November is always an amazing month in the seasons of the Church. We begin by remembering and giving thanks for saints who have gone before us – All Saints Sunday. We grieve their loss, but remember how they helped to nurture our faith and bind us as the Body of Christ.
We finish the month with the last Sunday of the Church year. Yes, the Church year ends in November and the new year begins the first Sunday in December – the season of Advent. The last Sunday in November is Christ the King Sunday. We remember Jesus as who He was sent to be our heavenly king, not an earthly king.
As we focus on who Jesus is and who we are, we will highlight how to live this faith life in good stewardship for the mission and ministry God has called us to do.
First, Jesus taught us to love one another. We do everything out of love. Love is not always an easy thing to do. I challenge us all to reflect and examine how our actions (everything we do or say) show the love of Christ. Paul tells the Corinthians to give themselves to the mission and ministry of Christ out of love, in turn, it will give you great joy. He did not say it would make you rich; however, if you believe in the mission and ministry and support it out of love, it will give you great joy. Why? Because we own it. We have taken ownership of the ministry that Jesus called us to do.
Paul tells us to give sacrificially as Jesus gave his life. Jesus illustrates that sacrificial giving with the widow who gave everything. Even though it was not much by our wealthy standards, she gave everything. How can you give sacrificially, and out of love, and be joyful? Trust! Faith and trust that we are in this together and that in our time of need the Body of Christ will fulfill what we need.
November begins with All Saints Sunday and ends in or near Advent, when we anticipate Christ’s coming again. So the readings today tell of the final resurrection and the end time. In the turmoil of hope, fear, and disbelief that the predictions provoke in us, Hebrews sounds a note of confident trust. Christ makes a way for us where there is no way, and we walk it confidently, our hearts and bodies washed in baptismal water, trusting the one who has promised. The more we see the last day approaching, the more important it is to meet together to provoke one another to love.
Stewardship Campaign for 2019…You are receiving this message in the November Newsletter at the same time you will be receiving a letter in the mail concerning our financial support for our mission and ministry of Living Lord Lutheran Church.
In the letter you receive, you will find a 4 x 6 card for you to record your “estimate of giving”, often referred to as a “pledge” for 2019. We ask that you give this campaign for financial support high priority. Please plan for your financial giving for 2019 and either send your pledge to the church office or bring it forward during our time of Offering on Sunday, November 18, 2018. This will be our Consecration Sunday.
Your offerings are precious and holy. They represent your trust, love, joy, sacrifice, and your bond with the Body of Christ. We treat your offerings as precious and holy. Together we can give all we need to financially support the mission and ministry plans that the leaders of our Council and ministry teams have dreamed to accomplish in 2019.
Without your promise, we must move along slowly and cautiously in order to remain fiscally sound and we will miss opportunities to execute our mission fully.
With everyone’s responsive support, our congregational leaders can plan boldly, take advantage of opportunities, and stretch your offering even greater.
The “Preliminary Budget” that is also included in your letter gives you a bare-bones budget that pays for the operations of the “brick and mortar”, salaries, and office operations. Without the full support of our ministry programs (Evangelism/Membership, Fellowship, Finance, Later Life, Outreach, Parish Education, Property, Worship, and Youth & Family), we are just another building on State Route 46. This bare-bones budget is what we at lease hope to attain in 2018, based on our giving history thus far in 2018. This is the budget of a dying congregation.
In spite of working within a bare-bones budget for the past years, our Outreach team was recognized as a Legacy Award nominee in the Mahoning Valley. We have a congregation of folks with great hearts who execute their ministry with great sacrifice, love, and joy.
Please begin pledging and giving intentionally toward a more vibrant and supported ministry. Together we can grow into a more vibrant Church that makes a great difference in our community.
Addresses Needed for Parish Directory…Please provide the church office with your adult children’s current address, phone number, and email address. As their Pastor, I need to be able to make contact directly with them. If they are away at college, please provide that address so the Evangelism/Membership Committee can send them Christmas cards come December. These are our current young adult members we are trying to reach out to in order to have discussions about what they would like to see in worship, parish education, etc., to make them excited about coming to church and bringing their friends.
Youth Lock-In…The Eastern Conference Youth Lock-In will be held on November 17-18 for all youth in 7-12 grades at Zion Lutheran Church, 3300 Canfield Road, Youngstown, Ohio 44511. All youth are encouraged to attend the 8:30 am worship at Zion together before departing for the morning. We will meet to worship, fellowship, and grow together in faith for an overnight event. This is a great opportunity to get to know one another or catch up with old friends. The cost will be $10 to help cover the cost for food and recreation for the evening (to be paid at registration desk upon arrival). Please RSVP by November 10 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/eastern-conference-lock-in-tickets-50262328979 or by calling or texting 330-442-7924. We are also looking for any and all adults, parents, or guardians who are able to come for the evening or short shifts throughout the night. If you can assist or will be attending, please call or text Pastor Erin at 330-442-7924. If you have any questions, please see Pr. Bill.
Lutheran Disaster Response…Give now for Hurricane Florence relief. Checks or money orders can be sent to: Lutheran Disaster Response, P.O. Box 1809, Merrifield, VA 22116-8099; write “Hurricane Response” on the memo line. You can also give by phone at 800-638-3522.
Church Information…Please remember that you can obtain church information from the monthly Lamplighter Newsletter, the Constant Contact emails you receive, on the church website (www.lllc.org), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Living-Lord-Lutheran-Church-493806727349110/), and postings on the church bulletin board. Church Council Meeting minutes are posted on the bulletin board and sent out via Constant Contact. We would like to see a better “open rate” when we send information to you via Constant Contact so that we know you are being informed of the activities that are occurring at the church. If you have any other suggestions on how best to reach out to our parishioners, please see a Council member.