Thursday, October 29, 2009

November newsletter

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

As we head deeper into the fall season this year, it seems like there’s an awful lot on our minds. If you’re not concerned about the actions of the larger church, you’re worried about the economy. If you’re not worried about the economy, you’re probably worried about the flu. And through it all, the seasons are slowly (or sometimes quickly) changing, and let’s face it—the grayer skies and longer nights are a little depressing! And can you believe that early snow? Can it really be almost winter?

But we’re also coming up on Thanksgiving, when we thank God for all the blessings of the past year. And even though the days are getting shorter, still there are signs of new life all around us!

Just look at the number of knitted and crocheted hats and mittens we’re collecting, to let people right here in community know that someone really loves them. Or stop by K.I.C.K. one Wednesday afternoon, where we have more kids than ever, some of them coming into our parish for the first time, as they learn and play together and experience God’s love. (Sometimes it gets a little noisy or messy—but it’s always lively!) Or visit any one of our congregations to see the regular work being done by men and women in our parish, to maintain the church buildings and see that the coffee is served. Just this month, we have a visit from Captive Free, the Junior High Youth Gathering, our Thanksgiving service with a joint choir—and we’re already working on next year’s mission trip!

So, as we head into winter this year (hopefully later rather than sooner), let’s also keep our eyes open for all that God is doing among us. And then we’ll really see how much we have to be thankful for!
~Pastor Sarah

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Reformation!

It isn't just because the color is red that I love Reformation. (Although, let's be honest, it is not an insignificant part of it.) There is also the excuse to talk about Martin Luther (not to be confused with another famous reforming pastor, although that doesn't happen much in this part of the country). I get to talk about Martin Luther a lot, which is awesome, because he makes for some great stories.

One of the things that I love about Martin Luther is that he wasn't a perfect guy, and we don't (usually) pretend otherwise. He could be...let's face it...a jerk (understatement of the year). He had a nasty temper and said some things in his later life that have caused his followers some serious embarrassment (as they should). He enjoyed his beer, married a nun, and wrote entirely too much about his stomach problems (really, any would be too much).

That we would actually name our church after this dubious character (though he himself did not want us to do so) says a lot about us, I think. It says something rather hopeful about how Lutherans view sin...and how, despite our best efforts to the contrary, God saves us from our sin through Jesus Christ. If Martin Luther can be justified by grace (through faith for Christ's sake), then maybe there is some hope for us modern-day Lutherans, as well. We may get things wrong, or say dumb things. Okay, we surely will get things wrong and say dumb things. But still we confess "Jesus is Lord", and it is Jesus who alone can save us.

In other news, my little red car was in what I think of as "stealth mode" for Reformation. Not wanting to show off its Reformation red too much (Lutherans can't stand to show off), it added some mud from the wet gravel roads to lessen the effect. It has been seriously wet around here lately. Pray for better weather so the farmers can get the harvest in!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Back in town

Pastor Paul and I are back in town after our synod's Fall Theological Conference, an excellent opportunity for learning and fellowship. It was great to take a break from the regular routine to spend time with colleagues and learn from teachers in our church. Although times are a bit rocky in our synod and in the ELCA, I am constantly amazed at the amount of steady, faithful ministry that is happening every day in our region.

There was also yarn shopping involved, because this is me we are talking about, here. (Yes, I bought some yarn, and yes, it is red.)

We are also moving forward with the planning for next summer's mission trip! Based on the input of the youth and parents who were at the planning meeting last night, we are tentatively looking at an early-summer trip to the Lake Traverse Reservation, just over two hours west of us in South Dakota. We should be finalizing this choice over the next few days, so if you have input, better get it to me quickly!
~Pastor Sarah

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Prayers: Schools and teachers

Today we have no Confirmation class (although everything else is happening as regularly scheduled because Thursday and Friday are days off school for our youth. Usually we have class unless there is no school on Wednesday, but this is a special case which I hear is traditional. So, Confirmation students--enjoy your day off! And for the rest of you: enjoy your long weekend!

This is apparently to allow teachers to go to a really big conference, so this is a great time to remember teachers and school staff who are not getting these days off, but are, in fact, working really hard! Teaching, especially in the public schools, is a challenging calling, and our teachers need lots of prayers and support!
~Pastor Sarah

Monday, October 12, 2009

Guess the season!

Now it appears to be fall.

This morning, however, was clearly winter.

Tomorrow, I figure, is anyone's guess. (But I'm betting it won't be spring.)

This did not, however, prevent us from having a great time at last night's hayride. Many thanks to the guys who put this together, the youth who came (and brought friends! excellent!), know who you are. I laughed so hard I fell over. What a great way to celebrate God's creation! (Yes, even the surprising parts.)
~Pastor Sarah