Are theological scientists a thing? I don't really know, but if they are-- I feel like all of us at Christ the King are those right now.
The church is changing-- can you feel it?
There's been a handful of changes in the world around us in the last year, and now-- as a church--we have been changing and experimenting right along with it.
It occurred to me this week that we are in a time of conducting a string of holy experiments. When we do a science experiment, we take a bunch of different variables, we make a hypothesis, we adapt and edit to what we think will get us the most desirable outcome, and when we implement we see what happens. Sometimes we like what we see as the end product, sometimes we have some tweaks to make. No matter the outcome, EVERY SINGLE EXPERIMENT starts with the words, "I wonder..."
I'm not going to say that EVERYTHING about our re-entry after the pandemic has felt like one big Holy Experiment, but it's safe to say that a good chunk of it has....
Wednesday worship- We've had the joy of experimenting with new worship styles. We've done dinner church in an online format, but we weren't sure what it would look like in an in-person format. Now we've had a go at it with two more opportunities this summer! Worship around a campfire-- what happens when we gather around this element for a time of song and word? Worship where we learn about something new through speakers--how is the Holy Spirit speaking through voices other than the pastors'? All of these are Holy Experiments where we are seeing where the spirit could be leading us!
Worship Technology- Let me tell you-- this is one HUGE Holy Experiment. There's LOTS of variables we are working with between the in-person technology and the livestream technology. Each week we are making subtle changes and adjustments to our recipe, and each week is leading to an outcome that is just *slightly* closer to what we are envisioning.
TikTok- We're on TikTok now! TikTok is a social media platform that is all based on video. This is a full-out Holy Experiment...will it gain steam? What will it look like a month from now? We'll see!!
So my question for you my dear siblings in Christ is this-- what are you wondering about right now? What Holy Experiments are you longing to see our church do at this time?
Will you wonder alongside us?
Peace be the journey,
Just for fun...here's a little peek at our first installment of our TikTok Experiment...
I want you to meet Ruby A Flodin. She is no longer on her earthly journey, but she leaves a rich legacy of stewardship. She generously used her pantry, and whatever she had, to supply an abundance of nourishment, help and love to friends and strangers alike. Today, Ruby’s generous heart is honored by creating a ministry with the same value — taking the resources God has entrusted us with and turning them into that which supports families and communities through Ruby’s Pantry.
Ruby’s Pantry has been serving communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin for over 18 years, with donated overstocked food. It is a faith based non-profit organization that allows families to stretch their grocery dollar. With each $20 donation, guests receive an abundant share of food valued between $150-$200. There are no income or resident limits/requirements, and you can attend a Pop-Up Pantry at any city/state location.
Would you like to volunteer? A new Ruby’s Pantry site is being established in downtown Appleton as a community partnership. Christ the King is one of those partners in ministry. The Pop-Up Ruby’s Pantry will be located at First English Lutheran Church (downtown site) and they need volunteers from about 3:30-6:30pm for the first night, August 3. This Pop-Up Ruby’s Pantry will serve the community every first Tuesday of the month. Sign up to help by using this link https://www.rubyspantry.org/become-volunteer
If you would like to be a lead person, there are a couple of positions that need to be filled - https://www.felc.com/rubyspantry or by contacting Deni Kuchler 920.358.0554 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Deni will also be joining us for worship Wednesday June 30, 6:30pm of how God spoke to her about beginning this ministry to serve our community.
This is one of CtK’s ministry action items to eventually start a Ruby’s Pantry, but in the meanwhile we will serve generously like Ruby and bring God’s love to life!
Christ's Blessings & Peace,
The beginning of June has been all about living into new patterns for life and worship at Christ the King. Not only have we begun to gather indoors for Sunday worship, but we have also begun our new summer worship schedule that the congregation voted on in our January annual meeting. With the incoming of the summer season, we are now hosting one in-person, indoors worship service on Sunday mornings, and one in-person, outdoors service on Wednesday evening.
On Wednesday, June 9th we had our second outdoor service, and this week we were on our campfire worship service night. Y'all....it was like the kingdom of God was in the here and now. Admittedly, worship itself wasn't theologically profound, but here's what was particularly beautiful about it...
The gathering of people- for many of those who gathered, it was the first time they had been in any kind of in-person worship setting in over a year. There were familiar faces, there were face that had aged a touch, there were smiling faces, and they were all together safely IN PERSON.
