From the Pastors

From Pastor William D. Leitch…As I look at the Gospel readings for the Sundays in November, there seems to be a tension in what Jesus teaches us to do.  We are to plan and be prepared, but for what?  And for what time?  The bridesmaids who did not have enough oil for their lamps must have expected the wedding sooner or were they not listening for more instruction and missed the update?  For the servant given one “talent”, he saw the master as a tough, unforgiving boss.  He thought that it was better to protect whatever he had, bury it, and hide it rather than use it and increase its value.

In both cases, the bridesmaids and the servant both stopped participating in the cause.  Perhaps the bridesmaids were just along for the fun.  They did not see themselves as ones of any value.  The marriage was just another party.  After all, it was not their commitment.  However, Jesus was speaking to us through this parable about our commitment to a relationship with him.  We are all married to Jesus and Jesus is looking for a bride who is committed and engaged in the relationship – not just along for the ride.  The servant who buried the “talent” was not engaged in the cause.  It seems he had no clue as to what the master wanted.

I have been revived by everyone’s participation in our quest to explore where God is sending us, Living Lord Lutheran Church, along with St. Paul Lutheran Church.  Where is God sending us?  Where do we need God’s help?  Instead of being frozen in place by fear or by a lackadaisical attitude that we are just along for the ride, I am inspired by the genuine care of all of you.  I sense that you sincerely care about using all our talents to serve God’s purpose.  And together we are expecting God to give us updates and we will be ready to respond as God reveals our purpose.

Thank you all for participating in our group discussions and sharing your thoughts and questions.  Every single comment written down has inspired other thoughts and ideas.  I feel that we had stoked a fire that is giving us new life.  Our ad hoc committees have exceeded my expectations.  Shame on me for having any doubts.  It is wonderful when everyone participates.  You each see something others cannot see.

Together we are the Body of Christ.  I am revived and I look forward to the next several years of Shared Ministry, doing mission and ministry together and thriving in our community.

 

Envisioning Mission Retreat:  A leadership retreat for short and long-range planning will be held on Saturday, November 4.  It is time to cast a vision and dream a picture of what a consolidated church could be like in 5 to 10 years from now, and to design the steps to get there.  This workshop will be held in the Fellowship Hall at Living Lord Lutheran Church from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.  We will brainstorm to discover what God dreams for our church and community to prosper in his Word.  St. Paul’s ad hoc committee members are:  Diana Bauman, Liz Chapin, Tim Martin, Brenda Ceplecci, and June Hutchison.  Anyone else who is interested in shaping a vision of a consolidated church is welcome to come to the workshop as well.  There are also 6 or 7 leaders from Living Lord who will attend, as well as their Council members, both pastors, and any congregation members who are interested.  If you plan to attend, please sign up for the “Envisioning Mission Retreat” in the main hallway so we know how much food to prepare.  Please keep our church and our vision for the future in your thoughts and prayers.

 

Stewardship Presentation Sessions:  Please schedule yourself for one of the following Stewardship Presentation sessions:  Nov. 5 after the 8:00 am service; Nov. 5 after the 10:30 am service; Nov. 12 after the 10:30 am service, or Nov. 19 after the 10:30 am service.  You will be receiving a letter enclosing your Estimate of Giving Card for 2018.  Please bring this card with you to one of these meetings.  We will collect them and bring them all to the altar on Sunday, Nov. 26.

 

Sign Language Classes…American Sign Language Classes will be held at Living Lord for adults and children (great for hard of hearing folks, too).  Classes will be held on Nov. 8, 15, & 29, and Dec. 13.  Classes run from 6:00 to 8:00 pm and the cost is $75.00.  Please contact Pam Beish at pamelabeish302@gmail.com or at 330-646-1637 if you are interested in taking these classes.

 

 

From Pastor Ann Marie Winters…ABOUT GRATITUDE…AND THE MAKE A LEAP OF FAITH CAMPAIGN

As I write this letter, I have just received news of the birth of a new baby.  You may guess that this was the birth of Joelle, the daughter of Michelle and Joe Jarzembowski, and the granddaughter of Diana Bauman.  Joelle is a miracle.  She is a blessing.  This family prayed for and blessed Joelle all along the way, and as a church family, we joined in those intercessions.  Now, God has graciously gifted us with a new life.

I don’t know how you feel, but I am brought to my knees in thanksgiving and praise to God.  A birth has the power to move me to tears of gratitude.  I am writing this letter about gratitude really.  We need to feel thankful.  It is good for us.  Gratitude opens our minds and hearts to what is new and worthy of our thanksgiving to God.  Gratitude enlivens us to what is good and praiseworthy in our lives.  Gratitude nourishes the saint within us.

