastor Ann Marie Winters

 

All Saints Book of Remembrance:  Each year at All Saints, we remember those members of our congregation who have died over the past year.  We have also made it a practice to inscribe their names in a Book of Remembrance.  Our Book of Remembrance is fashioned after the words of the prophet Malachi (chapter 3, verse 16):  “Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another.  The Lord took note and listened, and a Book of Remembrance was written before Him of those who revered the Lord and thought on His name.”  All worshippers are invited to write in our Book the names of family members, friends, neighbors, and loved ones who have passed since All Saints Day last year.  The year runs from November 6, 2016, to November 5, 2017.  Our Book of Remembrance will be made available at worship each Sunday from November 5 through 19, 2017, on a table before the altar.  Each Sunday, names written that week will be read.  Pr. Winters

 

Interfaith Thanksgiving Worship Service hosted by St. Paul:  How will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?  Most probably you will gather with family members and friends around a turkey dinner.  Most likely there will be a prayer recognizing God as the source of all blessings, and thanks for a generous number of people or things in your life.  This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to also make a worship service the center of your Thanksgiving.  We will celebrate 66 years of community Interfaith Thanksgiving on the evening of Tuesday, November 21, at 7:30 pm to be hosted by our church.  Lots has come and gone in 66 years, and most notably our congregations have changed.  Our community has still valued the gathering of Christian and Jewish neighbors who revere the Lord and offer him praise.  When I came to St. Paul, I was given the mandate to continue the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, and we have kept it alive.  However, last year, only six members of St. Paul’s congregation and only three couples from the other congregations attended the service at SS. Peter & Paul.  PLEASE make this Interfaith Community Thanksgiving service a part of your Thanksgiving week festivity.  It is definitely worth the investment of your time to welcome our neighbors and celebrate with them.  Pr. Winters

 

FROM PASTOR WILLIAM D. LEITCH:  As I look at the Gospel readings for the Sundays in November, there seems to be a tension in what Jesus teaches us to do.  We are to plan and be prepared, but for what?  And for what time?  The bridesmaids who did not have enough oil for their lamps must have expected the wedding sooner or were they not listening for more instruction and missed the update?  For the servant given one “talent”, he saw the master as a tough, unforgiving boss.  He thought that it was better to protect whatever he had, bury it, and hide it rather than use it and increase its value.

In both cases, the bridesmaids and the servant both stopped participating in the cause.  Perhaps the bridesmaids were just along for the fun.  They did not see themselves as ones of any value.  The marriage was just another party.  After all, it was not their commitment.  However, Jesus was speaking to us through this parable about our commitment to a relationship with him.  We are all married to Jesus and Jesus is looking for a bride who is committed and engaged in the relationship – not just along for the ride.  The servant who buried the “talent” was not engaged in the cause.  It seems he had no clue as to what the master wanted.

I have been revived by everyone’s participation in our quest to explore where God is sending us, Living Lord Lutheran Church, along with St. Paul Lutheran Church.  Where is God sending us?  Where do we need God’s help?  Instead of being frozen in place by fear or by a lackadaisical attitude that we are just along for the ride, I am inspired by the genuine care of all of you.  I sense that you sincerely care about using all our talents to serve God’s purpose.  And together we are expecting God to give us updates and we will be ready to respond as God reveals our purpose.

Thank you all for participating in our group discussions and sharing your thoughts and questions.  Every single comment written down has inspired other thoughts and ideas.  I feel that we had stoked a fire that is giving us new life.  Our ad hoc committees have exceeded my expectations.  Shame on me for having any doubts.  It is wonderful when everyone participates.  You each see something others cannot see.

Together we are the Body of Christ.  I am revived and I look forward to the next several years of Shared Ministry, doing mission and ministry together and thriving in our community.

 

Envisioning Mission Retreat:  A leadership retreat for short and long-range planning will be held on Saturday, November 4.  It is time to cast a vision and dream a picture of what a consolidated church could be like in 5 to 10 years from now, and to design the steps to get there.  This workshop will be held in the Fellowship Hall at Living Lord Lutheran Church from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.  We will brainstorm to discover what God dreams for our church and community to prosper in his Word.  St. Paul’s ad hoc committee members are:  Diana Bauman, Liz Chapin, Tim Martin, Brenda Ceplecci, and June Hutchison.  Anyone else who is interested in shaping a vision of a consolidated church is welcome to come to the workshop as well.  There are also 6 or 7 leaders from Living Lord who will attend, as well as their Council members, both pastors, and any congregation members who are interested.  If you plan to attend, please sign up for the “Envisioning Mission Retreat” in the main hallway so we know how much food to prepare.  Please keep our church and our vision for the future in your thoughts and prayers.