Love Everyone, always
July 7, 2021 (Time in Pandemic: 1 Year, 3 Months, 3 Weeks, 1 Day)
Sisters and Brothers in Christ!
For many months now, there has been considerable conversation at Incarnation about the Anchor Church movement in the ELCA. In recent days, since the council approved this new mission emphasis for our church, a good deal more interest has arisen, and we are happy to begin to share how this new mission may involve us all.
The parable of the Good Samaritan to which I made reference in my newsletter from June 24, is truly apropos for understanding what we’re looking at here. We are seeing “in the flesh” as it were, a congregation in need of help. We could simply ignore what we are seeing and pass on by, as others before us have done;…or we can help. I am firmly convinced that God doesn’t put anything in front of us to which he doesn’t expect us to respond. We have the privilege of serving here, because we’ve been abundantly blessed. We are called to serve because we can and we should. (If you haven’t already done so, please read my newsletter from June 24, for some introductory thoughts on Anchor Church)!
Some have asked what we can expect to receive from our anchor church partner. That is a perfectly reasonable question, and one to which I might answer: a relationship! The Good Samaritan got nothing from the man he helped. He helped because he was blessed enough to know that he could and should be God’s hands and feet in the world. All of that said, it may well be true that what that Good Samaritan did gain from the man who had been beaten, was a relationship. Similarly, we too stand to gain in friendship and relationship with a group of God’s children, to whom we might be of service. And that’s not all!
In practical terms, there will be a contribution to ILC (in which the Pacifica Synod is also participating), of $40,000 per annum. But insofar as this contribution essentially covers the cost of the minimal time it will require of staff, it is not a fundamental consideration. This is for two reasons. First, this is not primarily or even essentially a “for service” enterprise. We are called to help, because there is a need and we blessed in ways that make it absolutely possible for us to help. Also, the help that we hope to provide, isn’t just a one person activity, whose service needs to be reimbursed, but rather (it is hoped) an outpouring of support from all manner of people in ILC, willing to serve and to help and to embrace the congregation that is Shepherd of Life Lutheran Church. Quilters, ministers of music, bible study leaders, youth activities…..quite literally, there are innumerable ways in which we might yoke together with Shepherd of Life, to support and encourage them.
The reasons for which the Anchor Church movement has arisen in the ELCA are multifarious, but can be seen to be an issue of changing a prevailing culture. One of the distinguishing features of the Anchor Church movement in the ELCA is that it seeks to provide change to the culture of the church, as a way to motivate change in the church. Heretofore when change has been desired, it has been thought to be most effectively (even exclusively) accomplished through the creation/addition or alteration of some program or other. That is, a renewed Sunday school program; a different VBS program; a new youth program; a new Bible Study series or any other number of programmatic elements that have enjoyed limited success for brief spurts, but have overall, failed. That failure is reflected in the astonishing pace at which the ELCA is shrinking, both in terms of numbers of members and numbers of congregations.
A change in the culture implies intentionally changing the way we think about what it means to be church. In this understanding, the church is understood as a community of proclamation, announcing the good news of God’s love for all people, that is universal, inclusive and complete. Moreover, this church is called to be the agents for God’s universal and expansive love in the world, through our love and service to God’s children, everywhere. So we announce God’s love to be sure; what’s perhaps different is that we engender a shift in our culture where we try to love and serve as God does: completely, universally, inclusively and intentionally. Now we become a church that lives our faith, not just confesses it.
The Anchor Church movement recognizes that a systematic approach that allows a congregation with vitality and vision, such as ours, to share its life and energy with a neighboring community that finds itself struggling, is a way into the future. It provides a legitimate mission focus for the church providing the support and vision, as well as needed structure and resource to the struggling community. In a time when congregations can no longer afford to maintain ministries, at least not in the way they once expected, the Anchor Church model provides a viable path forward.
In short, brothers and sisters, the Anchor Church model is something we are entering into, (and I hope all of you will choose to enter into it with us), as a mission project that will give us life. Obviously, we hope it will give life to a struggling community; but in truth, we shall be equally as blessed! In every single instance that we serve, those who serve always feel as or even more blessed, than those being served! Join us won’t you, in yet another way we might Serve God in the Service of All God’s people!
Blessings to you, fellow servants!
Saturday 5:30 p.m. Worship Resumes!
The Saturday 5:30 p.m. worship service will resume on July 17th, 2021. No sign ups are necessary. Please continue to check the church website (www.godamong.us) for safety guidelines and precautions.
LINK is BACK
LINK (6th-12th grades) will meet on Sundays June 13 & 27 and July 18 & 25 from 6:30pm - 8:00pm. We have service projects, games, fellowship, and fun planned for you all. Meet in the courtyard. Bring a jacket. Wear a mask. And be ready for a fun time!
ILC Youth Golf Tournament Our first fundraiser for the ELCA youth gathering is a golf tournament on August 8th. Get your neighbors, relatives, and friends to participate for a day of fun in the fairways. Let me know if you'd like to help that day.
Hygiene Supplies Needed! Interfaith is low on hygiene supplies, shampoo, deodorant, bar soap. There is also a need for new or gently used blankets. Thank you for your consistent generosity!
Food Drop off for Interfaith Community Services Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday between 9:00 and 11:00 in the morning, volunteers are in the parking lot to move groceries and take all the donations to ICS.
From our Church Council President, Dr. Brent Brown COVID19 Precautions last updated 6/18/21
· Please, if able, get vaccinated. · We will continue to have one weekly worship service, Sunday mornings at 8:30. · Worship returns to FULL CAPACITY, with no weekly online sign-up. · Sunday’s worship service will occur on campus and will be simultaneously live-streamed online on YouTube and our website. The replay/recording will be available online immediately following worship to view at your leisure. · Livestreamed services will continue with the same degree of excellence for the foreseeable future. · Masks are no longer required for vaccinated persons age 12 and above. · Social distancing is no longer required. · Small groups will be allowed on campus with the approval of council and ministry staff.
The Experience We are gradually returning to normal. · If you have experienced any COVID19 symptoms in the last 10 days or have had recent contact with an ill person with COVID19, especially if unvaccinated, please stay home. · Hand sanitization will be available at every entry point. · Deep cleaning will be done every Sunday. · Vaccinated worship leaders and congregants can sing and speak without wearing masks. · Pre-wrapped communion elements will be placed on a table in the narthex. · Children under 12 are permitted at the service if they wear a face covering at discretion of adult supervision. Children under 2 are exempt from above rules, and can attend at discretion of parents. · Giving will continue online through our website or through the mail. There will be a box near the entrance to the sanctuary to drop in offering. Offering plates will not be passed during the service.
James 1:2-3: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.