From Pastor William D. Leitch

The new church year begins with a wake-up call:  Christ is coming soon!  In today’s readings, both Paul and Jesus challenge us to wake from sleep, for we know neither the day nor hour of the Lord’s coming.  Isaiah proclaims the day when God will gather all people on the holy mountain and there will be no more war or suffering.  Though we vigilantly watch for the promised day of salvation, we wait for what we already have:  Christ comes among us this day as the word and meal that strengthens our faith in the promises of God.

As I write this article, I am also preparing my sermon for the second to the last Sunday in the 2019 church year, November 17.  Yes, the church year always begins with Advent.  Usually, that is the first Sunday in December, and we are “Waiting for Christ” on Christmas.  However, Christ has already come at His birth and resurrection.  But He ascended into heaven until He comes again.  So, as we read the Scriptures, remember who is speaking and to whom they are speaking.

In the November 17 readings, Paul speaks to the Thessalonians, who are sitting around waiting for Jesus to return, as if they are waiting for the bus.  Paul reminds them, as Jesus reminds the disciples, that we don’t know when He will return.  God hasn’t scheduled that bus yet.  Rather, God has given us a mission to get done, and when His bus does finally show up, do you want to confess to God that you didn’t get His mission completed and just didn’t think it was necessary?

I didn’t want to disappoint my Daddy or my Mamma when they trusted me with a chore that needed to be completed for the sake of our family.  So, by owning the mission, I was motivated to work together or unsupervised and do the best I could.

God has called us to share the Gospel with everyone within our reach.  I am witnessing this effort and the impact it has on motivating others to join us.  I shared Darlene Altiere’s story last month.  Since then, our Youth Group raked leaves at Judy Shaffer’s house.  It was a huge job, but with an Army of youth, it became a work of love.  After hearing of this service plan, others wanted to be part of it.  So, Jacquie and John Thomas showed up with their leaf blower.  It is always great to have additional adult leadership, but even more important is how it shows that they care about and are inspired by our youth.

A lot more happened that night.  Judy, who leads our Outhreach Committee, shared that they were asking for names to send Thanksgiving Food Baskets to.  Our Youth Group has been helping some folks and so Stacey Altiere is helping Judy get those names and will help to deliver.

I think this is God’s image of what mission and ministry are all about.  It’s all about relationships.  We weave ourselves together in loving service for others and the next thing we discover is that we are inspired to do more.  Why?  Because we know we are not in it alone!

Is this the end of the story?  No!  You will hear the “Rest of the Story” next month after we have completed our Christmas Caroling that includes our members, but the Youth Group is going to join us also, and maybe a couple of our little ones from the Friday night Girl Scout group.  Oh yeah, the Girl Scout group joined us in our Thanksgiving Food Basket mission, too.  They brought some food.

Please join our ministry teams.  Get involved!  Meet new people!  Inspire others to do God’s work!

 

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 Later Life Committee, Member Lynne Walters

Card Class…Join us for a card-making class on Thursday, December 5, in the Activity Room.  We will be making 4 cards.  The theme is “Christmas Past” 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, December 1.  If you have any questions, please contact Lynne Walters.

From the Outreach Committee Chairperson, Judy Shaffer

Thanksgiving Food Baskets Update…The Outreach Committee would like to thank everyone who donated to the Thanksgiving Food Baskets.  We were able to give out 18 food baskets to our local community.

 

Angel Tree…We can help make Christmas a special time for area children.  Our Angel Tree will be up on Sunday, December 8.  Stop by the tree, choose an angel, sign them out, and have fun shopping!  We will have 20 children to buy for.  All gifts must be returned UNWRAPPED by Sunday, December 15, with the angel tag attached.  If you have any questions, please contact Tootie Rogers.  If you are unable to be in church on December 8 and would like to participate, please call Tootie and she will mail you an angel.

 

NSOV Annual Christmas Party…The Outreach Committee will be hosting the annual Christmas Party at Niles Shepherd of the Valley on Wednesday, December 11, beginning at 1:30 pm.  We will be collecting new gifts for this event.  Also, we will need Christmas gift bags.  Some gift suggestions are new gloves, hat, and scarf sets, lotion sets, jewelry sets, and gift sets.  If you would like to donate money, we will do the shopping for you.  Place your check, made payable to Living Lord Lutheran Church with the notation “NSOV Christmas Party” in the memo portion, in the offering plate or mail it to the church office.  Please place your items in the basket under the bulletin board.  If you have any questions, please contact Judy Shaffer.

