This week, as we consider the five gifts of baptism, we'll focus on the call to serve all people, following the example of Jesus. The gospel reading lifts up the differences and similarities in the needs of different people. I'm delighted to announce The Rev. Tom Schlotterback from Saint John's Ministries will preach. I'd also like to call your attention to a few articles/announcements below. The new council for 2019 met for a retreat on Sunday and elected officers. This coming Sunday we are all invited to complete the Synod Vision Questionnaire. The last item is a question of office communications. The weekly and the monthly newsletters: do we need both? Can we integrate them?
Seventh Sunday after Epiphany
Mercy. Mercy. Mercy. Joseph lives it in Egypt. Jesus preaches it in the gospel. The Spirit guides us into merciful lives with the power of forgiveness to reconcile what is fractured and divided. Such merciful living is the baptismal blessing of having put on Christ. It is the gift of the life-giving Spirit. It is a reflection of the glory of God revealed in the Christ.
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Readings and Psalm
Genesis 45:3-11, 15 Joseph forgives his brothers
Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40 The lowly shall possess the land;
they will delight in abundance of peace.
1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50 The mystery of the resurrection of the body
Luke 6:27-38 Love your enemies
Hymns & Setting
ELW Holy Communion Setting 10
Jesus Calls Us; o'er the Tumult (ELW 696)
Blest Are They (ELW 728)
We Come to the Hungry Feast (ELW 479)
Just As I Am, without One Plea (ELW 592)
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (ELW 859)
We pray for Gwen McClanahan, Katherine Broderson, Arnie Uecker, Cindy Bye, Gayle Breding, Jerry Bauck, Ida Mae Russell & her family, and for the following friends of the congregation Mick's sister, Jean Edwards; Marlys' brother and his wife, JD & Verona Sundseth; Marlys' brother, Doug Sundseth; Catherine Card's husband, Eric Halverson; Connie's daughter in law, Shelley Ruff; Jessie's extended family member, Liz; Gayle's friend, Lennie Haugh; Jason; Ruth; Crystal West; Jennifer; Jenn; and Carlene.
In our prayers around the Montana Synod, we lift up Jocko Valley Lutheran Church in Arlee, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and Atonement Lutheran Church in Missoula and retired pastors James Holmlund and David Aaseng. We also pray for the synod as we move toward selecting a new bishop in June. Among the 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we lift up Eastern North Dakota Synod Eastern-Washington-Idaho Synod and PLTS-CLU, Rector Ray Pickert.
Worship Leader sign-up sheets are available for the 8:30am and 10:30am services February 24th through March 17th.
Memorial Fund Balance $4,205.00 as of Feb. 8, 2019
Utilities (Gas: Church Bldg.) Charge for 1/10/19 through 2/6/19 $321.68; our usage was lower than the same period last year, even though the avg. temp was lower. Yay!
Utilities (Gas: Parsonage) Charge for 1/10/19 through 2/6/19 $107.44; similarly, our usage was lower than the same period last year, even though the avg. temp was lower. Yay!
Northern Rockies Institute of Theology Theology of the Land, March 21 in Kalispell, March 22 in Shelby
Freedom in Christ Prison Ministry Contribution report for 2018, we gave $175.00
Do we need both? Can we integrate them?
Here it is the second week of February and you may be wondering where the newsletter is. Did you miss the print out at church? Did the email go directly to your junk mail folder? No, neither of these is true. I just got hung up on the pastor's letter.
I'd like to think that someday I'll be so organized that two funerals bracketing an annual meeting won't cause a ripple in my schedule. It is not so much a question of time management as it is a question of self-care. All three events had an emotional impact on me — that's good news. The difficult part for me is feeling all the feels, accepting them, etc. etc. I've spent the last twenty years working to undo the "good soldier" mindset that I spent my first thirty-five years cultivating.
What does that have to do with the newsletter? Well, I think the theme of the letter I didn't write would have been about bearing one another's burdens in love. We all have emotional baggage, some more than others. Building relationships, building community isn't so much about finding people without baggage. More so, it's about deciding if you can find ways to make your kind of weird clash less with other people's kind of weird.
I'm sharing my kind of weird (ignoring my feelings sometimes, then experiencing emotional flooding) as a way of inviting you to share your kind of weird with me and with each other. We are all of us dealing with our own stuff. Sometimes we think it makes us unlovable. On the contrary, it makes us who we are. And who we are is beloved children of God.
Led by Ret. Pastor Jim Darchuck, the council walked through Leadership Orientation Information. This included a brief overview of the constitution and where to find answers in it; the public nature of the church; helpful meeting practices; the role of church leaders and the problem of secrets in church. A copy of Pr. Jim's presentation is available in the narthex and online if you'd like to see it. The council also elected officers. I'm pleased to present the 2019 Church Council
- Margie Shea - Council President
- Casey Anguiano - Council Vice President
- Johnna Voto - Secretary
- Darlene Fernelius - Treasurer
- Jerry Bauck - Council Member
- Gayle Breding - Council Member
- Dave Brockman - Council Member
- Dennis McCave - Council Member
- Barb Bohle - Alternate
- Jessie Hanna - Alternate
- and of course me - Pastor Jean
Volunteer Driver at Wyndstone
A volunteer is needed to drive the activity bus to events evenings and on weekends. Training is provided; no CDL required. Volunteers will receive a complimentary ticket to the performance or event.
Vigil Coordinators assist the pastoral care staff by emailing and volunteers to set up a vigil. This can be done from home or in our office on as needed basis. Must be able to use a computer; sitting vigil is not required.
volunter at sjlm.org or call 655-7727
Luther’s Lodge offers A warm welcoming guest home for patients and their families who are in Billings for medical treatment. Luther’s Lodge operates primarily on the donations of individuals and local churches. Room rentals covers only a small portion of the operating income.
Bethlehem helps keep the room rental rates reasonable for patients and their families by providing cleaning service once a week during the month of March each year. To pitch in, contact Jeanne Weber, or sign-up on the sheet on the “Ways to Get Involved” board in the narthex.
The paper copy of the Synod Vision Questionnaire is here. It would be ideal to have everyone take a survey and turn it in on the same visit to church. I understand people sometimes like to take more time to reflect on their answers. Sunday, February 24th will be the final day to return your survey. I plan to mail the completed surveys to the synod office on Tuesday, February 26th. In some respects, the survey is similar to the Congregational Vitality survey we just completed for the annual report to churchwide. Some of the questions focus on Bethlehem, and some focus on the synod.
This questionnaire has been developed by the Task Force appointed by the Synod Council, in conjunction with Planning, Research and Evaluation, part of the ELCA's Office of the Presiding Bishop. The Task Force believes this questionnaire will be very important in informing the election process and in allowing nominees, voting members, and everyone in the synod to reflect prayerfully on priorities and leadership needs of the synod. Like your Task Force, we understand that the election of a synod bishop is also a call process!
Every attendee of every congregation is invited to complete this survey. You can also do so online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/1FSBEmail.
Epiphany is an ideal season of the church year to emphasize LIVING OUR BAPTISM and discover the five gifts of discipleship. Affirming the gifts of discipleship in Baptism during the season of Epiphany could become a significant New Year’s tradition. Commitments are made in New Year’s resolutions, often relating to health and well-being. But what about our spiritual health and well-being? What commitments do we make to claim the gifts of discipleship?