From Interim Pastor Larry Klinker

In this newsletter, since I already focused on the Lenten season in my February newsletter article, I want to focus my attention to the central importance of Holy Week.  Holy Week holds the central core of our Christian faith and that is why we use liturgy to enact this central story of our faith.  In our worship services, we use our liturgy to enter into the story of Jesus.  Our services have a specific focus, setting, and symbols to powerfully include the central message of our Christian faith.

We start on Palm/Passion Sunday.  We call it that because our worship has a twin focus which is first to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem along with the blessing of our palms that we will carry home.  Secondly, we listen to the reading of the passion story from the Gospel of Mark.

We return to our worship space to begin what is called the Triduum (the Three Days).  We are meant to see the services of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday (I am aware that Living Lord does not practice this service alone or with others at this time) as one continuous service.  There is no benediction that separates them.  We leave the worship space each night in silence and return in silence.

Maundy Thursday means command.  We make our Lenten confession to close the season of Lent.  We reflect upon Jesus’ command ‘to love one another as I have loved you’, as enacted in the washing of feet as an act of conscious loving.  (Due to COVID-19 we will not wash feet.)  Then we will participate in the supper Jesus inaugurates of bread and wine.  Finally, we watch the altar being stripped to Psalm 22 and we leave in silence.

Good Friday or God’s Friday, we return in silence.  The focus here is on Jesus’ death on the cross.  There is the reading of the passion story from John’s Gospel.  Traditionally, there is a set of prayers called the Bidding Prayers as we pray for everyone in the world.  After the closing hymn, again we leave in silence.

We return on Easter Sunday to celebrate that God has raised Jesus from the dead as God says Yes! to all.

 

First Communion Classes…It is our practice at Living Lord to prepare our fifth graders and others who have not been prepared to receive Holy Communion for the first time with their families on Maundy Thursday.  We usually set aside some time for preparation so that our young people may trust that Christ is present in, with, and under bread and wine as he has promised.  We will offer two sessions of preparation for our young people and their parents on Sunday mornings during the Sunday School hour starting at 9:00 am on Sunday, March 21, and Sunday, March 28.

 

Lenten Services…Our Lenten services will be continuing in March on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm.  Because of the continued COVID-19 virus, we will not be offering a Soup Supper preceding our worship experience.  The theme for this year’s Lenten series is:  we are created for communion with God, to love one another, and to live in harmony with creation.  Though many of our common Lenten practices rightly invite us to individual acts of repentance, prayer, fasting, sacrificial giving, and works of love, Lent is a time for deepening of our sense of community.  This year we will use readings from the Gospel of Mark to reflect on what it means to be in community with one another, with the world, and with God.

Wednesday, March 3:  In community with all the saints.  Mark 9:2-8:  Jesus in conversation with those who have gone before him.

Wednesday, March 10:  In community with our neighbor.  Mark 2:1-12:  A community comes together to bring a neighbor to Jesus.

Wednesday, March 17:  In community with those on the margins.  Mark 5:1-20:  Jesus crosses barriers to attend to those on the margins.

Wednesday, March 24:  In community with Christ.  Mark 10:32-45:  Jesus reminds us that we are walking the way of the cross.

We will use a simple form of evening prayer to help us in our Lenten reflections.

 

Holy Week Handouts…On or around Palm/Passion Sunday, we are making a handout prepared by Holden Village that explains the focus of Holy Week and its relationship to Easter Sunday that gives rise to the shape and focus of our Holy Week worship.  This handout is meant to give us an overview of the central drama of our faith based upon Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the making of the Lenten Confession, the washing of feet, the celebration of the supper, Jesus’ death on the cross, and his being raised by the power of God on Easter Sunday.  Because of COVID-19, some of our practices this Holy Week will have to be modified.

 

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 will start reading the book of First Peter in the beginning of March from the Newer Testament.  Then we will begin reading the Older Testament book of Ecclesiastes on Pastor Larry’s Bible blog online at http://klinkerld-pastorlarrysbible.blogspot.com/.  Join us online.