The sacredness and joy of baptism- part of our worship service included a remembrance of baptism. Worshippers came to the font and retrieved a sponge to drip water on those in their households and remind them of their baptism. This included a 3 year old (who was THRILLED to be back at church!) dribbling some water on a 92 year old with dementia and reminding him of his baptism. That 92 year old's response: "I remember, I'll remember." Later in worship, once the bowl had to be moved for the curious children present, a 2 year old showed us the complete joy of baptismal life by rejoicing in the refreshing living water through jumping in the bowl and having a seat. If all that's not a little glimpse of heaven, then I don't know what is.
Saints and servants of all ages- I think one of my favorite things about being church together is the gathering of people of all ages to love and serve God. We all come with different gifts and skills, and when we can share those gifts and skills with the community, it's a joy. Having one of our older adults run home to get wood for us to burn, and seeing a teenager work with a familiar adult to build a fire together-- THAT'S what serving the community looks like. Nobody asked ahead of time, but these individuals saw a need and stepped up to serve. For their gifts we give so much thanks!
Y'all- it was SO GOOD to be together again. Worship going forward is going to be different, because we as a community and we as individuals are different. There are some things that got lost during the pandemic that might not come back. But what HASN'T changed, is the incredible way that God is working through our community to remind us that we are beloved children of God, woven together by the power of the Holy Spirit. For that we sing and shout ALLELUIA!
Woo hoo! We had our first in-person worship service Sunday, June 6! We all have yearned for this day. Our patience and our practice of safe living has paid off. 81 people were in attendance and many others participated virtually. What a joy to hear people talking, see familiar faces (and some new ones) and interact with people in the liturgy. People of all ages were gathered, and I especially loved to hear and see the children moving around.
Our first in-person worship was also our first real test of how the newly installed projection system works. Some of you asked, “Where are the bulletins?” A volunteer responded, “We don’t have any, because the whole worship service is on screen.” “Huh wow,” was the response. Life together will have some new realities. Our tech people and volunteers were asked to do new things. We all are learning. In the coming weeks, you will see some tweaks of how we welcome people and how the worship service will look as we figure out flow, camera angles and other needs for worship. I give thanks for your patience and understanding. I give thanks for the Re-entry Team and their work to keep people safe, while balancing how to re-enter.
Life together is so important. No one could have imagined that we would not be gathered physically in-person, for 64 weeks or 14.5 months! Fortunately, CtK had been doing virtual worship for about three years prior to the pandemic. Thanks be to God that we were able to use our livestreaming abilities and equipment to continue to worship virtually and never miss a beat.
For now, was ask people during worship to continue to mask and distance. When we gather and have mixed ages of children and adults, we care for one another by practicing safety measures to show that we care and to walk together until everyone has had the opportunity to be vaccinated. Thank you for your continued patience and for the adjustments we make so that we can all share life together.
Life together will take some time to figure out, but in the meanwhile, continue to think about other people, their situations and be open to the ways God calls us to be safe, show love and welcome one another. We will get there and with God’s help we continue to be faithful and minister in such ways as we could have never imagined.
Christ’s Blessings & Peace,
[my standard line about this is "My daughter will periodically say to me "dad, you are such a tool" which I have only recently come to understand may not be the compliment I thought it was.]
The King's Tools is a small group ministry within our church that offers help to people when they need it. It may be with home repairs or yard work or cleaning and organizing but it is help they might not be able to get elsewhere. We are available to anyone, church member or not. We offer help and hope to those in need.
A recent project was for a family in Neenah. Never met them before and are not church members but they were referred to us by another organization who was unable to help them The husband/father had died in November after being under the care of his wife for the past 7 years. She is now suffering from a significant medical event of her own which limits her mobility. We replaced both front and back exterior steps to correct structural issues that made it unsafe for her to enter or exit her home.
We exist as a resource for our pastors to turn to when they receive calls from people in need. . If we are notified of a situation that might benefit from our attention, we assess the scope of work, put together a schedule and budget and then send out an email call for help to the members on the Tool's list. If someone is able to help, they reply as such. If they can't help, they do nothing and wait for the next email with notice of work to come out.
Two things about that. We are at a dangerously small number of willing Tools members. Please contact the church office if you are interested in hearing more about this ministry. Also, we don't charge for work done and often provide materials as well. As such we need a level of financial support to allow this work to go forward. If so moved, you may donate to the Tools designated funds account at church.
To serve is this way doesn't always take a lot of effort by any one person but it often makes an enormous difference in the lives of those being served. This is a very hands on way to show Christ's love to others.