From the Pastors

From Pastor William D. Leitch…What is the season of Lent?  First, it is the forty days before the resurrection of Christ.  There are 46 days from Ash Wednesday until Holy Saturday, but we do not count Sundays.  Why?  Because we observe the resurrection of Christ every Sunday.  We are a resurrection people.  So subtract the six Sundays in Lent and you have forty days.

What is the significance of 40?  The number 40 has many Biblical references:

  • Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai with God (Exodus 24:18)
  • Elijah spent 40 days and nights walking to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8)
  • God sent 40 days and nights of rain in the great flood of Noah (Genesis 7:4)
  • The Hebrew people wandered 40 years in the desert while traveling to the Promised Land (Numbers 14:33)
  • Jonah’s prophecy of judgment gave 40 days to the city of Nineveh in which to repent or be destroyed (Jonah 3:4)
  • Jesus retreated into the wilderness where He fasted for 40 days and was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-2). He overcame all three of Satan’s temptations by citing scripture to the devil, at which point the devil left him, angels ministered to Jesus, and He began His ministry.  Jesus further said that His disciples should fast “when the bridegroom shall be taken from them” (Matthew 9:15), a reference to His Passion.  Our Gospel text on the first Sunday in Lent is always Jesus’ temptation in the desert.

We observe three traditions during Lent.  The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigor during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbors).

As Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof would say, “Tradition.”  And it is a very precious tradition that we observe together as the Body of Christ.  It is intentional.  It is instructional.  And it is a discipline that gives us focus and directs us back to a relationship with God.  It gives us pause to examine ourselves and to give ourselves back to God.  It is our way of intentionally looking for indicators that might be turning us from God and to renew life practices that will reorient us to Christ as the center of our lives.

I pray that we all fellowship together and worship together every Wednesday night as a discipline that will build and strengthen us as the Body of Christ.

Pastor Bill

 

Ash Wednesday Services…On Wednesday, March 1, we will have an Ash Wednesday Worship Service at noon at Living Lord and at Emmanuel.  We will then come together for a Potluck Dinner at 6:00 pm and Joint TALC Ash Wednesday Worship Service at 7:00 pm at St. Paul.  The youth will have a practice at 5:30 pm.  Please see the sign-up sheet in the main hallway so St. Paul can plan for how many people will be attending.  Please bring a covered dish to share at the Potluck Dinner; ham, beverages and paper products will be provided.

 

Mid-week Soup Supper and Lenten Worship Services…Beginning Wednesday, March 8, through Wednesday, April 5, Living Lord will host the mid-week Lenten services in a series called “At the Crossroads”.  Many of those involved in the story of the Passion of Christ came to a crossroads and had to decide which way to go.  Some chose well, some did not, and the stories of each of these experiences at various crossroads help us to know what to do and what not to do when we encounter similar crossroads in our own lives.  In the end, each service in the series reveals in some way how Christ and his cross lead us to decide the path of God’s will for us.  We will begin each Wednesday with a Soup Supper at 6:00 pm followed by Holden Evening Prayer at 7:00 pm.

 

All three churches are having a Reformation 500  Bookstore…The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation is fast approaching!  Do you want to learn more about Martin Luther, his writings, and their impact on Christianity?  Do you want to reflect on the ongoing impact of the Reformation today?  Stop by our Reformation 500 Bookstore to shop for engaging books on the Reformation for readers of all ages and interests!  Save up to 50% plus receive free shipping on all Bookstore titles.  Stop by the Reformation 500 table in your church on Sunday, March 5, through Sunday, March 12, to order fascinating books on the Reformation for you and your family.  Our Bookstore is sponsored by Augsburg Fortress, the publishing ministry of the ELCA.  The books will include bestselling biographies like Luther the Reformer as well as an atlas of the European Reformations, a graphic novel for young readers, and primary sources from The Annotated Luther series.

 

Direct Thrivent Choice Dollars by March 31…Eligible Thrivent Financial members who have available Choice Dollars have until March 31, 2017, to direct them.  Don’t miss this opportunity to recommend that Thrivent Financial provide outreach funding to Living Lord Lutheran Church.  Go to Thrivent.com/ thriventchoice to learn more.  Or call 800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice” after the prompt.

