From the President, Nancy Walters

Another new year is finally here.  We have been waiting for 2020 to end for a long time.  I think that maybe we are hoping that 2021 will be different than 2020.  Maybe 2020 was just a bad dream and we will wake up and the pandemic will be gone.  Or that the politicians will all get along and work together.  But the reality is that the problems will still be here unless we all change and become more like Christ.  More forgiving.  More generous.  More thinking of each other rather than ourselves.  2021 can be so much better than 2020 if we try very hard.  2020 was not all bad.  We came together as a congregation during some rough times.  We had to close the doors for a while.  Then we were able to open them again.  Hopefully they can stay open.  We lost our pastor after tens years to retirement.  But you stepped up and we had virtual services.  Now we have an interim pastor who will lead us, bad jokes and all.  We have much to be thankful for, even if we thought the entre year was terrible.  I hope and pray that you all stay safe and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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 Interim Pastor Larry Klinker

In our December newsletter, I made to focus just the Advent season trying to emphasize the three comings of God our King in Jesus Christ we are waiting and preparing for.  I did that because of what I fear has been the domination in the minds of our church folk of the Christmas season.  Because of our culturally driven emphasis on Christmas, we don’t give Advent the focus as a season of waiting or of expectation.

We start to celebrate Christmas season on Christmas Eve usually in our churches when we light the Christ candle from our Advent wreath during the reading of the Christmas gospel.  (After Christmas Eve/Christmas Day celebration of the birth of the Christ Child, the Advent wreath is usually removed.)

The question of celebrating Christmas I want to raise with you this year is:  What does the birth of the Christ mean to you?  Is your celebration a celebration of a past historical event?  Jesus was born around 4 to 7 BCE for which I am thankful.  All the emphasis and focus is what happened in the past and what it means for us as Jesus is born to walk his path to the cross and resurrection.

We can talk about the birth of Christ in a heady way when we focus in on God becoming incarnate in the baby Jesus.  Christmas is always pointing us to the desire of God to take shape and form in our created world.  Our King comes in the form of a vulnerable baby in a manger.

Or a third way we can talk, think, and reflect on the birth of Christ is much the same way that Meister Eckhart reflected on the birth of the Christ child.  Eckhart wants to reflect at our Christ-mas celebration of the birth of the Christ as the birth of the Christ within us.  What does it mean for you for God to come and be born in your heart in the center of your life?  That you and I are the vesse4ls and the bearers of the presence of the Christ that has been born in us for the sake of the world, our neighbors, our friends, and our families.

Yes, we are still celebrating the twelve days of Christmas.  So, Christmas is not a day, it is a very short season of twelve days that ends on January 6, the Epiphany of our Lord.  We will celebrate the importance of the Epiphany of our Lord or the revealing of the Christ Child to the world with the coming of the Three Wise Men when we celebrate Epiphany Sunday on January 3.  The celebration of the Epiphany signals the close of the Christmas season and is the signal to undecorate the church of Christmas decorations.

Then in January we will continue to celebrate the Cycle of Light (the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany) when we reflect on how God is revealed in Jesus Christ in the Epiphany and those who respond to the revelation are called to be formed as the disciples of Jesus.

 

Pastor Larry’s Bible Blog…Pastor Larry offers you an opportunity to read your way thru scriptures with him each day at his Bible Blog.  The readings alternate between readings from an Older Testament book and then a Newer Testament book.  We are now reading the book of Nehemiah from the Older Testament.  Then we will begin reading the Newer Testament the Letter of James on Pastor Larry’s Bible blog online at http://klinkerld-pastorlarrysbible.blogspot.com/.  Join us online.  When we complete these two planned books, we will start the Older Testament book of Proverbs.

 

Interim Pastor Larry Klinker’s Office Hours…Pastor Larry will be in the office on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to noon.

 

From the In-Reach Committee Chairperson, Lorraine Bell

Please notify Lorraine Bell at 330-219-5881 (cell) or 330-372-0227 (home) (or the church office) of any members who are hospitalized, ill, etc., so a card can be sent from the church.

Prayer Chain…We have started our prayer chain with five members (if I forgot someone, please let me know):  Camille Allen, Pam Boothe, Karin McKinney, Jacquie Thomas, and Lorraine Bell.  Please call one of the women with the name needing prayer and any concerns your 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.

From the Outreach Committee Chairperson, Judy Shaffer

Due to COVID-19, we have not been able to go to Shepherd of the Valley to host our Bingo.  In place of our visits, Shepherd of the Valley has been holding their own Bingo, but have no prizes to give to the residents.  We have been collecting and dropping off Bingo prizes.  It is time to restock.  If you are able to pick up some of these items while you are out shopping for yourself, call Judy Shaffer to make arrangements to get them to her.  Items we are collecting:  lip balm, small pocket packs of tissue, lotions and hand creams, SOFT candy like Kit Kat bars, Three Musketeers, Hershey chocolates, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and bags of hard candy, small individual packets of crackers (nothing spicy) and cookies, small Valentine decorations that might cheer up their food trays or for their bulletin boards, and small knickknacks they may put on their dresser or windowsills.

From the Worship Committee Chairperson, Jan Was

Un-hanging of the Greens…Please plan to join us on Saturday, January 9, at 9:00 am to take down and put away all the Christmas decorations.  It’s a job that can be done in less than two hours.

