Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pastor's Weekly Message

"And Jesus increased in wisdom..."  Luke 2:52
 
After all the preparation and expectation it seems to end so quickly.  But it isn't at an end yet (talking about Christmas here).  We are still in the time of Christmas until the Epiphany arrives on January 6th.  It is time to bask in the beauty and richness a bit.
 
For me it was all a little surreal, as it should be I suppose, but my first Christmas at SOV certainly added to that.  Yet the story was the same, thank goodness, but it was so different as well.  Not being in my own "home" for Christmas Eve, after worship services were done.  Staying at our daughters (and her new husband) a place they were still in the process of moving into themselves.  That whole part of the picture probably was a little more true to the nature of that first Christmas that Luke tells us about.  (So, not terrible stuff, just different and noteworthy, life's changes.)
 
And then there is the chance to bask in the beauty of the worship time that was shared.  Filled literally to overflowing early Christmas Eve, all the excellent music, the beauty of the space, the many smiling faces and warm greetings shared,  The darkened sanctuary lit by the tree lights and candles as we sang Silent Night.  There was laughter too, and moments to relax as we simply let the joy of the story wash over us.
 
The preparation was worth the effort even if it all passed too quickly.  Expectations were met in the telling of the story yet again, and in the sharing of even brief moments.  And yes Christmas still continues, giving us a chance to see the chaotic days (especially with the consideration of the surprise, disruptive snow on Tuesday) with "increased wisdom"  to appreciate anew what gifts we have been given and how rich life is.  Indeed as Jesus "increased in wisdom" may we do a little growing ourselves.
 
The adventure continues,
and it is a grand one.
In Christ,
Pastor Randy
 
"Holy God, you sent your Son to warm the darkness with light.  We pray for all those who cannot see the light because they are afraid or are in too much pain - physically, spiritually or emotionally.  May the power of your light search for cracks in which it might start to shine through.  May all people know the healing power of your Word and grace.  Continue to drive out the demons that taunt and torment us so we may be made whole.  In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen."
 
Bible Study and Wednesday evening services resume January 6th

Rebecca Circle Meets Wednesday January 6th
 
"Growing Together" in leadership/stewardship with John Cross January 9th 12-2pm

Monday, December 28, 2009

Leadership Training January 9th

COMING SOON:
John Cross our partner with Kairos will be with us at SOV on Saturday, January 9, 2010 to provide a leadership training and stewardship session. This opportunity is open to everyone in the congregation with the session to be from 12:00 noon until 2:00 PM. A light snack will be provided therefore please RSVP prior to Tammy McDonald (secretarysov [at] gmail [dot] com) no later than January 6th, 2010.
 
On Wednesday January 27th a Healing Service will be held at 6:30 PM by the Capital Campaign Spiritual Team.
 
On Friday January 29th an all day Prayer Vigil will be held from 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM. The Health Team has volunteered to assist the Spirituality team in the implementation of these two Events!  We will be providing a comfortable setting and assistance during all hours of the Prayer Vigil!  Pastor Randy will be available.  There will be a spread sheet with ½ hour increments allowing everyone to sign up for a time convenient to them.
 
We are excited about celebrating the "New Beginnings" of our Capital Campaign and look forward to everyone's continued support of the Capital Campaign.
 
We continue to ask God for his guidance and remembering that all we do is to the Glory of His Holy Name. Thanks be to God.
 
Tammy McDonald
Bob McFall
Executive Directors

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

 Greetings to all,

Your Executive team would like to wish our Shepherd of the Valley family all the blessings of this joyous Christimas season!!  If you are traveling, God's speed and a safe return home. All are in our prayers. All are our blessing. 
 Peggy

Pastor's Weekly Message

"But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart."  Luke 2:19
 
We went caroling the other night and it was a grand time in my eyes.  We started off at "Rock Creek" and sang in the dining room there.  Folks continued to drift in as we sang continuously for 25 minutes or so.  There were smiles, nods of recognition and sometimes others sang along with us.  We enjoyed the time and it seemed we were enjoyed as well.  (Singing, and singing together, what a simple sweet thing.)

Then we went to "The Springs" and started off in a small dining room, finished in a large dining room with a fairly large crowd of people.  Those moments were good too, but in between we sang to a small group in an area that is secured so that the residents there cannot wonder away.  (The area has a safe sounding name that escapes me now, it is an attempt to put a nicer face on a finally debilitating illness.) 
 