 

Camp Frederick Dinner Dance Fundraiser…Camp Frederick will hold a Dinner Dance Fundraiser on Saturday, April, 1, beginning at 6:00 pm at Zion Lutheran Church, 3300 Canfield Road, Youngstown, OH  44511.  The Roaring Twenties Dinner Dance will be an evening of food, dancing, auctions, and fun!  Funds raised will go to support the sending of kids to Camp.  The Dinner Dance will start at 6:00 pm with hors d’oeuvres and time to peruse the silent auction and basket raffle items.  Dinner will begin at 7:00 pm followed by the silent auction winners, raffle, and dancing.  There are many different ways to support Camp Frederick through the Dinner Dance.  You can attend the dance, be a sponsor, or donate items for the auctions.  We are also going to have a “wine pull”.  Donations of bottles of wine may be dropped off anytime at Camp Frederick or given to a board member.  Please consider helping with the ministry of Camp Frederick by participating in one of the ways listed above.  For more information, call 330-227-3633 or email info@canpfrederickohio.com.  If you are interested in attending the Dinner Dance, tickets are $35.00; please see Pastor Bill to purchase your tickets.

 

From Pastor Ann Marie Winters…  “Uniting Matters of Flesh and Matters of Spirit”

Lent is a time for special repentance.  Let us dwell on the words of Craig Nessan (Give us this Day) describing how Jesus feeds us, body and spirit:

“By means of bread, Jesus united matters of flesh and matters of spirit.  Jesus fed both hungry multitudes and the hunger of the heart.  Jesus demonstrated both the dawning of the kingdom as he sat at the table with sinners, and instituted the Lord’s Supper for the forgiveness of sins.  For Jesus, there was no division between body and spirit.  What Jesus has brought together, however, we have rent asunder.  How do we reunite body and spirit as we come together to eat bread in Jesus’ name?”

We have the opportunities for confession and forgiveness at our Sunday worship, and there we can share in the uniting power of the Holy Communion.  On Wednesdays, we also have special mid-week Lenten services in a series called “At the Crossroads”, held at Living Lord Lutheran Church (see details below under Ash Wednesday Services).  These are instances where we can share a supper meal with Lutheran brothers and sisters, building bonds of community, then strengthening the unity of the Body of Christ through our shared worship – Holden Evening Prayer.  I am confident that you will be fed and forgiven during these Lenten worship times.

May God bless your Lent,
Pastor Ann Marie Winters

From the Later Life Committee Chairperson, Karen Bandy

Card Class…Join us for a card-making class on Thursday, March 2, in the Activity Room.  We will be making 4 cards.  Our theme will be All Occasion Cards:  Pretty vs. Cute.  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, February 26.  Emmanuel and St. Paul members are welcome to join us – call Lynne Walters to get signed up!  The next card class will be April 6.

From the Outreach Committee Chairperson, Donna Tompkins

Easter Food Baskets…We will begin collecting food for the Easter Food Baskets on Sunday, March 19.  The last day to bring in items will be Sunday, April 9.  A chart will be in the hallway for items to bring.  If you know anyone in the church or anyone in need, please call or email the Parish Office (330-856-5302 or secretary@lllc.org) to order your food basket by Friday, March 31.  We will pack and distribute the baskets on Thursday, April 13, beginning at 9:00 am.  Pickup will be from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon.  No deliveries.  There will be envelopes to donate for the purchase of hams available at the food chart in the hallway.  Please mark “Easter Food Baskets” in the memo portion of your check made payable to Living Lord Lutheran Church.  You may also place your check in the collection plate.  If you have any questions, please contact the Parish Office.

From the Larry L. Maggiano, M.D., Memorial Scholarship Fund Chairperson, Lorraine Bell

Scholarship Fund Challenge…Due to a generous gift by the family of Larry L. Maggiano, the Larry L. Maggiano, M.D., Memorial Scholarship Fund was created.  In order for a named fund to be created, a gift of at least $20,000.00 must be received.  That gift is invested, administered by the Scholarship Board, and proceeds from that fund are used each year to award scholarships.  In order to grow the principal of the fund, you are asked to help.  Envelopes are available for donations to the fund in the basket on the shelf under the bulletin board in the main hallway.  Your donation will be invested with the principal.  You may place your check in the offering plate or mail it to the church office made payable to Living Lord Lutheran Church with the notation “Maggiano Scholarship Fund” in the memo portion.  The family of Larry Maggiano has issued a challenge to each of you.  Each dollar you contribute to the fund, the family will match up to $1,000.00.  The generosity of the Maggiano family and your generosity in making this opportunity available for the young people of our congregation are greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your support.  If you have any questions, please contact any member of the Committee:  Lorraine Bell, Ronda Leitch, and Jo Maggiano.

