From Interim Pastor Michael Meranda

I have actually had experience as an interim pastor.  It was for a healthy congregation in Vancouver, Washington.   The preceding pastor enjoyed a strong 8-year tenure.  Their next pastor enjoyed an 11-year ministry.  I was relating that experience to a colleague.  She asked when I had been an interim.  I said, “It began in the summer of 1999 and lasted eight months.”  She said, “So you were an interim in the previous century.”  The message was clear.  A lot has changed in recent decades.  But I do recall from that Synod’s training process the five major tasks of an interim pastor.  (1) Articulate Congregational History.  (2) Develop Lay Leadership.  (3) Prepare for New Pastoral Leadership.  (4) Articulate Congregational Identity.  (5) Renew Connection to the Synod.  I have a lot of Interim Pastor Technique to review/re-learn.  I am counting on colleagues in our Synod to help me with that.

I loved the congregation from which I recently retired.  Every day I had a reason to pause with gratitude for the gift of being in that place.  But that relationship ended April 30.  Now, as a retired pastor in our Synod, I am grateful to begin a new relationship with you at Living Lord Lutheran Church.  I am not your called pastor; I am your assigned interim pastor.  Those are different roles.  But the commitment to preaching the Word, administering the Sacraments, praying with and for you, being available to you for pastoral emergencies, and attending your meetings is the same.

You will find me open, receptive, and transparent.  I am available to answer your phone calls any time.  I am working into the routine of being in your office on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.  I enjoy teaching.  I especially have an interest in prayer.  I love how many of you have agreed to pray together each night at 8:00 pm for your congregation in transition between called pastors.

My autobiography is diverse.  I was born in a slow, small-town in Wisconsin, yet raised in a nice suburb of Oregon.  I served a congregation in Seattle’s inner-city district—quite dangerous.  I served a congregation adjacent to a college in Portland—quite academic.  I served a sophisticated urban congregation in St. Paul, Minnesota—quite artsy.  I served a congregation in a small city in Wisconsin—quite predictable.  I retired from serving Messiah in Ashtabula, Ohio–quite joyful!  Now I get to serve you, as your interim—quite the privilege!  I pray this in between time for your congregation will be blessed.  I pray you will grow ever more closely together, that you will grow more deeply in relationship with God, that you will continue to serve your neighbors, and that all who come through your inviting doors will be fed with the Bread of Life.

From the President, Bob McKinney

Meet Our New Interim Pastor…Our new Interim Pastor, Michael Meranda, recently retired from Messiah Lutheran Ashtabula, having served that wonderful place for 14 years. Elizabeth Eaton was his immediate predecessor; she was at Messiah 15 years before winning the election to be NE Ohio Bishop in 2006. Pr. Meranda’s wife of 45 years, Mary, manages the Ashtabula Office of Catholic Charities. They have three adult children who live in White Plains, NY, Fredericksburg, VA, and Cleveland, OH (the one with the best job is in Cleveland; he works for Play House Square!) Pr. Meranda served fascinating pastorates in Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, and Central Wisconsin. He earned his Doctorate in Theology at San Francisco Theological Seminary. He has grown to love the people and culture of Northeast Ohio and especially appreciates our Northeastern Ohio Synod. He is looking forward to this opportunity to be with the people of God at Living Lord Lutheran Church during this interim segment of our Word and Sacrament ministry!

 

Interim Pastor Meranda’s Office Hours…Interim Pastor Michael Meranda will be in the office on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.  If you need to reach him at times other than on Wednesdays, please call his home phone of 440-998-7321.

 

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 Chairperson, Lorraine Bell

Please notify Lorraine Bell or the church office of any members who are hospitalized, ill, etc., so a card can be sent from the church.

 

Prayer Chain…Our prayer chain consists of seven members:  Camille Allen, Karen Bandy, Pam Boothe, Karin McKinney, Jacquie Thomas, Rose Zavatsky, and Lorraine Bell.  Please call one of the women with the name needing prayer and any concerns you feel are relevant.  Be sure to have the permission of that person.  That person will pass it on to the next one and it will go on to the next person, etc., so that we are all praying.

 

8:00 pm Daily Prayer…Based on member’s requests, the Council developed a prayer so that all of us can pray in unity at the daily 8:00 pm common prayer time.  Of course, you may add to this prayer or use one that you have created as well:  “Almighty God, we join in prayer, asking your direction for the ministry and mission of Living Lord Lutheran Church in our community.  We ask for the renewal and resurrection of our church.  Open our minds and hearts to the light of the Holy Spirit.  Fill our imaginations; control our wills, that we may be wholly Yours.  Use us as You will, always to Your glory and the welfare of Your people.  Through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

 

Prayers for Healing…We will begin to have prayer time for healing after church on the third Sunday of each month (July 17).

From the Outreach Committee Chairperson, Judy Shaffer

School Supply Collection…We will be collecting school supplies (notebooks, pencils, pencil cases, crayons, erasers, lined paper, rulers) beginning May 1 through August 31 – so you can hit those sales!  Items may be placed on the table in the Education Wing.

