Happening Now Blog

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Last Thursday I got together with a bunch of other Interim Pastors.  We meet every other month for check-in and mutual support.  When my turn came I told them about the four-Sunday process we're doing to improve healthy communications skills at SOV.  They were impressed.  Rightly so.  Every congregation has some degree of conflict.  Every church experiences challenges to living well with one another.  The only question is what they choose do to about these things.  Mostly, they choose to ignore the issues.  Then their congregation's quality of life suffers.  It's the rare congregation that chooses to deal constructively with these challenges.  SOV is that rare congregation.  It's a sign of strength and resilience that SOV members are learning communication skills and transforming the way they speak with each other.  These benefits spread beyond church to every part of our lives.  This reminds me of a work of calligraphy I've cherished for years.  It reads: "Words are so powerful they should be used only to bless, to heal, to prosper."  That's just what SOV is learning to do — use its words to bless and to heal.  And so you will prosper.

In a few days, on Sunday October 23, we will have the third session in our four-Sunday sequence.  We'll discuss guidelines for healthy communication.  The Healthy Communications Ad Hoc Committee has written a first draft of guidelines based both on its own research and on the feedback they got from you at last Sunday's forum.  I invite you to read this one-page document and to reflect on the guidelines.  Come Sunday, HCAC members will lead a discussion about these guidelines.  I hope you'll come and offer your own insights so they can be incorporated in a revised draft of the guidelines as we head toward a congregational meeting on November 6.  At that meeting, a continuing resolution will be brought forward asking the congregation to ratify a "Communication Covenant" as a set of core values that would guide all our decisions and actions and which would serve as a standard for mutual accountability in our communication practices.  An official announcement of that congregational meeting will be coming out soon.  Meanwhile, please mark your calendars for November 6, 10:00 a.m., between the services on All Saints Sunday.

Dear God, may your word be on our lips and in our hearts as we go about your work at SOV.  Amen.

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Lessons for Sunday, October 23, 2016
Sirach 35:12-17
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Luke 18:9-14


Wednesday    9:00 - 1:00 p KOK preschool/chapel
                     10:00 a Bible Study

Thursday       9:00 - 1:00 p KOK preschool
                     10:00 a LLL
                      7:00 p Council Meeting

Friday           9:00 - 12:00 p KOK preschool

Saturday       9:30 - 11:30 a SOV Choir
                     2:00 p Celebration of Life of Dean Kruse

Celebration of the Life of Dean Kruse
Saturday, October 22, 2016
2:00 pm
Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
*In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in Dean's name to the "Oregon Zoo Foundation" to be added to the Animal Welfare endowment fund.  Dean completed his Ph.D. at the Oregon Zoo and was very dedicated to science education, animal welfare, conservation and the zoo. The Animal Welfare endowment fund supports projects and research that benefit zoo animal welfare.

Donations may be made online at http://www.oregonzoo.org/get-involved/support-zoo or by check payable to the "Oregon Zoo Foundation" and mailed to 4001 SW Canyon Rd., Portland, Oregon 97221. Please indicate that the gift is "in memory of Dean Kruse," so that it will be added to the animal welfare endowment fund.

Please Join us for Adult Education Sunday at 9:45
Review of last week, presentation of initial draft of guidelines/covenant with discussion and feedback. Healthy Communications committee members: Judith Hedberg-Duff, Michael Johnson, Karen Sugiyama, Russell Martinelli,  Reynold Roeder, Pastor Brian

Last Sunday to order your KOK Christmas Greens
You can drop it by during the week or give to Wendy on Sunday. Thank you for your support.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

"If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."  Jesus spoke these words to detractors who doubted that he told the truth about God.  But Jesus lived that freedom  He died holding fast to that truth.  To those whose eyes of faith had been opened, Jesus' resurrection from the dead proved he was right.  Jesus lives now in truth and freedom, today and forever.

Jesus' words about truth and freedom are the lion's roar of the Lutheran Reformation.  Luther and his partners, trusting these and similar words from Jesus, moved boldly to transform the Church.  Their work sparked a paradigm shift in how people encountered God.  Set free from anxiety about stoking their own egos, people experienced God in freedom to love and strength to serve with joy.  To this day, wherever we find freedom, truth, love, and courageous service, there we find Jesus at work.

