Letter from Bishop Allende

Due to Bishop Allende’s recommendations, we will suspend gathering for worship through April. We will continue to record the services and send them to you via Constant Contact email.
Northeastern Ohio Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
God’s Work. Our hands.
March 30, 2020
Lord, you have been our dwelling-place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
[Psalm 90:1-2 NRSV]
Dear siblings in Christ of the Northeastern Ohio Synod,
Grace to you and peace in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
The COVID-19 pandemic has unsettled our normal way of life since the beginning of March. We find ourselves in a state of anxiety, not knowing what the future holds, relying primarily on the guidance of the medical experts.
In my previous letter, I requested the suspension of all public worship and other in-person gatherings and meetings until at least April 1. However, the escalating number of confirmed cases give clear indication that the danger has not yet reached its peak. Therefore, I now encourage ministers and congregational leaders to extend that suspension for another month, through the end of April. This is one of the chief precautions we can take as a way of caring for each other and to deter the spread of the virus.
Last week, Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill (House Bill 197) allowing, among other things, for remote meetings. Thus, for now, every possible meeting should be arranged by whatever electronic means available. It does pose somewhat of a challenge, but it becomes easier to arrange the more it is done.
This news is no doubt disappointing to all who were enthusiastically looking forward to Holy Week and Easter worship and activities. It may be of some consolation to note that Easter is a season of seven weeks, not just one day. The Resurrection can be celebrated at a later date, and the delay may provide for an even more festive occasion. God is still with us, in times of separation as well as celebration.
I am grateful for the many ways our pastors, deacons, musicians, and those with the gifts of technology have risen to the occasion to care for the people of God whom they’re called to serve. Again, it is a challenge, but it does become easier as time goes on.
Our Northeastern Ohio Synod website has a resource page for those who may not have the capability to offer electronic services.
Of course, caring for God’s people extends beyond the Sunday service. And this involves everyone, not just the ordained. This time offers us an ideal opportunity to build on the gifts that each of us was given, as St. Paul says, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Each one of us can make phone calls to other members, write notes, and perhaps even offer more tangible assistance – such as picking up groceries, supplies, or prescriptions. We are all in this together, to use a well-worn cliché.
On another matter, last Friday, our ELCA Presiding Bishop, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, announced a series of grants designed to provide support for our most vulnerable congregations and ministries. I encourage you to visit the ELCA website for more information. We will announce other, more local grant opportunities in the weekly e-news. If you have not already subscribed, now is an excellent time, as it is a good source of late-breaking information.
Third, I wish to call your attention to the following scheduling items:
1.    The Renewal of Vows service, normally held Tuesday in Holy Week, has been canceled. That is one huge personal disappointment for me, as it would have been my final one as bishop. Should any of you be in need of oil, there are still vials available at the Lutheran Center (Synod Office) in the lobby which you may pick up Monday through Thursday, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. We will replenish the supply as needed.
2.    The Conference Gatherings to lift up names for potential bishop candidates has been changed to a mail-only process. See the Synod E-news for more details.
3.    Synod Council will still meet on April 25, most likely in an electronic meeting. We will most likely have an announcement regarding Synod Assembly following that meeting. As of now, the assembly is still scheduled for June 12-13.
Finally, Psalm 90 at the top of this letter is a reminder to us that our human existence is limited in comparison to the timelessness of God. Pandemics and the resulting fear and isolation, are as old as humanity. Yet throughout the ages, God has been faithful. God has promised to be with us through the ups and downs of life. That is the source of our strength and the source of our hope in this time of insecurity. Let us hold fast to God’s promises.
Peace and blessings,
+Bishop Abraham D. Allende
Pr. Bill

Stay-at-Home Order

Pastor Bill and Lynn will be working from home in order to be in compliance with Governor DeWine’s Stay-at-Home Order.  We ask all of you to heed the Governor’s order and recommendations.  If you are in need of assistance in obtaining food and/or medicine, please do not hesitate to call Pastor Bill on his cell phone at 330-465-6221.  If you are anxious and would like Pastor Bill to pray with you, please call his cell.  Please stay in contact with each other by calling and checking on each other.  We will be keeping you updated and sending out weekly notices and worship service videos.  Remember, we will get through this together, with God as our guide and strength…lean on him in this time of uncertainty.  (or something like that).