So, first, I want to thank each of you, my brothers and sisters.  Thank you for your steadfast dedication to God.  Thank you for your prayers for me and for our church.

Secondly, I wish to thank you for your generous thank-offerings to God through the church.  Would you be willing and able to continue or increase your giving in 2018?  Also, we suggest that you try to make a leap of faith on four days this coming year.  That is, will you step up your giving on four Sundays this year to simply try a tithe or an increase that would be a leap of faith for you?  The first “Make a Leap Sunday” is November 26.  You will receive a letter and an Estimate of Giving card in the mail.  Three other “Make a Leap Sunday” opportunities are planned for February, May, and August 2018.

May God continue to pour out his plenteous blessings on us all,
Pastor Ann Marie Winters

 

Interfaith Thanksgiving Worship Service hosted by St. Paul…How will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?  Most probably you will gather with family members and friends around a turkey dinner.  Most likely there will be a prayer recognizing God as the source of all blessings, and thanks for a generous number of people or things in your life.  This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to also make a worship service the center of your Thanksgiving.  We will celebrate 66 years of community Interfaith Thanksgiving on the evening of Tuesday, November 21, at 7:30 pm to be hosted by our church.  Lots has come and gone in 66 years, and most notably our congregations have changed.  Our community has still valued the gathering of Christian and Jewish neighbors who revere the Lord and offer him praise.  When I came to St. Paul, I was given the mandate to continue the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, and we have kept it alive.  However, last year, only six members of St. Paul’s congregation and only three couples from the other congregations attended the service at SS. Peter & Paul.  PLEASE make this Interfaith Community Thanksgiving service a part of your Thanksgiving week festivity.  It is definitely worth the investment of your time to welcome our neighbors and celebrate with them.

From the Later Life Committee Chairperson, Karen Bandy

Card Class…Join us for a card-making class on Thursday, November 2, in the Activity Room.  We will be making 4 cards.  Our theme will be “Happy Holidays” (one Thanksgiving/Fall card and three Christmas 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, October 29.  Emmanuel and St. Paul members are welcome to join us – call Lynne Walters to get signed up!

From the Outreach Committee Chairperson, Donna Tompkins

Bingo at NSOV Update…The Outreach Committee would like to thank everyone who assisted with the Bingo at Niles Shepherd of the Valley on Wednesday, October 25.  The residents thoroughly enjoyed themselves!  Thank you all for helping to make this a successful event!

 

Thanksgiving Food Baskets…The Outreach Committee will again be giving out Thanksgiving Food Baskets.  Our goal is to help 20 families.  If you know of someone in need of a Thanksgiving Food Basket, please call the church office to get signed up before Sunday, November 5.  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 40 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 12, 2017.  Distribution of the Thanksgiving Food Baskets will be on Friday, November 17, from 9:00 am until noon.  If you have any questions, please contact Donna Tompkins.

 

Angel Tree…We can help make Christmas a special time for area children.  Our Angel Tree will be up on Sunday, December 3.  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 10, with the angel tag attached.  If you have any questions, please contact Tootie Rogers.  If you are unable to be in church on December 3 and would like to participate, please call Tootie and she will mail you an angel.

From the Property Committee Chairperson, Rolland Walters

*          Parking lot lights – installation will be completed by the end of October.

*          Landscaping in the front of sanctuary – The new cross was installed with new landscaping planned and completed by next spring.  Plans include bricking from the cross to the sidewalk, adding benches, and planting flowers/bushes.  This project was funded by an anonymous donor.

 

Organ Update

*          The wiring for the new speakers has been installed.  The installation of the actual speakers will occur during the week of October 23.

*          The organ installation date has yet to be determined.

 

Projects for upcoming winter months will include:

*          Waxing floors in Fellowship Hall, kitchen, bathrooms, and narthex.

*          Cleaning of carpets beginning in the Education Wing and proceeding to complete the sanctuary.  I have a professional carpet cleaning machine and the only cost to the congregation will be the soap, for a savings of hundreds of dollars.

*          Replace the rubber floor trim in the narthex with a ceramic tile baseboard.

*          Repaint women’s restroom to correct the overflow of spray from the Education Wing insulation.

 

Projects I would like to complete before my term as Property Chairperson is done (yet to be quoted):

*          The two furnaces that supply heat for the sanctuary are about 18 years old.  Heating specialists that have been in for other services have informed me that they are running on borrowed time and need replaced.