At Shepherd of the Valley, Jesus' truth sets us free in many ways.  The Word works on us in Sunday worship and in our private prayers.  That same Word works on us now in the four-week process offered by the Healthy Communication Ad Hoc Committee (HCAC).  Last Sunday, Michelle Nelson Sinn helped us learn how to handle the words that God has lent to us for holy living, how to guide our tongues so we can speak respectfully and build one another up, how to heal the hurt that is sometimes done by our words when we are careless.  This is God's Word of Truth setting us free.

Next Sunday the HCAC will continue in this Word.  With skits, a dandy short video, and other helpful presentations we will go deeper into developing skills for respectful communication.  These skills will help Jesus free us from shame, disrespect, and needless conflict so we can live more fully for God.

In the final two weeks of the process, on October 23 and November 6, the HCAC will ask for your partnership in developing guidelines to serve as the basis of a Covenant for Healthy Communication.  Working on how we use words will help us keep on walking in truth and freedom as Jesus' disciples.  So I invite you to join together in this work of spiritual formation — Reformation! — at SOV.

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Lessons for Sunday, October 16th
Genesis 32:22-31
2 Timothy 3:14-5:5
Luke 18:1-8


Wednesday     9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Chapel
                      10:00 a Bible Study

Thursday       9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool
Friday          9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool

Saturday      9:30 - 11:30 a SOV Choir rehearsal

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 a Worship Service
                    9:45 a Sunday School for all ages
                   No Confirmation Class

Scrip Sunday, October 16th
Please turn your order forms in to Caryl or drop them in the Scrip order mailbox located in the Narthex.

Memorial Service for Dean Kruse
Saturday, October 22, 2016
2:00 pm at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
(Please let Tammy know if you can bring bars or cookies, they can be brought in anytime during the week or on Saturday)

KOK Christmas Greens Fundraiser
Please give your order and payment to Wendy by October 25th. Pick up Date is November 20th.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Drama unfolded at SOV about a year ago when our President and Financial Secretary resigned from Council and absented themselves from church.  Explaining their decisions, their letters indicated that they were fed up with some people at SOV persistently impugning their ethical integrity and moral character by means of false statements, as well as with the chronic disrespect shown toward me by these same folks.  In my Wednesday Message following these officers' resignations, I wrote:

"These issues are serious, systemic, deeply rooted at SOV.  I've been trying to address them in my ministry; I will continue to do so.  I will gladly work on these issues with all people of good will at SOV who want to bring about healing and carry out God's mission in a respectful way that builds up the body of Christ in this place."

And that is exactly what is happening in the work of the Healthy Communications Ad-Hoc Committee (HCAC).  Those who attended worship last Sunday got announcements about a series of Adult Education sessions coming up in October and early November.  These workshops, beginning this coming Sunday, October 9, will help us learn how to practice respectful communication and minimize the occurrence of hurtful behaviors such as gossip and triangulation.  These workshops will help bring about healing and promote constructive behavior to build up the body of Christ at SOV.

Attached to this email, you will find a PDF document from the HCAC describing some of the work it is mandated to carry out.  It includes a schedule of the workshops and their content.  This series is designed both to teach respectful communication skills and to help us hold one another accountable for continuing to communicate respectfully as we carry out God's work together.

The workshop this Sunday features Michelle Sinn, a professional counselor who worked with Council and other key leaders in a three-session series during the summer.  Now, we're bringing you a condensed version of this same training.  The leadership group found this training very helpful.  I'm sure you will, too.  These sessions are really important for SOV as we invite clergy candidates to consider a call to serve SOV.  I hope you will plan to attend them all.  NOTE that these sessions will begin at 9:45 a.m.

Finally, if you're wondering what these workshops and the work of the HCAC have to do with Jesus and Christian faith, I invite you to reflect on the following passage from the Letter to the Ephesians.  I'm sure you will see a clear connection between the Bible's teaching and the work we are doing to build up a culture of respect at SOV through healthy communication practices.

