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

From the Later Life Committee Chairperson, Lorraine Bell

We still have some “I Love My Church” yard signs if anyone would like some. Look at the ones at the front of the church. Free to you! Use this as an opportunity to witness to your neighbors. Feel free to take as many as you would like; they are located by the parking lot entrance doors.

From the Later Life Committee, Member Lynne Walters…
Card Class…Join us for a card-making class on Thursday, October 3, in the Activity Room. We will be making 4 cards. The theme is “Wet and Wonderful Fall” 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, September 29. If you have any questions, please contact Lynne Walters.

From the Mission Endowment Fund Committee Chairperson, Michael Taiclet

Greetings from the Mission Endowment Fund Committee.  I apologize for not making this announcement sooner.  It was to be in last month’s newsletter, however due to my busy schedule between work, home, and here at church, plus being on vacation, I completely forgot to submit an article for last month.  What a summer!  It was tiring, but great!  I recommend anyone who hasn’t seen Mt. Rushmore to go and see it.  It is breathtaking!  Well, not only because of its spectacular views, but because of all the stairs you must climb from the parking garage to get to the entrance of the memorial and from all the stairs you must climb on the Presidential Trail.  Ha ha!  If anyone would like to see pictures or a video of the lighting ceremony, please let me know.  I would be glad to share.  And don’t get me started about the ice cream.  It is unbelievable!  I would go back just to get some more.  It is made from the original recipe for ice cream created by Thomas Jefferson.  Now I am sounding like my Dad because I am giving out a history lesson.  Sorry!  Anyway, I hope everyone had a great summer like I did!  Now, to the reason for this article.  I am pleased to announce this year’s 2019 MEF Award winner.  And the winner is…the Howland Backpack Program.  The date is set!  The 23rd Annual MEF Sunday will take place on October 13, 2019, the second Sunday in October.  The award presentation will take place during both services.  There will also be a time for Fellowship in between services.  Come and see the special display presented by the Howland Backpack Program that will showcase the Howland Backpack Program and what they do.  Come and learn about what they do, why they do it, and how our contribution will be utilized.  To find out more information on this program, you can check out their website at www.howlandumc.com/grow-serve/tiger-food.  Again, here is the itinerary for the 23rd Annual MEF Sunday (October 13):  8:00 am – Early Service with Award Presentation and Holy Communion; 9:00 am – Adult Forum & Sunday School; 9:15 am – Fellowship with a special feature on display; 9:45 am – Choir Practice; 10:30 am – Late Service with Award Presentation and Holy Communion. And in other news, I am also still looking for names for our next award.  If you know of any group/organization that may benefit from our award, please notify me or any member of the MEF Committee (Michael Taiclet, Missy LaRock, Ronda Leitch, Tootie Rogers, Lamar Shoemaker, or Pastor Bill).  We are looking for names to have by our next meeting in late November.  I look forward to seeing you all on MEF Sunday, October 13!  If you have any questions, you may contact me via email at computergeek752@gmail.com or leave a message in my mailbox at the church.

 

From the Outreach Committee Chairperson, Judy Shaffer

Community Meal Update…The Outreach Committee would like to thank everyone who assisted with the Community Meal at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Friday, September 20.  We served approximately 125 people in our community.

 

Bingo at NSOV…The Outreach Committee will be hosting Bingo at Niles Shepherd of the Valley on Wednesday, October 23, at 1:30 pm.  We will meet at 1:00 pm to set up.  Men and women both are invited to assist.  Please see the sign-up sheet on the main bulletin board if you are able to help.  The Outreach Committee has received funding from the Fuchs Fund to purchase Bingo prizes.  If you have any questions, please contact Judy Shaffer.

 

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 (before Sunday, November 3).  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.

