“Information To Help Us”
Occasionally, I use my newsletter article to make certain the congregation is current on what is happening in the parish, or to make certain that important information is lifted up for emphasis. Sometimes, I use this space hoping to share inspirational encouragement. Once in a while what is shared are thoughts and conversation. This month you are getting a little bit of everything.
First, considering the last two years and everything COVID has brought our way, I wonder if our time before God in worship receives all the attention it deserves. My question is this: are we so familiar with the liturgical parts of the service that we don’t even think about what is being said or what we are saying? As I search for an answer to that question, let’s consider the Benediction. It comes at the conclusion of the service. We’ve been here an hour. Lunch is waiting or maybe we want to quickly travel a few pews so we can speak to someone or extend our wonderful St. John’s welcome. So, instead of hearing the power of this blessing, we hear the pastor pronounce it upon us and what we experience is the proverbial stop light turning green that allows us to take off. But listen to the words and think about what they say: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and + give you peace.” Think about what’s being said. Bless you. Keep you. God smiles on you and is gracious to you. He looks upon you with favor and brings peace into your life. As I hear these words, I think of them as the icing on the cake. Hymns, scripture, sermon, prayers, and sacrament have brought me before God, allowing me to offer Him my worship. And now, as I leave, God is promising to leave with me as He blesses me and protects me. During COVID these words have helped sustain me, strengthen me, and remind me I am not alone. I pray you have experienced this same blessing and promise of God throughout COVID, and I hope that you might take a moment right now, and then again each Sunday as worship concludes, to remember this blessing that sends us out into the world.
Now, I’d like to share the hopes of our leadership brought about through our Vestry Retreat in February. It is obvious that the pandemic has influenced all Churches. Much of what churches routinely enjoyed was lost through the restrictions that we practiced to keep everyone safe. And while the Vestry is not in the business of fortune-telling, we hope the omicron variant is waning and soon life will return to a more normal flow. Hoping for that, the Vestry will be working to re-open the church more and more in the weeks and months to come. The oyster roast and BBQ is one of our first activities towards that goal. We are planning to hold our Easter morning breakfast. I am planning to resume in-person Bible studies. We certainly are not throwing safety to the wind, but we are hoping to return to normal. I can’t wait until we fill comfortable kneeling at the altar to receive the sacrament. Please let me, or any Vestry member, know what your thoughts are, and level of comfort is, as we resume a more full congregational life.
And finally, a few words about our staffing. After many months of search, Daniel Damaschke has been hired as our organist and Director of Music. He will start on March 16th and be on the organ bench starting March 27th. We are excited to welcome Daniel to our staff. Now we are searching for a new Office Administrator. This position is designed to be four days a week, working 20 hours. It has been designed as a perfect part-time job. If you know someone who might be a great fit for our church, please ask them to contact Martha Harken or Frickie Martschink. While the search is being conducted, volunteers have been helping in the office. Our member Denise Doyon has agreed to serve as the coordinator of volunteers, and already Denise, Norma Luden, and Claudia Morton are helping. If you’d like to volunteer, please speak with me, or with Denise, and we’ll work you into the schedule. Thank you in advance for considering this ministry opportunity.
In closing, I return to how I began with a hope to remind us that God is blessing us, watching over us, smiling upon us, and offering us peace when we place our trust in Him. Let’s remember that as we step into a bright and wonderful future that God offers St. John’s when we carry out the ministry He calls us to be involved with. May we Know Christ, Love Christ, and Make Christ Known. Amen!
Pastor Butler +