As we enter into the busy holiday season, what a joy it is to have this expanded team to collaborate with on so many aspects of our shared ministry. I’m especially pleased with the work we’re doing with children, youth and families, including the re-design of our confirmation program. Both Pastor Betsy and Cori, our Youth Director have really rolled up their sleeves to bring a new vitality to our efforts.  Likewise, Pastor Ruth has added some welcome richness to our community’s work in caring for one another.  Here are a few notes on what we’ve been up to this past month…

Staff & Leadership Notes

  • The Nominations Committee (Stephanie Hogen & Milt Warkentien) has begun recruiting for the next “class” of elected leaders plus continuing to look for folks to fill current vacancies.  One of those vacancies is on the Nominating Committee itself.  Please contact myself or any committee member if you’re interested in serving in leadership role during 2019.
  • Let’s give thanks for the efforts of the Interview Committee for the Funeral Coordinator position. Following up on the vision discerned during last spring’s “Community Conversation on Funeral Ministry” the council has endorsed the work of the interview committee in support of naming Barb Lyman as Funeral Coordinator and to help us serve families that are experiencing the loss of loved ones from our community.  This is work that Barb has already helped to facilitate in the past so her affirmed presence is a most welcome addition to this important ministry.
  • Barry Brahier, long-time member and past council-president, has agreed to serve as the chairperson for our new “Generosity Committee.”  The work that Barry is now tasked with leading is centered on how our community will steward the recent bequest from Rose Diestler’s estate.  Please contact Barry or me if you are interested in lending yourself to this effort.
  • On Nov. 17, the staff gathered together for a 1/2 day retreat.  It was a wonderful opportunity for staff, new and old, to get to know one another and to review the work we are doing as a team in helping to realize the mission and ministry of Prince of Peace.  One tool that we explored together was the “StrengthsFinder” inventory developed by psychologist Don Clifton.  We look forward to digging even more deeply into this helpful resource.

Program Notes

  • Incorporating “Telling Our Story” into worship on non-communion Sundays has allowed us to highlight a spectrum of ways in Prince of Peace is being the church for the sake of the world.  In October we lifted up the wonderful work and legacy now left behind by the hat knitting ministry that has come to conclusion and we enjoyed a wonderful service of installation for Pastor Betsy.  In November, our BkB partnership with our brothers and sisters in Bomalang’ombe, Tanzania was highlighted in conjunction with our annual Tanzania dinner and fundraise and we had a wonderful chance to celebrate and bless the work of the knitting group that supports our prayer shawl ministry.
  • The “Cloud of Saints” has been a delightful addition to our worship space again this year and helped us properly celebrate on All Saints Day at the start of November.  Thanks to Erika Warkentien for cutting out letters, Tara Emerson for organizing volunteers to string them together and Monday Crew with Worship Committee volunteers to hang it all up.
  • The new church year, starting with the season of Advent, begins on Sunday, Dec. 2.  Our Advent theme, “Waiting for the Promised,” echos what we have heard this fall from the ancestors of our faith like Noah, Sarah, Abraham, Joseph, and David as well as the prophets like Micah and Isaiah.  The promises that God has made will soon take on an incarnate reality in the person of Jesus Christ.  Once again our gathering spaces will be transformed and our times gathered in worship, faith formation and fellowship will help to reinforce the faithfulness of God to all God’s people.
  • If you aren’t already, consider joining one of our smaller ministry groups like a monthly Women’s Circle, the weekly Old Guy’s coffee and text study, Theology on Tap at Ol’ Mexico, or any number of musical ensembles that gather to rehearse.  Time spent together will also help to reinforce this life of faith we’re called to explore.

And finally…

Peter Christ, Lead Pastor

Last month, Pastor Betsy and I were blessed by the opportunity to gather with many of our colleagues in the St. Paul Area Synod at the Bishop’s Annual Theological Conference.  This year’s guest and keynote speaker was ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.  As one who is called to bring the gospel truth to other to hear, it was especially helpful to hear how Bishop Eaton also struggles with the current polarized political landscape.  Her encouragement to us pastors to first listen deeply to the Word and then to listen deeply to one another is a helpful reminder that, though this work can be perilous at times, if we find our truth in that Word and in those relationships, God will be revealed.  I give thanks to God that you have entrusted me with such a task.

Photo Note: These are the 34 attributes inventoried in the StrengthsFinder Assessment.  My top strength is “WOO” or “Winning Others Over.”  If you’ve also done this inventory I’d love to know your top five.