 

Christmas Caroling…Christmas caroling will take place on Saturday, December 14.  We will meet at the church at 4:00 pm and go on our route from there.  We will have Fellowship after the caroling.  Everyone is invited to come to both the caroling and the Fellowship or just the Fellowship if you cannot join us for the caroling.  Please see Judy Shaffer or Bob McKinney to let them know if you are interested in joining in this event.

 

From the Worship Committee Chairperson, Meghan Miller

Christmas Eve Services…Our Christmas Eve Services will be at 4:00 and 7:00 pm.  A concert of Christmas music will be presented by the organist, May Love, and the Bell Choir 20 minutes before each service.  There will be Fellowship after the 7:00 pm service.  Please join us as we celebrate our Savior’s birth!

 

From the Bell Choir Director, Lynne Walters…The Bell Choir of Living Lord Lutheran Church will be performing a Christmas concert at Howland Shepherd of the Valley on Thursday, December 12, at 3:30 pm.  The concert will feature both sacred and secular songs and is open to both HSOV residents and the public.  The Outreach Committee will be joining us with a Christmas Gift Giveaway.  Please join us!

 

Un-hanging of the Greens…What goes up must come down!  We will be taking the Christmas decorations down on Saturday, January 4, at 9:00 am.  Please come and help with this task.

From the Pastor, William D. Leitch

We start the month of November with All Saints Sunday.  We remember all the saints who have gone before us.  But let’s take a moment to ponder, what is a saint?

In the Lutheran church, we understand that we are all “saints” and “sinners”.  We are not all good and we are not all bad; however, we know that we are made worthy by what Christ has already done.  We focus on what God calls us to be and to do.  We lift up the example that each and every one of us has been that would inspire others to live faithfully.

We just celebrated and recognized over a dozen saints at the Valley Legacy Awards Banquet in October.  All of them were inspiring.  When we focus on the light of Christ that shines from each of us, I find that we tend to focus more on Christ and less on those things that would distract us.

I caution you all, again, do not think that the little things you do are not worth much.  Remember the “young girl”, a slave, who showed mercy, shared a vision that would actually work, and resulted in the cure of her master’s leprosy.  That powerful, wealthy, egotistical commander was more than healed.  He was transformed like a “young boy” with a vision to care for others and to see God, like the “young girl”.  That is what the light of Christ is.  It is transforming, and you hold that light.

As we work together with St. Paul and Prince of Peace to build up our youth, we have witnessed very powerful moments and witnessed God’s presence in this effort.  A group of young children from the neighborhood were invited to come in and eat supper before the older kids started their program and lesson that night.  Some would not have had supper at their home.  They were thankful.  Still, some were so energetic that their thankfulness was not apparent, and they needed to go home so we could start working with the older youth.  It was getting dark and one boy, who was a bit more mature than the others, wanted to stay and learn with the others.  Darlene sat outside with him for an hour and she taught him stories from the Bible.  She empowered him to share what stories he knew a bit about.  He will soon turn 12 years old, and Pr. Ann Marie officially invited him to join us starting the very next class.  This young boy had the courage to persist and we were all joyfully changed.  Thank you, Darlene!

At the end of the month, we will again remember who this Christ is.  Christ is the King!  And Christ will change you.

 

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

 

 

 

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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 Later Life Committee, Member Lynne Walters

Card Class…Join us for a card-making class on Thursday, November 7, in the Activity Room.  We will be making 4 cards.  The theme is “Put a Little Sparkle in Your Holidays” 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, November 3.  If you have any questions, please contact Lynne Walters.

From the Outreach Committee Chairperson, Judy Shaffer

Bingo at NSOV Update…The Outreach Committee would like to thank everyone who donated to and/or assisted with the Bingo at Niles Shepherd of the Valley on October 23.  The residents thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

 

Thanksgiving Food Baskets…The Outreach Committee will again be giving out Thanksgiving Food Baskets.  If you know of someone in need of a Thanksgiving Food Basket, please call the church office to get signed up as soon as possible.  The Outreach Committee is asking for monetary donations to purchase turkeys and grocery shopping lists are posted on the Outreach Bulletin Board.  We will also need 30 brown grocery bags, if you happen to have any you would like to donate.  Please turn in your monetary and grocery donations no later than Sunday, November 10.  Please make your checks payable to Living Lord Lutheran Church and mark “Food Baskets” in the memo portion.  You may put your check in the offering plate or mail it to the church office.  Distribution of the Thanksgiving Food Baskets will be on Friday, November 22, from 9:00 am until noon.  If you have any questions, please contact Judy Shaffer.

