Dorothy Day & news from the Southeast Synod

Dear Friends,

Dorothy Day wrote: “To attack poverty by preaching voluntary poverty seems like madness. But again, it is direct action….To be profligate in our love and generosity, spontaneous, to cut all the red tape of bureaucracy! The more you give away, the more the Lord will give you to give. It is a growth in faith. It is the attitude of the [person] whose life of common sense and faith is integrated. To live with generosity in times of crisis is only common sense. In the time of earthquake, flood, fire, people give recklessly; even governments do this” (Quoted in Sojourners on-line magazine, (http://www.sojo.net/).

Dorothy Day, in an early chapter of her autobiography, “The Long Loneliness,” recounts her memory of the wild generosity she experienced after an earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. She wrote of people’s overwhelming care of each other, their willingness to share everything they had with their neighbors, of communities coming together for relief work. That experience of open handed sharing, she says, gave her a taste of the kingdom of God alive and well in this world. Recently, in the wake of several natural disasters, I was reminded of her story, and her encouragement to open heart, home, hand, mind, spirit, to the needs of our neighbors whether they are in Pakistan, the Gulf Coast, New Hampshire, or downtown Gloucester. God’s way is the giving way, the blessing way, the generous way.

Please note:

The entry below is an excerpt from the Southeast Synod newsletter, by Elaine Schwartz from the Southeast Synod office. You will find here an update of Katrina/Rita relief efforts by Lutherans and Episcopalians. I hope you will read it, and note the food is still needed at all of the Lutheran distribution centers. I talked this morning with Amy Bearson who is the coordinator for relief at Christus Victor, a Lutheran church in Mississippi. She says they need food, and if we can’t send a truck, or think it’s too expensive to use all that gas, instead of money for food, we can send food gift cards straight to Christus Victor, in care of her. Walmart is one of the local chains. She also says they would welcome volunteers to help at Christus Victor. Their web site is worth looking at; they have organized several lines of relief, from running a shelter, to distributing food, health aids, medicine, and clothes. I hope, as well, that you will remember the victims of the Pakistan earthquake. We can contribute to all of these disaster relief efforts through Lutheran World Relief, and Lutheran Disaster Response. The situation in Pakistan is far more dire with winter approaching for refugees in the mountains. Please keep all these situations in your prayers, and ask for God’s guidance and help in directing our responses.

UPDATE FROM THE GULF COAST LUTHERAN EPISCOPAL DISASTER RESPONSE (LEDR) BY DR P MORGAN GORDY, ASSISTANT TO THE BISHOP FOR GULF COAST RECOVERY —OCTOBER 18, 2005

“How are things going? Are they getting things pretty much back to order?” This is the question I am asked by many who have not visited the Gulf Coast. I wrestle with my answer knowing that it would be
much, much, more information than anyone could anticipate. The recovery of the coast is a tremendously complicated task. And it will take a very long time. With that said, I stay amazed as people faithfully put one foot in front of the other, making every attempt to address the new and continuing problems that they face each and every day. Much progress is being made. And it is awesome to see it unfold. God is truly present in the work here.

The three major distribution points for the Southeastern Synod on the Gulf Coast are Christus Victor Lutheran Church in Ocean Springs, Ms, Bethel Lutheran Church in Biloxi, MS and Grace Lutheran Church, in conjunction with Coast Episcopal School, in Long Beach, MS. These congregations continue to grow in their outreach to repair, rebuild and support their communities. Christus Victor continues to serve as
a Red Cross Shelter with an anticipated date of closure November 1st. Amy Bearson, disaster coordinator for Christus Victor has done a great job balancing all the responsibilities of the disaster response at Christus Victor. Her staff has recently increased by three caseworkers. They will begin more intentional outreach to find housing and other resources for those that seek it as well as begin the task of walking the blocks to build the casework for the work crew that come our way.

Christus Victor, Bethel and Grace were recently gifted with a laptop with the Lutheran Disaster Response software already in place. Training has begun to get the caseworkers ready to use this software that will help us integrate all the disaster activities and facilitate the rebuilding process. This was a timely and much needed gift.

Bethel Lutheran Church has grown tremendously in outreach and in development of disaster services. Judy Bultman is the disaster coordinator for Bethel. She has done marvelous work and has established a partnership with an LCMS congregation, Good Shepherd, just down the street. They are looking at dividing the tasks, one for a work crew support ministry, the other for the work of distribution of food and goods. Both will have caseworkers. Bethel already has one caseworker trained and is hoping for another soon.

