CLC Blog

Love Changes People

When staff and leadership were first discussing doing a sermon series on Core Values, I was pumped. One of the reasons I love this church so much is because of the core values held.

  1. Jesus is Lord
  2. Everyone is Welcome
  3. Relationships Matter More Than Anything
  4. Love Changes People
  5. Everyone has Gifts to Share
  6. We want everyone to experience the grace we’ve received.

These are powerful. These values embodied will change the world. I truly believe that. I believe living the Gospel, embodying the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will change and heal the world. And I believe it is our duty as followers of Jesus to be that change in the world…to be the embodiment of Jesus in the world.

Afterall, is that not what we are called to? Paul speaks of the Church as the Body of Christ, with Christ as the Head (Jesus as Lord and Commander).

12 Just as the human body is one, though it has many parts that together form one body, so too is Christ.[t] 13 For by one Spirit we all were immersed and mingled into one single body.[u] And no matter our status—whether we are Jews or non-Jews, oppressed or free—we are all privileged to drink deeply of the same Holy Spirit.[v]

14 In fact, the human body is not one single part but rather many parts mingled into one. 15 So if the foot were to say, “Since I’m not a hand, I’m not a part of the body,” it’s forgetting that it is still a vital part of the body. 16 And if the ear were to say, “Since I’m not an eye, I’m not really a part of the body,” it’s forgetting that it is still an important part of the body.

17 Think of it this way. If the whole body were just an eyeball, how could it hear sounds? And if the whole body were just an ear, how could it smell different fragrances? 18 But God has carefully designed each member and placed it in the body to function as he desires.[w] 19 A diversity is required, for if the body consisted of one single part, there wouldn’t be a body at all! 20 So now we see that there are many differing parts and functions, but one body.

21 It would be wrong for the eye to say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” and equally wrong if the head said to the foot, “I don’t need you.” 22 In fact, the weaker our parts, the more vital and essential they are.[x] 23 The body parts we think are less honorable we treat with greater respect. And the body parts that need to be covered in public we treat with propriety and clothe them. 24 But some of our body parts don’t require as much attention. Instead, God has mingled the body parts together, giving greater honor to the “lesser” members who lacked it. 25 He has done this intentionally so that every member would look after the others with mutual concern, and so that there will be no division in the body. 26 In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices 1 Corinthians 12: 12-26).

I love our core values. But we have a long way to go to embodiment….myself included.

 I originally chose to teach on Relationships Matter Over Anything, as this is the core foundational theology of my doctoral dissertation (I have developed an entire theology of healing called “Rooted Restoration” centered on the foundational understanding that we were created to live in right relationship: with God, with self, with others, with creation. Sin is best understood then, as anything that breaks down one of these core relationships).

I was really excited to teach on that. Finally I could speak and teach as the well-polished public speaker I have been trained to be, as I have made this presentation numerous times in my professional life (afterall I love you guys and am new here, and am prone to do a little peacocking as l like to call it when I’m trying to win over someone’s affections…and I know I’m a great public speaker. Painful truth for me to own, but true none the less. I like to be liked, much to my detriment sometimes).

But I’m not called here to be great. As much as I am great at my calling, I am not called to be great. My greatness is found in my weakness, in my mess, in my places of greatest shame and trial and defeat. For those are the places Christ is most known in my story. Those are the places the grace of God thrives.

Wouldn’t it figure then that a need to switch Sundays would arise and I would find myself teaching/leading on Love Changes People and I find myself invited to share a story I have never publically shared before… the story of the past seven years of deconstruction in my life. The story of healing from church abuse and need to leave the church and the love and grace I have received here at CLC and how it is changing me and making me a better woman. And while that sounds lovely, it feels horrible. Because to accept your love means I have to lay down my hate. But hate is real. And sometimes in this cruel world it feels like the only way to survive and find strength.

But hate won’t change anything.

Love changes things. Love changes people.

The love of this church has healed in me in more ways than I can share in a short space and time. I hope we have many years together to grow in love and witness the transformation love brings into our personal and communal lives, and that I have opportunities like I will when I teach this sermon to share with you all how you have changed me.

But to share that love, to bring you into the understanding, I have to bring you into the depravity of where I was…the brokenness and shambles my life was in…the horrible ways I used to embody the opposite of love. You have to see the ashes if you are to understand the beauty, otherwise the beauty of it might be missed, to the detriment of us all. And the ashes need to be heard because we need to talk about our brokenness if we are going to heal it.  