 Thank you…A big thank you to Lynne Walters who, after five years, is stepping down as director of the bell choir.  Members of the bell choir will agree that we have enjoyed having Lynne as our director.  W especially enjoyed playing for church services and for Shepherd of the Valley.  She made it fun for us but also challenged us in some of the pieces we played.  Most of us learned to read music in school through band or private lessons.  Reviving those lessons wasn’t always easy for those of us that were many, many years from our high school days, but with Lynne’s patient teaching, we were able to make what we hoped were “beautiful sounds”.  Thank you Lynne!

From Lynne Walters…After 5 years, I am retiring as director of our bellchoir.  I have truly enjoyed the experience, mainly because of the dedication of the bellchoir members through the years.  Our rehearsals have been a combination of hard work and laughter.  The ringers’ dedication has resulted in not only playing Sunday worship services, but also going “on the road” the past three years with concerts at Howland Shepherd of the Valley.  Thank you to the past and present ringers, especially Darlene Altiere and Jan Was, who were with me the whole time.  I would also like to thank Rollie Walters for not only playing, but also for bell repair and the many other ways he has helped.  Thank you, congregation, for your support of the bellchoir through the years.  This is a very special group of musicians and I wish them well in the future.

From the Parish Nurse, Dora Muller

“So may the New Year be a happy one to you, happy to many more whose happiness depends on you. “  Charles Dickens

 This new year should not reflect the past twelve months.  Yes, the virus is still present and the fear of being infected has turned into a nightmare.  We have two distinct groups:  (1) the invincible one that does not believe that the virus will affect them, and (2) the more realistic one that takes precautions by following the guidelines and patiently prays not to get sick.  The best way to navigate the pandemic is to maintain a healthier lifestyle.  To boost one’s immune system is necessary to help prevent possible infection.  Vitamins and minerals help build resistance.  Vitamin C and D, complex B vitamins, and Zinc are vital to build a healthy body.  The past couple wees our local hospitals have reached full capacity with an increased number of cases of COVID-19 with many patients requiring supplemental oxygen and antivirus treatments.  The toll of the virus is also felt by family members, hospital workers, and those that provide essential services.  To avoid being another statistic related to the pandemic, let’s be proactive, maintain a healthy lifestyle, continue to practice social distancing, war a facial barrier (cover both mouth and nose), and get plenty of fresh air, all of which will help to contribute to maintaining a healthier body.

 

From the President, Nancy Walters

The church is open for in-person worship on Sundays at 8:00 and 10:30 am.  We will have the following protocols in place:

  • Masks are required in the building
  • Social distancing must be maintained.  If you want to visit, meet in the parking lot
  • Thermometer is to be used for temperature checks
  • Hand sanitizer is to be used upon entering the building

Let’s follow the protocols in order to stay safe.

 

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 Interim Pastor, Larry Klinker

I am just learning how things are done at Living Lord Lutheran Church.  I notice that you will be hanging the greens on Saturday, November 21, in preparation for the Advent season.  Plans are being made to gather some people to change the dorsal curtains behind the altar from green to blue for the Advent season.

So it might be a good thing, from my perspective, to help us focus on the season of Advent, especially since we, as Lutherans, understand we are shaped into being disciples of Jesus through Worship, Catechesis, and Individual Prayer.  Each  season of the church liturgical year is meant to shape us with a particular message or emphasis.  With the coming of the Advent season, we will be starting another church year where the gospel emphasis will be on the Gospels Mark and John.

I want to focus on Advent alone apart from the celebration of the Christ-mass because it has its own unique emphasis.  Advent begins what we call the Cycle of Light that includes the seasons of Advent, where we wait, Christmas, where we rejoice, and Epiphany, where we manifest the light we have received.

So what is it that we are waiting for, preparing for in Advent?  Advent is about God coming to us.  We are preparing for the three ways God is coming to us in the Advent season.  We wait in days that are growing shorter and nights getting longer for God to come to us.  We wait with anticipation.  We wait with hope for God to come.  The season of Advent wants us to appreciate the three ways God comes to us to be with us.

The first focus of or waiting for God to come to us is a continuation of the message from Christ the King Sunday.  We are being asked first and foremost to be prepared, to be ready for God to come at the end of time for the full establishment of the reign of God as King.

The second preparation of the Coming of God is the introduction of John the Baptizer in weeks two and three of the Advent season who is there to prepare the way for the coming of the ministry of Jesus with his call to be baptized.  The coming of God now takes on a concrete form in the ministry of Jesus.

The third coming we are preparing for is the announcement of the birth of the Christ Child to Mary from the Gospel of Luke since Mark has no birth story associated with Jesus.  This brings us to the very edge of our celebration of Christ-mass.  But we are still waiting.

Advent is about the coming of God in Jesus the Christ.  This Advent we can ask, wonder about, and reflect upon the ways we are preparing for the coming God in our lives.  How do these three comings form our Advent spirituality?

 

Pastor Larry’s Bible Blog…Pastor Larry offers you an opportunity to read your way thru scriptures with him each day at his Bible Blog.  The readings alternate between reading from an Older Testament book and then a Newer Testament book.  We are just finishing reading the book of Ezra in November from the Older Testament.  Then we will begin reading the Newer Testament book of Titus on Pastor Larry’s Bible Blog online at:  http://klinkerld-pastorlarrysbible.blogspot.com/.  Join us online.  When we complete these two planned books, we will start the Older Testament book of Nehemiah.  Then following Nehemiah, we will read The Epistle of James from the Newer Testament.

 

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…The In-Reach Committee is going to start a phone prayer chain.  This will be a way to share our loved ones’ prayer concerns for family and the church.  We need volunteers to serve, so if you are interested, please call Lorraine Bell.  She will set up a list with the rules to be distributed in January.  Thank you for considering this ministry.