From Pastor William D. Leitch

The texts for the month of September inform us very well how Jesus would have us care for all of God’s people.  The following are the “Introductions” for the week from Sundays and Seasons:

1st:  Invited and inviting—that is the nature of the church.  By God’s grace in holy baptism, we have a place at the banquet table of the Lord.  When, by the power of that same Spirit, humility and mutual love continue among us, the church can be more inviting still.

2nd:  The grumbling of the Pharisees and the scribes in today’s gospel is actually our holy hope:  This Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them.  That our God wills to seek and to save the lost is not only a holy hope, it is our only hope.  As Paul’s first letter to Timothy reminds us, “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”  Thanks be to God.

3rd:  As we are invited today to consider what it means to be managers (rather than owners) of all that we have, it is crucial to recall that we are bought with a price.  “Christ Jesus, himself human, …gave himself a ransom for all.”  Apart from the generosity of God we have nothing—we are nothing.  By God’s gracious favor, we have everything we need.

4th:  Consideration of and care for those in need (especially those “at our gate”, visible to us, of whom we are aware) is an essential component of good stewardship.  It is in the sharing of wealth that we avoid the snare of wealth.  It is the one whom death could not hold—who comes to us risen from the dead—who can free us from the death grip of greed.

What can we do differently to better follow what Christ has taught us?

In Christ,
Pr. Bill

 

From the Northeastern Ohio Synod:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.  [Ephesians 2:19-20 NRSV]

August 13, 2019

Dear Siblings in Christ of the Northeastern Ohio Synod,

By now you are aware that on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), by a majority of the voting members at the Churchwide Assembly in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, declared itself a sanctuary church body.

Since then, many of you have asked the good Lutheran question, “What does this mean”?

First, allow me to give some background information as to the origin of this declaration. The Churchwide Assembly is the highest legislative body of the ELCA. All decisions made there become the policies and procedures of the ELCA. However, many of these decisions begin as memorials and resolutions from synods, like ours. After screening by a committee, they are passed on to the Churchwide Assembly, with recommendations. The voting members then deliberate and discern the final outcome.

I mention all that because this declaration is not some “mandate from on high.” It is truly the work of the people.

To designate the ELCA as a sanctuary church body is a way of publicly declaring the work we are doing in this and many of our synods, and historically have done throughout the history of our church. Being a sanctuary denomination is about loving our neighbors.

Those of you who attended our Northeastern Ohio Synod Assembly in June will recall that this year’s theme was, Who Is My Neighbor.

The theme grew out of a resolution which was submitted at last year’s synod assembly by one of you, which encouraged us to call for compassionate assistance to migrant parents and children entering the United States. It was referred to Synod Council, which then refined the wording of the resolution and approved it. You can find our completed resolution by clicking HERE.

There are additional statements and resources on our website, www.neos-elca.org. That page includes a pastoral letter I wrote to you in February of 2017, which has informed and guided much of our work here among you in the Northeastern Ohio mission territory.

In 2016, the Churchwide Assembly adopted the Strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO). AMMPARO invites congregations to become “Welcoming Congregations,” which means they commit to spiritually and physically accompanying migrants in their communities, pray for migrant children and families, and advocate for a just and humane immigration system. Here in Northeastern Ohio, our synod’s Ecumenical Committee has been tasked with continuing to seek ways to align our synod’s work more closely with the work of AMMPARO.

Throughout the ELCA, 28 synods have an AMMPARO task force, 41 synods have AMMPARO related activities. Five synods have already designated themselves sanctuary synods.

The declaration of the ELCA as a sanctuary church body broadens the language to describe that work using a word that the world understands.

On a more practical level, being a sanctuary denomination will look different in different contexts. It may mean providing space for people to live; providing financial and legal support to those who are working through the immigration system; or supporting other congregations and service providers.  Congregations, synods, and ministries cannot be mandated or directed to respond in specific ways. Each is called to work out what this means for them in their context.

It is also important to note that the designation as a sanctuary body in no way calls for congregations, synods, or ministries to engage in civil disobedience or any illegal actions. For us, welcoming people is first and foremost a matter of faith, which impacts how we live out all our vocations in God’s world, including our political life.

