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WORDS OF FAITH - March 31, 2011

posted Apr 7, 2011, 7:57 PM by Matt Anderson   [ updated Apr 7, 2011, 8:00 PM ]
An occasional newsletter for the members and friends of Faith Lutheran Mission Church of Eau Claire
March 31, 2011
 
Pray for Grace
Eighteen months after the Evangelical Lutheran Church turned its back on its heritage and constitution by voting that individual consciences can supersede God’s word, an ELCA church in Eau Claire is going to take a vote to extract itself from that denomination.
 
The decision by Grace to bring this issue to its congregation has come after a long process of education and discussion.  Pastors Rolf Nestingen and David Irgens have led the congregation through a faithful journey that has often been tumultuous, with many forces seeking to cause disruption and havoc.  No matter what the result, Sunday’s vote will be historic, because for the first time members of an ELCA church in Eau Claire will get a chance to stand against the new ethics of relativism in an official way.
 
While Faith Lutheran Mission Church is filled with people who escaped the ELCA when we realized our home congregations would not stand with orthodox Lutheran theology, we must not forget those still wrestling with the heresies now being fostered by the ELCA.  While we have wiped the dust of those heresies from our feet and are moving forward with our mission-based ministry to make disciples of all the nations, we must not forget that we continue to be a landing pad for faithful Lutherans who have been abandoned by their denomination.
 
The vote takes place at 12:30 on Sunday.  Please stop what you are doing at that time and pray for Grace, its pastors, its council, its members – pray that God’s will be done in their vote on Sunday.  For those who would care to gather at our church for a prayer vigil (whether or not you are a member of our congregation), the Faith Lutheran Mission Church sanctuary will be open for meditation and petitions on the behalf of Grace and its vote at 12:30.
 
By the way, continue as well to hold First Lutheran Church of Clear Lake and Pastor Bryan Anderson up in your prayers, as they hold their second vote to leave the ELCA April 10.
 
April Services Take Shape
Our Sunday 9 a.m. worship for the next two Sundays (April 3 and 10) will be led by Pastor Nick Henseler of Apple Valley, Minnesota.  Pastor Henseler, a Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) pastor most recently served at Prince of Peace Lutheran (LCMC) in Davenport, Iowa.  Pastor Henseler and his wife Lori are empty nesters with five grown children, three of whom are married.  A 2007 graduate of the Masters Institute Seminary, Pastor Henseler is currently working for Thomson Reuters Corporation in the Global Security Department.
 
Wednesday evening Lenten worship (preceded by a meal from 5:30-6:30) continues at 7 p.m. April 6 & 13.  Theme of the services is “Our Walk to the Cross,” and includes the Holden Evening Prayer litany.
 
Holy Week will once again include the special Palm Sunday worship drama, Cry of the Whole Congregation, adapted from the Biblical passion story by Walter Wangerin.  That takes place during 9 a.m. worship Sunday, April 17.  A Maundy Thursday service will occur at 7 p.m. April 21, with a Good Friday Tenebrae service at 7 p.m. April 22.  Easter Sunday service celebrates the Resurrection of the Lord at 9 a.m. April 24.  Bring your friends and join us!
 
Council Action Focuses on Missions
The congregation council met March 21, and approved the targets for April mission offerings.  Ten percent of Sunday offerings during April will be to the Hmong Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, housed just two blocks east of Faith Lutheran Mission Church in the Lutheran Church of St. Matthew.  Another ten percent of Sunday offerings are being directed to the Lutheran World Relief Japan Earthquake/Tsunami fund.
 
The council also decided to split offerings during Lenten services between the LWR Japan relief fund and the congregation’s Building Fund.
 
Call Committee Resumes Reading Resumes!
With the return of committee members Bob Moore and Janet Hadt from warmer climes, the call committee will continue to pour through resumes and research candidates for the full-time pastor position we are seeking at Faith Lutheran Mission Church.  Continue to pray for this process, and the patience to wait on the Lord for the right person to lead our congregation. 
 
Please also prayerfully consider making a donation to the Pastoral Fund.
 
Hannah’s Hands to Gather Monday
A new tradition begins Monday, April 4 as Hannah’s Hands gather at the church for its first meeting.  The group of women plans to meet the first Monday of each month at
7 p.m.  The group will be doing a Bible study called “Portraits of Jesus.”  Hannah’s Hands is designed to have women come together to study God’s Word, fellowship with one another, and use their resources and their talents in helping others. 
 
All women of Faith Lutheran Mission Church and their friends are welcome to attend.  If you are interested in learning more, you can sign up on the sheet near the kitchen in the fellowship hall, email Elaine Moore at 777elaine[at]gmail.com, or just show up at the church Monday night!
 