In Christ,
Pastor Bill

 

SUSPENSION OF ALL WORSHIP SERVICES, EVENTS, AND GATHERINGS

Following the guidance of Bishop Allende and after confirming with the Church Council, Living Lord Lutheran Church will suspend ALL worship services, events, and group gatherings until Palm Sunday, April 5.
As your pastor, I will periodically post devotions or commentary on the Scriptures for the week. I will be counting this as vacation time. Only in life or death situations am I permitted to visit families and individuals. Please call me for a visit at 330-465-6221.
We will continue to send information concerning preparations for Easter and the need for flowers and offerings. Please reply to these messages to volunteer and/or pledge offerings to purchase or donate to these special worship events.
We just received pricing for the Easter Flowers. They are as follows: Hyacinth $8.00, Lily $8.50, and Tulip $8.00. If you would like to purchase Easter Flowers, please mail in your check along with a note stating how many of each flower you want and if it is in memory or in honor of someone or to the Glory of God. The deadline to order Easter Flowers is Monday, March 30.
We are still collecting the food for the Easter Food Baskets. If you have items to donate, please drop them off at the church Monday through Friday between 8:00 and 11:00 am. All food items should be at the church no later than Sunday, March 29. Food Basket pick up is Wednesday, April 8, between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon.
If you need a Larry L. Maggiano, M.D., Memorial Scholarship Application, please call the office and we will mail that out to you. Applications are due Sunday, April 26.
These can by trying times financially for a congregation. Please mail your offerings to the church or drop them off between 8:00 and 11:00 am Monday through Friday. Our Treasurer still needs to pay our bills.
We pray for everyone and especially for our healthcare workers during this fragile time of waiting.
In Christ,
Pastor Bill

From Pastor William D. Leitch

The month of March is the season of Lent this year.  Then the first Sunday in April is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week.  Here is what this journey will look like:

First, Jesus meets Satan in the wilderness, and Satan learns who the “Boss” is.  Second, we meet Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a teacher in the temple.  Nicodemus wants to learn from Jesus, but this is a huge transition from how he got his teaching to become a Pharisee.  He wants to keep a low profile to gain confidence first.   Sound a bit like us sometimes?

Third, we meet the Samaritan woman at the well.  Totally opposite of Nicodemus!  She must avoid her own people in order to survive.  He eyes are opened, and she understands who this Jesus is.  Her fear of her own people goes away immediately, and she delivers the “Good News” without hesitation.  Nicodemus will eventually deliver the “Good News”, but he is burdened by his status and it slows him down.  The Samaritan woman has nothing to lose.  One thing she does have is a loving heart full of grace and mercy.  Without a doubt, she never loses that!

Fourth, Jesus gives sight to a blind man who immediately spreads the “Good News”.  What?  “Who gave him authority to preach?” asks the Temple leaders.  In the simple words of this man, “He touched me!  He told me to see!  It worked!  I am thankful!  And I’m not keeping this to myself!  Get over it!” or words and body language to that effect.  Sometimes we must be firm in our conviction.  I always worry that I need to be more graceful.

The message during the Wednesday Lenten Services will be about sharing our faith throughout our community, the world, and in every circumstance we might find ourselves.  We are not just going to talk about it!  I am encouraging every one of us to practice it.  Like our brothers and sisters in Scripture, we have “Good News” to share.  We are all called to share it.  Not just a select few!

 

Lenten Evening Worship Service & Soup Supper…Beginning on Wednesday, March 4, we will have Soup Suppers at 5:30 pm followed by Lenten Evening Worship Service at 6:30 pm at Living Lord Lutheran Church.  We will need two crocks of soup each Wednesday.  Please see the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board if you can volunteer to bring soup.

 

Town Hall Meetings…The entire congregation is invited and encouraged to attend one or both of the Town Hall Meetings scheduled on Sundays, March 15, at 11:45 am and March 22, at 9:00 am.

Purpose:  To develop the Strategic Ministry Plan for Living Lord Lutheran Church.

Why:  Each congregation must have a vision and a plan for their ministry within their community.  Plans must be current and relevant, therefore, they must be updated regularly.  At the transition of leadership and before a search is made for a new pastor, the “Ministry Profile” must be updated in order to call the leader with the gifts to support that vision and plan.  This is the vision and desires of our congregation, YOU!

Our Congregation Council has been working at updating our “Ministry Profile” since May 2019.  The demographics have been completed with the most current census and our 2019 Parochial Report.  This tells us who Living Lord is and who our community is.

Next, we must decide how we will minister to this community.

The Council has been looking at how we will navigate this journey, i.e. Where are we?  Where do we want to go?

We cannot get from here to there without the entire team participating and owning the vision and plan that we develop.  The Council needs to hear your voice in order to formulate a realistic plan.

There will be a brief presentation of how the Town Hall Meeting will proceed, but we desire that most of the meeting will be brainstorming with you.  We will wrap up the session by prioritizing the ideas by your votes.

After both meetings are complete, the Council will create a draft “Strategic Plan” based on your input.  This will be published for the congregation to review and make comments.  Based on these comments, the Council can clarify the plan.

