August 5th: Traditional with communion Men’s Group
August 12th: Traditional with communion Barb Lyman and Kim Wetteland
August 19th: Traditional with communion Erika Warkentien and Now and Then
August 26th: Traditional with communion Antonio Marino, violin
September 2nd: Outdoors with communion Ryan Miller and friends-Guitar led service
“This Changes Everything” was the theme of the ELCA Youth Gathering and I know our youth and chaperones experienced an amazing time. I’ve been transformed many times by the youth gathering and many other chaperoning opportunities. What I’ve always realized when I got back from these experiences is that if each person I was chaperoning got as much from me as I did from them, they’d have received a lot.
Why do I bring this up, because we are in the midst of changes, but no matter who comes in as staff, they can only add so much. We have so much to give to them and together we can make wonderful things happen. Christ lives in all of us.
As it says in the Gathering Thanksgiving for Baptism:
“Rejoice that God has claimed you in his baptismal grace, Not by your own doing or believing, but by God’s mercy and love alone. This changes everything.”
And so as we begin “our lives together,” we give thanks to God for the gracious gift of baptism, that joins us together in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
During the Youth Reflection Service, Sunday, July 22nd, we sang “Open the Eyes of My Heart.” What a great song to think about as we move forward and say good bye to some staff. Pastor Lynn has already left, and it was Erika’s last day with the youth, but as we say good-bye, we also say Hello. We have welcomed Pastor Ruth, and I know the call committee and youth leader search committee are working hard to fill other positions.
We all need to Open the Eyes of OUR Hearts! How are we each called to serve? Do we have more to give monetarily or time-wise? Do we need to cut back for the moment? How can I make each of our new staff feel welcome and what can I do to support our remaining staff? How can I make new and old members feel welcome? Just because someone has been a member a long time doesn’t mean that they still feel needed and welcome.
Open the Eyes of OUR Hearts!
If we all Open the Eyes of Our Hearts we can live the theme of the Gathering, for I believe this CAN change everything. We may just be a small part of the community, Twin Cities, ELCA, and world, but we ARE an important part of the community, Twin Cities, ELCA and world. My prayer for us is that we Open the Eyes of OUR Hearts and that This Changes Everything.