Ephesians 4:22-32
22You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  25So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not make room for the devil. 28Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

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Lessons for Sunday, October 9, 2016
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
2 Timothy 2:8-15
Luke 17:11-19


Wednesday   9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Chapel
                    10:00 am   Bible Study

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool
                    6:00 p Men's Night at Reedville Cafe

Friday         9:00 - 12:00 p KOK Preschool
                   1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday     9:30 - 11:30 a SOV Choir rehearsal

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 a Worship Services
                   9:45 a Sunday School for all ages

Join us for Adult Education at 10:00, October 9th

We welcome Michelle Nelson Sinn, a professional counselor who will do a presentation on how to prevent hurtful speech like gossip and triangulation; and how to practice skills for respectful communication.

GREENS fundraiser of the KOK school year
We use a local grower and the wreaths, centerpieces and garlands are fresh and beautiful. Order forms are available at the usher station and are due by October 25 and will be available for pick up on November 20.

October Newsletter is available online

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

I'm back from vacation.  I stayed home, got some good rest, spent time with my favorite wife (Jill), and did some things around the house that I'd been putting off.  All in all, a lovely week.  Glad I had a week away but now glad to be back at SOV.  Thank you for your generosity in making it possible.

Sitting in my office this morning I started reflecting on the state of the congregation and counting our blessings.  Seems to me that most things are going pretty well.  I'm pleased with worship.  We've got a great Director of Music (Jon) and choir.  Attendance is down somewhat from a couple years ago; but that's not unusual in interim situations and besides, SOV's giving this year has been consistent, more or less, with the previous several years, according to Christine, our Financial Secretary.  And how about that vigorous response to the Pave Our Parking Lot appeal?  This bodes well for SOV's future.

About the time the lot is being paved, the Call Committee will start a new round of interviews.  We don't know how this will turn out but we do know that God provides.  It's still possible we could have a Congregational Call Meeting later this fall.  Please hold our Call Committee in prayer.  We've got a fine Call Committee who are now well-practiced and will do a great job searching for a new pastor for SOV.  As Jesus said, "Search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."  (Lk. 11:9-10)  So pray that your new pastor will soon open SOV's doors!

I'm also encouraged by the work of the Healthy Communication Ministry group.  See my comments in the Parish Education article by Wendy Roeder in the newsletter coming later this week.  The workshops and conversations this team has planned offer a good process to help SOV address concerns that showed up in the Congregational Vitality Survey we took in 2015.  A good outcome will certainly support SOV's aspiration to call a new pastor.  I feel privileged to work with this team, whose members bring both intelligence and good will to their ministry.  I urge you to attend the four sessions they've got planned for October and the first Sunday in November.  You'll be glad you did.

I could list other hopeful signs but these suffice to show you why I'm well pleased with the good things happening at SOV.  We will carry on in joy this fall, waiting for our new pastor and trusting our lives to God.  I'm glad to be walking with you during this important time in SOV's journey.

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Lessons for Sunday, October 2
Psalm 37:1-9
2Timothy 1:1-14
Luke 17:5-10


Wednesday  9:00-1:00 p  KOK preschool/chapel
                   10:00 a   Bible Study

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 p KOK preschool

Friday         9:00 - 12:00 p KOK preschool
                   1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday    9:30 - 11:30 a SOV Choir practice

Sunday       8:30 & 11:00 a worship
                  9:45 a Sunday School for all ages

Scrip Sunday, October 2
New vendors; Adidas - Nordstrom - PetSmart - Visa Prepaid cards (good at Costco) Hyatt Hotels and Office Depot! Please give your order and payment to Caryl or deposit in the scrip center box located in the narthex.

KOK Christmas Greens fundraiser

Place your Christmas Greens order by October 25!  Lots of Oregon greens are available for purchase including wreaths, centerpieces, swags, and garlands with prices between $15-$35 each.  Forms are available at the usher station.  This fundraiser is sponsored by SOV's preschool, Kids of the Kingdom Christian Preschool, and benefits the tuition assistance program.  Purchases will be available for pick up at the church November 20.  Thanks for your support.

Please consider helping out our congregation by volunteering to be an usher. It's easy, painless and would really be a nice thing to do. Sign up sheets are available in the back of the church usually on the fellowship table to sign your name on.  

We are also always looking for new members to join our Worship committee team. If you are interested please contact Cyndi P. or any council member and they can give you more information. Thank you.