Grace has hired a caseworker/disaster coordinator who starts this week. I will work with her on Tuesday. She will be key in moving forward the outreach from Grace. The administrative secretary has also gone from part time to full time to address the disaster casework needs as well. They continue to have distribution of food and some work groups. The great news is that Pastor Barbara Hunter and her husband John, whose home was destroyed by Katrina, will be moving into their new home this Friday!!

The sites, including Coast Episcopal School, are becoming more interrelated, sharing supplies, communicating needs, networking, sharing training, etc. It is a very good thing.

Christus Victor has received approval from the county for use of a large warehouse, pending approval from the state auditor. We hope that approval will come this week. Once that is in place, the warehouse will be able to be the staging site for distribution to all our congregations as well as other partnering congregations in the community. It will also provide a much needed space for building supplies and equipment. It is hoped that we will be able to get warehouse space in Biloxi as well. We have a warehouse manager hired who begins this week.

We continue to need food sent to the coast. All four LEDR sites have been out of food much of the time. The truck loads of food have slowed dramatically and the need has not. It is a concern for many who are now jobless that soon their savings and the meager funds they have received from FEMA and Red Cross will run out. Without an income, the need for food, assistance with utility bills, and health care needs will increase dramatically, not to mention the need for adequate housing. For many housing is a small trailer or living doubled or tripled up with other friends and family members. It is not uncommon to see the same family come back for food week after week. Recovery will be slow. So we encourage anyone who can to
continue to send food.

We hope that with the addition of the caseworkers we can begin to weave together what resources there are left on the coast and get folks connected to them, but it is likely we will need to help develop these resources. Most of the community-based ministries were destroyed by Katrina.

The medical unit at Christus Victor is close to moving into the donated office space along with Coastal Family Health Services, the provider for indigent primary care on the Coast. LEDR has contracted
with Jennifer Knight, RN Coordinator at Coast Episcopal to provide for clinical coordination for all the clinics. She will work with the medical/nursing staff resource coordinator to keep the clinics staffed, as well as help Coastal Family recruit staff for their other clinics. We will be partnering with Coastal Family Health Services across the coast.

The Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force is now up and going. Currently, Christus Victor and Bethel are represented on the board with representation from Grace and Coast Episcopal coming soon.
I remain a part of the board as well. The task of weaving so many responses is unbelievable, but I am certain that it will happen. God has brought many to the table.

We will need volunteers for quite some time. It is impossible to say thanks for all the volunteers, pastors, and workers of many gifts and talents who have come down to bring healing to the coast. We are
blessed to work with the many folk from all over the country who bring gifts of self, money, and prayer. It is awesome work, truly the hands and heart of our Lord made visible before us. We are grateful.

God’s peace and blessings,
Morgan

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4. FOOD STILL NEEDED ON GULF

As mentioned in Dr Gordy’s update, there is still a need for canned foods to be sent to the Gulf. If your congregation has collected food that can be sent or wants to coordinate a food drive, please contact Amy Bearson at Christus Victor Lutheran Church at 228-282-3129. Please visit www.elca-ses.org/Katrina_recovery.htm for a list of needed items.

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5. NOVEMBER VOLUNTEERS ASSIGNED

Volunteers who signed up through the synod webpage, www.elca-ses.org, for the month of November have been assigned work locations on the Gulf. We are currently accepting volunteer sign-ups for December and next year on the website. If you wish to take an adult volunteer group to the Gulf in the month of November, please contact sites directly:

BETHEL LUTHERAN CHURCH
The Rev Gerald Bultman
2521 Pass Road
Biloxi, MS 39531-2727
Office (228) 388-1226
Coordinator Judy Bultman (228) 239-8882 or (228) 617-4781

CHRISTUS VICTOR LUTHERAN CHURCH
The Rev Sigurd Arneson
2755 Bienville Boulevard
Ocean Springs, MS 39564-4312
Office (228) 875-2446
On Site Volunteer Coordinators: Roger Ratcliff and Donna Young
832-668-6135 or 303-246-0328
Disaster Response Coordinator: Amy Bearson (228) 282-3129
www.christusvictordisasterresponse.org

GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
The Rev Barbara Hunter
19221 Pineville Road
Long Beach, MS 39560-3315
Office (228) 864-4248

COAST EPISCOPAL SCHOOL
5065 Espy Avenue
Long Beach, Ms 39560
Contact: Diane Livingston, Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi 1-866-550-0872

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6. DONATIONS BOUND FOR ASCENSION, JACKSON BEING RE-ROUTED

Ascension Lutheran Church, Jackson, MS, requests all those who are currently sending items for Hurricane Katrina recovery to to Ascension to read the following.