In baptism, we are brought into a covenantal relationship with Jesus Christ that commits us to strive for justice and peace in all the earth. Following the example of Martin Luther, we believe that advocacy is a crucial expression of baptismal identity.

We Lutherans have a unique voice that is needed in the public square. We are called to bring Christian insight into the conversation and make known the clear voice of God’s call to practice radical hospitality and to show the extreme nature of God’s love. God calls us to see beyond our walls, and recognize that we are all creatures created and loved by God.

I pray this information has been helpful. I realize that for some of you, this step that our church has taken may seem unsettling. I would be naïve to think that all of us agree on immigration related issues. We may never agree. But as children of God, which is what we are, we are loved by our Creator regardless of our differing opinion, and for that we say, “Thanks be to God.”

Grace and peace to you,
The Rev. Abraham D. Allende, Bishop

Also from the Northeastern Ohio Synod:

What does becoming a sanctuary denomination mean for the ELCA?

In its simplest form, becoming a sanctuary denomination means that the ELCA is publicly declaring that walking alongside immigrants and refugees is a matter of faith. The ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the highest legislative authority of the ELCA, declared that when we preach on Sunday that Jesus told us to welcome, we will use our hands and voices on Monday to make sure it happens.

Being a sanctuary denomination does not call for any person, congregation, or synod to engage in any illegal actions.

We have a broken system regarding immigration, refugees, and asylum­seekers. To declare ourselves a sanctuary church body is to say that we seek to provide concrete resources to assist the most vulnerable who are feeling the sharp edges of this broken.

Being a sanctuary denomination is about loving our neighbors. While we may have different ideas about how to fix this broken system and may have different ways of loving our neighbors, our call to love our neighbor is central to our faith.

Being a sanctuary denomination will look different in different contexts. It may mean providing space for people to live; providing financial and legal support to those who are working through the immigration system; or supporting other congregations and service providers. We cannot mandate or direct our congregations and ministries to respond in specific ways. Each must work out what this means for them in their context.

While we don’t yet know the full scope of the work that this declaration will open for the church, we do know that our faith communities are already doing sanctuary work. Sanctuary for a congregation may mean hosting English as a second Language (ESL) classes; marching as people of faith against the detention of children and families; providing housing for a community member facing deportation; or, in some of our congregations, having thoughtful conversations about what our faith says about immigration. All of these are a step closer to sanctuary in our faith communities and sanctuary in our world for people who must leave their homes.

Except for our members whose ancestors were here before European settlement or others who were forced to come to the U.S. against their will, the ELCA is an immigrant Our decades-long work with immigrants and refugees is how we practice our faith in the world. Lutherans started Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, one of the nine refugee resettlement agencies in the U.S.

At our last churchwide assembly, we also committed to walking alongside Central American children and families fleeing their communities by passing the AMMPARO strategy (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation, and Opportunities).

Through the AMMPARO strategy, we are also working through our global partners in Central America to alleviate the conditions that cause people to migrate. We support organizations and faith communities that work with deported migrants in Central America and advocate for the humane treatment of immigrants in Mexico. In the U.S., we have a network of 151 welcoming and sanctuary congregations that are committed to working on migration issues and a welcome for immigrant communities. The church also has five sanctuary synods (our regional structures), all of which do work with immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.

In baptism, we are brought into a covenantal relationship with Jesus Christ that commits us to strive for justice and peace in all the earth. Following the example of Martin Luther, we believe that advocacy is a crucial expression of baptismal identity. As a church, we have advocated for stopping the detention of children and families for decades. We have spoken out against family separation, sought a pathway to citizenship for community members who have lived in the U.S. for many years, and have taken steps to address the root causes of migration in a way that honors the humanity in people who must flee.