Life is messy. It’s time we roll up our sleeves and get messy church…starting with us. Starting with our own stories and voices and lives, so that we can invite others outside of our community into the grace we are all receiving and have received.

I am called here to help youth and emerging adults know, love, embody the Spirit of, and follow Jesus in this life and empower and equip them in their Creator ordained calling...and if they don't want that, then I simply want to teach them how to navigate this hard, difficult world. The second leading cause of death in the United States for ages 14-23 is suicide. That reality has to stop. So even if they have no interest in learning about Jesus and God  (which if you have met or heard me, is central to my life so comes up in everything for me and they know this), I want them to have a space where they know they are loved and are able to grow and develop fully into who they are. I want them to experience love, grace, mercy, acceptance, value, worth, goodness, beauty, change, growth and everything good this world has to offer, even if for some reason there is a barrier to know Jesus or Creator....that to me does not hinder my want for them to know they are loved and cared for...and while I want them to know how big and deep and wide love is, that is a choice they get to make. I can only choose for me.  

My choice for all humans is love. Because love is the only thing that healed or saved me in this world. Love changes people. And it starts with us.  Are we ready to get messy in love? 

Council Minutes August 2020

Special Note

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Christ Lutheran Church Council met using a hybrid model of in-person, socially distant attendance and virtual attendance by council members via the Zoom video conferencing application.

 

Present: Carrie Carlson, Pastor Andy Evenson, Andrea Zirbel, Diana Erickson, Blaine Erickson, Allan Kristenson, Terry Lohmann, Terri Strom; Jim Kelly and Steve Kallevang (via Zoom)

 

CALL TO ORDER/ADOPT AGENDA

                7:02pm

 

DEVOTIONS: Psalm 138 (Carrie)

 

REPORTS

WELCA Report – no report

Will meet next on September 1, 2020.

 

Pastor’s Report (Pastor Andy)

New bible study Tuesday mornings in the park and at Arbor Glen on Wednesday mornings. Have open office hours on Mondays that are going well. Thinking ahead to October and navigating through fall and winter.

 

Secretary’s Report (Terri)

Council reviewed July Council Meeting minutes. Minutes approved. Council reviewed the July Annual Congregational Meeting minutes. Revisions received and congregational meeting minutes amended.  Minutes approved as revised.

 

Treasurer’s Report (Diana)

The general fund is in deficit; however, it is the first month of the fiscal year. It was a soft giving month. Expenses ran under budget. No areas of concern. There is a certificate of deposit for $125,000.00 that matures on August 20, 2020. As former treasurer, Roger will cash it out and move it to the money market account at Lake Elmo Bank. Roger will continue to manage the PPP loan. Motion to approve the budget report. Motion carried to approve.

 

Next Gen Ministries Director Report (Andrea)

Home visits with confirmation families.  Will offer a hybrid model for confirmation.  Setting up a conversation platform for youth to meet and connect outside of formal meetings. Meeting with high school youth for a back to school event. Continuing to connect with senior high youth to determine how best to support them. Also planning to offer Sunday night sanctuary – gathering in different areas and activities to find sanctuary and safe places with God. Setting up a page on the website for youth and families to sign-up for individual support.  Also working with middle and high school youth to organize activities for younger children.

 

MINISTRY BOARD LIASION REPORTS

Admin/Finance Ministry Team (Tim Wieland) – no report

 

Worship Ministry Team (Pat Urtel) – no report

 

Evangelism Team (Debbie Smith-Hutton) – Carrie Carlson

Fall activities have been put on hold.  No new activities.

 

Hospitality Team (Dave Boorman) – no report

 

Mission Team (Lowell Gillette) – Allan Kristenson

The Guatemala trip planned for January has been cancelled and will be rescheduled when COVID-19 is more under control.

 

Property Team (Ken Hauck & Mike Stumpf) – Blaine Erickson

Elevators and fire extinguishers received maintenance checks. The louvres anticipated to be done by the end of August.  No one has stepped forward to take care of the rose garden.  In late September, it will be converted to grass. The electrical is being worked on for the new monitors.

 

Faith Formation (Anne Sheridan) – Andrea Zirbel

Met Sunday, July 12th.  Planned back to school activities.  Next meeting on August 30th.  The plan is to finalize what faith formation looks like for this fall and figure out small groups.  Groups of people are putting together care kits. 

 

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS

 

Devotion Sign-up

Council members signed up to take turns leading devotions at each meeting.

