We all want to know the “why” questions of life. Our Christian faith explores the elements of the human condition. It attempts to expand and explain our existence. These three letters seem to unlock the mystery or the unknown. By asking “why” again and again we can continue to dive deeper with the next “why” to unlock mysteries we wish to have answers to?
However, there are times we are stopped at the crossroads of understanding and the “why” question cannot be answered. Christ the King is at such a crossroads as we have parted ways with our Director of Music Ministry. People desire understanding as emotions bubble to the surface, from confusion, to sadness, anger, and concern for how to move forward, especially during a global pandemic. It’s a lot to process, and it may take time. Christ is dwelling in each and every one of those emotions. As a community centered on Christ, we all cling to the cross as we feel what we feel. We’ll get through these times. Christ never promised a smooth path when he bids us “Follow me.” Just look to the earliest Christian communities who struggled with how to move forward or in many letters the Apostle Paul wrote in our New Testament scriptures.
As a practice for healthy community, and out of care and concern for those involved, issues and concerns with staff are kept close to the pastors, council president, and personnel team, rather than brought to the congregation. This is one of those cases where “why” remains unanswered. Your church leadership and pastors take seriously the important responsibility of protecting the individual and the church. Please be assured, no action was decided on by one person or in a moment of time to determine our path forward.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about God in our life together as Christ the King, it’s that God provides, time and again. God will provide us with another dynamic leader who will lead the music ministry forward. It may take time, but together in faith, through prayer, and the hope we cling to of a future in Jesus Christ. This we can do this. “Why,” because God is with us!
Christ’s Blessings & Peace,
On May 2nd, the Re-Entry Team met again to re-visit the current Christ the King Re-entry plan. We give thanks for these faithful servants who are wading through an abundance of data, guidelines, and opinions on how to safely move forward as a congregation. Their task is not an easy one, however their discussions are fueled by deep prayer and love for our neighbors.
Here are the updates they have to share with you all:
The re-entry team reviewed updated guidance from the CDC regarding safe activities for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and feel that everyone can safely attend outdoor worship services while following mitigation practices. Unfortunately, at this time - because the CDC's guidelines indicate that indoor activities with larger groups are not the safest thing to do, we don't feel we are ready to open up Indoor Worship, but do have the option to gather in small groups indoors at the church!
Summary of Updates:
At this time, the re-entry team would like you all to know that groups of 10 people or less are welcome to gather in one room at church. To reserve a room for your group, please contact Tina Kopiske, who is our Community Life Coordinator and scheduler extraordinaire!
So what does this mean for worship?
Beginning on Sunday, May 23rd Christ the King will begin our adventure into outdoor worship! As with online and parking lot worship, we'll need to grow into this, which may take a bit of time to really perfect. Here are things you can do for now to help us along:
Above all, the re-entry team and your Pastors want to reiterate that the sooner more people get vaccinated, the sooner we can move through our phases and return to indoor, in person worship. Together we can do this!
For more complete information on the re-entry plan, please visit our re-entry page.
The sun is 93 million miles away. Sunlight travels at the speed of light and takes, on average, 8 minutes and 20 seconds to travel from the sun to earth! However, some days, even though the sun is shining, we don’t see it because of clouds or some other atmospheric disturbance keeps it from us. Yet, it is there.
I John 5:12 says “Whoever has the Son has life.” Amen, to that! We have the Son through our baptisms. No matter what is happening in our lives, Jesus, the Son, is always shining in our lives! Sunday, we saw the beautiful sun shining and the Son shining on our Confirmation students as they affirmed their faith during the parking lot service! God sure has a way of sharing the best of the kingdom, even when circumstances aren’t the greatest.
Thank you, confirmation students, for another amazing year of learning about faith. Thank you for your resilient attitudes and display of affirming your baptisms. As you stepped out of your cars and publicly renounced everything to keeps you from God and you publicly yelled the affirmation of your faith in Jesus Christ! I can say, I’ve never imagined a service like that. But together, we did it and the Son provides.
It has been a delight to watch these youth grow in faith and life over the past years. Even though they are recognized as adults in the eyes of the church, they still need (as well all do) support and prayers from their parents, Godparents, families, and the people of CtK.
Take some time today to remember your baptism and remember your confirmation day. Share your story with others around you and remember the Son/Sun is always shining no matter what we face, to reveal God’s glory!
Christ's Easter Blessings & Peace,
On Monday evening we had our first State of the Church webinar of 2021!
If you missed it, check out the recording below. We encourage you to watch it in it's entirety, but if you have specific topics you wanted to hear about, here are some time stamps:
4:50 Building and Projection Updates
8:38 Worship Update
16:38 Faith Formation
19:29 Re-Entry Plan
33:35 Thank Yous
34:52 Q & A Session
48:27 Upcoming Events
51:29 Closing Remarks and Prayer
"The office of bishop is now committed to you in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
Let me tell you a little bit about the Holy Spirit's work as it played out here at Christ the King last week...