From the Mission Endowment Fund Committee Chairperson, Michael Taiclet

Greetings and Blessings from the MEF to each and every one of you!  It is that time of the year where we, the MEF Committee, are now getting ready to choose another deserving organization(s) for the MEF Award.  We ask that if you are aware of any organization(s) that you believe should be considered for the 2017 MEF Award to please contact a member of the MEF Committee (Michael Taiclet, Missy LaRock, Ronda Leitch, Tootie Rogers, Lamar Shoemaker).  We ask you to do so as soon as possible so that we can reach out to them and obtain the necessary information about them for our upcoming meeting in April.  The support of the congregation is crucial and essential for the continuing success of the MEF and the lives that it has touched and for those lives it has yet to touch.  This year also marks the MEF’s 20th Anniversary.  Special thanks go out to Lee Sanzenbacher and those others whom 20 years ago had a dream.  That dream consisted of a committee that was specially designed to serve others in our community.  This dream was called the Mission Endowment Fund.  It has not only continued to grow, but has had and continues to have such great success!  It can be seen in all those who have been blessed by its generosity, by those whom serve on the Committee to help continue its success, and by the generous donations and contributions from our congregation that help keep it going.  So, thanks again Lee and let’s keep this dream alive!  I, Michael Taiclet, would also like to say thank you to the Committee for welcoming me aboard this past year and now for the opportunity to serve as the Chairperson.  I would also like to thank Rich Baringer for bringing me on and helping me in this transition to becoming Chairperson.  I hope to continue his leadership format, for it has had such great success.  I look forward to working with the Committee and congregation to keep this dream going and to help those who are in need and who would benefit from this fund and our continuing support to the community.

From the Parish Nurse, Dora Muller

On need of supplements & vitamins – “If you eat a balanced diet, you get all the vitamins and minerals you need and you don’t need any supplement and overdosing can actually be more harmful.”   Subodh Gupta

No one can walk into a pharmacy, or a so-called health store, without feeling overwhelmed with so many vitamin supplements and other health supplements that promise panacea for all our health worries.  The industry’s sales pitch, that attracts millions of consumers per year, promises to reduce stress, regain your youthful energy, achieve your dream body, and all your aches and pains will disappear.  It is the perpetuation of the “forever young” myth.  Remember, our bodies have an expiration date and we can sensibly care for our health by engaging in healthier habits that include a good diet, physical activities, and fulfilling relationships.  As a society, we often do not have the wisdom to age gracefully.  Let’s think about the term “supplements”, which means to complement the small deficiencies that our diets sometimes lack.  A well-balanced diet provides most of the vitamins and minerals that a human body needs to perform.  However, our society generally has developed health habits that sometimes lack common sense and rely on supplements to complement our diets.  This doesn’t mean that we do not need supplements.  Yes, as we age our metabolism slows down and a little boost may be necessary.  For someone who is pregnant or trying to conceive, supplements can help.  Other people battle immune diseases or are recovering from chemotherapy and need extra help to build up energy.  We should always ask our health care providers which vitamin and mineral deficiencies we are more susceptible to and how we should complement these deficiencies with supplements.  Do not let advertisements of health supplements result in filling your medicine cabinet with unnecessary bottles of pills and making a big dent in your wallet.  My message is to be proactive and before reaching out for supplements that promise a miracle new body, we should rethink our lifestyle and follow your physician’s advice.

News from the Shared Ministry

Emmanuel Clothes Closet…The Clothes Closet is open every Tuesday at 9:00 am.  In need of:   winter clothes (children & adults), blankets, deodorant, lotion, dish soap, paper towels, anything for babies, plastic bags.

 

Emmanuel Shopping Cart Needs for March…Instant potatoes, canned sweet potatoes, stuffing mix, gravy (jar or mix), peanut butter, cereal.