*          Two furnaces for the Education Wing are over 15 years old and I would also like to see them replaced before the end of my term.

 

Our Property Committee meeting times are posted on the bulletin board in the narthex.  We are always looking for new members, especially younger, able-bodied ones that can help but will take suggestions and donations anytime.

 

From the Parish Nurse, Dora Muller

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.”   Edith Sitwell

The month of November is almost here and winter is fast approaching.  With the cold weather, we move indoors and the dangers of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning sharply increase.  This is the time to make certain that you have installed quality smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.  Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that can decimate families, while smoke inhalation kills more than do burns from flames.  These risk factors can be prevented with the installation and proper maintenance of alarms.  They are very affordable and even are available through grants from the community.  Remember, install alarms on every level of your home and test the batteries at least once a month.  I still remember once when I was home alone and the chirping sound woke me.  I didn’t know how to disengage the sound and saw no sign of a fire.  The next day, after a sleepless night, I was informed that the chirping serves to alert the user that the battery was nearly dead and should be replaced.  Recently, I learned that alarms today are available with a battery life of ten years.  My education on smoke alarms is now up to date.  For your family’s safety, it is a good idea to furnish your home with quality alarms, test them monthly, and make certain to change the batteries or replace the alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Once your alarms are in working condition, look for other fire dangers, which include the beautiful candles that we enjoy so much.  Please keep them away from anything that can burn and extinguish them when leaving the room or going to sleep.  Additionally, electrical fires can cause a lot of destruction.  With today’s technology and so many electrical devices, we need to pay attention to electrical cords to make sure that they are not damaged, which can lead to fires.  A final note – a home fire escape plan is a must.  Inspect your home and create safety exit routes which would be valuable in the case of a home fire.  With a little preparation, we can safely enjoy the winter months in the warmth of our homes and continue to live healthy lives.

NEWS FROM THE SHARED MINISTRY

Emmanuel Clothes Closet…The Clothes Closet is open every Tuesday at 9:00 am.  In need of:   autumn and winter clothes (children & adults), 35 gallon black garbage bags, gallon zip lock bags, toilet tissue, deodorant, lotions, bar soap, dish soap, and all baby needs.

 

Emmanuel Shopping Cart Needs for November…Instant potatoes, canned sweet potatoes, stuffing mix, gravy (jar or mix), Vienna sausages, canned fruit, cracker snacks, cans of food with pop top lids for easy opening.

 

St. Paul Coffee Cup Greetings…Held on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month.

 

St. Paul Operation Christmas Child…Operation Christmas Child is underway and we need everyone’s support to once again make this a success.  Please remember to pick up a box to fill or bring in items and we will fill the shoe boxes for you.  OCC has made some changes.  They can no longer accept toothpaste or candy of any kind due to customs regulations.  Also, the cost to ship the boxes has increased to $9.00, so if you choose to make a monetary donation, it will be greatly appreciated.  I ask that ALL donations and filled shoe boxes be returned to St. Paul by Sunday, November 12 – the start of National Collection Week.  See Deborah Bartlett, Judy Dodge, or Debbie Groves with any questions.

 

St. Paul Grief Ministry…Part of the Social Committee is Grief Ministry.  Joyce Osborn is spearheading this ministry with Pr. Winters’ and God’s guidance and help.  When a loved one dies, Joyce sends a set of four books called “Journeying Through Grief” throughout the first year.  Each book describes the issues and feelings that a person tends to encounter at various points of grief and the books offer suggestions on handling them.  If Pr. Winters or Joyce can be of any help or if you have any questions during a time of grief, please contact either of them.

 

St. Paul SPLASH TODAY…Donations are always warmly welcomed, and with your continued support, we will be able to sustain this valuable ministry to young families.

 

FROM THE PASTORS

From Pastor William D. Leitch… The gospel texts during the month of October speak about preparation, being ready, and having no excuses.  OK, the “no excuses” part is how I interpret the results in the text when we come up short.  Still, “come up short” we will.  Yet, Jesus tells us not to worry about coming up short, but rather work hard, stay focused, look ahead, learn from your mistakes, make corrections, care for those around you, bring them along with you, train them up, work together, get better, never quit, and love your neighbor as yourself.

OK, after that long “to do list”, my head is spinning!  But doesn’t our work in the church seem busy and chaotic at times?  Yet, I find it exciting and a blessing.

