From the Parish Nurse, Dora Muller

“The heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.”  Gabriel Garcia Marques

The present global pandemic drastically changes the way we live.  The Coronavirus has made us domestic prisoners, or as they say in the military, solitary confinement, or “the hole”, in an attempt to halt the progression of the virus.  But, as a literary book worm that I am, one of my favorite books is “Love in the Time of Cholera” (or today “Coronavirus”).  I prefer “Love in the Time of Coronavirus”.  As the news of first cases of the virus reached us, we tended to believe, not in my backyard-NIMBY.  Despite China’s far away distance, we soon moved into a panic mode and started to hoard things in preparation for the end.  Hundreds of years from now this will be remembered as the “toilet paper crisis”.  Quickly the Coronavirus epidemic changed in status to a worldwide pandemic.  We have witnessed many changes, no more large gatherings or sporting events, and we have become a society of reclusion as if in a cloister.  Now is a time of reflection.  We need to maintain our physical and mental health and re-learn how to rely on our neighbors and community.  The desire to help others, keep in touch, and show appreciation is sky high.  My neighbor generously offered to bring me groceries, I write letters to my girlfriends, and the internet highway is busy keeping up communication with family and friends.  The fear of acquiring the virus has transformed us so that we build physical barriers or social distance between friends and family members.  However, it has helped develop closeness in the sense of caring for the well-being of the community and helping others during this time of social isolation.  From businesses to family members, the goal is to minimize the risk of the spreading the virus.  We provide a collective effort for the good of the community.  The lessons learned from this event are that we need to be prepared, remain healthy, rely on each other, keep our spirits alive, and learn to appreciate a slower pace of indoor life.  Remember the bygone era of board games, radio music, and just being close to those who are dear to us.  Oh yeah, we do have television today.  And, more important, be humble and give thanks for surviving another crisis.

A Pandemic Prayer

From Kerry Weber, an executive editor for the magazine America, the Jesuit Review.  Weber writes:

Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.”  At your command, the sick were made well.  Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the corona virus, that we may experience your healing love.

Heal those who are sick with the virus.  May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.

Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another.

Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.

Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.

Be with those who have died from the virus.  May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.

Be with the families of those who are sick or have died.  As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair.  May they know your peace.

Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers, and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process.  May they know your protection and peace.

Be with the leaders of all nations.  Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve.  Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks.  May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.

Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare.  In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.

Jesus Christ, heal us. Amen

 