Donated items currently being sent to Ascension Lutheran Church in Jackson are being accepted and then re-shipped to the relief locations listed above. Ascension currently must provide financing to transport items or spend considerable effort arranging volunteer transportation to the sites, which are over 150 miles from Jackson. To avoid transportation delays, further donations should be taken or sent directly to the relief locations on the MS coast. Before shipping items to the relief centers listed above, PLEASE call the centers first so they can arrange to have enough volunteers on-hand to unload the truck. You may send by UPS or FedEx.

For a current list of items needed, consult:
http://www.elca-ses.org/Katrina_recovery.htm
Check back regularly for updates as needs are changing.

Clothing needs have been met for the time being and some centers refuse to accept clothing. The only clothing that is needed right now is NEW, packaged socks and underwear (all sizes) and NEW infant
clothing. The best thing to do with any other donated clothing is to send it to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Both of these organizations will make good use of used clothing.

As you prepare items to send, try to pre-pack for a family-of-four. This makes it easier for relief workers to distribute and does not require as much work to sort!

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7. ASSISTING MINISTERS FOR PASTORAL CARE STILL NEEDED

The Southeastern Synod office is currently working to place Assisting Ministers for Pastoral Care. We are seeking rostered persons who will be appointed by Bishop Warren, deployed to the congregations of
the devastated areas for no less than 1-2 weeks and under local supervision by the congregational pastor. This is a non-salaried position, but reasonable expenses will be recompensed with receipts. Any pastors, associates in ministry, diaconal ministers, or deaconesses interested in this position should contact Jeanette Burgess, Southeastern Synod Administrative Liaison for Leadership at 404-589-1977 ext 232 or jburgess@elca-ses.org.

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I will be out of the office until November 1, 2005 on vacation. If you need assistance regarding Hurricane Katrina relief during that time, please contact Liz Linke in the synod office at 404-589-1977, ext 220 or synod.office@elca-ses.org.

Thanks!
Elaine Schwartz
ELCA-Southeastern Synod Director of Communication Resources


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Intro to Guest Column

Dear Friends of St. Paul,
Below you will see a copy of an email letter sent by Sister Virginia Strahan from the New England Synod regarding New England Lutherans’ responses to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, clean-up efforts, volunteers needed and links to more information. It was sent to ELCA New England Synod rostered ministers to share with congregations. In my own research for appropriate responses to this calamity, after extended on-line and telephone inquiries, I have found that most relief agencies who work with the ELCA encourage us to give financial gifts to the Lutheran disaster response (see link below), and to watch for opportunities to volunteer or to send supplies. The ELCA disaster response website says in nearly all cases, during the early response to a crisis, financial gifts are more flexible, and have a more immediate impact than supplies. 100 % of your donations earmarked for Hurricane Katrina are used for that purpose. Last week in church, in one offering, our congregation raised over $1000 dollars for relief efforts. Thank you for your generosity, and your prayers. Pastor Anne

Synod News, Katrina Relief Effort

Help for Homeless Gulf Coast Pastors

Fifteen pastors and AIMs in the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod have been left homeless and without any income because the churches they serve were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod has designated all of its Disaster Fund to help these men and women get back on their feet, so that they may begin ministering to others. If you would like to help these pastors and AIMs, you may send a check to the TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod at the following address: Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, 12707 North Freeway, Suite 580, Houston, TX 77060-1239. Make the check payable to “Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod” and write “Discretionary Fund – Pastors” in the memo line.

How New England Is Already Helping:

ST. PAUL, TORRINGTON, CONN.

St. Paul, Torrington, Conn., collected more than $800 Sunday (Sept. 4) during a special appeal for ELCA Domestic Disaster Relief. St. Paul has become the “east side” drop off point for the Torrington fire department’s citywide collection of relief items. The first trailer leaves early tomorrow morning. St. Paul youth unloaded cars and helped pack the trailer. The fire department was grateful for their help.

