NEWS FROM PASTOR
This is something that most of us are not too fond of. We worry will it be for the better, or will it not work out the way we may have hoped. Have we considered and prayed and sought God's will for us in the change. These are all questions that we seek answers for.
We have been making some changes at church. We have painted; we have taking a HUGE undertaking in replacing the carpeting in almost the entire church. We have added a TV in the narthex so people who come into the building see what we are up to here at St. Luke’s. These are all changes that as far as I can tell have been very positive and should be good for the church. But we are not done yet and I want to share a few thoughts with you.
We are in the beginning stages of considering leaving the PSEC and the UCC. I'm sure many of you have heard this and are wondering where I stand on this. First off, for me personally, I have had some differences with the policies of the denomination for a long time. After all, I was raised in a UCC church. But, I think that we could be a more effective congregation, if we were independent. I am not going to go into the details of the differences that I have, but would be happy to speak of them in person with anyone.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the holy season of Lent. I remember growing up and Lent was really important. Each Wednesday night during Lent we went to church along with many other members. We heard messages of a need to change and to love God more. By Holy Week, the services were filled as people prepared for the great day of Easter.
Life has changed. We are way to busy to squeeze in another worship service. There are way too many activities between us with our children. Lent has lost its meaning.
Our lessons for Ash Wednesday call us to change our focus in life. Joel calls us to “return to me with all your heart,” return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abiding in steadfast love . . .” Jesus calls us to quit proclaiming how good and righteous we are, but live quietly in all our actions. Lent is a call to change. We are not called to give up candy, sweets or be absolutely crazy and give up coffee. We are called to read the Bible but, more importantly, to let the Gospel show forth in our daily lives. We should use a devotional book daily during Lent, to let the words seep into our lives, like water does to a plant.
When you come to church, let the words of the scripture, hymns and maybe even the sermon become part of us. When you come forward for the Holy Communion, realize what is really happening to you and in you. Let Lent change you.
Lent will never be like it used to be, for those are only dreams. Make sure this Lenten season changes you. Who knows, maybe we will be different even after Easter.
I look forward to working with our council, the discernment team and any members who have suggestions for how we can grow this church and reach out to our community and our members. For some of you getting to this point may be a long and difficult process, but after much prayer and consideration I feel confident that this is the direction we need to go as a congregation. I have faith that God is still with us at St. Luke's as long as we seek to do his will and serve the world he loves so much.
Rev. Gary Dierolf