Letter from Bishop Allende

Due to Bishop Allende’s recommendations, we will suspend gathering for worship through April. We will continue to record the services and send them to you via Constant Contact email.
Northeastern Ohio Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
God’s Work. Our hands.
March 30, 2020
Lord, you have been our dwelling-place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
[Psalm 90:1-2 NRSV]
Dear siblings in Christ of the Northeastern Ohio Synod,
Grace to you and peace in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
The COVID-19 pandemic has unsettled our normal way of life since the beginning of March. We find ourselves in a state of anxiety, not knowing what the future holds, relying primarily on the guidance of the medical experts.
In my previous letter, I requested the suspension of all public worship and other in-person gatherings and meetings until at least April 1. However, the escalating number of confirmed cases give clear indication that the danger has not yet reached its peak. Therefore, I now encourage ministers and congregational leaders to extend that suspension for another month, through the end of April. This is one of the chief precautions we can take as a way of caring for each other and to deter the spread of the virus.
Last week, Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill (House Bill 197) allowing, among other things, for remote meetings. Thus, for now, every possible meeting should be arranged by whatever electronic means available. It does pose somewhat of a challenge, but it becomes easier to arrange the more it is done.
This news is no doubt disappointing to all who were enthusiastically looking forward to Holy Week and Easter worship and activities. It may be of some consolation to note that Easter is a season of seven weeks, not just one day. The Resurrection can be celebrated at a later date, and the delay may provide for an even more festive occasion. God is still with us, in times of separation as well as celebration.
I am grateful for the many ways our pastors, deacons, musicians, and those with the gifts of technology have risen to the occasion to care for the people of God whom they’re called to serve. Again, it is a challenge, but it does become easier as time goes on.
Our Northeastern Ohio Synod website has a resource page for those who may not have the capability to offer electronic services.
Of course, caring for God’s people extends beyond the Sunday service. And this involves everyone, not just the ordained. This time offers us an ideal opportunity to build on the gifts that each of us was given, as St. Paul says, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Each one of us can make phone calls to other members, write notes, and perhaps even offer more tangible assistance – such as picking up groceries, supplies, or prescriptions. We are all in this together, to use a well-worn cliché.
On another matter, last Friday, our ELCA Presiding Bishop, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, announced a series of grants designed to provide support for our most vulnerable congregations and ministries. I encourage you to visit the ELCA website for more information. We will announce other, more local grant opportunities in the weekly e-news. If you have not already subscribed, now is an excellent time, as it is a good source of late-breaking information.
Third, I wish to call your attention to the following scheduling items:
1.    The Renewal of Vows service, normally held Tuesday in Holy Week, has been canceled. That is one huge personal disappointment for me, as it would have been my final one as bishop. Should any of you be in need of oil, there are still vials available at the Lutheran Center (Synod Office) in the lobby which you may pick up Monday through Thursday, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. We will replenish the supply as needed.
2.    The Conference Gatherings to lift up names for potential bishop candidates has been changed to a mail-only process. See the Synod E-news for more details.
3.    Synod Council will still meet on April 25, most likely in an electronic meeting. We will most likely have an announcement regarding Synod Assembly following that meeting. As of now, the assembly is still scheduled for June 12-13.
Finally, Psalm 90 at the top of this letter is a reminder to us that our human existence is limited in comparison to the timelessness of God. Pandemics and the resulting fear and isolation, are as old as humanity. Yet throughout the ages, God has been faithful. God has promised to be with us through the ups and downs of life. That is the source of our strength and the source of our hope in this time of insecurity. Let us hold fast to God’s promises.
Peace and blessings,
+Bishop Abraham D. Allende
Pr. Bill

Stay-at-Home Order

Pastor Bill and Lynn will be working from home in order to be in compliance with Governor DeWine’s Stay-at-Home Order.  We ask all of you to heed the Governor’s order and recommendations.  If you are in need of assistance in obtaining food and/or medicine, please do not hesitate to call Pastor Bill on his cell phone at 330-465-6221.  If you are anxious and would like Pastor Bill to pray with you, please call his cell.  Please stay in contact with each other by calling and checking on each other.  We will be keeping you updated and sending out weekly notices and worship service videos.  Remember, we will get through this together, with God as our guide and strength…lean on him in this time of uncertainty.  (or something like that).

In Christ,
Pastor Bill

 

SUSPENSION OF ALL WORSHIP SERVICES, EVENTS, AND GATHERINGS

Following the guidance of Bishop Allende and after confirming with the Church Council, Living Lord Lutheran Church will suspend ALL worship services, events, and group gatherings until Palm Sunday, April 5.
As your pastor, I will periodically post devotions or commentary on the Scriptures for the week. I will be counting this as vacation time. Only in life or death situations am I permitted to visit families and individuals. Please call me for a visit at 330-465-6221.
We will continue to send information concerning preparations for Easter and the need for flowers and offerings. Please reply to these messages to volunteer and/or pledge offerings to purchase or donate to these special worship events.
We just received pricing for the Easter Flowers. They are as follows: Hyacinth $8.00, Lily $8.50, and Tulip $8.00. If you would like to purchase Easter Flowers, please mail in your check along with a note stating how many of each flower you want and if it is in memory or in honor of someone or to the Glory of God. The deadline to order Easter Flowers is Monday, March 30.
We are still collecting the food for the Easter Food Baskets. If you have items to donate, please drop them off at the church Monday through Friday between 8:00 and 11:00 am. All food items should be at the church no later than Sunday, March 29. Food Basket pick up is Wednesday, April 8, between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon.
If you need a Larry L. Maggiano, M.D., Memorial Scholarship Application, please call the office and we will mail that out to you. Applications are due Sunday, April 26.
These can by trying times financially for a congregation. Please mail your offerings to the church or drop them off between 8:00 and 11:00 am Monday through Friday. Our Treasurer still needs to pay our bills.
We pray for everyone and especially for our healthcare workers during this fragile time of waiting.
In Christ,
Pastor Bill

From Pastor William D. Leitch

The month of March is the season of Lent this year.  Then the first Sunday in April is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week.  Here is what this journey will look like:

First, Jesus meets Satan in the wilderness, and Satan learns who the “Boss” is.  Second, we meet Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a teacher in the temple.  Nicodemus wants to learn from Jesus, but this is a huge transition from how he got his teaching to become a Pharisee.  He wants to keep a low profile to gain confidence first.   Sound a bit like us sometimes?

