42 health kits were prepared for disaster areas.
Our garden produced 300 pounds of wonderful vegetables for the Open Pantry.
Action Centered Tutoring Services (ACTS)
Is a free one-to-one program that combines mentoring with tutoring for the children of Springfield, grades kindergarten through fifth grade. Tutor/mentors are required to commit for two hours a week for the school year. Orientation and training is provided. Please contact Pastor Lauren if interested in this program.
Meals at Friends of the Homeless
We serve a lunch and a dinner each month at Friends of the Homeless.
The Beacon Messenger
From the Pastor
By Your Invitation
On Pentecost this year children were told the story of Pentecost and shown a picture of the tongues of fire over everyone’s head. I explained that they were “on fire” with God’s love. They just had to share it with everyone they met. Each child was given a flaming torch and told to go tell the people in the congregation that God loves them. They ran to do this and ran back to tell me about it. I asked was it hard to do, “no” they said, “it was fun and easy” and they continued doing it through the coffee hour.
Sometimes we make things seem harder than they are. Sharing God’s love with another person is easy and fun. We do not need to convince them, we are not trying to save their soul or win an argument. We just share this good news and we interact with them in a loving way.
Early in the life of this country churches grew by immigration. People moved into neighborhoods filled with people from the same country. Everyone spoke the same language and churches were organized around cultural and linguistic identity. Bethesda is an example of this beginning as a Swedish Lutheran church that worshipped in Swedish.
As people settled churches grew by procreation. Families had children and generations gave birth to the next generation. This went on until the 1950’s. That generation did not attend church as often, it was no longer the cultural and social center for immigrants.
Today churches grow by invitation. People invite others to come and experience what they experience and treasure. Whenever visitors come back a second time I ask them what brought them back. I always hear the same two things. The music is amazing and the people are so welcoming. There you have it. When you are inviting someone to our churches tell them how great the band is and invite them to come and hear for themselves. Let them join the psalmist in saying, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1)
Tell them about your church family. People who truly care about one another. They ask how you are because they really want to know. When you face a difficult situation they will hug you, pray for you, and help you in whatever way they can. You will be accepted as who God made you, no judgment made. Let them echo our psalmists, “O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides.” (Psalm 26:8) “One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
A pastor recently shared this encounter with his colleagues. A visitor asked him, “What’s a Lutheran?” He replied, “People who depend on grace. Grace means that God’s love for us is unconditional. We don’t earn salvation by being perfect, we are saved by grace because God loves us so much.” She responded, “You should put THAT on a sign.” Then she said, “But you’re Evangelicals? The media shows evangelicals as intolerant and judgmental.” The pastor explained, “Evangelical means ‘good news’ Lutheran’s share the good news of God’s love.” “Oh” she said, “the ones on TV don’t seem to have any good news to share. Maybe you should stick with grace.”
When Americans were surveyed about the words they most wanted to hear each day, the three most frequent responses were: “I love you”; “I forgive you”; and “Dinner is ready. Come and eat.” Every time we gather for worship we hear that God loves us, we are assured that we are forgiven, and we are all welcomed to the Lord’s Table for a meal of grace.
Who do you know that would welcome your invitation to come with you to worship? Please invite them soon. They will be so glad that you did.
Your partner in the gospel,
Synod Assembly 2018
Bethesda’s Jazz Band (Joe Green, Jeff Dostal, and Clark Siebold) played for the closing worship service at this year’s Synod Assembly. Marybeth Lewison was the cantor. 500 Lutheran’s were rocking to the bands favorite “I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me.” Bishop Hazelwood posted this picture on Facebook with the caption, “One of my favorite moments from assembly.” Thanks to all of you for a wonderful worship service, you were great! Bishop Hazelwood was re-elected for a second 6-year term. Mary Hunter continues to serve as secretary of the Synod Council. Marybeth and Mike Lewison represented us as voting members.
Bible study in September
In September we will continue our study of other religions.
Quilting will not meet in July or August. September 1st they will reconvene.
Scrapbooking will not meet in July or August. September 15th they will reconvene.
Save this Date
On October 24th from 6-8pm Bishop Hazelwood will prepare a Middle Eastern meal for us to enjoy together and he will show pictures of his most recent trip to the Holy Land. This conference-wide event will take place at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Holyoke.
Tending the Garden
We need people to tend the garden each week. You do not need to weed or water. The only thing we need is someone to harvest what is ready to pick and bring it to the Open Pantry 2460 Main Street Springfield.
What we just completed
Collecting for Ascentria at Synod Assembly
|What we are doing now|
Tending the garden beds
What is coming next
|Collecting food for the open pantry. Start looking for bargains now and clip coupons.|
Remembering in Prayer
We all share in the ministry of intercessory prayer. We are called individually to pray each day and as a gathered community of faith in worship. If you have someone we need to include in our prayers please notify our church office.
May God be with them and bless them with wholeness and health.