Being a sanctuary denomination means that we, as church together, want to be public and vocal about this work. At the same time, we will have conversations about what sanctuary means with many of our members and discern future action and direction. Welcoming people is not a political issue for us, it is a matter of faith.

 

New Photo Directory…Living Lord photo sessions for an updated pictorial directory will be September 9 and 10.  More details and scheduling to come!

 

We are trying something different this year…For over a decade, the Lutheran congregations in Trumbull County have brought our youth together in community to build strong, trusting relationships.  We did this through two primary means:  (1) We have had a cooperative catechism hosted by Living Lord, and (2) we have gone on Servant Week missions together.  During my tenure at Living Lord, the cooperative catechism included youth from Emmanuel, St. Mark, Lordstown, Prince of Peace, New Life, Trinity Girard, Trinity Niles, Grace, and St. Paul.  We had classes as large as 30 students.  For the last couple years, St. Paul and Living Lord have been the primary participants; however, it has provided that nucleus of youth and a welcoming place for youth from Emmanuel, Lordstown, and Trinity Niles when they had no pastor to lead the studies.  Servant Week grew to 70 participants for a couple years.  Our youth have had a tremendous impact on every community in which they have worked.  Just as important, they have learned skills, including how to manage a project.  In the last three years, our groups have grown smaller.  It is time to try something new.  This year, we are starting a Youth Group throughout the year which will include 6th graders through high school.  We are meeting at St. Paul.  Youth and families from Prince of Peace have already called and joined the group.  There is a desire to maintain this effort of building community among our youth.  We will meet every other Sunday evening from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.  The meeting will include worship, instruction, fun activities, and servant projects.  If you have any questions, please see Pastor Bill or Stacey Altiere.

 

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.

 

Camp Frederick Golf Outing…Camp Frederick announces its 26th Annual Golf Outing will be held on September 14 at Beaver Creek Meadows Golf Course.  The event is great fun and great food supporting children’s camping activities.  Registration is $75/player.  Sponsorship opportunities are available.  Please sign up early because they again anticipate reaching the maximum number of golfers.  For more information:  web:  https://www.campfrederickohio.com/ events/2017/9/9/golf-outing; email:  info@campfrederickohio.com; phone:  330-227-3633.

From the Fellowship Committee Chairperson, Nancy Walters

Rally Day will be on Sunday, September 15.  A pot luck luncheon will start at 1:00 pm.  This will be a true pot luck, so bring whatever you want to share.  A sign-up sheet will be on the bulletin board in the narthex.  Beverages and table service will be provided.  So, pull out those tried and true recipes and bring a copy so that others can make the dish at home.  (Store bought is acceptable.)  See you at the picnic!

From the Later Life Committee Chairperson, Lorraine Bell

We still have some “I Love My Church” yard signs if anyone would like some.  Look at the ones at the front of the church.  Free to you!  Use this as an opportunity to witness to your neighbors.  Feel free to take as many as you would like; they are located by the parking lot entrance doors.

 

From the Later Life Committee, Member Lynne Walters…
Card Class…Join us for a card-making class on Thursday, September 5, in the Activity Room.  We will be making 4 cards.  The theme is “Tag!  You’re It!” 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, September 1.  If you have any questions, please contact Lynne Walters.

From the Outreach Committee Chairperson, Judy Shaffer

Community Meal at Emmanuel Lutheran Church…The Outreach Committee will be assisting with the Community Meal at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Friday, September 20.  The meal will consist of sloppy joes, buns, chips, pickles, peaches (all provided by the Outreach Committee), and brownies for dessert.  We are in need of volunteers for setup, serving, and cleanup.  Setup begins at 9:00 am with the meal being served at 12:00 noon.  Please see the sign-up sheet on the main bulletin board if you are willing to assist.  We also will need help from volunteer bakers to provide brownies.  Please have your brownies at the church (please place them in the refrigerator) on Thursday, September 19.  If you have any questions, please contact Judy Shaffer.