 

Interim Pastor Larry Klinker’s Office Hours…Pastor Larry will be in the office on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to noon.  You may reach him at 330-550-0077 or email him at klinkerld@att.net.

From the President, Nancy Walters

Church Information…Please remember that you can obtain church information from the monthly Lamplighter Newsletter, the Constant Contact emails you receive, on the church website (www.lllc.org), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Living-Lord-Lutheran-Church-493806727349110/), and postings on the church bulletin board.  Church Council Meeting minutes are posted on the bulletin board and sent out via Constant Contact.  We would like to see a better “open rate” when we send information to you via Constant Contact so that we know you are being informed of the activities that are occurring at the church.  If you have any other suggestions on how best to reach out to our parishioners, please see a Council member.

From the In-Reach Committee Chairperson, Lorraine Bell

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

Prayer Chain…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 (330-219-5881).  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 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 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 Lorraine Bell.

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 Easter decorations that might cheer up their food trays or for their bulletin boards, and small knickknacks they may put on their dresser or windowsills.

Easter Food Baskets…We will begin collecting food for the Easter Food Baskets on Sunday, March 13.  The last day to bring in items will be Sunday, March 28.  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 12.  We will pack and distribute the baskets on Wednesday, March 31, 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 Worship Committee Chairperson, Jan Was

Lenten Evening Services…We will have Lenten Evening Services every Wednesday during Lent at 6:30 pm.

Lent Boxes…The lent boxes are on the table in the hall.  They are to be returned on Palm Sunday, March 28.  The proceeds from the boxes will be donated to Camp Frederick for their Grief Camp.

Bell Choir Rehearsal…The Bell Choir will rehearse on Wednesdays, March 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, at 5:15 pm.  Thank you, Rollie!  The Bell Choir would like to thank Rollie Walters for polishing all the bells.  This time-consuming job is much appreciated.  The bells look wonderful!

From Interim Pastor Larry Klinker

As we celebrate Ash Wednesday on Wednesday, February 17, we shift from the Cycle of Light which began in Advent and included the seasons of Christmas and Epiphany.  With Ash Wednesday, we shift into the Cycle of Life which includes the season of Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost.  Both cycles follow a pattern of expectation (preparation), the fulfillment, and the proclamation.

For me, Lent is not primarily focused on denial, as we have often heard asked, “What did you give up for Lent?”  If we give anything up or participate in more Lenten services or use Lenten devotionals or the Lenten practices such as fasting, prayer, or acts of charity, it is all about creating a more open space within our hearts to experience the forgiveness and grace and oneness that is the essence of our relationship with God.

We need these forty days to first prepare for our Lenten confession that we will make on Maundy Thursday.  Because I hope you noticed there is no absolution given on Ash Wednesday to our confession because it leaves the whole season of Lent open for us to prepare our confession.  The whole Lenten season is time to reflect on how we have been in bondage, the powers and principalities that keep us from God, and our true humanity and how we need to find new spaciousness within ourselves.  Our Absolution comes on Maundy Thursday.

We need this new openness and spaciousness because we discover in Lent that we are wrestling with the principalities and powers that hold us captive and have convinced us we are separate from God and each other.  The powers have convinced us that being separate from God we need only to live for the new trinity of me, myself, and I which alienates me from my fellow human beings.  Each Lent, as we wrestle with these powers, we find new places within ourselves where we are in bondage sin (sin is understood as being separate from God here) and cannot free ourselves.  As Lutherans, we believe there is only one sin:  beings separated from God.  Everything we call sins are acts that reflect and affirm that we are separate from God.

Lent is a time to examine the big lie that we are separated from God.  Lent is a time to explore the ways that we are captive to the powers and principalities.  Lent is a time, as our present COVID pandemic has already taught us, is:  we are dust and to dust we shall return.  Life is that fragile on our own but so powerfully connected in and through God.