The Women of the ELCA group at St. Paul wanted to do something tangible to make a difference. At the coffee hour on Sunday, a member of the group suggested making fleece blankets for displaced children, not only for warmth, but for comfort. So, Monday, Labor Day, 13 of women gathered in the fellowship hall and “Labored on Labor Day,” completing 47 fleece blankets. They affixed a label on each blanket, giving the name of the congregation and saying that St. Paul is praying for them. “Lots of love went into each and every stitch and snip,” reported Paula Rosenbeck, “and we felt wonderful when they were all neatly wrapped with love in a clear plastic bag and then shrink-wrapped for maximum portability.” They were added to the items in the trailer at the fire department. “We hope they will bring comfort to a child by week’s end,” added Rosenbeck. “It was a great day!”

SOUTH CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE

Several congregations in the South Connecticut Conference are developing a plan with their Episcopal counterparts to send supplies and work teams to the Southeastern Synod of the ELCA, which covers Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. They will work with ELCA and Episcopal social ministry disaster teams in Mississippi. A work team is tentatively scheduled to leave Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006, after worship and to spend several days in Mississippi. Pr. Mark Christoffersen, Our Saviour’s, Fairfield, Conn., who grew up in Memphis, has contacts in the Southeastern Synod. In fact, his grandfather’s family “lost everything” in a hurricane that struck Hattiesburg, Miss., about 1913.

The ELCA is continually updating the how-to-help information on http://www.elca.org/disaster . Check this site often to find out how you or your congregation can best help.

EARLY-RESPONSE VOLUNTEERS/PROFESSIONALS NEEDED

Skilled/certified search and rescue volunteers. Send an email with “search and rescue volunteer” in the subject line, along with full contact information to ddr@elca.org

Self-sufficient debris removal crews (able to provide their own food, water, sleeping arrangements). Debris-removal crews are being coordinated at a local high school in Wiggins, Mississippi. It has been requested that you call the following number prior to going: 601-249-3695. Self-sufficient volunteer crews may also contact Hal Shope (hshope@allthingsnewministry.org, 678-580-3371) or Bob Tribble (trib713@juno.com, 404-313-7878), LDR Volunteer Coordinators.

Health and medical professionals should contact the Department of Health and Human Services at 866/528-6334, volunteer.hhs.gov or www.hhs.gov

Individuals seeking employment with FEMA should call 800/879-6076, to receive instruction for faxing an application or resume to 540-542-2484.

Contractors seeking opportunities with FEMA should visit www.swern.gov

LATER-RESPONSE VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers will be needed for Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery efforts long into the future. Groups should watch www.elca.org/disaster for volunteer opportunities, or after the immediate crisis has past, send their contact information to ddr@elca.org with “volunteer” in the subject line.

DONATIONS OF FOOD AND *NEW* CLOTHING

Multi-Agency warehouses have been established to accept delivered donations of food, paper products, and NEW clothing. (The warehouses are temperature-controlled facilities, so clothing donations will not mildew. We are not working with anyone at this time willing to accept donations of used clothing.) These warehouses serve as receiving and delivery points and are set up to receive semi-truck deliveries. If you are coordinating a donations drive, and plan to place the items on a semi-tractor trailer, if at all possible, please have these donations placed on pallets for easy removal from the trucks. The warehouses will accept donations if they are not on pallets, but it would help with the unloading process. Since mail services in these areas are uncertain, donations should be taken and not mailed. Contact information is below:

Louisiana
1102 E. Admiral-Doyle Dr.; New Iberia, LA 70560
Stanley Buckmaster-Manager (405)612-4602

Mississippi
4750 Northside Methodist Home Rd.; Jackson, MS 39213
Ray Elsberry-Manager (601)405-2975

Alabama (tentative, watch for confirmation)
Old Sams Club; I-65 W & Dauphin Blvd.; Mobile, AL
Tommy Warren-Manager

DONATIONS TO AMERICA’S SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANKS

America’s Second Harvest is organizing the delivery nationwide to deliver food goods to the impacted areas. The national number is 800-771-2303. Learn more, and find local food-bank contact information, here.

DONATIONS OF DISASTER-RECOVERY SUPPLIES

The Southeastern Synod of the ELCA is maintaining a list of congregations that are also willing to accept donations of disaster-recovery supplies.