Some families members were present and tried to explain to their loved ones why we were there.  Whether they understood or not faded in importance as we sang because it seemed that the words of familiar Christmas carols and songs touched them in a deep place. 
 
There were efforts to clap along to Jingle Bells, and tears were shed during Silent Night.  I cannot pretend to know what they remembered, or even necessarily heard, but the feeling was that those simple beautiful words about the birth of the Christ child touched a place deep in their hearts.
 
Like Mary?  Like us?  May we sing the hymns loudly, softly, or just listen.  But in the end may the promise of the gift touch us deeply, in the times that we too ponder all these words.
 
Blessed Christmas,
Pastor Randy
 
"Heavenly God, may our hallelujahs ring loud and true as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.  Let us rejoice knowing that he is truly Emmanuel, God with us.  Our hearts are filled with joy knowing that we see your face in the precious baby Jesus.  May our worship and praise be to your glory, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Amen."
 
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES   6 & 11 PM...   DECEMBER 24TH
CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICE      10:00 AM...  DECEMBER 25TH
 
regular worship services on Sunday December 27th at 8:30 & 11:00
 
NEWSLETTER DEADLINE;  TUESDAY DECEMBER 29TH

Monday, December 21, 2009

Capital Campaign Update

As we prepare for the New Year

 

We wish to thank each and everyone who has made their financial commitment to the Capital Campaign to build a new church building.

 

Because of the economic times we have all faced we elected to postpone our recommitment from June 2009 until January 31st 2010 in the hope that our nation's economy would be stronger.

 

We have been asked what if anything could we do with money committed to the Capital Campaign for needed projects of our current building.

 

While we and the Building Committee are stewards of these funds given a fiduciary responsibility we have and will continue to look at the needs of current building which have been designated as Phase I of the new building project.

 

On that end we have agreed to fund the replacement of the plumbing in our current building and have authorized a loan to SOV for the completion of our financial obligation to the contractor for the new deck/fire escape. We continue to look at other needs that fit within Phase I of the new building project.

 

Now back to our Capital Campaign.

 

John Cross our partner with Kairos will be with us at SOV on Saturday January 9th 2010 to provide a leadership training and stewardship session. This opportunity is open to everyone in the congregation with the session to be from 12:00 noon until 2:00 PM. A light snack will be provided therefore please RSVP prior to Tammy McDonald (secretarysov@gmail.com) no later than January 6th, 2010.

 

On January 27th, Wednesday a Healing Service will be held at 6:30 PM by the Capital Campaign Spiritual Team.

 

On Friday January 29th an all day Prayer Vigil will be held from 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM. The Health Team has volunteered to assist the Spirituality team in the implementation of these two Events!  We will be providing a comfortable setting and assistance during all hours of the Prayer Vigil!  Pastor Randy will be available.  There will be a spread sheet with ½ hour increments allowing everyone to sign up for a time convenient to them.

 

We are excited about celebrating the "New Beginnings" of our Capital Campaign and look forward to everyone's continued support of the Capital Campaign.

 

We continue to ask God for his guidance and remembering that all we do is to the Glory of His Holy Name. Thanks be to God.

 
Tammy McDonald
Bob McFall
Executive Directors

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pastor's Weekly Message

"In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. "  Luke 2:8
 
Things are back to normal.  The big freeze is over for now and the rains and milder temperatures have returned.  Things are back to normal?  What does that mean exactly?
 
It would be nice to have a normal Christmas.  Remember last last year?  The weather wreaked havoc with lots of plans.  It didn't turn out to be normal at all.

The shepherds were just doing their jobs.  It was a normal night for them.  And  all heaven broke loose.  Chances are it changed their lives forever.  It sure made a difference for what they witnessed, and shared, that night.  But beyond that we don't hear anymore about them.  Maybe their perception of normal was never the same again.  Maybe they paid more attention from that time on, and enjoyed all the more what passed for normal.
 
What will the days ahead bring?  I know what my plans are.  Will it be normal?  What exactly is that again?  Seems there are more questions here than anything else.  In the mean time, like the shepherds, do what seems normal and see how it is that God breaks in to the plans already made.
 
Pay attention!  In Christ,
Pastor Randy
 
"Holy God, forgive us.  Where we lack a generous spirit, fill us.  Fill our hearts with joy and song so others see in us the grace and mercy you have given us through your Son.  Instill in us a spirit of gratitude.  Open our eyes and ears, and prepare our hearts to receive the most precious gift of all.  Amen."
 