 

Angel Tree…We can help make Christmas a special time for area children.  Our Angel Tree will be up on Sunday, December 8.  Stop by the tree, choose an angel, sign them out, and have fun shopping!  We will have 20 children to buy for.  All gifts must be returned UNWRAPPED by Sunday, December 15, with the angel tag attached.  If you have any questions, please contact Tootie Rogers.  If you are unable to be in church on December 8 and would like to participate, please call Tootie and she will mail you an angel.

 

Christmas Caroling…Council would like to have the choir and congregation members engage in Christmas caroling.  Before we decide where we will be caroling and on what date, we would like to see how many are interested.  Please see the sign-up sheet on the main bulletin board or speak with Judy Shaffer.

From the Worship Committee Chairperson, Meghan Miller

Hanging of the Greens…Hanging of the Greens will take place on Saturday, November 23, at 9:00 am.  All are welcome to attend!

Worship Assistants…I want to thank everyone for their continued assistance in worship duties and I look forward to 2020.  I am working on the worship duties for 2020 and want to continue to work with members of the church to ensure worship duties are fulfilled.  Any member who is currently assisting in worship I will continue to utilize unless otherwise specified.  We also welcome new worship assistants at any time.  Please contact Meghan Miller if you are interested in assisting in any of the worship duties.

From Pastor William D. Leitch

Through the month of October, we will hear encouragement from our Scriptures to have faith, pray, be connected with God, examine ourselves to ensure we don’t block out God’s response to us, and to open our eyes and see how God always keeps his word to us.

First, we will reflect on how powerful faith is.  It might not seem like much, but it keeps us focused and alert to God’s calling and presence in our lives

Second, the forgiveness we receive in the waters of Baptism and in the Body and Blood of Christ are so healing and empowering.  Again, it may seem impossible in our current situations, or we may be impatient and just want God to fix us so we can continue doing what we do.  If we continue doing our thing and fail to get our focus back to God, we might find our journey a bit rough.  However, adjust your azimuth according to what God commands and things might get better sooner.  Yes, when we are off target, it might seem that God is asking us to come the long way back.  Uh, no, God is giving us the shortcut; we are the ones who made the journey long and hard.

Third, repentance is not just a formality that we say and go back to our old ways.  True repentance requires some work and change.  At our first Youth Group session this fall, we had the youth pair up and pass a ping-pong ball on the paddle to their partner without “dropping the ball”.  Needless to say, no one could do it that night.  I asked them whose fault it was, and one of them always accepted the blame.  I asked the other why they didn’t speak up to blame their partner?  They said they didn’t want to shame or hurt the other and that they probably would have failed also.  They realized that they didn’t know everything, and they needed to learn more together with their partner.  Wow!  They made that lesson easy for me.  The challenge:  practice this with your brothers and sisters, husband and wife, parents and children.

I pray that through Bible Studies, worship, and working together that we will all grow in faith and be empowered to share the Good News.

 

From the Northeastern Ohio Synod – Bishop Allende’s Retirement Announcement…

September 9, 2019

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”  So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.  Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.   [Genesis 12:1, 4]

Dear People of God of the Northeastern Ohio Synod,

Greetings in the name of our crucified and risen Savior Jesus Christ!

I write to announce that I will retire as Bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod at the end of my current term on August 31, 2020.  I will not stand for re-election at the 2020 synod assembly.

I am making this announcement now to allow adequate time for preparation for the process of electing a bishop, to allow me to discuss it openly as I travel around the synod, and so that you will have sufficient time to pray, to engage in open conversation together, and then to discern whom God is preparing to be your next bishop.

Five years ago, the Holy Spirit spoke and called me as your bishop.

The memory of that day will forever be indelibly etched in my brain.  I vividly recall when the election results were announced.  The assembly stood, the thunderous applause rang like cannon blasts in my ears, and I sat there among you, stunned and rendered nearly speechless.

Words cannot sufficiently express the joy, honor, and gratitude I feel for having had the opportunity to lead and guide you on Christ’s behalf, to pray for you, and to learn from you for the past five years.

However, in the rapidly-changing mission field around us, I believe that it is time for a fresh perspective and new leadership and imagination to carry this work forward in the face of never-ending challenges.

I have often read the words of God’s call to Abram in the above passage as if it were my story.  But every story has a conclusion and I believe it is time to begin writing the final chapter of this blessed call.

In the meantime, we still have nearly a year to continue the work we have begun.  I pray that this may be a time of joy and hope as we live toward living out our common mission into God’s future.

We end our Vespers (Evening Prayer) with the following prayer, which is fitting for this occasion:

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Peace and blessings,
Bishop Abraham Allende