Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Who is your savior? Ask Christians this question and they'll usually answer "Jesus." Well, that's religiously correct but a funny thing happens to congregations calling a new pastor. A number of people in such congregations start believing that the new pastor will be their savior. They think all the things they don't like about their church (gripes typically focus on pastors previous or current, church council, music director, influential cliques) will magically get fixed when the new pastor shows up. New pastor walks on water, transfigures human nature, redeems long-standing behavior patterns in the twinkling of an eye, and thus "saves" the church? This sort of thinking is unrealistic and very much mistaken. Don't go down that road — you're guaranteed to get lost.

A pastor is not a messiah and cannot save a church from itself. Shepherd is already going down the right road as it prepares to welcome its new pastor. Congregational leaders are undertaking a process to build trust, learning skills for respectful communication, creating guidelines to support behavior that builds up healthy community. Shepherd is becoming a safe place where people can speak the truth in love and grow to maturity in Christ, who holds his body, the Church, together in his love.

A famous pastor once sent a helpful message to his congregation to sustain them while he was away on a mission trip. As I prepare to bring my ministry at Shepherd to a close, I want to share those words from the Apostle Paul with you, too:

My beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14Do all things without murmuring and arguing, 15so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. 16It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 

(Philippians 2:12-16)

We've done good work together over these past two years. Keep up the good work, holding fast to the word of life which comes to you in Jesus Christ, who is the only savior you'll ever need.

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Lessons for Sunday, July 3rd
2 Kings 5:1-14
Galatians 6:7-16
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20


Friday       1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

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

Sunday     10:00 a One Worship Service

One service this Sunday, July 3rd at 10:00 am
Scrip order this Sunday, July 3

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

"God makes all things new!" So the Bible says, and it's happening now at SOV. This week the Call Committee will meet with the clergy candidate whom they believe will be the right pastor for SOV. Among the many things they'll discuss: the schedule for several events where the candidate can meet members of the congregation. We don't know yet exactly when those events will take place. But a good guess would be the first weekend after Independence Day, July 4. So I suggest you keep July 7, 8, and 9 open. That way, you'll be available to attend these important "meet & greet" events if indeed that's how the schedule works out.

I encourage you to attend those events. It's really important for SOV folks to encounter the candidate personally. Conversation, style, non-verbal cues — all these are grist for the mill of your spiritual discernment in making decisions about the new pastor. If you can attend more than one event where you interact with the candidate, please avail yourself of that opportunity. During a call process, it's challenging for congregations to get to know pastors, and vice versa. So when the Call Committee offers you a chance to get to know the candidate, go for it. You'll be glad you did.

In any case, please keep alert for ongoing communication from the Call Committee. We'll send out email messages to the SOV list as needed; and of course announcements will be made at Sunday worship services. And, as the Apostle says, "pray without ceasing" that soon God will make the dream of a new pastor for SOV come true.

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Lessons for Sunday, June 26
2 Kings 2:102, 6-14
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
Luke 9:51-62


Wednesday  10:00 a Bible Study

Thursday      No All Church Luncheon

Friday          1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday      11:00 a Memorial Service for Les Peterson

Sunday         8:30 & 10:30 a worship

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Prayers for Orlando

Friends, today I'm sending you a message from our Bishop, Dave Brauer-Rieke, about the mass shooting in Orlando on Sunday.  His words provide welcome guidance in the face of such senseless killing and misguided hatred.  Like Bishop Dave, words fail me as I wonder how to offer counsel to God's people.  If we weren't in the midst of a call process I'd suggest that we have a Town Hall meeting so we could help one another process this shocking event and discern how best to respond.  If you have insights you'd like to share with me about how we, as God's people, should conduct ourselves in the wake of this tragedy, I would welcome your words of wisdom.  God knows we need all the wisdom we can get as we grapple with the multiple, interlocking social issues wrapped up in this event that so pointedly challenges our deep desire to live in peace and joy according to God's promise.

Please keep on reading Bishop Dave's message below.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dear Friends and Members of the Oregon Synod,

We join people around the world today in prayers, grief and concern over the shooting in Orlando, FL yesterday. Words fail me as I write to you, but what my words lack your spirit will provide. Please remember in prayer today those whose lives were taken, friends and family of these individuals, and our sisters and brothers who identify with the LGBTQ community which has been purposely targeted in this massacre.

As people of faith I believe we have a unique word to speak about faithfulness and radicalization. It is fear, anger, injustice and prejudice that fuels radicalization. It is trust, gratitude, service and understanding that strengthens our faith, a gift which in and of itself comes to us through Christ who has shown us the way. Indeed, we are called to be followers of "the Way" and acts of prejudice, anger or violence have no place in such a call.

Today, then, let us bear witness to all we meet and in anything we might post on Facebook or other social media. Do not fan the flames of blame and discord. Do not let your anger or upset further violence in word or deed. Rather, as the Apostle Paul counsels, "Let your 'Yes' and 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No."