OFFERS TO PROVIDE TEMPORARY HOUSING

ELCA Domestic Disaster Response/Lutheran Disaster Response is not coordinating temporary housing.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is working to develop a plan for resettling evacuees – see their Web posting at http://www.lirs.org/News/20050904Katrina.htm

The American Red Cross has launched the Family Links Registry, which will aid individuals who are seeking loved ones and family members in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Family Links Registry can be accessed by visiting www.redcross.org or by calling:
1-877-LOVED-1S (1-877-568-3317) to register.

Evacuees wishing to inform loved ones of their location can register their name by clicking on “Family Links Registry” on www.redcross.org or by calling 1 877-LOVED-1S. Concerned friends and family can register the names of their loved ones and view the list of those already posted. Due to the extent of the damage and the number of people displaced, concerned friends and family members are encouraged to visit the site daily to consult the list, as it will be updated continuously.

Sister Virginia E. Strahan
Synod Communicator
New England Synod
20 Upland Street
Worcester, MA 01607
(508) 791-1530, x103

August 31, 2005

This morning news of Hurricane Katrina continues to worsen, with devastating floods in New Orleans and surrounding cities and towns. If you have been watching the news, you are no doubt wondering what we can do to assist people there. Here’s a couple things: while the people on the Gulf Coast have asked for all of us to pray, you can also donate financial gifts to disaster relief in the region through the ELCA or Lutheran World Relief. For ELCA disaster relief, please click here: http://www.elca.org/disaster/ and donate to Lutheran Disaster Relief earmarked for Hurricane Katrina. You can also donate through http://www. redcross.org.

I’ve done a web search this morning, and there are many venues for giving help. Keep updated with Lutheran coverage of this event through the ELCA news available on our website, and stay informed about what our churches are doing in the region. Perhaps some of you have family or know people affected by the storm who need our help. If so, please email me or the church office at saintpaul.gis.net. As always, we can respond with prayers and action.

If you find yourself drawn to volunteer to go down to New Orleans, please look at ELCA disaster response; we have relief teams, and other ways of offering hands-on assistance.

July 7, 2005

Today we awoke to the news of bombings in London. I am writing out of mourning for the victims who have died, and those who were injured, for their families, and the people of London. I ask your prayers for all of them. I find myself bewildered and saddened by such violence, rather than angry, and so I ask your prayers as well for those who perpetrated this violence, to pray in the truest sense of praying for one’s enemies. I also ask your prayers for the leaders of the G8 summit, who will continue their work in spite of this violence.

Recently the ELCA published a timely statement called “Living in a Time of Terrorism.” I am heartened by this statement, for it places our response to terrorism squarely in the context of our faith, and asks us to think and talk about this reality in our lives. It asks us to think ethically about our response, but also to take heart from the hope and sturdy courage faith offers in a time of violence and uncertainty. We can order copies from the ELCA if you would like to have the publication. However, you can also read it online. If you would like to read the full text, it may be found at this website: http://www.elca.org/socialstatements/terrorism

Below is an excerpt from the document itself centering on actions we can take in our communities to build friendships and understanding between people and cultures who do not share the same religious beliefs, or cultural practices. We are not all the same, yet there is ground we share.

“Our times bid us to intensify our efforts to work with humility and persistence for mutual understanding among all religions, especially among Christians, Muslims, and Jews. This challenge has many dimensions and is only at a beginning stage. It includes personal relationships in neighborhoods, schools, and work places; meetings among congregations, mosques, and synagogues; cooperation with common projects; and scholarly discussions of sacred texts, historical relationships, and living beliefs and practices. It calls for recognizing the great diversity within each religion and for understanding friendly and hostile encounters in multiple contexts.”

The ELCA published the statement to encourage us to talk about terrorism as a community, and to think together what a faithful, peacemaking response to it we can make, as individuals, and as communities. One of the reasons I appreciate being Lutheran is this kind of invitation, that we be in conversation with each other, even in our deepest disagreements, that we continue to talk, and to listen deeply. One of my professors once said, “We Lutherans can talk to anybody.” And it’s true. Because Christian faith calls us to a sacramental listening to our neighbor. I hope you will read the statement on terrorism. If nothing else, it helps to ponder the realities of our times, in the framework of faith in a gracious God.

