Thursday, August 18, 2011

This Fall at Holy Cross

"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16 (the Message)

New Beginnings 

As you come to church this fall, you will notice that God is doing amazing things with and among us.  The first thing I would like to share with you is that God has richly blessed us financially this summer.  We have been able to catch up with back payments on our debt service ahead of schedule and are now free to concentrate on the ministry and mission of our congregation.  This has happened because of the generosity of our members, the wisdom of our Administration Board in finding ways to use our space to help other ministries, and by continuing to keep expenses low.  While we still have to find ways to pay down the debt and keep expenses in check, the really good news is that any additional gifts you can help us with now will go to help our ministry grow.   So please understand now is a time when your giving can be of a profound impact to this church’s ministry.   It can help us keep the momentum to bring the light of Christ to our wider community.

We have been grateful for the ministry of Ed Nicholson at Holy Cross this summer.   Ed has decided to continue the journey with us at Holy Cross to help us build a worship ministry of excellence that engages our entire congregation.  We are blessed to have him working with us; his skills and passion are readily apparent.  If you have not yet had a chance to introduce yourself to him please do so.   Ed is a member of the band Three Crosses and has done various solo projects.  He is an accomplished and experienced worship leader who has helped other congregations strive to use their gifts to give their all to God in dynamic and powerful worship.  As we move into the fall, Ed will continue to help lead consistently excellent worship and work to expand congregational participation in the worship ministry.  Please be in prayer that the spirit leads us to a deeper life of worship of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We also would like to welcome Jennifer Rossi as our new office administrator.   Jennifer is a committed Christian who brings a diverse set of skills to help our office run effectively and provide a structure for our ministry to thrive.  Please come and introduce yourself to her over the coming weeks; also please be in prayer for her ministry of administration with us. 

We now have the unique pleasure of welcoming Katharina K√∂hler-Will to come and work with us for five weeks beginning in September.  She will be serving with us as a pastoral student-intern.  She is studying theology at the University of Munich.  She comes to us through a program from the Lutheran Church of Bavaria designed to give her some practical experience working in an American congregation.   She and her husband Roland were married earlier this summer and she has three younger siblings.  During her time with us, she will be staying at the Frantz home.  Let’s all give her a warm welcome and be in prayer that this experience can lead to more opportunities for our congregation to help students in ministry practice and develop their skills. 

Our Journey Together Continues
On September 11th we will pray for the start of the school year for our Christian Nursery School.  We will have a ceremony of blessing for our teachers and staff.    We will also lift up prayers for our country and world as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragedy at the World Trade Center and ask God for the healing and renewal of our land.  After church, I will meet with the families in our confirmation ministry to start another fun filled but powerful year together.  The following week, September 18th we will kick off our Sunday School program year. We will dedicate our volunteers to God’s care and have a congregational celebration after church.   We are also very excited to be starting with a new curriculum, which will focus on the central stories of the Bible to give our young people a firm foundation of scripture knowledge in the coming years.   When you have a chance, speak to our Children’s minister Gail Werner about how you can help make a difference by helping out with our Sunday School ministry.   Our Small Group ministry will also be bringing some exciting things to you in the coming months as we live the hope we have in the light of Christ though fellowship, scripture, prayer and service.   Please take the opportunity to try one out this fall. 

Living God’s Time!

I hope you are able to see the hand of God in all of this, I certainly do.  The sacrifices and struggles that we have been through as a congregation have been preparing us for a time like now when we can bring the hope that is the light of Christ to a community and world in need of the Good News.  This fall we will examine in our sermons what it means to live in God’s time rather than the illusion of the world’s view of the times.  We will be working through the later chapters of the Gospel of Matthew where he presents the teachings of Jesus on the way the cross.   The urgency they demonstrate and the teachings of what Christians should value in critical times can help people know that Jesus is with us in the midst of our times today.   Please pray that the light of Christ will shine brightly in the hearts of all who come to Holy Cross this fall and that His light spread out in to the darkness where people need God’s hope. 

Keep the Faith,
Pastor Knecht