NOVEMBER 2018 letter from Pastor LaDonna
What is a saint?
The first of November is All Saints Day. A Day we stop to remember and give God thanks for the saints in our life – but just what is a saint?
The first thing that comes to mind is how on “All Saints Day” in worship we remember and give God thanks for those made saints in the water and word of baptism, as well and remembering and giving God thanks for those who touched our lives who have died this past year. This year on November 4 we will be remembering Julie Langness, Floyd and Marlys Portinga, Gladys Johnson, Delores Coil and Mary Ann Gerstenkorn. All Saints who touched our lives in special ways.
The Bible Dictionary defines saints as “Holy People, a title for all God’s people.” It goes on to describe the various Hebrew/Greek words translated holy. In the Old Testament there are two words – qaddish and chasid. Qaddish implies to be holy is to “separate oneself from evil and dedicate oneself to God”. Chasid means to be “kind and merciful”. “Chasid means to be a people who are godly because they reflect the character of God”
In the New Testament there is 1 word – hagios. “this word means holy, or the holy ones” The dictionary goes on to say that “Biblically, the term saint is correctly applied to anyone who believes Jesus Christ is Lord. “
As I reflect on who are the saints in my life – numerous people come to mind; My mom/dad who brought me to church every Sunday and taught the importance of putting God first. Craig a seminary professor who stood beside me and encourage me during a storm in my life. My husband who was never going to move from his home town –and has been a partner in ministry for 20+years. My children who keep me humble – my grandchildren who are baptized and the joy of my heart… and each of you…. You who inspire me, challenge me, support and encourage. You who the holy ones of God – those who believe that are gathered in the place, this community to grow in faith toward God and fervent love toward one another.
Luther in describing saints – stated how we were simul justus et peccator – we are simultaneously saints and sinners. Although we try to lead holy lives we are also sinful – in daily need of repentance and forgiveness. And this applies to all of us – me included. We are all in this together. We are saints together – holy ones – set apart trying to live holy lives, called to be kind and merciful – reflecting the very love of God in Christ Jesus to each other, within our community, and to the ends of the earth. I thank God for each of you!!!
Live every moment
Laugh every day
Enjoy every second
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Thoughts To Ponder
A recent stewardship article offered two different thoughts to ponder.
Within our liturgy we have an offering prayer: “we offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us –ourselves, our time, and our possessions, signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Is this a true prayer? Do we really offer 1st in joy and thanksgiving? Then, are we willing to give back to God what God has first given us – Our very selves, our time, and our possessions?
The 2nd thought to ponder: Malachi 3:6- 12 reveals how when we do not bring our tithes and offerings we are “Robbing God”. God then issues a test, a dare so to speak – bring the whole tithe – 10% and see if God will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing you will not have room enough for it. God has issued a test – a challenge – will we accept it and be blessed?
Each month there is an abundance of activity at United Lutheran. The month of October began with people from Central Community Transit meeting with area seniors in regard to providing transport-tation to/from Willmar – several options were presented. October also brought our annual fall festival/meatball supper; a Halloween party for all ages as well as a Luther League Lock in. We continue each Sunday learning how the Word of God spreads with our Intergenerational education time BibleSong. Our Sunday adult class is also looking at “how the word spread” with a more in-depth study of the Book of Acts. In the midst of the activity, we paused to remember and thank God for the life of Marlys Portinga who died on October 11. Blessed be her memory. The parsonage remodel actually got underway; the floor is in and the rest will be completed in near future. This, in addition to worship at 10:30 every Sunday with a variety of worship formats; weekly confirmation classes, committee and council meetings. We do want to take this opportunity to invite you to come and join us – all are welcome!
COME YE THANKFUL PEOPLE COME
On Wednesday – November 21 we will gather at 6:30 pm to thank God for God’s many blessing we have received this past year. Following worship with be a time of fellowship with pie hosted by the council (all are encouraged to bring those delicious pies---the more the yummier!!).
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- Parsonage Update -
On Sunday, 25th there was a special congregational meeting held in regards to updating the kitchen in the parsonage. Nolan Jungclaus put together a presentation which included the diagrams and figures that were printed in the March newsletter. The congregation voted with a final result of 44 yes and 17 no.
The total cost of this update is around $20,000. Over the next 2 months there will be fundraisers to help contribute to the cost of this update. We are also taking pledges. If you would like to pledge either a specific unit or a dollar amount, please fill out the form below or stop by the church to get one and return it to the office at ULC. We will keep you posted on all updates of the project. As of now, we have received $10,739 for this project including $2,500 in pledges.