As I write this today, I also promised to consolidate information collected by our three congregational property committees about our buildings.  I owe that to the ad hoc Building Committee represented by the three congregations by 4:00 pm today.  Next, I have already sent out information to our families with students in the 8th through 12th grades concerning the National Youth Gathering in Houston June 27 through July 1, 2018.  We need to commit right now to that endeavor so we can get travel deals and reduced early fees.  Next, I have two Board of Directors meetings this week, along with Shared Ministry and ad hoc committee meetings.  Oh yes, it is my turn to teach catechism this Sunday night.  Oh, did I mention that Camp Frederick is having the Fall Festival on Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00 pm before catechism class at 5:30 pm?  I am in charge of parking.  This will be my quiet time as I simply point, direct, smile, and greet people.

Jesus says take on my yoke and I will make your burdens light.  I believe that!  And with Jesus and the entire Body of Christ, we can move mountains as we pull together in the same direction and with the same purpose.

I pray that there will be a record number of youth and adults, 40,000, show up in Houston to work, worship, change people’s lives, and celebrate Christ together.  The theme for the NYG is “This Changes Everything”.  It will!

I pray that as we learn more about each of our congregations that we also will see opportunities to “Focus on God” that will excite us and bless us.

I pray that as we move forward that we give thanks for what God has given us and grieve gracefully those things that we will miss and give God the glory for what God is giving us renewed.

 

October 7 Retreat…It’s a time for all of us to go deeper into our faith.  Our Council, along with our Shared Ministry Team, have also decided to take our congregations into a conversation that will focus on our future.  Our desire is that we intentionally and collectively look at who we are and how God is calling us now.

We will have a one-day retreat on Saturday, October 7, at St. Paul beginning at 9:30 am.  Everyone is encouraged to attend.  There are three different five minute informative DVD presentations followed by discussions.  This retreat will prepare us for six Sundays of discussions during sermon time.  We pray that you can share with others pertinent things that we need to consider in future decisions that others have not witnessed.

If you cannot attend the retreat, I strongly encourage you to attend the Adult Forum which began on September 10.  Pat Was will be leading a six session class on how to listen to God that later moves us to how then to speak.

We have collected real data about our congregation, our building, the building plans that were considered over ten years ago, and we hope to learn more from each of you that may open our eyes to the opportunities to which God would lead us.

Living Lord has shrunk from 465 members in 2010 to 250 members by the end of 2017.  It “seems” that we are relatively strong in spite of this shrinkage, but the reality is we will not be able to sustain our congregation in 5-10 years at this rate.

Although consolidation can extend our life, we also need to have a focus on God that will spread the Gospel and grow the church.  During our August Council Meeting, we had a practice discussion about what consolidation might look like.  We realized that there will be loss and grieving.  We will need to be sensitive to this.  We also realized that there are God Focuses that we can work toward even now.  Kara Busefink and Stacey Stredney led us on a discussion that brought us great encouragement.  We plan to have a youth lock-in to hear the voice of our youth and their parents.

 

Joint Reformation Service…We will have a Joint Reformation Service at St. Paul on October 29 at 10:30 am.  THERE WILL BE NO SERVICES AT LIVING LORD OR EMMANUEL ON THIS DATE.

 

Sign Language Classes…American Sign Language Classes will be held at Living Lord for adults and children (great for hard of hearing folks, too).  Classes will be held on Oct. 11 & 25, Nov. 8, 15, & 29, and Dec. 13.  Classes run from 6:00 to 8:00 pm and the cost is $75.00.  Please contact Pam Beish at pamelabeish302@gmail.com or at 330-646-1637 if you are interested in taking these classes.

 

From Pastor Ann Marie Winters… This is an exciting time to be the church!  We have the challenge before us to “Fan the Flame” of the spark that God has planted in us.  The groundwork for this will be done in a morning retreat on October 7.  Any member who would like to look at their discipleship (following Jesus in the world) will want to attend.  Also, at the retreat we will sample the discussion process that we will all experience together on Sunday mornings in the “Fanning the Flame” series at St. Paul and Living Lord.  You will find the scriptures and questions for each week later in this newsletter, if you want to pray and study and prepare at home.  The series begins October 8.

Our three congregations in the Shared Ministry are in the process of sharing information in three ad hoc committees about our buildings, finances, and envisioning mission.  We are exploring what it might be like if we joined together into a brand new consolidated church.  There will be a packet of information given to each member in early November that will share whatever information we have collected so far.  Then on December 3 we will have individual town hall meetings for Q & A.  On January 7 we will have a joint town hall at St. Paul at 1:00 pm for more Q &A for all members.  Letters were sent to your homes with this information.  In late January, each congregation will have a yes/no vote on gathering more information.  REMEMBER THAT THIS IS GETTING YOUR PERMISSION FOR DEVELOPING A CONSOLIDATION PLAN – NOT YET A VOTE ON DOING A CONSOLIDATION.

