This coming Sunday, the Lutheran Church of the Wilderness located in Bowler, Wisconsin has graciously offered to provide worship to the congregations of the East Central Synod of Wisconsin with Native American Elements. The Church of the Wilderness is a congregation made of the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohicans.
We are excited to offer this worship service to you through our blog this week!
In our Lutheran understanding you have heard it said, “We are being made new each day.” By God’s love and by God’s grace, no matter what happened yesterday or the week or the year before, God is making us new today. Welcoming that freshness is a perspective that takes time to learn. When you can embrace it, there is a sense that nothing can keep you from God, although everything is trying hard to pull you away from God. It is in this ‘being made new’ that we have the opportunity to dream of how our staffing needs can meet the needs of our growing ministry. Even during a pandemic, it is amazing to see how God is at work within our congregation to embrace technology and in another week install the projection system (Aug 17-21). God’s newness, freely given to us, gives us space to dream, to reevaluate and to recast the positions for our changing ministry.
I am delighted to share with you the new hiring of one of our own, Sue Wendler, as our Visual Storyteller! Sue and her family have been long time members and are very active in the life of CtK. I am grateful for that, but I am also grateful for the what God has been doing in Sue’s life. A graphic designer, substitute teacher, and many other hats she wears have been shaping and molding her with skills and wisdom for such a time as this to be our Visual Storyteller. This position will be a work in progress as we embrace a new and enhanced way to worship at CtK. Thank you, Sue for answering the call and we look forward to your gifts and skills to help us see God’s love coming to life at CtK!
I am also delighted to share with you that we have hired Dane Casanova as our new Custodian. Dane much like Sue has had a rich work experience that has prepared him for the newly developed responsibilities to care for our building(s) and the many people we welcome to CtK. Dane is looking forward to retirement in the new year but knows he will need to keep active. This position will allow him to keep active, while serving the Lord. Thank you, Dane for answering the call to serve!
I never know where, how or who God will provide, but I am delighted to introduce these two CtK members who look forward to serving you. We are being made new at CtK where God’s love comes to life!
Continue to be well and stay safe.
Christ’s Blessings & Peace,
A cheerful heart is good medicine
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Have you heard the latest legislation? Lawmakers want to make the racoon the official mascot for the year 2020! Why? Because racoons:
All kidding aside, the first full week of August is declared National Clown Week!
I give thanks for the clowning ministry that has been a part of CtK’s history for many years! I also give thanks for Denise Barnaal who continues to hone her craft by going to clown school and is willing to share her trade with anyone who is interested. Denise has a few different personalities, or I mean names that she goes by. The picture here is “Dr. Belle E. Button.” You have seen Dr. Belle E. Button, Chief of Navel Operations in worship and at events like our church picnic or places in our community like Rennes Health & Rehab Center. No matter where the doctor goes, she brings a smile to every face and cheer to every heart.
In all seriousness, legislation was passed, and President Nixon declared on August 2, 1971 National Clown Week to be held in the US. In fact, it has grown to be an international week for clowns! President Nixon said, “Today, as always, clowns and the spirit they represent are vital to the maintenance of our humanity.” Folklore says the heart of a clown is sad, and that all the gladness a clown provokes is simply a facade for the pain they cannot reveal to the world. Actually, a clown leaves happiness wherever they go and takes misery away with them.
Thank you, Dr. Belle E. Button, for taking away the difficulties and misery, even for just a few moments, so that we can laugh and smile and see God’s love come to the life!
Be safe & be well!
Christ's Blessings & Peace,
Christ the King is feeling the effects of a power surge! Extra current pulsed into our building last Saturday 7.18.20 after a car struck a utility pole at the intersection of Washington & Kennedy. In this case a power surge was bad. Many breakers were tripped to protect the building, one surge protector was fried but it saved our phone system and answering system electronics! However, our WiFi box was the most serious casualty! Fortunately, we have plans to upgrade the system when projection is installed in early to mid-August. All the components were ordered and are ready to be installed. We hope to have it up and running by August 2 if not earlier. The upside to this loss is a better connection to our WiFi. The downside is that we cannot livestream from church and staff have been working from home until the repairs are completed
I see the effects of other kinds of power surges happening at CtK. Don’t worry, these are the good kind! I am reminded of the great book written by Rev. Michael Foss Power Surge: 6 Marks of Discipleship. He lays out the benefits of church members who can be engaged in these six faithful practices:
Even in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic, I see many people being engaged in these faithful surges of power! The CtK calling tree was established to reach out to other members to be sure they are okay physically and spiritual. Thank you to many of you who are reaching out and connecting with our siblings in Christ. I have also heard countless stories of how you have raised the spirits of someone through kindness, making a meal for another family, sharing a smile, helping a neighbor, or even putting signs in somebodies yard to celebrate the milestones of life. In addition, I see the power of Jesus Christ surging as people in worship share messages of peace and greetings to the CtK family. Life is not easy. Pandemic life is not easy. We all are in this together and together we will get through. God’s love comes to life everyday through the people of CtK and it is amazing to hear and see! Keep it up! Remain committed to these six practices of discipleship. Or if this is new to you commit yourself to a few of them and add another practice when you are ready. Either way we will continue to see a church surging in ways that shares love and gives life.
Miss you all! Be well and be safe!
Christ’s blessings and peace,
There's a buzz in the air within this synod, and you are part of that! Earlier this week Crossways shared this update on the $50,000 Challenge campaign that was started with your generosity.