Well...actually, back in September the East Central Synod of Wisconsin elected our first female bishop during our online synod assembly. We had originally planned to have Bishop Anne's installation in early January, however the covid-19 surge that we were experiencing in the fall led us to postpone the service to April 11th, when it would be safer for bishops from other areas, including Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, to travel to this area.
Leading up to last Sunday the 11th, there was a LOT of work from very faithful people done. There was an installation team that was made up of pastors and lay leaders to plan all aspects of the installation, including the worship liturgy, the adornment of our sanctuary at Christ the King, and communicating with both the churchwide office and our local congregations on all the details.
Up until last week, it was all planning, but as soon as Monday hit, the pieces were moving quickly. One of the most remarkable things to witness was the transformation of our sanctuary. For the last several weeks, the installation team had been gathering fabric from congregations throughout the synod. As fabric piled up here at Christ the King we had NO idea what the intention was with it. However, when Pastor Leah (Good Shepherd, Plover) and Pastor Sara (St. John, Marion) showed up on Tuesday, the piles of fabric were slowly transformed into the beautifully adorned wall you saw in worship. Some pieces of fabric came with notes, others came with stories, and all of it from the congregations were combined to show a beautiful representation of our synod coming together to surround Bishop Anne during her installation. Later in the day, Pastors Leah and Sara found they were weary and called for some reinforcements. With a quick phone call and without question, faithful folks of Christ the King showed up to help hang the beautiful arrangements of fabric.
Then there was the video and production piece....WOWZA what a team effort! All music and videos were coordinated by Dr. Kartika Putri who is the music minister up at Good Shepherd in Wausau. Throughout the last month she has been sending me videos of the hymns, which were sung by representatives from throughout the synod. In addition to those hymns, I was also receiving videos from pastors who were serving as readers, as well as photos for the virtual processional, AND our visual storyteller, Sue Wendler, was working tirelessly on powerpoint slides and the paper bulletin for the local worshippers.. ALLL of these pieces, were then passed to one of our CtK producers, Brent Schuettpelz, who sorted, organized, and rehearsed everything you saw on your screens on Sunday, AS WELL AS everything we saw locally in the sanctuary. The time and energy put in by Kartika, Sue, and Brent was a wonderful gift to the synod!
Fast forward to Sunday. Ya'll....the JOY in the room. One by one, bishops from other ELCA synods and leaders of other denominations arrived at Christ the King. Bishop Eaton, who is the presiding bishop of the ELCA came as well, as it is her ministry to install bishops of synods. It's the most people we'd had in the building at one time (15) in over a year, and it felt SO good. There were masked, long distanced hugs, there were people greeting one another from different rooms, and the whole time we all did our best to abide by Christ the King's re-entry plan.
If you had a chance to watch it, the worship service speaks for itself. The Gospel was proclaimed, a fire was lit in the baptismal font, and our Bishop Anne was installed. JOY! JOY! JOY!
After worship we filed outside to take photos and to admire the port-a-pulpit. I didn't get a photo of it, but let me tell you...it was quite the sight to see Pastor Nate explaining to a handful of bishops, including Bishop Eaton, how we use the port-a-pulpit, and to see the amazement on their faces.
I could truly go on and on about what a BIG and Holy day it was on Sunday, but I won't. What I will say however is that Holy Spirit was for surely present, and God's love was alive and kickin' here indeed!
Peace be the journey,
National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is April 16, always the day after Tax Day as there is nothing more certain in life than death
and taxes (Benjamin Franklin). NHDD is a national initiative to encourage people of all ages to share their personal wishes regarding
their future medical care, and for healthcare teams and facilities to respect those wishes whatever they may be.
Next week Fox Valley Advanced Care Planning Partnership (FVACPP) is sponsoring a series of conversations to share information pertaining to Healthcare decision making. They include presentations from a medical doctor, an attorney, and individuals with
expertise in cancer and hospice care. Click on the link below where you can find out more information and how to
Wisconsin, unlike many states, is not a "next of kin" or "family consent" state for adults - Wisconsin law does not
authorize family members (except for hospice admissions) to make decisions for incapacitated adult family
members. Visit Fox Valley Advance Care Planning Partnership at www.FVACPP.org for information on opportunities
to fill out an Advance Care DIrective and resources to start these conversions with your family.
For more information contact Julie Meitzen <email@example.com>
Welcome to Holy Week! The deepest, darkest days for Jesus. We find Jesus’ teaching lessons of servanthood while washing the disciple’s feet, breaking bread, and blessing wine for a new understanding of the Passover meal our holy communion, and sharing love, forgiveness, and grace for all to be welcomed. Three days after his death, the disciples and many followers of Jesus awoke with grief, confusion, fear, impatience, and many other emotions.
Is resurrection possible?
How can a dead Savior live?
Is resurrection possible?
What is the new normal going look like?