Ethiopia Update
Earlier this year, Words of Faith reported on the persecution happening to members of the Ethiopian Evangical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and other Christian churches. 
Muslim extremists burned 59 churches and mission stations as well as 28 homes, leaving thousands homeless and, in some cases, beaten.
 
Sharon MacFadyen from the LCMC offices reports than an Ethiopia Relief Fund has now been established to help the Christians in Ethiopia rebuild their lives, homes and churches.  The fund is a joint effort by LCMC, the new North American Lutheran Church (NALC) and Lutheran CORE.
 
The Mission Committee is discussing proposing a future month’s mission offerings go to this fund, but in the meantime, if you feel called to make an individual contribution, send your gift to Ethiopian Church Relief Fund, 2299 Palmer Drive, Suite 220, New Brighton, MN 55112.  All funds received will be forwarded to the EECMY. 
 
EECMY President Idossa, in response to the prayer and support from the relief efforts, said, “I would like to thank God for God’s protection and the grace and courage that God is giving his chosen people to suffer for the sake of Christ.  There is hope for them and for all of us.  Christ is alive and will always remain Emmanuel for us in times of our joys and difficulties.  We highly appreciate your concerns and prayers in such a difficult situation.  It is our sincere home that you will continue to pray and accompany us.  May the almighty God bless you all!”
 
The Angels Wept Brings Heavenly Perspective to the Passion Story
Local Christian playwright Karen Hurd has developed a Passion of Christ play that will be performed at the State Theatre, 316 Eau Claire St. on Wednesday through Friday of Holy Week (April 20-22), with performances at 7:30 each night, and a 3 p.m. performance on Good Friday.
Seen through the eyes of angels, we watch the Christ leave the heavenly realms to come to earth as a human.  The angels know the plan of God, that Jesus must be sacrificed for the sins of mankind so that a way will be made for people to come to God; yet they cannot stop the tears from flowing as the Savior of the world is nailed to a cross.  The Angels Wept is a two hour musical that powerfully portrays the love of God for His creation.
Suggested donation for the ticket price:  Adults $18; Senior $16; Student $8.  The producers -- the Chippewa Valley Evangelical Ministerial Association, Community Arts, and Faith Evangelical Free Church -- realize that this amount might be prohibitive to some, especially to families, so they invite everyone to attend and to give what they are able.  Some may be able to give generously above this amount and thus help cover the cost for others who may not be able to do so.  There will be no offering taken during the performance.
Tickets are available through the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center: State Theatre, 715-832-2787 or www.eauclairearts.com/tickets.phtml.
 
Greetings from a Friend
Pastor Craig Nelson, whose assistance at Faith Lutheran Mission Church cost him his job as pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Minong, checked in with the following note earlier this month:
 
Barb, Katelynn and I have been enjoying life and ministry in Lee. There is a growing number of LCMC churches in Illinois.  Three times a year pastors and spouses get together for a retreat at a place owned by a Doctor who lets us use the resort for free. Twice a year we are having church wide events like you have at Stanfold.
 
God has raised up a dedicated young man who has regularly been having 10 high school and college kids for the young adult Sunday School. We have appreciated this for Katelynn. Actually the person who had been helping with youth resigned and a young 25 year old by the name of Kristian has been praying and leading youth to love and follow Christ.
 
Our home is 15 miles from Dekalb, population 40,000 and 11 miles from Rochelle, population 9,000 so we are closer to places of shopping than when in Minong. But most importantly we have a group of people who hunger for the Word. Twenty men have been attending a men's study. and 4 groups of women have gathered with Barb for Mom's in Touch prayer times. They had a Beth Moore Bible Study in the morning and we added one in the night.
 
We feel blessed to be here and they seem to be responding. Last week they paid for me to attend a Tres Dias weekend and this week Barb and our choir director and organist will go. My friend, Patti Solveson who is involved in an incredible ministry of murals pointing to salvation in Jerusalem spoke here in February and they gave offerings totaling over $2000 for her ministry. We had Martha Nelson speak on her trip to Ethiopia and they gave another $560.

The newspaper of Dekalb printed a full page article when I arrived. Half the page was a picture of me. I have never had such honor and coverage in the newspaper and all for free.  All in all it has been an incredible year of grace!!

I know God has just the right person in mind for Faith Lutheran. The wait is never fun but God waits with you and I can see you are developing involvement as you canvas neighborhoods and do Lenten services and outreach. Your wait will be well worth it in the end. When God makes us wait it is always for a reason.  Be of Good Cheer!  Shalom, Craig
 
The Last Word
“God wants us to be cheerful, and He hates sadness.  For had He wanted us to be sad, He would not have given us the sun, the moon, and the various fruits of the earth.  All these He gave us for our good cheer.”                                                                                                                                                                         Martin Luther
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