"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 
love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 
Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 
Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them 
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 
Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty,
but associate with the lowly; 
do not claim to be wiser than you are. 
Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought
for what is noble in the sight of all. 
If it is possible, so far as it depends on you,
live peaceably with all."

(Rms 12:9-18 NRSV)

Bp. Dave Brauer-Rieke
Oregon Synod - ELCA

Lessons for June 19, 2016Isaiah 65:1-9
Galatians 3:23-29
Luke 8:26-39


Wednesday   No Bible Study

Thursday      9:00 - 11:00 a KOK Parenting workshop
                    10:00 a LLL

Friday           1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

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

Sunday         8:30 & 10:30 a Worship services
                     2016 Graduate Celebration

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

There's just one problem with the Call Committee. They're having way too much fun. At least that's what they tell me. Are they so busy having a good time that they won't do a good job? Not at all. In fact, it's a very good sign that the Call Committee feels pleased about the work they're doing together. When there is a spirit of joy and camaraderie in a Call Committee, it rubs off on the clergy candidates. It makes for good conversation. It opens the door to honest, heartfelt sharing about what is most important to pastor and congregation. So thank God the Call Committee is having a good time.

One of the Call Committee members spoke at announcement time two Sundays ago. He told us that they are proceeding to second interviews for clergy candidates. No promises about a time-frame, he said, but he also mentioned that things could move quickly. So don't be surprised if, sometime in the next few weeks, we get news about meeting a clergy candidate. The Call Committee will put together some sort of process so that a significant number of people from the congregation get to meet and talk with the candidate. Getting acquainted and building trust is important before making a decision about calling a new pastor. So please be on the lookout for news about opportunities to meet the person or persons who are being considered for call to serve as SOV's next pastor.

Meanwhile, keep praying. Pray for the Call Committee. Pray for yourselves, that God will help you open up to the leading of the Spirit. May the Spirit lead you to good conversation, heartfelt sharing, joy, and camaraderie when you meet the clergy candidate(s) being considered for call at SOV.

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Lessons for Sunday
2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15
Galatians 2:15-21
Luke 7:36-8:3


Wednesday  10:00 a Bible Study
                    6:30 - 8:30 p Leadership Meeting

Thursday      9:00 - 11:00 a Preschool Workshop
                    7:00 p LLL

Friday           9:00 - 1:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

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

Sunday         8:30 & 10:30 a Summer Worship Schedule begins
                     6:00 - 7:30 p Confirmation Class

Summer worship schedule begins this Sunday, June 12th: Worship services at 8:30 and 10:30

Scrip orders are once a month during the summer, scrip order dates; July 3rd and August 7th.

2016 Graduation Celebration
Sunday, June 19th between services

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

I've had a great time with the Confirmation class this year. There are six boys in class. I have really enjoyed getting to know them. These six may be the most lively and engaged students I've ever had in a Confirmation class. We meet on Sunday evenings, which makes a long day for all of us. But most of the students have had consistent attendance. And the experience has been so good that for me, at least, the long day is worthwhile.

We start off with "highs and lows" — telling the best and worst of our experience in the previous week. Then we watch a short (3.5 minute) video on the topic of the day. The topics last fall-winter focused on Lutheran Heritage, Luther's Catechism, Lord's Prayer, the Ten Suggestions, and the Creed. In February, we began delving into the Old Testament. We've read some of the greatest stories in the Bible! After the video introduces the topic, we get into a wide-ranging discussion. I've been really pleased at the critical thinking and faithful imagination the kids bring to our discussions. They are grasping the key claims and values of this material far better than the kids I remember from my days as a Confirmation student (including me). But by the same token, I have to admit that these kids have a far better teacher than I did!

Soon we'll wrap up our school year together. June 5 and 12 are the last two sessions. Our final class may be an exploration of the Gospel according to St. Pizza. I will enjoy these last two opportunities to spend time with the students. I'll give thanks for our time together. And I'll grieve that this, like all good things, must come to an end. Your new pastor will have an opportunity to confirm some fine young Christians. I hope he/she will love this bunch of Confirmation students as much as I have.

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Lessons for Sunday, June 5, 2016
1 Kings 17:17-24
Luke 7:11-17


Wednesday  10:00 a Bible Study

Thursday      6:00 p Men's Night at Cruise In Diner

Friday          1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday      9:30 - 11:00 a Choir rehearsal

Sunday        10:00 a One worship service
                   followed by Annual congregational meeting.

June 5th
SOV's Annual Meeting will be this Sunday, June 5, after our 10:00 service. At this meeting officers and committees will be elected, and Committee reports will be presented. The Nominating Committee (Jacob Tabor, Peggy Vermaas, and Lyle Heilman) have done a great job and will present the ballot for election at the meeting. Additional items on the agenda for this meeting will be an explanation of the new designated giving policy, Call Committee update if one is available, and a review of work having been done so far with counselor Michelle Nelson Sinn who is helping leadership work through issues identified in the Congregational Vitality Survey.

Please plan to be there!

June 12th
Summer worship schedule begins
8:30 & 10:30 a

June 25th
Les Peterson Memorial
11:00 at SOV