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WORDS OF FAITH - December 2, 2010

posted Dec 11, 2010, 1:44 PM by Matt Anderson

An occasional newsletter for the members and friends of Faith Lutheran Mission Church of Eau Claire

December 2, 2010

 

For This Holy House

We hear it nearly every week as we pray the Kyrie as part of our liturgy.  It’s right there on page 79 of the Lutheran Book of Worship.  But when he came to that part on Sunday, the first Sunday worship service in our new-to-us worship space at 1704 Hogeboom Ave, guest pastor Rev. Paul Bittner, interrupted himself.

 

“This is by far the neatest phrase,” he said.  “I love it!  And for this, your first Sunday in this holy edifice, ‘For this holy house, and for all” – that’s all of us – “who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.’”

 

The holy house of Faith Lutheran Mission Church was dedicated Wednesday, November 24 at a Thanksgiving Eve service.  Chuck Olson led the worship, with homilies offered by Vern Doenier, Jan Parkhurst and Laban Miller. The FLMC Choir, under Bob LaMont’s direction, helped us direct our gratitude toward God.  More than fifty worshippers turned out, despite bad roads and wintry weather.  We celebrated afterward with pie (courtesy of Hartwick Hanson) in our beautiful fellowship hall downstairs.

 

The first Sunday morning service for Faith Lutheran Mission Church also marked the beginning of the church year, Advent, and included some very special visitors.  June Johnson, who attended the very first service held in the building when it began as St. Matthew’s Lutheran back in the 30’s joined us with her daughter Linda Curtis.  And, the last couple to have a Lutheran wedding in the church (in 1956)  before St. Matt’s moved to its new building, Leroy and Lorraine Grothman, were part of our worship as well.  Geraldine Hodek, a member of New Hope Lutheran in Minong, which also formed earlier this year as an LCMC congregation, brought greetings from her congregation (see a report from New Hope regarding their activities later in the newsletter).

 

The first services in Faith Lutheran Mission Church’s own building were a culmination of months of negotiation, bargaining, prayer, patience and preparation.  Congregation Vice-President Chuck Olson offered these thoughts:

So many people have helped with financial gifts, time and talents.  A group of the men did a chunk of the basement and a group of women scrubbed the kitchen up one side and down the other.  Laban made the cross for the altar.  Dale sanded, stained and polyed the altar.  Many people I have missed by name.  It has been a blessing to all to help God do his work and make his house a place where people can pray, grow in faith, and continue to spread the word that Jesus Chris loves you, He is with you, and He died so we all may have eternal life in heaven by his grace and mercy!

 

Congregation President LaMoine Parkhurst added his statement of gratitude:

Thank you seldom seems adequate as we look at the work that has been done in our new church home. We need to start by thanking the Lord for the gifts He gives to His people. These gifts have been shared with the entire church family without expectations or rewards. The major projects are nearing completion on the inside of our building but, as you know, when we work for the Lord, our job is never done.

 

As we think of the work that has been completed, we also must give thanks to the gifts given by those outside our membership. These gifts made it possible to purchase materials to meet these needs, and services rendered by many people. Let me share a few of these gifts with you from friends of our members: kitchen textured and painted, carpet and chairs cleaned, a new stove for the kitchen, a gift from Pigeon Falls for Advent decorations, a stand and Service Book for the Altar, gifts from near and far (Japan) which helped provide a new sign to mark our location, candle stands with candles which lit up our Thanksgiving Eve service, banners to hang in our sanctuary and the building and memorial gifts which continue from week to week. God is good and his steadfast love endures forever!

 

Thank you, everyone, for the helping hands which accomplished so much in such a short time but also remember that we are not done yet. God has great plans for us and we must be diligent as we go about His work.

 

As we look ahead to the future in our worship space...one more look back.  Rev. Steve Rutter led our final worship at The Lutheran Church of St. Matthew on November 21, and offered words of grace and encouragement.  We look forward to many opportunities to share ministry with our neighbors down Hogeboom.

 

Sundays at 9:00

The move to Sunday morning worship has been a key goal of the congregation since its inception.  While that goal has been met, it included the challenge of finding guest pastors, as many of those we have used for our first ten months would come to Faith Lutheran Mission Church to preach Sunday evenings after having served their own congregations in the morning.  However, God has blessed us greatly, and we have some exciting men of faith coming to bring his message to us.