 

LSOV Summer Picnic…We will host a summer picnic at Liberty Shepherd of the Valley on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, beginning at 12:00 noon.  More details to come!

From the Parish Education Committee Chairperson, Raymond Boothe

VBS… This year’s Vacation Bible School is going to be hosted by Living Lord and St. Paul Lutheran Churches July 25-28, 5:30-7:30 pm each evening, for children up to the 5th grade.  It will be held at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 2860 East Market Street, Warren, OH  44483.  This year’s theme will be “G-Force”.  The children will explore how to put their faith into action.  In this mission-focused VBS, kids experience God’s unstoppable love and discover how to fuel up and move in and through life with God.  Watch kids at church come alive with movement and images of all sorts of kid-friendly transportation, such as skateboards, running shoes, roller blades, and more!  Watch the G-Force meter climb, illustrating how God is at work around the world and how God’s people are on the move.  The main Bible verse for G-Force VBS is Acts 17:28a. “In God we live, move, and exist.”  A life with God is one of movement!

Please join us for an exciting week of crafts and games.  If you would be interested in volunteering to teach, lead crafts, lead games, set up and serve snacks, and lead the opening and closing, please see the sign-up sheet.  If you have any questions, please contact at Living Lord:  Raymond Boothe (740-988-8898) or Pam Boothe (740-395-3564); at St. Paul:  Debbie Groves (330-442-5382).  Please register your children by filling out a registration form and return it to the church office by July 15.  Invite your friends and neighbors.  This is FREE!

From the Stewardship Committee Chairperson, Neal L’Amoureaux

2022 Stewardship Program – Where Your Heart Is – With Those:  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15

The group had been together for a week.  Seven days in a Benedictine monastery following the order of the day:  time for study, prayer, rest, and recreation.  We ate our meals, worshiped, and worked together.  We listened and learned each other’s stories.  On the closing day, we were friends.  Steve was a string-bean of a man.  One of the more quiet of the group, he absorbed and reflected on the week in silence.  On the last day, he spoke.  He was recently divorced.  It hadn’t been his idea.  He was still reeling.  The loneliness and rejection sat right behind his eyes.  It was painful to hear him talk about it.  He broke down, then was embarrassed he broke down.  He bent his head and covered his eyes.  We all stood in awkward silence.  We had been together only seven days.  As close as we had grown, we weren’t ready for such intimacy with this suffering man.  Roger, the risk-taker, stepped forward, put his arm on Steve’s shoulder, and stood as close to him as he could get.  His own eyes filled with tears.  Happily-married Roger stood side-by-side with the sobbing Steve and shouldered, for a moment, his loneliness, rejection, and remorse.  He could have stayed at a safe distance.  He could have given Steve a few pats on the back and left him to deal with it.  He didn’t.  He had been sent to stay and see him through it.  Such a Christlike moment.  To share suffering in Jesus’ name is to be a steward of the heart of God for the sake of another.  Is there any greater gift?

From the President, Bob McKinney

I was having trouble coming up with my report for this month.  I just felt that I should give a “State of the Church” message as I see it.  So here we go…These past few years have been a long and sometimes difficult journey for Living Lord Lutheran Church.  We have lived through COVID-19, we have closed and opened and closed and opened the church, we have struggled with attendance post COVID-19, we went from two services on Sunday to one service each Sunday, mask or no mask, conflict within the congregation, a change in our financial picture, our long-time pastor retired, and the list goes on.  All these challenges put in our way!  Let us look at the good side of our picture.  Our attendance is getting stronger, our Outreach programs are starting back since COVID-19, our beautiful choir is singing for us on Sundays, our Fellowships are well attended, our Adult Forum and Bible Study are well attended.  I know the call process has been difficult for many of us and I understand the frustration.  But because of our financial situation, we are in a different position than we have been in the past.  We are one of five congregations in our Synod that are looking for a part-time pastor and none have found one.  I have been talking with Mitch Phillips at the Synod and he has told me that pastors are not looking for a part-time gig and he is right.  This slows the process down for us.  Our best bet is creating a parish with another church and sharing the pastor between us.  As most of you know, I have been talking with St. John Lutheran Church in Champion, which I feel would be a good fit for us.  They are a little behind us as they just finished and filed their Ministry Site Profile with the Synod.  I should be talking with their Call Committee Chairperson within the next week.  Please remember, it took three years to call Pastor Bill.  We are praying as a congregation each night to ask God for a vision and purpose for our church.  All we need to do is open our hearts and listen.  Let us all stay positive and work together toward one goal…making Living Lord Lutheran Church a vital part of this community.

 

Pasta Dinner Update…The Pasta Dinner hosted by Living Lord, St. John, and St. Paul Lutheran Churches at St. Paul was a huge success.  We raised $1,800.00 to go to Trumbull Mobile Meals.  Thank you to everyone who assisted with or attended this joint event.

 

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.