 

Emmanuel Egg Cartons…Please save your empty egg cartons for the Food Pantry and Clothes Closet.  The eggs donated come in bulk and we need them to divide the eggs into individual cartons.

 

St. Paul Food Collection…For the month of MARCH we are collecting instant potatoes and stuffing mix.

 

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…As I promised, I have been sifting through Tim Downs’ book, “Finding Common Ground”, and I want to share his insights into evangelism in our time.

First, let me review two evangelism sessions we had at Living Lord in 2011.  The first classes were six sessions called “Taking Your Faith Public”.  Those sessions taught us how to get permission to speak of our faith without putting up emotional barriers.  It taught us a model of evangelism that focuses on building trusting and respectful relationships in order to keep the dialogue open and to get “permission to speak”.  Perhaps you have had the experience of an evangelism model that was aggressive, in your face, and down your throats.  If you have, you know what I mean about putting up emotional barriers.  You can sense your own hands coming up as to push the intruder away from you.

After six sessions, we learned how to build trusting relationships and to “get permission to speak”.  However, we then needed to share our “testimony”, or our experience with God.  The problem was no one was prepared to give their testimony.  We all have a story to tell, but most folks don’t share that story and are not prepared to present it.  Oh, by the way, your story should be no longer than 10 seconds.  You might have a series of 10 second testimonies, but let the other digest just one at a time and to respond.

The second course was called “Talking Faith”.  Over a meal, we waded into a conversation about God and Jesus.  The first questions we discussed were shallow, but we only stayed there for 5 minutes, then went deeper.  For example, what kind of car would Jesus drive today?  The responses were fun and funny, but all were informed by our knowledge of Scripture.  As we went deeper, everyone was sharing their “testimony”.  We were practicing in a safe place.

We also learned to be careful with our reactions to some of the testimonies.  As folks who worship and serve together, we were quite comfortable in critiquing or criticizing the other’s story.  We could do that with humor in our setting, but it would have thrown up some barriers with someone who did not believe as we did.

Finally, “Finding Common Ground” opens up a whole new vision of the world we have not shared the Gospel with.  This book gives us a vision of how to “plant” rather than how to “harvest”.  We are all harvesters.  Our whole lives we have managed and planned our worship, youth programs, and Christian Education programs.  We are prepared to bring in the harvest and to care for that harvest in a secure way to preserve it.  However, we have not planted and now the harvest is not plentiful.

We need to learn how to plant or to sow.  We need to prepare the soil.  We need to recognize whether or not we have good soil.  We need to learn how to plant and when to plant.  We do not plant in the winter, normally.  So, we need to understand the seasons of growth, preparation, and planting in this Gospel planting mission that we have been given.

We need to be patient.  As harvesters, we want to yank folks out of their soil before it is time.  If we harvest prematurely, the harvest will just wilt.  Have you ever planted radishes?  As soon as they get their big bushy leaves, I yank a handful out of the ground – just to find a dozen or so bee-bee sized radishes.  AND they don’t transplant so well.  We need to know when to harvest.

We have a lot to learn.  We are harvesters and we need to learn to be sowers.  We need to get trained up and we need to learn patience.  Dear Lord, give me some of that NOW.

Stayed tuned.  More to come.
Pastor Bill

From Pastor Ann Marie Winters…In the midst of Winter, what is new in the ministry?

Thinking about how to form a vision for ministry in 2017, I came across the opportunity to apply for a Lilly Endowment Grant.  The Councils recommend that we pursue the application, and bring it for approval of the congregations by the end of February.

  • What is the Lilly Grant? Lilly makes grants up to $50,000 each for clergy renewal (3 month study sabbatical) with a congregational program impacting the community.
  • We propose that the Renewal period would be June to August 2018. Pastor Winters plans to study the topic:  “Building Seniors’ Ministry of Adults 50 and over”.  The Renewal Task Force – leaders from the three congregations – will help with the proposal, and work on the program together during the pastor’s absence.
  • There would be complete Pastoral coverage for the congregations with a supply pastor paid by the grant monies.
  • At the conclusion of the program, we will have church events and activities, and plan to do outreach to Boomers, Seniors, and their children and grandchildren in the Warren area.
  • Pastor Winters’ article in the newsletter lays out the seven facets of Boomer and Senior Ministry that will be explored (see *S.E.N.I.O.R.S. article).
  • A complete brochure to answer your questions will be circulated at church later this month.