 

This Sunday, Rev. Daniel Brue from Rochester, Minnesota will join us.  A self-described “sold out follower of Jesus Christ,” Pastor Brue operates Kingdom Coaching Ministries, a non-profit ministry of small group and individual spiritual mentoring.  He began his ministry as a teacher and athletic coach in Battle Lake, Nashwauk and Fergus Falls, Minnesota, as well as Adams, Wisconsin.  He graduated with his Master of Divinity Degree from Lutheran Brethren Seminary in Fergus Falls in 2001, and has pastored churches in Campbell, Tintah, Doran, Windom and Borup, Minnesota and North Ridgeville, Ohio.  He is now rostered with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

 

The following Sunday, December 12, marks the return of an old friend of Faith Lutheran Mission Church, Rev. Mark Richardson, but it’s the first time we’ll see him in his new role as the Interim Service Coordinator for the Augustana District of LCMC.  Pastor Richardson, who until recently was pastor of Bethesda Lutheran Church in Dresser, is one of the founding board members of the subdivision of LCMC which formed earlier this year.  The Augustana District emphasizes classic Lutheran theology, and provides services to congregations ranging from ministry to education to missions.

 

We’ll have more details about future services in future newsletters, but here’s the lineup through early January:

·        Sunday, December 19 at 9 a.m.  Service of Lessons and Carols

·        Friday, December 24 at 10 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service led by Rev. Aaron Albrecht, St. Paul, Minnesota (note the corrected time from last Words of Faith)

·        Sunday, December 26 at 9 a.m.  Regular worship with Rev. Albrecht

·        Sunday, January 2 at 9 a.m.  Regular worship with Rev. Joe Schultz, Eau Claire

·        Sunday, January 9 at 9 a.m.  Regular worship with Rev. Steve Thorson, Cokato, MN

 

How Does Mistletoe Taste in Chili?

This Saturday, December 4, any member or friend of Faith Lutheran Mission Church is invited to our First Annual (maybe) Christmas Decorating and Chili Feed.  We’ll start at 3 p.m. with the decorating part – bring your ideas, skills and willingness to work cheerily. 

 

Oh, and bring some chili, too.  After the work is done, the chili will be shared amidst the festive decor!

 

By the way, if you have an angel ornament to share, please bring it to put on the tree in our fellowship hall – the plan is to decorate the tree entirely with angels!  If you’re not coming Saturday, bring your ornament Sunday!

 

Choir Rehearsals and Performances Set

The Faith Lutheran Mission Church choir will rehearse Wednesday, December 8th at

7 p.m. and Thursday, December 16th at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary.  They will be preparing for anthems that will be shared during the Lessons and Carols Service December 19, as well as the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and the December 26 service.

 

December Missions

We continue our practice of setting aside 20% of our weekly offerings to send to missions outside our congregation.  In December, we once again split those offerings between two ministries, Interfaith Hospitality Network/Beacon House and WordAlone Ministries.

 

Homelessness among families continues to be a prevalent problem in the Chippewa Valley.  Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network each year provides 4,700 nights of shelter and 13,000 meals to 60 families.  During this winter and Christmas season, this is an opportunity to extend our hand to the underprivileged children and families in our community.

 

The confessional Lutheran organization WordAlone has grown from a conscience of the ELCA to a full fledged ministry, including its Sola Publishing curriculum for reliable Christian teaching materials.  WordAlone is also developing another new ministry called SALT (Salvation, Life and Truth) which focuses on evangelism and helps congregations develop techniques and frameworks for spreading God’s Word in our communities.

 

In addition to our financial gifts, please remember WordAlone and IHN, and all our mission partners, in your prayers as well.

 

More Mission News

Rev. John Dovinh, our missionary with Lutheran Vietnamese Ministries, is now on his way back to Vietnam, according to Mark Vander Tuig, LCMC Service Coordinator.  John will spend at least six months in Vietnam tending to the almost 30 LCMC congregations, their pastors and their leaders.  Please remember John and LCMC-Vietnam in your prayers.

 

News from Other Congregations

Gerri Hodek from New Hope in Minong reports that they are mourning the sudden death of their outreach pastor who had been serving them two Sunday’s a month.  Despite their loss, the congregation is planning a Christmas Eve service.  They’re active in missions, supporting food shelves not only in Minong, but also in Gordon.  They provide gift cards to individuals in the community who need assistance.  They’ve “adopted” a six-year-old girl in Kenya, and are buying gifts for needy children in the community.  Gerri says it is “so satisfying to be able to help others, actually, lots of ‘fun,’ to use a word to really depict our feelings.

 

Marylin Howard tells us that her son’s church, Christ the Savior Lutheran in Fishers, Indiana fell short of its vote to leave the ELCA.  With 395 people in attendance, they fell 34 votes short of the required 2/3 majority.  Marylin says everyone’s waiting to see what happens next with that congregation.

 

Perhaps it will turn out positively, as it did at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Tomah, a congregation that earlier this year had a majority vote to leave ELCA, but fell short of the 2/3 vote.  Pastor Bill Rice (who has preached at FLMC several times) says the congregation voted November 10 to divide the congregation into an ELCA congregation (called Peace Lutheran) and for Gloria Dei to be solely affiliated with LCMC.  The vote passed 208-10. Peace Lutheran will receive 40% of the congregation’s foundation and their hand bells.  Everything else stays with Gloria Dei. 

 

The Last Word

“Faith is the ‘yes’ of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes one’s life.”

                                                                                                Martin Luther

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