It’s the most wonderful time of the year… it’s Lent! During this sacred time of year, as winter continues to grasp at each day, as we are caught in the tension of busy-ness and rest, we once again journey through this holy season… to the joy of Easter. But before we get too far…
You know that Lent is my favorite liturgical (church) season. It has been for the longest time. And in my youth, I marked the days of Lent by counting down… how many days until I could eat chocolate again. Have you ever done that? Participated in the Lenten discipline of giving something up?
It was never a requirement in our house, but as I got older, I wanted to more fully participate in this most glorious of church seasons. And then one year the discipline transformed, so instead of giving something up for Lent, I added a daily spiritual practice: daily devotions, daily prayers, daily acts of kindness, etc. And in this way, my understanding of Lent and the journey we take to the cross during this season was expanded.
And now here again I find myself at the beginning of this amazingly contemplative and meaningful season of the church year. During these 40 days (+ Sundays) all of us are invited into a time of reflection as we remember the path Jesus took to save us once and for all from sin and death. Now that we have received the amazing gifts of grace, forgiveness, and salvation, we realize a simple truth: all that we are and all that we have are God’s. Simply put, we are stewards.
A steward is someone who manages or looks after another’s property. We are the ones who manage and look after God’s property, God’s creation. This is what stewardship is all about — caring for God’s creation, which includes ourselves, our time, our possessions, our planet, our neighbor… the list goes on and on. Stewardship is not just about money, it’s about utilizing all that God has given to us to love one another and to bring the Kingdom (the Reign) of God to the present, here and now.
We are also stewards of the Church. We each steward our resources into the ministries and programs of this faith community so that we can grow closer to God and to one another. These ministries and programs are an extension of God’s presence and God’s love. These ministries and programs are how we are attempting to be God’s hands and God’s feet in the world.
Which means that as we follow Jesus into a changing world, we need to evaluate and sometimes reevaluate what those resources are and who we are called to be as a church, as the body of Christ. During the first couple weeks of March, you are invited to join in a conversation as we evaluate and reevaluate who are called to be and what we are called to do. We cordially invite you into a conversation about the future of our congregation: Where are we going? What are our passions and gifts as a community? What ways can we serve one another and the wider community? What resources do we have? What and who is God calling us to do and be?
Our Council and our Stewardship Team invite you to join us in casting a vision for the future — in casting a vision for ourfuture as a community of faith. During the first few weeks of March, our Council and Stewardship Team will be hosting Cottage Gatherings in order to facilitate thoughtful, authentic conversation that will help us cast a vision and set goals for the next year. These are informal gatherings in which a space will be provided for us to dream (big and small) about the future.
We are at a crossroads in the history of the Church. The world is changing and the Church along with it, which can be hard (we all know how much Lutheran like change…). At this crossroads, we need to ask ourselves and our community some guiding questions as we think about our future: How will we follow Jesus into a changing world? Who will St. Paul Lutheran Church be in the midst of the world of the 21st century? Come, explore and dream with us as we set a vision for the future, our future.
“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Jesus (a la Matthew 28:20)
Please join us in casting a vision for the future of our congregation by attending a Cottage Gathering! Times and places are listed below:
- Monday, March 4th | 1:30 pm | hosted by Tammy Anderson @ Anderson Home
- Tuesday, March 5th | 1:00 pm | hosted by Barb Krohn @ Krohn Home
- Thursday, March 7th | 6:00 pm | hosted by Michelle Liebhard @ Liebhard Home
- Saturday, March 9th | 10:00 am | hosted by Wendy Claffey @ Claffey HomeBring your kids — childcare provided!
- Sunday, March 10th(for youth)| 7:00 pm | hosted by Pastor Ally @ Parsonage
- Monday, March 11th | 1:00 pm | hosted by Bob Heilman @ Heilman Home
- Tuesday, March 12th | 6:30 pm | hosted by Melanie Vollmer @ Vollmer Home
- Wednesday, March 13th | 5:15 pm | hosted by Emily Onken @ St. Paul Lutheran Church