From Pastor William D. Leitch…This Fall, our Shared Ministry churches, Living Lord and St. Paul, will host a retreat; then follow that retreat up with six Sunday morning worship formats with an interactive portion. Our prayer is that we involve everyone in our congregations to look at who we were, who we are, and where we are going. Our Council invited all congregations to do this together and we pray for a strong presence at the retreat.
God calls us to be partners with God in God’s work. We promise God and the entire Church at our affirmation of baptism to do God’s work. We need to be intentional about being everything God has created us to be.
So on Saturday, October 7, we will have a retreat to set the stage for this six weeks’ journey. Then, starting Sunday, October 8, we will incorporate into our sermon time an interactive format that will focus on specific questions for small groups to discuss. I suggest that the small groups be folks you sit next to every Sunday.
We need to hear every voice in our congregations. Each of you has a perspective that we need to hear. You also need to hear what others know or perceive.
I have already heard ideas and concerns from our Council that I never considered, but they need to be addressed. It is refreshing for me to know that we will go through this process.
Some have asked, “Why do this on Sunday?” Because that is when you “all” come together. We need every perspective or it is not complete.
On August 1, the Shared Ministry Committee will meet with Dave Daubert for his input on our Shared Ministry. Dave is our Synod’s interim mission staff person from the ELCA. Dave is also the author of Living Lutheran: Renewing Your Congregation. This is the text on which we have focused and guided our efforts in our Shared Ministry.
Please join me in praying for this journey together as God’s people and living out our faith in the world the best we can.
In it together,
Joint Worship & Picnic…We will have a Joint Worship & Picnic on August 6 beginning at 10:30 am at Howland Township Park. Worship will begin at 10:30 am, lunch at 11:30 am, and activities at 12:30 pm. There will be no services at the churches on this date. RSVP to attend the Shared Ministry Worship and Picnic by signing the sign-up sheet. We need to prepare enough Bar-B-Q chicken. Please bring your own comfortable lawn chairs for the day’s activities and please bring a side dish to share.
Servant Week…Servant Week was another new experience even for all of us who have participated every year. Eight Lutheran churches from our Eastern Conference gathered at Camp Frederick on June 18 with 35 youth and 8 adults. We painted a two story Victorian house built in 1860 in Rogers, Ohio. The team did it in four days and we only spilled one pint of paint, but the stories go on and on.
Every night at 10:00 pm we gathered for devotions and to share our highs, lows, and where we saw God that day. It was easier for our youth to see God at work in us and with us than it was to see a low. If you want a life-changing experience, come with us next time or come and visit our work sites once during the week.
Painting the house was my responsibility, but we also sent a team to Youngstown to work with Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation as we have for the past three years. A team of 10 painted and cut boards the first day. On day 2, we sent 27 to landscape a house that is being restored and will bring income to YNDC when it sells. On day 3, a team of 15 boarded up houses and continued to cut and paint boards. On day 4, a smaller team painted the entire stock of 4’x 8’ sheets of plywood. YNDC had nothing left for us to do at the end of the day. A good thing, as it was to rain hard on Friday.
Meanwhile, on day 1, the house painters scraped 90% of the house and applied 10 gallons of primer to the old, original siding of the house. That only got if half primed. We used 22 gallons of primer to complete it. Thankfully, it only required 8 gallons of the more expensive Colonial Blue paint, since we sealed up the old boards.
These youth are the most awesome kids anyone could ever work with. This year we ate breakfast an hour earlier and got to the work site and worked an hour longer. We essentially put in an extra 8 hours in 4 days and got all the work done in 4 days. This is the standard the youth set. We adults offered to quit an hour earlier in order to do team-building at Camp. Our youth said, “We do team-building on the work site. We came to work.”
I worried that the chatter, laughter, and noise on our work site might be intrusive for the neighbors; but no, the neighbors described the voices as the voices of birds: coordinating, helping, caring for one another and yes, coordinating the war on wasps. Our youth were “God sent” to Rogers and Youngstown. It stirs the neighbors and shows them what we can do to care for each other. One small task force of 5 painters finished painting the porch of the house we started 2 years ago. Automatically, they were identified as the “Camp Frederick People”. The ones who get things done and do not quit until it is finished.
Four years ago, we struggled to get permission to work in Rogers. They were not thinking about others helping them. Now, the village is buzzing with requests for us to help their neighbors who need the help.
As we shared each night where we saw God at work that day, I was able to share those God stories with every person in Rogers, and in Salem at The Home Depot, and at the filling station in Rogers, and with everyone in Trumbull County that I meet.
From Pastor Ann Marie Winters… Renewing our Mission?
Generally speaking, a mission is something one is sent to accomplish. Like any other living, dynamic group, the church has a mission to accomplish – our mission is to spread the word of Jesus – his Good News. To grow and thrive as a church, we will tune into our mission, looking at what it is that we are trying to accomplish and how we are doing. There are three areas of mission – social ministry, ecumenical efforts, and evangelism.
