The Vision – Summer 2018

Dear friends in Christ,

This is a gigantic THANK YOU.  A few weeks ago, I passed around a sign-up sheet. It was to get some contributions to make our Vacation Bible School day camp happen.  I didn’t know what to expect.

When I got home and took a look at it, it was completely filled out.  There was maybe one thing that was left blank. I was amazed.  I was dumbfounded.  Thank you for sharing out of your abundance.  Thank you for your generosity.  Thank you for your love.

We had a grand total of 11 kids that came to our day camp.  Different families came on different days, but each one of those young people heard that they are loved by a loving God.  That felt like a good thing to me.  That felt like it was worth every ounce of effort.

I’d like to give this a try again next year.  I learned a lot in this month about what went well and what could be better.  I think that this area has no shortage of kids who could hear that God loves them.   And I’m so grateful to all of you for how you contributed.  Every donation of something small went into creating an atmosphere of love. Every loaf of bread, every bottle of juice, every snack, every craft item.  (Oh, and the fire engine, too.  That was here because for the day camp, not because of an actualfire.)  It was all part of how we help kids learn that God’s love is for them.

Meanwhile, right before the day camp happened, there was a vote to decide about me being your permanent part-time pastor.  And now, I’m delighted to be able to do ministry together for the long-term.  I want to tell you something important to remember:  I’m imperfect and likely to fail at lots of things.  There’s a good likelihood that papers will get lost in the shuffle or my cluttered brain will forget some details.  But I will always, ALWAYS try to share God’s love in the best way that I know how.   I am so thankful for these congregations.  I am so thankful to be able to serve God in your midst.  I’m so thankful that I get to be your pastor.

God is alive and on the move.  And God loves you.  I can’t wait for our next chapter together in the story that God is writing through us.

Peace,

Pastor Sarah

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vision – April 2018

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

Is anyone reading these articles?

Seriously.  Anybody?

 

 

(Because….sometimes I get the feeling that about two people read my golden prose.)

(I’ve even offered cash prizes!)

If you like reading the newsletter articles, would you please let me know?  OR….if you have some kind of great idea for future newsletter articles…I would LOVE your input!

 

Love and kisses,

Pastor Sarah

The Vision – May 2018

Dear friends in Christ,

I’ve been browsing church hymnals since I can remember.  It’s a sure sign of being a church nerd and it’s possible I’m not the only one who does it.

If you were to browse the front portion of the ELW, you might stumble across the Service for Healing.  It is a very brief service designed to simply offer prayers for wholeness of body and spirit.  We did the service a handful of times when I was in seminary and there was something very powerful about the simplicity of its prayers.

I’d like to do this service on a semi-regular basis.  I’d like to give it a first try on May 20th after service at both churches.  The service itself takes about 20 minutes, so you won’t miss your brunch reservation if this is something that worries you.  You’re invited to come for anything from which you need healing.  Maybe it’s a big medical concern.  Maybe it’s a hangnail that bothers you.  Maybe you’ve been doctoring for years, or maybe you just don’t feel like smiling as much as you used to.  Maybe you worry more than you would like, or maybe your job makes you feel stressed.  Everybody is welcome.  No exceptions.  No restrictions.  I’ll have the prayers printed out for you. And maybe in that 20 minutes or so, we can nurture each other’s souls a little as we pray for wholeness and healing.

Here’s a sample of the main prayer of healing:

Father in heaven, for Jesus’ sake, send your Holy Spirit upon your servant, <your name here!>; drive away all sickness of body and spirit; make whole that which is broken; deliver her/him from the power of evil; and preserve her/him in true faith, to share in the power of Christ’s resurrection and to serve you with all the saints now and evermore.  Amen. 

More than anything else, I know that you are loved by a loving God.  I also know that prayer is a gift from God and it helps.  So if you’d like to attend, you are invited and welcomed. If you don’t want to attend, no pressure, no guilt.

Let’s pray for each other. Let’s love each other.  Let’s be the people of God.

With much love, and occasional sass,

Pastor Sarah

P.S.  I heard that some of you DO read these articles. Thanks!

P.P.S.  Only one person came to claim their newsletter-reading-cash-prize a few months ago.  That was shocking.

P.P.P.S.  If you’ve gotten this far, you might also be a church nerd.  Good thing we’ve got each other.

 

The Vision – December 2017

Resolutions?  AGAIN??

 

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when New Year’s resolutions will be made yet again.  Wait.

What?

That’s not in the bible.

 

But it certainly does seem prophetic.  They come around every year and sometimes they improve our lives in countless ways, and sometimes they just make us frustrated.  But somehow every year, I get swept up in the idea of making improvements.  I love the idea of learning something new or making better some aspect of my life. So, I’ve been thinking about how to do this in my professional life and I have (yet another) crazy idea.  Are you ready?

 

I’m thinking about starting a congregation-wide reading plan.  There are some really outstanding books out in the world that teach about life together as a congregation that I think would be great for us to read together as a community of faith.

 

But here’s the tricky part of all of this.  It’s not really *my* New Year’s resolution if I’m asking you to do it.  So, I guess what I’m asking is this:  would you join me in doing just a little bit of reading together as a congregation?  I think it might be good for our church.  I feel like it might start some valuable conversations about who we are and what we believe and why we care.

 

How does that sound?

 

Crazy, I know.  But…I think we can do it.  I really do.

 

I even have the first book picked out.  And the second.  Oooooh, and maybe the third.  (I’m so excited!)

 

I’ll keep you posted on when we’ll have discussions, but….the title of the first book is “Autopsy of a Deceased Church” by Thom Rainer.   We have a bunch of copies in the church office that our council has already used, but if you want to get your own copy, I’m pretty sure we have one or two Amazon Prime members in our congregation.  J

 

Friends in Christ, I think we’re going to have a great year.  I think God’s going to do some amazing things.  You are loved by a loving God.  Isn’t that good news?

 

P.S.  Have you written down my phone numbers in your important stuff? Here they are:

Home:  570-966-9674, Cell:  570-768-5020—feel free to text me, too.  And then call me if important things happen, okay?  Thanks!