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.

From the Worship Committee Chairperson, Meghan Miller

Return to Regular Worship Schedule…We will return to our regular worship schedule of 8:00 and 10:30 am on Sunday, September 8.

 

Choir Start-up…Choir will resume on Sunday, September 15, with warm-up at 9:45 am.

 

Worship Assistants…Please contact Meghan Miller to let her know when you will be away on vacation or any dates you will not be available to serve.

From the Parish Nurse, Dora Muller

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.   Voltaire

This past week, I received in the mail one of those life screening advertisements.  It claimed to provide early screening for stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and osteoporosis risk assessment, to name a few.  For a fee, one can obtain peace of mind.  I am certainly not against early prevention.  However, some of these so-called health screening companies instill a state of fear among the frail population.  Inasmuch as a majority of the population over 65 already has a primary care physician that oversees their health, why should these tests be necessary.   Also, these companies prey on the goodwill and support of communities of faith by being able to conduct these tests at such locations.  The message behind this strategy is:  if my place of worship accepts the company, it must be a trustworthy company and the services therefore will be good for me.  The next time one of those pamphlets arrives in your mailbox, do yourself a favor and ask your doctor if some of these tests are necessary.  Usually these tests, when prescribed by your doctor, are covered by insurance, so why pay out of your pocket for something that may not be necessary.  The question is:  are these necessary and worth the cost?  The cash spent to provide this type of sense of security can be used for something else.  If there are no symptoms of leg

 

 

 

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pain with walking, difficulty in breathing, or a history of mini stroke, then the chances of finding something requiring medical attention are rare.  My advice is to develop a trustworthy relationship with your physician and maintain updated preventive checkups.  Finally, before spending a few hundred dollars on these tests, think twice before committing your hard earned money.

From Pastor William D. Leitch

Through the four Sundays of August, we will hear God:

1.Give caution, instruction, and encouragement for all who are occasionally overwhelmed by the “unhappy business” of life.  Jesus urges us to take care and be on guard against all kinds of greed.  We understand Baptism as the beginning of our journey with Christ – focused on God’s will and not distracted by everything that flies at us in this world.

Jesus says:  Be on guard against greed; be rich toward God, your treasure.

2. God pleads with us and offers us His Kingdom/His perfect world. God kept His promise to Abraham, the early church, and He still keeps His promise to our “little flock” today.  We must trust God and accept the gift.  It is sad when folks do not trust and walk away from the gift.  It requires us to step out in  faith on this journey with God.

3. God challenges us on this journey. Sell all you have.  God gives you treasures in heaven.  How should    we do this and care for ourselves and our families as God would have us do?

4. God will challenge us. The word of God is a refining fire.  Jesus is the great divide in human history.  He invites our undivided attention and devotion.  Today, in the assembly, we are surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses”.  In the word and in the Holy Communion, we are invited yet again to look to Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith”.

This last Sunday of August is all about the theology of sanctification.  What is sanctification?  In the words of Dr. Mark Allen Powell, “Jesus will change you!”  We are saved by grace and when we truly accept that gift, we follow Christ and trust in Christ!

God’s word is like fire, like a hammer that breaks rocks.

None of us has such a thick shell around us that God cannot penetrate that barrier.  God can operate on all of us!

Finally, remember the Sabbath day.  Call the Sabbath a delight.  This is the Lord’s day, and the Lord will do for us what the Lord does:  feed us, forgive us, help, and heal us.  Rejoice at all the wonderful things God is doing.

Do not trample the Sabbath, but feed the hungry.

 Still, Jesus heals a crippled woman on the Sabbath and is condemned.

How do we gracefully reveal Christ and work together with Christ to change this world when we are condemned for following Christ?  Let’s walk this journey together and be changed.

 

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

 

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 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, August 8, in the Activity Room.  We will be making 4 cards.  The theme is “Pretty Posies Plus” 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, August 4.  If you have any questions, please contact Lynne Walters.

From the Mission Endowment Fund Committee Chairperson, Michael Taiclet

Greetings and blessings to all from MEF.  I hope everybody’s summer is continuing to go well.  I know I have been enjoying mine thus far.  Anyway, I would like to just remind you about our progress since our last meeting.  I am still pleased to announce that we have decided upon a 2019 MEF Award recipient.  I am still not announcing the name of the recipient.  However, mark your calendars!  I would like to remind you that the MEF Award Sunday will be on Sunday, October 13 (the second Sunday of October), in which the award will be presented at both services to a representative of the 2019 MEF Award recipient.  I would also like to remind you that we will be meeting again in November and I am still looking for names of any groups and/or organizations that could benefit from our award.  A list of possible candidates needs to be ready in time for our November meeting in order to approve them as possible candidates.  Once approved, we then can sent out the necessary paperwork and applications to these groups in order for them to return the application back in time for our meeting in April.  So, I am asking if you know of any groups and/or organizations, please let any member of the MEF Committee know (Michael Taiclet, Missy LaRock, Ronda Leitch, Tootie Rogers, Lamar Shoemaker, Pastor Bill).  You may also leave a note in the MEF mailbox if you would like.  Finally, I would like to ask if anyone is interested in joining the MEF to please contact any member of the MEF Committee.  Currently there is one vacant spot on the Committee and beginning next February there will be another vacant spot to fill.  This is due to term limits being reached.  The Committee meets only twice a year on a Thursday night.  We meet once in April and again in November.  We are flexible to working around schedules.  Currently, due to me being in Bell Choir, our starting time has changed to 6:15 pm and we usually meet for about an hour.  So please let us know if you are interested.