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PLEDGE FOR 2018 PARSONAGE KITCHEN PROJECT
I/WE,________________________________________ PLEDGE TO DONATE $___________ TOWARD THIS PROJECT TO BE
PAID IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:______________________________________________
(PROJECT IS SET TO BEGIN AROUND AUGUST 6)
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- GLLM News and Events -
GOOD NEWS, GOOD BREWS MEN’S RETREAT (January 25-26)
Join us in sharing the Good News and exploring the craft brewing process! No matter your experience level, come for a great opportunity for crafting, conversation, and community. Experience the brewing process from start to finish – you’ll even go home with some of your own brew! Fee $145 – double occupancy room, snacks, meals…
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- Alzheimer’s Education Series -
Tuesday, September 13 - Living with Alzheimer’s for Caregivers: Middle Stage 3:30-5:00 pm – Bethesda Education Center
Tuesday, October 9 – Dementia Conversations: Driving, Doctor Visits, Legal & Financial Planning 3:30-5:00 pm – Bethesda Education Center
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SW MN SYNOD ASSEMBLY REPORTS
Special Thanks to Nolan and Amalia Jungclaus for being our voting representatives to the synod assembly.
The Synod Assembly met with the theme of “Embrace God Mission; Equip God’s People” with the focus on how we are “walking together embracing God’s mission – walking together with Christ as our lead”
Embrace God’s Mission: Equip God’s People is a funding initiative that was launched at last years synod assembly. As we enter year two we were reminded of the goal of $2.5 million and beyond. Encouraging not only Pastors and individuals but congregations to contribute in order to grow and sustain God’s work within our congregations, our missions, and our leaders. Gifts to the funding initiative as of this past weekend was $1,012,000. The initiative has three main areas to provide resources for “congregation vitality”; Embrace Local and Global Mission, and Develop Servant leaders.
What does this money do?
*IT IS TO BE USED TO DEEPEN CONGREGATION VITALITY: This past year funding for the “money and ministry” event that was presented to a group of 39 pastors, pastor spouses and congregation leaders including United Lutheran. This portion also funded the three Energizing and Mobilizing your congregation workshop (strategic vision, fundraising and marketing) again which council members from our congregation attended as well as the Equipping Congregation Events.
*IT IS TO BE USED TO ENHANCE LOCAL/GLOBAL MISSION: This past year this fund gave scholarship to 5 young adults to visit our companion synod in South Africa and to help build on-going relationships. IT also supports our young adults in global mission in various places around the world
*IT IS TO BE USED DEVELOP SERVANT LEADERS, including the MINISTERIAL EXCELLENCE FUND: Grants from this fund have been given to pastors in our area to help reduce overwhelming seminary debt; provide workshop and resources on increasing financial literacy and the upcoming grant gifts will be directed towards pastors who are below guidelines and in need of building up housing equity. In the area of servant leaders our synod also has resources to help people discern God’s call to roster leadership or promote Lay school of theology or being a synod approved minister. It is also helping with TIM (Teens in Ministry training through GLLM).
As a Pastor in this synod, this is something I personally support and have contributed to. The work and resources provided as we walk together is amazing. I also made a recommendation to the council to contribute to this fund – (10% of each farm check for the next 3 years) While the council has tabled this until the fall – it is my hope that we can move forward as we are called to walking together embracing our mission.
BUSINESS ACTION OF SYNOD ASSEMBLY:
MMSC – to adjust synod constitution in regarding wording and practices of our rostered leaders to be Ministers of Word and Sacrament; and Ministers of Word and Service (deacon)
MMSC – 2018 budget
MMSC – 2018 Compensation Guidelines
Submitted by Pastor LaDonna
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Honestly, the thing I remember most about the assembly was what happened after the business was done for the day.
After dinner on the first day, we were treated to a Lutheran version of the game show Family Feud. The teams were made by splitting the room down the middle, and each round a new group would come up from each side to try to answer a survey question that had been posed to a hundred other Lutherans. The goal was to come up with the most common answers given by the surveyed group.
The questions got pretty silly. “What would you have Jesus turn water into if he were here right now?” The top answer was wine, very traditional, but beer was a close second. “What would you do if you realized you were the only one standing up in church?” Most would sit down right away, but some claimed they would start dancing. “What would be a bad time to start giggling during a church service?” That seemed especially relevant, since most people were giggling after every answer given.
There was a lot of energy in the room, despite the long day everyone had had. The whole game was put together by one woman, which I thought was pretty incredible. The passion she would put into the game brought out the energy in us. In between rounds she noted attending Pastors accomplishments and many years of work, bringing them up to be recognized. The years of service some had put in was incredible.
Maybe it's a little roundabout, but there are some things I took away from that evening. If you are going to do something, own it! Figure out what drives you, and devote yourself to it. Be open to the ideas of others, and be supportive of the people on your team. That will help you get farther in the game and, no matter if you win or lose, you'll feel better once the game ends.
Submitted by Amalia Jungclaus
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Our Synod Assembly was an extra ordinary affair this year. What I mean by that is simply that it was more ordinary than not. Many of the Assemblies I have attended in the past had some pretty heavy lifting to do like ratifying the 2009 human sexuality statement, or just a few years before that where we discussed and ratified Called to a Common Mission, the merger of the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America through the sharing of sacraments and pastoral ordination. This year however, was just business as usual. We passed a Synod budget and pastoral compensation guidelines, elected various individuals, both lay and pastoral to sit on the various committees that serve our synod council and thus accomplish the very important work this Synod endeavors to engage in. Overall, this year’s Synod Assembly went forward with very little fanfare or distraction.