Last Advent soup/bread supper this evening at 5:45 pm
Joyous Light Service follows at 6:30 pm

 
DON'T MISS IT... This Sunday December 20th at both worship services;
Chuck Neighbor's performance of  "Merry Christmas, Mr. Jones"

 
'Calling all Carolers'  Bring your Christmas Spirit; Santa Hats, Scarves, Mittens...etc.
We will be meeting at the church at 4:30 pm to carpool over to 'The Springs,' and 'Rock Creek' Retirement homes, (bring soup or chili to share afterwards)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pastor's Weekly Message

"to you is born this day ... a Savior ... a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger."  Luke 2:11-12
 
The sun is shining brightly.  The sky is a beautiful bright blue.  And the way it looks belies the reality of what it feels like upon stepping into the open air.  It is bitterly cold, and not a time to stay outside unless you're prepared with layers of clothing.  (This is not to deny the beauty, but points to the very real fact that things are not always as they seem.)

Luke writes about "the Messiah, the Christ" being born.  God's great promise fulfilled in a mere baby (miraculous as any birth is), and this child lying in a feed box no less!  Really God?  Are we to believe such grand things from such simple beginnings?  Indeed things are not always as they appear.
 
This little Christ child is a sign that God meets us exactly where we are.  This is also the time of the year that many of us feel all the more pressure to appear differently than we actually feel.  Smiles on the outside, but inside something far different.  And we are all met there.  Met by the Christ, who gives us the chance to see beauty and know warmth in spite of the reality we face.
 
As I write these words, sitting on the couch of this week's adopted home, it is cold, very cold, outside.  But there is also an absolutely beautiful clear sky to take in.  In the darkness there is still a great light.  And so the Christ meets us.
 
Thanks for the gifts Lord.  In Christ,
Pastor Randy
 
"We strive to be people who live in the light, not weighed down by darkness or fear or uncertainty, but sometimes that is difficult.  Help us remember that your abiding love and mercy sustain us in times of fear.  Our culture expects this to be a season of good cheer, but for some of us, the fears can be overwhelming.  Many of us sit in fear of the unknown - worrying about what will happen tomorrow.  We celebrate in the hope of the One who was born in a lowly stable and who will come again.  We remember that he is Emmanuel, God with us.  Always.  That is what gives us confidence to unburden all of our fears, concerns and joys with the One who created and sustains us.  Amen."
 
Advent soup/supper this evening at 5:45 pm
Joyous Light Evening Worship at 6:30 pm
 
Health Team Meeting Friday at 12:30 pm (bring a Christmas snack to share)
 
Sunday December 13th  8:30 regular service,
                                  11:00 Sunday School Program
                                    6:00 pm SOV Carol fest and Choir concert (bring your favorite
                                                 Christmas dessert to share; hot cider and hot chocolate
                                                 will be provided)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pastor's Weekly Message

Luke wrote "....many have undertaken to set down an orderly account...."

Whoa!  Is what I want to say.  But it wouldn't do any good.  Thanksgiving flew by, along with the first Sunday of Advent.  And before Wednesday evening worship comes the sanctuary will be decorated for Christmas.  Time rolls, sometimes seems to fly by.  It won't be stopped, and the "whoa" that I want to shout won't mean diddly.
 
So I look forward to the rolling.  Haven't been here for "this" before, but have been through the time before.  Guessing that the church decorating will be messy and chaotic at times, and there will be laughter and warmth as well.  Worship on Wednesday evening will be preceded by soup, noise, conversation, and more laughter.  And worship itself will be about taking in the whole thing, not slowing it down, or even hoping to, but enjoying the chance to observe the richness.
 
Life will not slow down.  It will be filled with grins and tears.  There will always be that one constant, which is why we gather and do all this stuff in the first place (whether we always remember it or not).  The Christ is on the way.  Breathe deep.  May we take in all that we can, just don't count on it being "orderly".  There are always surprises in store in the midst of the constant promise.
 
In Christ,
Pastor Randy
 
"All powerful and unseen God, the coming of your light into our world has brightened weary hearts with peace.  Call us out of darkness, and empower us to proclaim the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen."
 
This evening;   Advent Soup - Supper   5:30 pm
                      Joyous Light evening worship     6:30 pm

 
December Newsletter is now available online or at the church
http://www.sovlutheran.com/news/pdf/december2009.pdf