Dear Beloved Community,
This Sunday, October 17th at 10 am, we will gather for worship in our sanctuary for the foreseeable future. It has been so wonderful to be back together again and share God’s Spirit and worship in-person!
Gathering in-person in our worship space is a joyous occasion for sure! But the risks of the pandemic are lingering as we head into the Fall and Winter, so we are taking precautions described in further detail below.
We will focus on the intriguing “hard sayings of Jesus” in the Gospel of Mark, as Jesus employs hyperbole and exaggeration to help people see that God’s ways of lifting up the “little ones” (those most vulnerable) are of ultimate importance for human community.
This time we are challenged to understand “Greatness” in God’s terms as lived out in Jesus Christ, as opposed to any human ruler or way of empire. We will be challenged to ask ourselves, “What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?”
There is always a Children’s Church / Sunday School program planned during worship. It is held in the Family Room adjacent to the sanctuary beginning right before the scripture readings and ending after the offering. We LOVE having children and all that brings as part of worship! Thanks to Polly Cappelloni and Leslie Lapp for leading this ministry.
You can also worship at home through the livestream found at our website. After 5pm. a recording of our worship service can be also found on our website at www.ststephenslutheran.org.
The bulletin and Celebrate scripture readings and prayers are attached, so that you can participate in worship even if you are not able to attend church in-person. Holy Communion will be celebrated, so please have some bread and fruit of the vine ready if you are at home.
The health-safe, new ways that we will worship in-person indoors were shared in detail in our October newsletter. Everyone will need to wear a mask and keep it on over the nose for the entirety of worship. It will also include practices that maintain physical distance: 6ft. distance for families in the pews – sharing the Peace with gestures , continuing to receive Holy Communion with the pre-sealed cups, giving our offering at tables near us, as well as improved air exchange with fans and open doors.We will also not be offering the Coffee Fellowship for the time being. However, all are welcome to gather outside on the patio and greet one another as well as welcome those who are new to this church family.
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 hopeful messages of our faith that call us to new beginnings and living a new life with those around us. Previous Sunday worship services can be found at our website. “www.ststephenslutheran.org”
Coffee Fellowship to Begin Soon: Please contact our Church Administrator Leslie if you are willing to host. There are new protocols which include: Serving the coffee (bring your own mug), Having any goodies on small individual plates spread out on a larger table. As soon as we have people willing to serve in this way, it will begin.
All Saints Memorial Service – Sat. Nov.6 at 11am. We will gather publicly as a church family to honor and commend to God those whom we lost during the pandemic-restricted time, that we were not able to gather for at church. These saints include: Ron Buswell, Jean Calvert, Jean Petersen, Al Mitchell, Delores Price and anyone else you would like to include. Please contact Pastor Jim if someone is not listed here.
We give thanks to God for the life and witness of Rick Oldfield and for the many ways he lived out his faith in our community and with his family. We pray for God’s Peace and Loving Arms to surround Susan, Tim and their family, as they grieve their earthly loss and remember him well. We will gather at St. Stephen’s on Saturday, October 23 at 2pm. for a Memorial Service for Rick. Blessed be the memory of this Child of God and May Light Perpetual Shine Upon Him.
We give thanks to God for the life and witness of Ron Buswell and for his dedication to God’s church, and the many, many ways he has offered his gifts to so many in our church and our community for so long. And for God’s Peace and Loving Arms to surround Sheila, Scott, Mark and Arija Buswell and their families, as they grieve his earthly loss in the difficult days ahead.
For healing for Dorothy Ronning as she recovers from gall bladder surgery.
For healing for Janet Slay’s grandson Tyler to make a full recovery from surgery to repair his broken back sustained in a racing accident.
Church office hours have changed. They are now Mon-Fri. 12 noon – 5 pm. Please make a note of this change. 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. Leslie has been officially discharged from any further medical treatment. This led to an additional part-time employment opportunity which she has accepted and begun as of Aug. 11 resulting in the office hour change.
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.
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.
- Donations are being collected at church for Socks and Toiletries. These will go towards our work with serving those who take part in our Association of Faith Communities programs for the unhoused, and for the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center respectively.
- 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, Sept. 28.
- A few copies of “White Fragility” are available to borrow. Call the office to inquire. This is a congregation-wide perspective that we are trying to adopt as we seek better understanding about the roots of racism, its consequences, and how our lives can better reflect an anti-racism perspective.
Grace and Peace