Social Ministry: Are we living out Christ’s call to love the poor and the stranger? By sharing our bread with the hungry, providing food and clothes and physical necessities, we show Christ’s compassion for all people. Our brothers and sisters in need can see the love of Christ in us when we reach out in love and kindness to be compassionate towards them. In fact, loving others is a test of our love for Christ himself. Our Lord taught, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to me.”
Ecumenical Efforts: Churches are not meant to be divided in our witness to Christ. We all share “One Lord, one faith, one baptism”, and it is our Lord’s prayer that we make a united effort to be his Body in the world. How are we cooperating with other churches? Do we have fellowship and prayer and worship together? Do we work elbow-to-elbow with Christians from other churches to witness to Christ in the world?
Evangelism: The great commission is to go out to all the world, preaching the gospel and baptizing, so Christ may be known. What are we doing to reach those who do not know Jesus? It is our mission to reach non-Christians in our community and show them Jesus. Do we have a way of talking about our faith so that others know we are Christians? Do we invite them to know Christ, to pray, to serve, to worship?
The Shared Ministry Committee is beginning to work with the Synod’s Director of Evangelical Mission, Pastor Dave Daubert, to look at our activities, and to plan what steps we would like to take in renewing our mission. Let us pray for the work of this committee and look forward together to a Renewal of our Mission.
Reaching out to you and with you,
Pastor Ann Marie Winters
Everyone has a part to play in the church’s Mission Planning: As we look at our mission and outreach in the community, we want to hear your voice. What do you think about our social ministry, our work with other churches, our witness in the world? These may seem like big questions, but we will explore them together in a special six-week program this Fall.
At this time, St. Paul and Living Lord have decided to engage in a “Prayer and Renewal Series” called Fanning the Flame (from the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA).
- A RETREAT TO PREPARE DISCUSSION LEADERS ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7:
- Training leaders of St. Paul and Living Lord
- “Invitation to a journey” 6-minute DVD with discussion
- “For the sake of others; in God for the world” 5-minute DVD with discussion
- “We are church for the sake of the world” 5-minute DVD with Bishop Eaton/discussion
- WORSHIP ORDER FOR OCTOBER 8 THROUGH NOVEMBER 19:
- The six weeks of worship from Oct. 8 to Nov. 19 will include a 15-minute small group discussion time during the worship service. Each worshipper will be included in a small group. A captain will lead discussion and make note of 2 or 3 points that come from their group each week.
- SIX WEEKLY THEMES, SCRIPTURE, AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
- 8: The burning bush: LISTEN
- 15: The valley of the dry bones: LOOK
- 22: Jesus sends out 70 disciples: RESPOND
- 29: JOINT REFORMATION WORSHIP AT ST. PAUL EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
- 5: Finding the lost: FORGIVE
- 12: The great commandment: LOVE
- 19: The great commission: GO
Materials for discussion will be circulated in the September and October Newsletters so you can prepare in thought and prayer. Please feel free to discuss this program with members of council and the pastors. It is an exciting time for us all! You won’t want to miss it.
REFORMATION 500TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION:
DVD Course discussion “Lunch with Luther” Sunday noontime
8 weeks, Sept. 3 to Oct. 22
Seminary teachers make topics accessible to laity; hosted at St. Paul for Trumbull Area Lutherans; bring a brown bag lunch; drinks provided
DVD Course Description – Luther’s Legacy for Laity: Martin Luther’s legacy is a rich treasure for all Christians, but particularly for lay people. Luther, through the doctrines of justification, freedom of the Christian, bondage of the will, and vocation, provides Christians with an understanding of what God has done for us and what God wants to do through us for the sake of the neighbor. All the big questions of faith and life are found in the abundance of Reformation theology. These theologians shape how Christians view their place in the world. These presentations were filmed live at the Lay School of Ministry in the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA.
This 8-week course will have a DVD presentation and discussion totaling 90 minutes each Sunday. Come to one or all sessions. Please reserve a place by calling Lynn Golen at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 330-394-5741. All are welcome!
Movie: “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World”
Tuesday, October 24, 7:30 pm
Special showing for area Lutherans at Tinseltown, Southern Park Mall (Youngstown)
Shared Ministry Joint Worship
Sunday, October 29, 10:30 am
At St. Paul Lutheran Church; finger food reception in Cassel Hall following worship
Anniversary of the Reformation
Sunday, October 29, 6:00 pm
At St. Columba Cathedral, Youngstown, Catholic-Lutheran Ecumenical Evening Prayer
“God’s Work, Our Hands” Lutheran Day of Service: This year, we plan to join ELCA churches around the country in doing service projects on the afternoon of Sunday, September 10. On this one day, Lutherans across the country make a joint effort to do various small projects to help neighbors – a nationwide witness to the love of Christ. Our Social Ministry Committee at St. Paul will have a poster to describe the day displayed in the narthex. Do you have a small household job that you cannot complete on your own? Tell Pastor Winters or Judy Dodge. Or would you like to pitch in to do service on September 10? Please sign up in the narthex. The more the merrier!