 

Bringing Palms back to the church…With Ash Wednesday approaching on Wednesday, February 17, we want to invite the members and friends of Living Lord to participate in an ancient practice.  I want to invite you to take all the old palms that you received on Palm/Passion Sundays from last year, or other years for that matter, and bring them to the church to be cut up and then burned to create the ashes for Ash Wednesday.  I look forward to this practice becoming a yearly practice of a rhythm of receiving Palms each year on Palm/Passion Sunday and then returning them each year prior to Ash Wednesday to be burned to create the ashes for Ash Wednesday.

 

Ash Wednesday Service…This year, because of COVID-19 still impacting our worship services as well as our present attendance, the Church Council, after much discussion, has decided to only offer one Ash Wednesday service on February 17 at 12:00 noon.  We will offer a traditional Ash Wednesday service from the ELW which includes making our Lenten confession, imposition of ashes, readings from Scripture, preaching, prayers, and Holy Communion.  We are still thinking about how the ashes will be imposed, either with a swab or sprinkled on each person, to limit the contact during these days of COVID-19.

 

Lenten Services…This year’s Lenten series begins on Wednesday, February 24, at 6:30 pm.  Because of the continued COVID-19 virus, we will not be offering a Soup Supper preceding our worship experience.  The theme for this year’s Lenten series is:  we are created for communion with God, to love one another, and to live in harmony with creation.  Though many of our common Lenten practices rightly invite us to individual acts of repentance, prayer, fasting, sacrificial giving, and works of love, Lent is a time for deepening of our sense of community.  This year we will use readings from the Gospel of Mark to reflect on what it means to be in community with one another, with the world, and with God.

Wednesday, February 24:  In community with creation.  Mark 4:35-41:  Jesus calms the storm.

Wednesday, March 3:  In community with all the saints.  Mark 9:2-8:  Jesus in conversation with those who have gone before him.

Wednesday, March 10:  In community with our neighbor.  Mark 2:1-12:  A community comes together to bring a neighbor to Jesus.

Wednesday, March 17:  In community with those on the margins.  Mark 5:1-20:  Jesus crosses barriers to attend to those on the margins.

Wednesday, March 24:  In community with Christ.  Mark 10:32-45:  Jesus reminds us that we are walking the way of the cross.

We will use a simple form of evening prayer to help us in our Lenten reflections.

 

Council Retreat…On Saturday, February 20, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm we will hold our annual Council Retreat.  We will do this wearing masks and being social distant from each other.  Participants are asked to bring their own lunch.  The retreat will help the Council reflect upon:  The Why?  The How?  The What? of ministry.  What we want to reflect on are the places in our community that God is already at work and is calling upon us as the church to join God in that work.   We want to keep asking the question:  What is God’s dream for this place?  The retreat will be based upon a delightful little book called:  “Everywhere You Look:  Discovering the Church Right Where You Are”.

 

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 Proverbs from the Older Testament.  Then we will begin reading the Newer Testament the First Peter 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 Ecclesiastes, another wisdom book.

 

Interim Pastor Larry Klinker’s Office Hours…Pastor Larry will be in the office on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to noon.  You may reach him at 330-550-0077 or email him at klinkerld@att.net.

 

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…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 at 330-856-3148 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 Easter 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

Ash Wednesday…We will have one service on February 17, Ash Wednesday, at 12:00 noon.

Lenten Evening Services…We will have Lenten Evening Services every Wednesday during Lent at 6:30 pm.

From Worship Committee Member, Lynne Walters…I deeply appreciate the outpouring of support that I have received from the Bell Choir, congregation, and Council.  After prayerful consideration, I have rescinded my resignation and will be continuing as your Bell Choir Director.  If you have been thinking of joining Bell Choir, now is the time!  We are looking forward to adding special music to our Lenten and Easter services.  Please feel free to contact me.