OF WHALES and PHALAROPES: As far as other sorts of beachcombing, in May, there was a terrific storm if you remember, and birdwatchers in eastern Massachusetts had a windfall, literally, of birds blown in by the storm, toward shore. Some of our intrepid parishioners went out in the worst of it to watch red phalaropes, Wilson’s storm petrels, and Leach’s storm petrels swim in and out of the crashing waves off Folly Point. In Plum Cove, the phalaropes came all the way into shore, spinning in the shallows, and pecking through mounds of kelp and sea wrack. A wonderful three days, if you like a good storm off the coast.

In June, Michael and I sighted two humpback whales off of Folly Point; one swam in towards the Cove, in a leisurely way, and all the diners eating outside at the Lobster Pool stood up in wonder to watch the whales’ graceful dives. The sun set over the bay as they swam in and out, and finally back toward open sea. I was wondering what sort of parable Jesus would have taught if he had used whales. They do appear in the bible, in Job and the Psalms, of course, as “leviathan.” There was Jonah’s unfortunate adventure inside the whale, and we all must have wondered what sort of whale it was, a great blue? a humpback? a Moby Dick sort of whale? In the first story of Creation, in Genesis 1:1-2:4, the King James Version speaks of God creating whales, so they have an early appearance in our sacred histories. Michael produced a beautiful presentation for the Synod Assembly offering power point images based on that creation story, and one, of course, was a humpback whale. We hope to show it at the church this summer, sometime, after all the work on the floor downstairs is finished.

In late June I finished an eight week course at the UMass Medical Center in Worcester at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. It was a program designed to provide people with practices to reduce harmful stress in their lives. I used some of my continuing education hours to take the class with another local pastor. We found ourselves delighted by the program, and came away renewed. For those of you interested in hearing more, please email me, or go to the website of the program: www.umassmed.edu/cfm.

On a sadder note, faith communities on Cape Ann are taking note of the continued violence in Dafur, and the genocide there. I urge you to read about this, if you have not already, in the news, and on-line. The Lutheran World Relief is in the thick of providing assistance, along with other faith based and NGO organizations. Below is a link to read more about this, and to offer financial support for relief efforts, as well as suggestions for writing letters to Congress and the President. www.lwr.org

On October 15, the Synod is offering Rooted for Life, an annual day of workshops and worship for lay and clergy. This year, the focus will be on faith development through the lifespan, and our speaker is a nationally known reseracher, Roland Martinson, who focuses on exploring the faith of young people, and the factors that sustain their faith journeys. I will be giving a workshop on Evangelism, something we are always thinking about at St. Paul. In preparation for it, I would like to gather five or six people who would help me think through the format of such a workshop, and who would be willing to try some of the exercises and suggstions I hope to teach. If you are interested, please email me at the church, or call the church office.

Beachcombing: April, 2005

This is the newest addition to our website–a Blog, which means, I’m told, a web log. One of my pastor friends told me about the software, and our trusty webmaster found it on-line and installed it for our use on the website, for which we offer him our heartfelt thanks. Most pastors use web logs–Blogs–to offer weekly columns or comments in between newsletter publications. This blog will be a series of reflections, or comments, written over the course of a month. And in keeping with our proximity to the sea, I’m calling it “Beachcombing,” since some days, when you walk on the beach, you find interesting things, and other days, the waves have swept everything away. I hope readers will find it useful.

I’ve been studying a book on evangelism, “A Story Worth Sharing,” recently published by Augsburg (a Lutheran publishing house) and edited by a Lutheran pastor, Kelly Fryer. I’ll be using the book for a N.E. Synod Rooted for Life workshop on evangelism on October 15th, in Worcester. The first essay in the book looks into the way we Christians tell the story of our faith, and how our individual stories are embedded in the larger story of Jesus’ life and mission. As I understand it, evangelism is telling that wonderful story of God’s love for all of us, as we see it in the life and ministry of Jesus, and also as we experience it in our daily lives as Christ’s disciples. At the beginning of each chapter in “A Story Worth Sharing,” the individual authors of the essays write a brief column called: “Who I am in Christ,” just two paragraphs, with information about themselves, and why they do what they do, and how they see themselves as Christians. That’s my question for whomever is reading these musings on this amazing April morning. Who are you in Christ? But to take it further, what is God up to in your life, in your community’s life? What is God up to in the world today as you see it? What do you have in Christ, and what do you know about this risen life that’s a story worth sharing?