We know the rest of the story. Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! It was hard to stay vigilant, faithful, or even believe. Thankfully, in the resurrection, Jesus shows up. Jesus is present. Jesus continues to walk and talk and share the glory of God’s Kingdom and encourage people to believe. Human life and history are changed forever!
Easter 2021 – emotions are high, human life and history is changed forever by the Coronavirus pandemic! What will our new normal look like when we gather for activities and worship? How will faith be lived out and shared? What have we learned? How have we changed? How has God shown up and walked alongside to give us a new perspective? How do we care for and understand our neighbor? The sick? The vulnerable?
As a congregation we have not taken life nor faith for granted. We prepare every day for the ‘New Normal’. Remain prayerful, steadfast, resilient. There will be a day we will move from virtual meeting and parking lot worship to in person gathering for worship.
CtK’s Re-entry Team, a cross-section of people from the congregation, has worked hard to understand from a theological and from a safety perspective to prepare for in person gatherings and worship. A new perspective. We do understand we cannot flip a switch and suddenly open like the ‘old normal.’ It is out of concern for everyone that we have an updated the Plan of Re-entry. If you have not seen the prepared YouTube video or the documents that state this on our website, please take a few moments and review them on the links below.
Easter in Jesus day and Easter today bring about a ‘new normal’. Let us remain faithful and vigilant in the power of Jesus resurrection. When we do this, we see God’s love come to life and understand all are welcome. Let us prepare everyday like it is Easter!
Happy Holy Week,
"RING THOSE BELLS!" we excitedly yelled.
"ONE STEP CLOSER!" we called.
These shouts were just a couple that were proclaimed over the last month and a half as the Christ the King Re-Entry Team met.
This collection of faithful servants from our congregation teamed up to consider when and how we will gather together again in person. Each time the team completed work on each ministry area, they rang a cow bell, played handheld instruments, and did a cheer.
This team is a way God's love has come to life at Christ the King recently. Through prayerful consideration, thorough analysis of data from Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services, and some tough conversations, this team has developed a plan for re-entering into in-person gathering. All of that was done with a love for our neighbors and care for our congregation in mind.
I'll leave it to the team to share their exciting work in an announcement this Sunday as part of worship, so stay tuned to get their full update coming soon!
Peace be the journey,
Thank you, people of CtK for your faithful response! At Christ the King (CtK) we put benevolent giving first! “Taking care of others before ourselves," it just what we do shared one parishioner. The spiritual discipline of stewardship and caring for our neighbor is something we take seriously at CtK! Thank you for your commitment to the Ministry Spending Plan (MSP) and response to God’s blessings.
I share this thank you because we recently received a thank you letter from the Executive Director of LEAVEN (Limited Emergency Assistance Valley Ecumenical Network), Mary Parsons. Here is what the letter said:
Coretta Scott King said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” Her words, while spoken years ago, aptly describe the Fox Valley area today. The outpouring of support during these unprecedented times has affirmed the strength and character of our community.
Your gift of $1,105 is helping a growing number of people who need LEAVEN assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your generosity is stabilizing individuals and families who were already struggling to make ends meet before the outbreak, as well as those seeking assistance for the very first time.
Whether it’s an everyday crisis or a widespread disaster, LEAVEN is her to help. But we could not do it without donors lie you who rise to the occasion and give with your heart. As an organization, we are confident that we will look back at this difficult time with immense pride in how we individually and collectively responded.
A penned note also said, “Thank you for your generous support. Your gift gives help and hope to our neighbors in need.”
Thank you for your commitment of making a real difference in the lives of people, our neighbors, who are in need! Your faithful giving is one way the ministry of CtK is bringing God’s love to life!
Ugh, we have reached a year of pandemic! I hear lament around me.
Lament Psalms are the expression of pain, distress, and suffering. None of us is immune from encountering such experiences. We all can relate and lament of the tiresome, dragging on of the pandemic. Glimmers of hope seem illusive.
I don’t have the answers, at least, not with an exact date or time. However, I am hopeful! Because I see the numbers headed in the right direction. Vaccinations are becoming more available. There are better days ahead! Continue to let your resilience, patience and adaptability abound. The day is coming. Let us be ready.
My dear friends in Christ, there is Good News! As we see declining numbers of new cases for COVID. Vaccinations are on the rise. A team of CtK lay people are making plans for in person gathering and for in person worship. That, of course, assumes the trend we are on continues to move in a positive direction.
With prayer and planning, this team considers the path forward with everyone’s interest and safety at hand. A phased approach will be necessary to ease into worship life and communal living. We cannot expect to flip a switch, however we will slowly return. Remain faithful. Remain positive. Remain hopeful and remain accepting of the possibilities for what newness comes out of our experienced pandemic to face each day that is provided by God. Very soon the plan to return to in person worship and gathering with bee shared in our weekly Constant Contact e-newsletter and on our website. God’s love is coming to life! You can do this. We can do this together 😊
Christ’s Lenten Blessings & Peace,