PONDERINGS from Pastor Juli
This is no time to be afraid!
I have a vivid memory of our family hunkered down in a basement room with candles at the ready while we listened to the sirens warning of a tornado. The skies were treacherous, and the wind was whipping the trees. Rain pelted the house, and everything had an eerie feeling to it. Our girls were young at the time, and Coryn was especially affected by the storm. She paced, she questioned, she settled briefly and then started it all over again. She could not find calm and her fear was palpable. I called her to me and wrapped my arms around her. I told her the story about a storm that the disciples had been in on the Sea of Galilee.
Storms could spring up quickly on the lake, severe storms that could easily and quickly fill a boat so that it would capsize. The disciples struggled mightily against the storm, and they were afraid that their boat would be overwhelmed by the wind and the rains. They were in great danger. They were afraid but they were also angry. Jesus was asleep in the boat and he seemed not to be affected at all by the storm’s intensity which rocked the boat violently, Finally, the disciples’ panic could be contained no longer and they woke Jesus – questioning him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus arose and spoke a word that caused the storm to subside and calm returned. I reminded Coryn that in the same way that Jesus had been present with the disciples in their storm, he was present with us in the storm we were facing. We didn’t have to be afraid, because we trusted that Jesus was with us, and keeping watch over us. My reassurance seemed to calm her, and soon the storm passed! I don’t think I ever told her that the story I told her was as much for me as it was for her. I needed to be reminded that no matter what fears I had, I could trust that Jesus was with me – to calm the storm, to bolster my courage, to dispel my fear.
It would be easy to become caught up in fear in these current days in our world. A pandemic continues its relentless hold of our world with deaths occurring each day, and new surges and outbreaks reported like a steady drumbeat in our daily news. There is unrest in the face of racial tensions and violence not only in our country but around the globe. We long for conversations and solutions, but right now we feel helpless, and fear grips us. We are coming into a political season that will play on our fears and the options various candidates will present as solutions to those fears.
But this is no time to be afraid. Though all these storms rage around us, Jesus is still with us – still speaking a word of comfort and hope, still speaking a word of promise and peace. Jesus is still with us – to calm those storms, to reassure us that we will never be alone when we put our trust in him. Jesus brings hope where hope seems impossible. Jesus brings calm where raging storms seems to have the upper hand. Jesus brings light where it seems impossible that light could shine. And Jesus bring life to everything that is dead. This is no time to be afraid – because Jesus is with us, and Jesus has a way of working together all things for good. We do not know what the future holds – but this is no time to be afraid – because we believe that Jesus holds the future. From this fearful time, I believe that God is preparing a new thing – and Jesus is leading us to be bold and courageous, trusting that he is with us now in our uncertainty as we ride the pitching waves and swirling winds even as he is with us as we move forward in faith. This is no time to be afraid – this is a time to tell the story of Jesus’ presence in the storm.
Introducing our new Bishop-Elect Amy Odgren
At the recent Synod Assembly of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod held on August 28 and 29, 2020, the Rev. Amy Odgren was elected on the fifth ballot as the new bishop of our synod. Pastor Odgren has been serving as the Assistant to the Bishop and DEM in our synod since 2016. In an interview question regarding what gifts she brings to the office of bishop, Pastor Odgren replied: “Rooted in the Gospel, I trust in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. I find joy in asking ”what if” questions and imagining how God might be using gifts in advancing God’s mission in new ways. I focus on potential, having the ability to see both the big picture and understand the details necessary to make it a reality. I am courageous and adept at fostering a culture of change through innovation, leadership development and cultivating new practices. I possess administrative and organizational skills; managing budgets and multiple projects, facilitating strategic planning and meeting deadlines. I persevere in the face of conflict and complexity Collaborative by nature, I see connections between people, ideas and resources, often I creative ways. I love working on teams. I’m resilient, resourceful ad able to speak hard truths while pointing to hope. I am a curious life-long learner with stick-to-it determination. An empathetic pastor, I also have a good sense of humor.”
Bishop-Elect Odgren is the fourth bishop of our synod following predecessors, Roger Munson, Peter Strommen, and Tom Aitken. Congratulations!!
- Meeting with Nurses September 2 at 9:30 (in person at church)
- Finance Committee September 8 at 9:30 (in person at church
- Council September 16 at 9:30 a.m. (in person at church)
- Parking Lot Service: September 6 and 20 at 9 a.m. (ZOOM also available)
- Prayer Group and Bible Study: (every Friday -- available in person AND on Zoom)
- Lutheran Coffee every Tuesday (except 9/8) via ZOOM at 9:30
- Midweek Connection every Wednesday via ZOOM at noon
Pending for calendar
With the opening of church for small groups under 20, the Men’s Crew and WELCA may
resume in-person gatherings following policy protocols. Please check with your group leader or Pastor Juli for information on when those groups may be meeting.
Some cancellations to note
- Garrison Seniors are not currently meeting at the church until further notice.
- for your generous gifts for the Food Shelf. A recent thank you note from the Garrison Area Caregivers stated: “On behalf of the volunteers at Garrison Area Caregivers, we thank you for your continuous support and contribution to our Food Shelf. Your gifts are greatly appreciated and needed!”
- for your gift of school supplies for children returning to school. Awesome!
- for your continued strong financial support for our congregations! Your gifts are greatly appreciated.
- for the lawn mowing crews and garden tenders.
- Caryle Crandall – for continuing to take care of the bookkeeping responsibilities.
- Bobbie Germanson & Linda Augustson and money counters who are making sure your offerings “count”.
- for all the ways that you are taking care of each other. Your phone calls, cards, and acts of caring toward each other are vital in this time when we are not able to gather together.
CHURCH OPENING FOR SMALL GROUPS
Beginning on August 1, the church will be open for groups of under 20 participants. Certain protocols must be observed in order for groups to gather safely. Pleasereview the policy included below to ensure that your group can meet safely and is able comply with the policy. If you and your group are planning to meet, please coordinate this with Pastor Juli to ensure that the church will be open.
LOC Preparedness Policy
For Small Groups (under 20 participants)
Beginning August 1, 2020
During this period when we are dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and our church remains closed for large group gatherings, we are presenting the following guidelines for the use of our building for church activities for groups of under 20 participants. The church remains closed to any outside groups at this time.
If you are sick with anything that could be transmitted to others (colds, flu, covid-19, etc.), please stay home.
1. Groups may use either the fellowship hall or the sanctuary. We discourage the use of both rooms by any single group. Choose the room which will best fit your needs. The Fellowship Hall is set up with only two chairs at each table to maintain physical distancing requirements. Distancing requirements would also apply to the Sanctuary.
2. It is the requirement inside the building that masks are worn.
3. Temperatures checks will be required upon entry into the building and must be within a range of 97-100.
4. No food or beverages will be allowed – either prepared on-site or brought in.
5. Bathroom protocols must be observed as posted:
- one occupant in the bathroom at a time
- utilize hand sanitizer before using bathroom
- wash hands after using the bathroom
- wipe down hard surfaces in bathroom with wipes
6. One person in the group must keep track of attendance in the event that contact tracing needs to be utilized. Provide the list to Pastor Juli at the conclusion of your meeting.
7. At the conclusion of the meeting, tables must be wiped down with sanitizing solution. Janitor will be notified that you have met so that she can follow-up with cleaning.
8. If you become infected with covid-19, please inform pastor so contact tracing can be utilized to inform and quarantine others.