As the longer season and explorations of this Epiphany has given way to the 40-day journey of Lent, I find myself drawn to some new disciplines that are re-framing my pastoral work. I’ve embraced that challenge of St. Paul Area Synod Bishop Patricia Lull to read daily the Great Commandments and Commission and then to pray, “How can you use me God?” For someone who is charged with keeping a clear vision before this community, I suspect this practice is a good starting place. Secondly, I’m fasting from social media (specifically Facebook) for Lent and discovering both gifts and challenges as a result. Lastly, I’ve recommitted to a daily visit to the gym and a refocusing on my physical health. I’m grateful for the continued support of this community that enables these practices to take root in my life.
Here are a few of the things I’ve been working on over the past month…
Helping our Leaders Lead
Two of our new council members, Andrea Clepper & Kim Wetteland, joined Pastor Betsy and me at the Synod Toolkit & Conference Assembly. We each attended an opening worship where Bishop Lull preached on her Lenten challenge (see above), a variety of workshops geared for congregation leaders, and the North Central Conference meeting where Pastor Betsy was elected Dean. It was a great opportunity for them to see how our congregation relates to the 100+ other congregations of our synod.
We do still need to identify another delegate to the Synod assembly (May 17 & 18, 2019), preferably a “young adult” and someone under 35 (male?). We also really need to fill the third spot on the Nominating Committee. The Committee seeks your suggestions which you’re welcome to pass along through me.
The Language of Lent
“Notable Quotables: Words for the Journey” is our theme for Sundays during Lent. God’s story continues to be our companion and the lectionary texts during these weeks include some of Jesus’ most quoted expressions. We’ll place Jesus’ teachings in these theme verses into context and to consider how they’re also drawing us closer to the cross. In Jesus, God is preparing us for something of true consequence.
On Wednesday evenings, we’re listening to “Stories for the Journey” embedded within Holden Evening Prayer. Each week, a different member of our community is sharing a first-person story of journey and they are proving to be powerful and profoundly thought-provoking. I’m so grateful for each storyteller’s vulnerability and bravery. If you would like to listen to any of the stories, you can find them listed alongside our sermon archives found here.
During Lent, let’s discover together how God still speaks to us through scripture, through the world around us and through each other.
Scores of Pastors & Deacons Descend Upon PoP
As we do several times a year, all the pastors and deacons of the St. Paul Area Synod join together for a morning of conversation, fellowship and worship. Prince of Peace will host the next gathering on Thursday, March 28. Under the theme Pastors and Deacons in Ministry Together, we will celebrate the vibrant ministry of deacons in our congregations. We will also hear more about the specific resolutions coming before the Churchwide Assembly and join in conversation with the deacons serving in our synod. During worship there will be an opportunity for all present (including candidates, seminarians and interns) to renew the vows made at ordination, consecration and baptism. We’re proud to be hosting this gathering and sharing our facilities with the broader synod.
I hope your own Lenten journey is bringing you more deeply into relationship with God and with your neighbor. Our Prince of Peace calendar is full of opportunities to do just this, so take advantage of as many as you can. I look forward to walking together with you. Or, if you’re so inclined, l’ll see you at the gym.