Your “Boomer” Pastor,
Ann Marie Winters

Pastor Winters’ Annual Message – 2017
Psalm 71:17:  “O God, from my youth thou hast taught me, and I still proclaim thy wondrous deeds.  So even to old age and gray hairs, O God do not forsake me, till I proclaim thy might to all the generations to come.”

As we mark the completion of another year of ministry, I hold out this vision for 2017:  For a while, we have been noticing the graying of our congregations, and it is certainly time that we make intentional plans for enriching S.E.N.I.O.R.S.* ministry (the acronym is borrowed from Ken Holdorf).  We may enhance at least seven different forms of ministry by and for seniors:

S = SPIRITUAL:  The attainment of old age is a blessing from God, and one is never too old to experience a “new start” in life, or a spiritual awakening.  Also, one can maintain inner strength to meet life’s changes and challenges through a strong spirit.

E = ENLIGHTENING THE MIND:  Our minds are a tremendous creation of God which provide blessings to ourselves and others.  Ministry to and by senior adults must provide a variety of activities that provide continual enlightenment of the mind.

N = NUTRITION AND HEALTH:  As one maintains good health and habits, there is an opportunity to serve the Lord with longer life and strength.  However, even when the aging process brings on declining health, there is still the witness of continued faith in Jesus, even in difficult times.

I = INTERGENERATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS:  God does not separate seniors from the rest of the Body of Christ.  Does the congregation have a ministry to equip seniors in their grandparenting role?  Can we mentor younger people?

O = OUTREACH:  The purpose of the church is to make disciples of Jesus.  That includes Christians of all ages.  Seniors have unique opportunities to reach other seniors, day-to-day contacts in the community, neighbors, retirees, etc.

R = RECREATION AND FELLOWSHIP:  Activities enhance the well-being of all age groups.  Regular social activity and interaction is vital.  There are a great variety of ways for seniors to be engaged:  trips, game nights, community events, hobbies, health and fitness, movies, etc.

S = SERVICE:  Jesus carried out the role of a servant as he came to earth to serve and not be served.  Ways that seniors serve may change, but it is a lifelong process.  Service takes place within the Body of Christ, as well as among unbelievers and the un-churched.

Traveling the Journey with You,
Pastor Ann Marie Winters

Why Focus on Boomers and Seniors Ministry?
Doesn’t the future of the church depend on reaching young people?

Of course, an intergenerational church has all ages who grow and mature in the church.  We will continue to minister to children and youths.  And to add younger generations to our “graying” congregations, we need to reach Baby Boomers – they also have children and grandchildren.  There are about 75 million baby boomers in our country, entering retirement – born between 1946 and 1964.  They are eager for spiritual growth; only 28% say they are “Spiritual but Not Religious”.   Boomers can be reached by a variety of events and activities offered by the church.

Why distinguish between Boomers and Seniors?

Retirement years can be extended.  So Boomers and older Seniors have different experiences and different needs.  Pre-retirement looks very different than early, middle, or late retirement years.  A book by Amy Hanson hits the nail on the head:  She wrote:  “Baby Boomers and Beyond:  Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults over 50”.

What can the church offer to its members who are Adults Over Fifty?

Activities and events that focus on grandparenting…caregiving for elders and grandchildren…mentoring youth…adult children who return home…reading books and articles…workshops…game nights…concerts…trips…opportunities to serve others…health information…good nutrition…spiritual awakening!

Are you interested in a workshop or bible study?
What is Leaving a Legacy of Faith, Hope, and Love?

It is telling a story of your spiritual life (through words, pictures, news clippings, whatever); you could call it a spiritual notebook/scrapbook.   What is “faith” in the bible?  How does it apply to your life?  How has God worked in your life?  What does hope mean to you?  What is hope in the Bible?  Who is God placing in your life that he wants you to leave a legacy of hope?  What is the source of Love?  What definition of love would you like to offer?  Leave a legacy of your thoughts and values for your loved ones.

Please feel free to offer your comments and ask questions of Pastor Winters.

Happy New Year, and may your resolutions be blessed!
Pr. Ann Marie Winters