Third, we meet the Samaritan woman at the well.  Totally opposite of Nicodemus!  She must avoid her own people in order to survive.  He eyes are opened, and she understands who this Jesus is.  Her fear of her own people goes away immediately, and she delivers the “Good News” without hesitation.  Nicodemus will eventually deliver the “Good News”, but he is burdened by his status and it slows him down.  The Samaritan woman has nothing to lose.  One thing she does have is a loving heart full of grace and mercy.  Without a doubt, she never loses that!

Fourth, Jesus gives sight to a blind man who immediately spreads the “Good News”.  What?  “Who gave him authority to preach?” asks the Temple leaders.  In the simple words of this man, “He touched me!  He told me to see!  It worked!  I am thankful!  And I’m not keeping this to myself!  Get over it!” or words and body language to that effect.  Sometimes we must be firm in our conviction.  I always worry that I need to be more graceful.

The message during the Wednesday Lenten Services will be about sharing our faith throughout our community, the world, and in every circumstance we might find ourselves.  We are not just going to talk about it!  I am encouraging every one of us to practice it.  Like our brothers and sisters in Scripture, we have “Good News” to share.  We are all called to share it.  Not just a select few!

 

Lenten Evening Worship Service & Soup Supper…Beginning on Wednesday, March 4, we will have Soup Suppers at 5:30 pm followed by Lenten Evening Worship Service at 6:30 pm at Living Lord Lutheran Church.  We will need two crocks of soup each Wednesday.  Please see the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board if you can volunteer to bring soup.

 

Town Hall Meetings…The entire congregation is invited and encouraged to attend one or both of the Town Hall Meetings scheduled on Sundays, March 15, at 11:45 am and March 22, at 9:00 am.

Purpose:  To develop the Strategic Ministry Plan for Living Lord Lutheran Church.

Why:  Each congregation must have a vision and a plan for their ministry within their community.  Plans must be current and relevant, therefore, they must be updated regularly.  At the transition of leadership and before a search is made for a new pastor, the “Ministry Profile” must be updated in order to call the leader with the gifts to support that vision and plan.  This is the vision and desires of our congregation, YOU!

Our Congregation Council has been working at updating our “Ministry Profile” since May 2019.  The demographics have been completed with the most current census and our 2019 Parochial Report.  This tells us who Living Lord is and who our community is.

Next, we must decide how we will minister to this community.

The Council has been looking at how we will navigate this journey, i.e. Where are we?  Where do we want to go?

We cannot get from here to there without the entire team participating and owning the vision and plan that we develop.  The Council needs to hear your voice in order to formulate a realistic plan.

There will be a brief presentation of how the Town Hall Meeting will proceed, but we desire that most of the meeting will be brainstorming with you.  We will wrap up the session by prioritizing the ideas by your votes.

After both meetings are complete, the Council will create a draft “Strategic Plan” based on your input.  This will be published for the congregation to review and make comments.  Based on these comments, the Council can clarify the plan.

Finally, the Council will schedule a Special Congregation Meeting to approve the “Ministry Profile” and the members of the Call Committee.  So far, the following members have requested to be on the Call Committee and have been accepted by the Council:  Randall Beckley, Raymond Boothe, Neal L’Amoureaux, Brycen Prasky, Warner  Taiclet, Nancy Walters, and Barb Wright.

Again, please plan to join us as we need to hear everyone’s voice.

 

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.

 

From the In-Reach Committee, Member Lynne Walters

Card Class…Join us for a card-making class on Thursday, March 5, in the Activity Room.  We will be making 4 cards.  The theme is “Fun Folds” cards.  Classes will be at 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm.  The cost is $12.00.  Please bring adhesives like double-stick tape and liquid glue.  There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board.  The deadline for signing up is Sunday, March 1.  If you have any questions, please contact Lynne Walters.