Hello Dear Friends,
We worship together this Sunday, the 4th of July, through our recorded worship service here on our website.
It will be a great way to begin our family and community celebrations of our nation’s birthday, by offering our lives entirely and primarily to God first. Over the centuries, humanity has often struggled between loyalty to God and loyalty to nationality. Today we are reminded in our holy scriptures that the two are never equal, but that God alone is to be worshipped and glorified first and foremost. Sometimes our good loyalty to country can be in contrast to God’s call on our lives, as the Lutheran Church experienced in World War II Germany. At that time, good Lutheran Christian leaders and regular citizens allowed their loyalty to country to either supersede or be equal to their faith in God and the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There were only a relative few like Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who were willing to speak God’s truth to the power of a tyrant like Adolf Hitler, while the vast majority of otherwise good but desperate people forgot their baptismal covenant and went about their normal lives while the smokestacks billowed the ashes of millions of people deemed “not worthy” by that nations government.
As we encounter some of the seeds and rumblings of those very same struggles in our nation today, it is my hope and prayer that we will remember our holy scriptures overall message that God’s grace is sufficient for ALL, and that “never again” will we allow our loyalties to be confused in any kind of way that even begins to approach the things that laid the groundwork for one of the darkest chapters in the history of humanity, let alone the Lutheran Church. May our Sunday morning worship draw us to living out the courage it takes to sometimes have to speak the truth in love, as well as be grateful for all the ways that our country lives up to God’s call.
The bulletin and Celebrate are attached so you can participate in worship in some way if you are not able to attend church in-person this Sunday. Please provide your own Holy Communion elements.
Flowers for Worship: Please sign up to provide flowers in honor of someone or a special occasion as another way to offer yourself in worship to God. The Flower Chart will be available at worship, or you can call the church office – 476-4700.
For the months of July, and August on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month at 10 am, there will be an outdoor, live-streamed worship service. Please bring your own chair and wear a mask for singing especially. The recording of that service will be available after 5pm on our website.
For Sundays: July 11, 25 / August 8, 22, we will worship in-person outdoors and livestreamed through our website. All other Sundays will be recorded on Fridays at 11am. and posted to our website by Sunday morning.
The Church Council at its May 11th meeting, has voted to begin every Sunday indoor services on Sunday, September 12 at 10am. More information about how we will proceed with indoor worship will be shared next month as we develop our guidelines.
Our gathering for worship each Sunday at church, in our homes, or wherever we are able, is very essential to strengthen us to meet the world’s challenges. These days, especially, we cling to the messages of our faith that call us to new beginnings and living a new life. Previous Sunday worship services can be found at our website. “www.ststephenslutheran.org”
Thank you all for your amazing support and love and faithful prayers for Leslie and our family. Please refer to Leslie’s “CaringBridge.org” page for details about her story in case you may not have heard about her accident. She is still receiving in-home therapy several times a week, so office hours are still not regular. But she is able to return to most of her former duties and is trying to be in the office as much as possible during the usual hours of Mon-Thurs. 8:30a – 2:30p
Thank you for your continued faithfulness in your financial giving back to God through our church. Please remember to either give your offering through the mail, through our website donation option, signing up for monthly electronic giving, OR if you just want to get out of the house, then come by the church and drop it off in the mailbox in a secure slot called “Incoming mail”! Office hours are (more or less) M-Th 8:30-2:30, depending on Leslie’s therapy schedules. If you come during those times, you may also want to step into the sanctuary for some prayer and quiet time with God. We would love to see you. Our library is also open to you with quite a variety to choose from.
Thank you to those of you who have been sending notes and messages of encouragement and support. They help keep us hopeful and joyful! We always love to hear how things are going. We would like to share your experiences in the Newsletter each month. So, give some thought to what’s been happening in your life – we all miss each other, and would be thrilled to hear what’s up!
- If any of you would like to participate, it really helps to have a few people Reading Scripture and offering the Prayers of Intercession from the Celebrate page. Or if you would just like to come to worship – Fridays (new day) 11:00 am. Call the office at 476-4700 to schedule your spot.
- Habitat for Humanity Lunches. We will be providing Lunches (sandwiches, chips, fruit & cookies) for 10 volunteers. Reply to this email or call the office if you would like to help out. Our next date is Tuesday, June 22.
- A few copies of “White Fragility” are available to borrow. Call the office to inquire.
Grace and Peace,
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