Remember that big $50,000 tithe we used to issue a challenge to the churches and individuals of our synod to help Crossways raise a total of $100,000? So far, they have successfully raised $41,760, which means they have just a small way to go to reach $50,000! Once they hit that number and raise a total of $100,000, they will be able to bring their staff back from furlough to pick up where things left off, and to get prepped for the fall.
There's a saying I heard recently that says, "generosity begets generosity." This challenge has shown us how the Holy Spirit works within people's hearts to inspire giving and sharing of resources when they see others doing the same. I know I am amazed at how the churches and individuals have responded to be part of the generosity that was shared by you.
THAT is God's love coming to life not just here at Christ the King but throughout the synod and beyond!
This past Wednesday, July 8th we had our 3rd State of the Church webinar. Watch the replay below to get all the updates, here's some time stamps so you can see when we talk about each topic:
Faith Formation- 4:00
Building & Projection Updates- 12:04
CtK Calling Tree- 13:57
When will we gather in person? - 21:45
March 11th. March 11th was the last time we were able to gather for worship. It's been 113 days. We miss you all, and we've heard from many of you that you are missing the CtK community as well. We hear you, and we want you to know that we (your pastors and council) are discussing ways for us to safely be together.
Despite the fact that we've been apart for so long, God's love has STILL been coming to life through all of you and through our beloved faith community! See the picture of that happy kid to the left? That's Billie....and she's beaming in that photo because a ministry of this congregation -- King's Tools -- built her that shiny new ramp back in early June.
Wheelchair life was relatively new to Billie and her family back in June. Though Billie was flourishing and growing into it nicely, her family was still having some troubles getting around home with it, and saw the need for some adaptations. After exchanging a few emails, we quickly realized that King's Tools would be able to help out with building a ramp to make entry into their house much easier for Billie and her family. Within a week, Billie's mom was able to take this photo and send it to us here in the office noting, "We are so excited about this ramp!! The wheelchair sets Billie up to be at her best-- I can't wait to share her more with the world." The truth is, WE can't wait for Billie's gifts and love to shine in the world either! Because of the ministry of King's Tools, Billie is going to be able to thrive and more fully share her gifts with the world! THAT, my friends, is how God's love is coming to life!
Curious about King's Tools? It's this great ministry we have at Christ the King that consists of a group of people who like to build and fix things. They have a mission of serving ALL God's people who might need assistance with a project, regardless of church membership. If you're interested in learning more about the work they do, or if you'd like to join the group, give us a call here at church and we can get you connected with Jim, their faithful group leader!
Peace be the journey,
(Thank you Judy Deckert for sharing this springtime reflection that gives hope.)
On a sunny morning, God comes alive in rainbows released in my living room. Sunlight refracted by crystal crosses dance in colorful display. My heart skips a beat in gratitude for the new day. Early morning, I wonder, 'How will God color in the days canvas?'
Outside it is Springtime. Shades of green dominate with punctuation of dandelion yellow. Purples pause perennially as crocus, iris and at last lilacs appear Peonies pop Riotous colors shout, 'Come out, come out. Come out and play, God is alive!'
On a dreary drippy day there are no crayon colored fireworks. However, it is somber gray, dark clouds, weighing heavy. My spirits start to sink, and I think about God coming alive in gloom and crisis. I remember an age-old promise of another time in history, when the wayward world was flooded, a few were sheltered in place, and reopening was done in stages. Many people died, disregarding the warnings. The few who heeded God's directive were ridiculed. Yet they labored on, counting, and measuring according to God's master plan in saving the world.
After the flood, God established a covenant and sealed it with a sign, a spectrum of color, a rainbow. God made a promise with Noah and sons, as well as all future generations not to flood the earth again. This covenant is universal and inclusive. People of all color, names, places, and times are included. Every living creature, every animal of the earth is included. All of us are precious to God and are a part of this covenant of protection and promise.
During this pandemic of historic proportions, God comes alive in a new covenant set forth in Christ Jesus. No matter what storms batter our small boat, or flood our fragile lives, Jesus is our "Rainbow coming around the bend... He comes to us as we enliven hope in others through calls and notes. He comes alive as we gather online for worship, bible and book study, coffee hour. He colors our lives with mercy and grace and empowers us to be the colors of the rainbow, setting hearts free to be the people of God. Jesus is our sign that God is with us, the Spirit presenting prisms of opportunity to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. Stay safe. Stay well. Stay home.
And when I see you happy. Well, it sets my heart free. "I'd like to be as good a friend to you, as you are to me." (song, Open the Door, Judy Collins)
During these turbulent times with caution and disconnection and inequity front and center in our lives, we may feel helpless at times desiring to be more involved in our world as followers of Jesus. What that looks like for each of us is different as God has blessed us all with different gifts. It could look like random asks of kindness for our neighbors, knitting prayer shawls for families dealing with the grief of suicide, serving meals, buying groceries, financial support for non profits serving the marginalized in our communities, supporting changes to our systems that promote injustice by our words and action (signing letters of support for new laws, joining a march supporting awareness and action for change).
It is a challenge set before us, like the curtain torn at Christ’s crucifixion, injustice and suffering exposed; unhidden. May you continue in prayer and action. This walk of faith may look different now but these times are calling us to see the resurrected Christ and be present in our world as his followers now more than ever.
WELCA (Women of the ELCA) currently has an opportunity available to serve from the comfort of our homes. Below is the link to a sign-on letter that advocates for immigrants and refugees. It calls for changes to policies that are causing harm to fellow human beings. If you would like to serve by signing your name, you can do so by clicking here.