As I write, it’s a hot humid August afternoon; that said, I am aware things will quickly change. By the time you read this article summer will be changing to fall and our brief summer sabbatical from busy work and school schedules will have come to an end. The pace at work has returned to normal (whatever normal means these days), and teachers and students have returned to school. Then to add to it all, we in the church begin our fall programing. So in the midst of already over-booked schedules, why make room for the church? I’d like to offer a few highlights of things we are planning this fall.
First and foremost, Worship.
Worship is what sets us apart. You can join the country club or a health club, you can play on sports teams, all of which are very good, all places where you can meet new people, make new friends and join together in fellowship. But what sets us apart is we are the church.
When we gather for worship we hear God’s word of promise, we confess our helplessness, receive forgiveness, we pray and we welcome new sisters and brothers through baptism, and promise to support them in their walk of faith. We are fed with the bread of life and receive our Lord poured out for us. And we are sent back into the world.
Worship is essential for the church’s life and service. ¹
We make time in our busy lives to come to worship because it’s the heart of who we and who we are as God’s people. We confess our sins in the presence of God and those who we have sinned against. We are given but a taste, a sample, of the great and promised feast in Communion with the saints, that is yet to come. Isn’t that worth carving out an hour a week?
Second, Adult Education.
We’ll kick off our adult education sessions on Rally Day, Sept. 13. There will be no formal class that day, because we will be worshiping outside and using the fellowship hall and kitchen to prepare food. Please stay late or come early to worship to be a part of and enjoy the day.
Then on September 20, we’ll begin to look into the history of our church. Using the Select Learning resource “Reformation Roots” we will offer short videos with presenters such as: pastor, author, speaker, and professor of Religious History at the University of Chicago, Martin Marty, and William Cahoy, Dean of the School of Theology, Seminary at Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. We’ll also use the study guide and I hope share in lively discussion.
A short list of topics include: Luther Rediscovers Grace, From Priest to Outlaw, and the Domestic Luther- Father and Scholar.
Finally, as we move towards November I want to encourage you to join in open and honest conversation on racism. After the June 17 shooting at Emanuel African-American Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston S.C. Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton called the church into open and honest talk centered on racism. Along with other congregations, we will follow our presiding Bishop’s call for the church to “get to work” to fight racism. We’ll take a look at the ELCA social statement, Freed in Christ. We’ll use other resources such as the Lutheran magazine and videos from our synod and the ELCA.
Lots going on this fall, see you in church!
Peace and blessings,
Pastor Tom Hillertz
(¹ Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A Eaton, The Lutheran-May 2015 pg.50)