In the midst of our renewal and planning for a future, we are celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on October 29.  It is St. Paul’s turn to host a Joint Festival Worship at 10:30 am.  I think Dr. Luther is smiling to see us “renewing” and “re-forming”, whatever that will mean for us in the 21st century.

May blessings abound on you and yours,
Pastor Ann Marie Winters

 

“FANNING THE FLAME” RETREAT – OCTOBER 7, 2017
9:30 – 11:30 am
ST. PAUL LUTHERAN CHURCH

Why are we “Fanning the Flame”?  God gives us a spark of life as Christians, and to grow we need to fan the flame of our calling.

Who should participate?  As many members as possible!  Everyone’s voice is important as we look at the future mission of our church.

Group leaders:  Council members and others will serve as discussion leaders for the series in October/November, and this Retreat will give you the preparation you need to lead others.

Please sign up in the narthex so we know how many materials to prepare.

This morning Retreat will be in three parts:

Part One provides three brief (5 minute) DVD presentations followed by small group discussions.

WHY DO WE FOLLOW JESUS?

  1. The purpose of discipleship – Being transformed
  2. Taking God’s love into the world
  3. Lutherans are church for the sake of the world

 

Part Two prepares us for the October/November Sunday church series, Fanning the Flame, “WHAT IS GOD’S DREAM FOR THE CHURCH?”  The renewal series of October/November prepares us to discern God’s dream for the church.

How will our small groups function?

What is the leader’s role?

One-on-ones

 

Part Three is a practice session from the “Fanning the Flame” series.

Hear the Scripture:  Exodus 3:1-12 LISTEN

One-on-one discussion and group feedback

How does your church need God’s help?

How do you need God’s help?

 

“Preparing for the Renewal of our Church”
We are planning a renewal series to begin in October.  You can prepare by reading the following scriptures and asking these sorts of questions…

October 8, The Burning Bush (Exodus 3:1-12) LISTEN

How does your church need God’s help?  How do you need God’s help?

 

October 15, The Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14) LOOK

What looks “dry” in your congregation?  What new life do you seek from God?

 

October 22, Jesus Sends out 70 Disciples (Luke 10:1-24) RESPOND

Where is God sending your congregation?  How is your congregation responding to Jesus’ call?

 

(October 29, 500th Anniversary of the Reformation – Joint Festival Worship at St. Paul at 10:30 am)

 

November 5, Finding the Lost (Luke 15) FORGIVE

Who is “lost” in your community?  To whom is God calling your congregation to announce God’s gracious forgiveness?

 

November 12, The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) LOVE

How does your congregation love God?  How do the disciples in your neighborhood love their neighbors?

 

November 19, The Great Commission (Matthew 28) GO

What is the risen Lord Jesus commanding your congregation to do?

 

Praying with you and for you,
Pastor Ann Marie Winters

 

REFORMATION 500TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION:
DVD Course discussion “Lunch with Luther” Sunday noontime
8 weeks, Sept. 3 to Oct. 22
Seminary teachers make topics accessible to laity; hosted at St. Paul for Trumbull Area Lutherans; bring a brown bag lunch; drinks provided

DVD Course Description – Luther’s Legacy for Laity:  Martin Luther’s legacy is a rich treasure for all Christians, but particularly for lay people.  Luther, through the doctrines of justification, freedom of the Christian, bondage of the will, and vocation, provides Christians with an understanding of what God has done for us and what God wants to do through us for the sake of the neighbor.  All the big questions of faith and life are found in the abundance of Reformation theology.  These theologians shape how Christians view their place in the world.  These presentations were filmed live at the Lay School of Ministry in the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, ELCA.  This 8-week course will have a DVD presentation and discussion totaling 90 minutes each Sunday.  Come to one or all sessions.  Please reserve a place by calling Lynn Golen at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 330-394-5741.  All are welcome!

Movie:  “Martin Luther:  The Idea that Changed the World”
Tuesday, October 24, 7:30 pm
Special showing for area Lutherans at Tinseltown, Southern Park Mall (Youngstown)

Shared Ministry Joint Worship
Sunday, October 29, 10:30 am
At St. Paul Lutheran Church; finger food reception in Cassel Hall following worship

Anniversary of the Reformation
Sunday, October 29, 6:00 pm
At St. Columba Cathedral, Youngstown, Catholic-Lutheran Ecumenical Evening Prayer