Finally, the Council will schedule a Special Congregation Meeting to approve the “Ministry Profile” and the members of the Call Committee.  So far, the following members have requested to be on the Call Committee and have been accepted by the Council:  Randall Beckley, Raymond Boothe, Neal L’Amoureaux, Brycen Prasky, Warner  Taiclet, Nancy Walters, and Barb Wright.

Again, please plan to join us as we need to hear everyone’s voice.

 

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, Member Lynne Walters

Card Class…Join us for a card-making class on Thursday, March 5, in the Activity Room.  We will be making 4 cards.  The theme is “Fun Folds” 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, March 1.  If you have any questions, please contact Lynne Walters.

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 any member of the Committee:  Lorraine Bell, Ronda Leitch, and Jo Maggiano.

 

Scholarship Applications…Attention High School seniors and current college students:  Applications and stipulations for the Larry L. Maggiano, M.D., Memorial Scholarship are available in the Parish Office.  Completed forms must be returned by Sunday, April 26, 2020.  Please direct any questions that you may have to Lorraine Bell.

From the Outreach Committee Chairperson, Judy Shaffer

Bingo at NSOV…The Outreach Committee will be hosting Bingo at Niles Shepherd of the Valley on Wednesday, March 18, 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.  We are asking for donations of large print word search and crossword puzzle books, snack cracker packs, and pastel bags with a wide bottom.  If you have any questions, please contact Judy Shaffer.

 

Easter Food Baskets…We will begin collecting food for the Easter Food Baskets on Sunday, March 22.  The last day to bring in items will be Sunday, March 29Please do not bring in any food items until after Election Day.  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 27.  We will pack and distribute the baskets on Wednesday, April 8, 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 Parish Nurse, Dora Muller

From the Parish Nurse, Dora Muller…“But the real secret to lifelong good health is the opposite:  Let your body take care of you.”  Deepak Chopra

In the past couple of days, the new cases of coronavirus have made headlines and it affected the economy, especially the travel industry.  The image of people wearing face masks and the Chinese government taking the urgent task of building hospitals almost overnight is enough to increase a worldwide fear.  The outbreak started in central China and rapidly spread to other locations.  What is coronavirus and what are the chances that it will show up in Trumbull County?  In the past, virus outbreaks were mostly geographically confine, which in today’s world is not possible.  We are a society on the move.  Transportation has allowed us to be flexible and reach places that long ago would take months.  Coronavirus is an upper respiratory infection that can be spread by contact (person to person).  Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, all of which are the classic symptoms of colds or flu.  The severity of the illness has ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.  In extreme cases, panic often results and everyday life is disturbed as children do not got to school, factories stop production, and access to food is decreased.  The best prevention available is to avoid visiting the center of the outbreak and contacting persons who have had possible exposure to the virus.  Personal protective barriers are essential to prevent being infected and transmitting the virus to others.  A drastic measure to monitor the spread of the disease into the United States has been to implement isolation up to 14 days to U.S. residents and family members that had visited the epicenter of the outbreak.  In the case of any respiratory infection, prevention is the best venue with purposely hand washing with soap and water, avoiding the touching of the mouth and eyes, and keeping your distance from suspected infected individuals.  Let’s employ the same precautions as we do for any type of flue, i.e. avoid unnecessary physical contact.

From Pastor William D. Leitch

During February we are in the season of Epiphany.  Some synonyms for epiphany are flash, insight, inspiration, oracle, realization, vision, sign, surprise.  The scriptures from Matthew are teachings of Jesus.  They are short – a flash.  They give us some focus as to what is important from Jesus – an insight.  They certainly make sense and present how the world should behave in a safe way – inspiring.  They tell us how the world could be – a realization and a vision.  They catch us off guard perhaps when we want to judge others – a surprise.

In 37 short verses you can fill up three weeks in February pondering these verses and how these verses, lived out by you, can change the world.  (Matthew 5:1-37).

Next, we observe the Transfiguration of Jesus on February 23.  Just as God spoke at the baptism of Jesus, God speaks again to those with Jesus.  If they didn’t get it the first time, maybe they will understand this time – A SURPRISE – “This is my Son!  Listen to Him!”  Yes, another epiphany, but this time we are on the road to complete the mission Jesus was sent to do.  We are on our way to Jerusalem and Calvary.

Finally, we will observe Ash Wednesday on February 26 and begin our journey through the season of Lent in March.  Please join together and prepare for the journey.

Come and see!  Come and learn!  Come see God’s vision!

Pastor Bill

 

Ash Wednesday… Ash Wednesday is on February 26.  We will have worship services at 12:00 noon and 7:00 pm.

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.