Don’t get me wrong, there was all sorts of information presented through the materials we received through the speakers, and special invited guests from South Africa (whom our Lakeland Conference supports directly with funds for the HIV project), and informational booths from the many ministries supported by our synod, that all extolled the good works this ELCA organization does and it is all very amazing and refreshing to understand just how truly wonderful it is for the work that is getting accomplished in God’s name. We learn how people’s lives are being changed and how the church is growing in China and in India and in South Africa. We learn about the work and efforts of the Lutheran Disaster Relief who confront world emergencies for the long term and how Lutheran Social Service is working right here in our back yard to help individual families deal with financial and housing challenges that threaten their personal survival in today’s society. This is all very incredible work that is being accomplished day in and day out by Christians throughout the world. We are a part of that, and we contribute to that with every dollar in our offering plate and every prayer we share with God in heaven. These are the things that happen every day in God’s Kingdom thru the ELCA, and our Synod Assemblies have in the past, had to deal with some complex issues of how the church stands on various issues in spite of and amongst all the good work we set out to do.
This year we only had one resolution to deal with (and I remember years in the past with 18 to 20 resolutions). This resolution was pretty boring actually, as it was a change in the Synods constitution to correct the language and wording we associate with servants of Word and Sacraments (Pastors) and servants of Word and Service (Deacons). This change was being made to more unify the terminology we use as a church in understanding the roles of these people, a clarification of the terminology we use. So, not very controversial stuff this year, but I can say that given the distraction and drama that we are experiencing in our national politics this was a welcome rest bit from all that.
Perhaps that has given our Synod some time to reflect on issues of a more personal nature as Bishop Anderson asked us this question. “Do you want to grow your church?” This seems like a pretty simple question with a simple answer of “yes”. Of course we want our church to grow as that is what we are called to do, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Lord”. His next question was a little more difficult, “Is your church ready to Grow?” “Have we encouraged and engaged our congregations to serve the mission field we have today?” This is “Urgent” the Bishop exclaimed. Are we growing the disciples in our church to serve the mission field we have today. Do the colors in our church reflect the colors of our comm-unity? If they do not, are we the church serving our community? Or, are we simply serving ourselves?
Bishop Anderson explained to us that the word Synod actually means “Walking Together” and he suggested that it is time we use Jesus’ example to walk with those in our communities that are suffering and hurting. Jesus did not stand at a pulpit in front of the church and preach sermons. He walked amongst the people listening to them, caring for them, and lifting them up with hope and with healing. This is what we also are called to do. Our theme for this year’s assembly was “Together we are being called to Embrace God’s Mission, Equip God’s People”. How are we equipping our congregation to meet with and walk with those in our communities that do not know Christ as our Savior and Lord? Do they witness our actions and know we are Christians by our love? We are equipping Stephen Ministers to meet people within their personal tragedies of life and this is a good start at this, and our efforts with family promise work toward this goal as well, but we need everybody’s effort and commitment to reach out to those around us and walk with them in this life…
Are we ready to grow the church?
2017 Bethesda Annual Report
Betty King and Frances Kaiser attended the Bethesda Annual meeting on June 15, 2017 as delegates from United Lutheran. The meeting opened with prayer, welcome, and approval of the 2016 annual meeting minutes. This was followed by a ‘Year in Review’ with discussion held on the building project and phase II with $2.3 million raised and $700,000 remaining. A video was shown of the move from Heritage to Bethesda Grand. Ideas were taken from delegates on member/church connection. The meeting ended with a delicious luncheon.
Green Lake Lutheran Ministries Annual Report
God is on the Loose!
How good it is to know that God isn’t confined by human restrictions, boxes, and understandings. It is a little frightening when we forget God’s love for people. It’s comforting to know God is doing great things even when I can’t see it or understand it. God is moving in our midst and on the loose.
We have 180 congregations that own GLLM and you are one of them. When people ask how many sites does Green Lake Lutheran Ministries have I tell them 183. That includes Green Lake Bible Camp, Shores of St. Andrew, Camp House, your congregation, along with the other member congregations. It is our privilege to partner with each of you in ministry.
We had a great year ministry-wise. Day Camps grew by eight congregations receiving great feedback on the overall program. Camp House continues to grow in numbers with the addition of the North Shore Service Adventure Camp for Middle and High School students. Green Lake camper numbers grew with Stargazers and TIM Team being the biggest increase. Shores of St. Andrew numbers were down with the largest impact being in Half Blast. We moved the Half Blast program to primarily weekends which we believe affected the numbers. In 2017 we will be offering Half Blast most weeks alongside Andy’s Gang. On-site camper numbers were down; however, camper days increased as a result of the additional Day Camps. We are hoping our numbers will grow this year with help from your congregation and new congregations sending campers. We hope congregations will keep looking for youth outside the church to join them at camp. We are also hoping to see an increase in our Family & Congregational Camps. Brochures are available and know you are all invited.
Financially we are still trying to stabilize. This coming year is crucial for us to get our cash flow in the black. We will have to make some significant changes if we don’t improve our financial picture. A clearer picture of the finances will be available in our full annual report once our year-end finances are complete.
We are thankful for your support and partnership in ministry. We look forward to serving you in 2017.
In His service,
Green Lake Lutheran Ministries