 

Ministry Team Liaison Assignments

Admin/Finance – Diana Erickson

Evangelism – Steve Kallevang

Faith Formation – Terri Strom

Missions – Allan Kristenson

Property – Blaine Erickson

Worship – Terry Lohmann

 

Ministry Team – Council Meeting

Discussed organizing a meeting in September for Ministry Team leaders to meet with Council to talk through plans, concerns and discuss new avenues for collaboration and continuation of ministries during COVID-19. Pastor will send a doodle poll to find a common date.

 

Council Congregational Communication Plan

Council has received feedback from congregational members on a feeling of being disconnected. There may also be a generally feeling of overwhelm and missing our regular ways of connecting. Council discussed avenues of communication to create more connection and make sure the congregation is aware of what is happening with council and the church. One point of connection for council liaisons is to regularly communicate council updates to ministry leaders and teams. Council will also make a draft of the meeting minutes available to the congregation through Flocknote and our church blog, and a dedicated bin outside of the church door the week following each meeting. Council will complete an initial review of notes via email and formally approve final minutes at the following council meeting. Terri will send out minutes to council for review and the draft for sharing to Sara and Andrea for distribution electronically through Flocknote and the blog, and physically through printed copies available for pickup in the bin located outside the church door. 

 

Policies and Procedures Documentation Project

The Board of Administration has developed a central file for all policies and procedures documents and a process for regular annual updates. They have identified the owners of all policy and procedure documents.  Those owners will be asked annually in August to review the policy and/or procedure documents and update. The point person for document distribution and return is Sara in the office review policy and/or procedure and update.  This year’s review is delayed one month and will be completed in September.

 

5 Year Plan

Council reviewed the 5 Year Plan. Accomplishments: The screen installation is in progress.  Worship times have been shifted. We launched and tested Wednesday evening worship. New signs have been installed. Council discussed pausing the long-term vision represented in our 5 Year Plan and focusing on having several short-term, flexible, COVID responsive plans that are created in conjunction with the COVID Smart Team and Ministry Team leads.

 

Volunteer/Staff Appreciation during COVID-19

Council discussed the need to show appreciation to our congregational volunteers and staff. Discussed practice of writing thank-you notes to volunteers. Steve will work on organizing a process. Discussed plans for staff acknowledgements also.

 

ACTION ITEMS

 

Authorized Signers Resolution

Resolution: Be it resolved that Carrie Carlson, President; Steve Kallevang, President-Elect; Terri Strom, Secretary; and Diana M. Erickson, Treasure are authorized signers on the checking account, money market savings account and certificates of deposit at Lake Elmo Bank; and the brokerage account at Cetera Advisor Networks LLC. Only one signature is required. Records are being updated to add Steve Kallevang and Diana M. Erickson and to delete Charles LePage and Roger M. Knutson. Motion to approve the resolution as stated. Motions carried to approve.

 

PPP Loan Forgiveness Authorized Manager Resolution

Resolution: Be it resolved that Roger M. Knutson is authorized to complete the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application and to initiate, accept or excuse all documents in connection with this application with the Lake Elmo Bank. Motion to approve the resolution as stated. Motion carried to approve.

 

Knoblach Fund Request

The Knoblach Fund is a designated fund with the purpose identified for use as “to help people in need.”  The fund was created over 10 years ago and there are currently over $62,000.00 available. Andrea, Next Gen Ministries Director, brought a request to council to consider utilizing funds from this account for a family in need of assistance due to a wrongful discharge from employment. Council discussed the alignment of this request with the designated purpose of the fund and the amount of funds available. Motion to approve a one-time disbursement of $2,000.00 from the Knoblach Fund to the family in need identified, with the stipulation that Council will create a process and procedure before any future disbursements are approved. Motion carried to approve.

 

ADJOURN

Meeting adjourned at 8:54pm

 

Upcoming Dates:

September 8, 7:00pm                     September Council Meeting

Posted by CLC Council
in Truth

What does Jesus look like?

If we grow up in a church filled with images of Jesus with white skin, we naturally learn to picture Jesus as white. As a man from Galilee in the Middle East, it is obvious that this is not what Jesus would have looked like in real life. This phenomenon extends beyond Jesus to depictions of his mother Mary, his disciples, and many Saints. 

I would like the congregation of Christ Lutheran to ponder what effect this has on those who do not share the same skin color. Would BIPOC feel welcome at our church with a largely white population and white portrayals of Christ? 

While I do not believe the answer is to destroy all white images of Jesus, we should make an immediate effort to incorporate more diverse and accurate representations in our place of worship. Let us remember Christ is alive in all of us, but can especially be found in those outside of our own comfort zone.

Posted by Audrey Kelly
Tags: jesus, art, color, black

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