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Church Newsletters 2010
Sylvan Lake Lutheran News, December 2010

Christmas 2010

Food and Gifts for Three Local Families
The three local families who received Thanksgiving food were very appreciative. Thanks to everyone who donated food and money, including our friends in the Stretch & Tone class.

We also give thanks to LaRosa Market for being our partner in this gift. LaRosa generously provided two large boxes of food as well as a turkey for each family. Please let our friends at LaRosa know you appreciate their help by doing business at their store.

We are providing Christmas food as well as gifts for the same three families. The Spirit has brought us families with a total of 14 children this year. This is a challenge for us to provide one gift for each child. Envelopes with their names, ages and wish lists are in the narthex by the poster to sign up for food donations. Please consider “adopting” one of these children this Christmas.

The deadline for bringing in wrapped gifts and food donations is Sunday, December 19th.

Christmas Eve
Come enjoy the harp and flute music of the Nagy Duo beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Candlelight worship begins at 5:30 p.m. and will feature the Nagy Duo throughout the service.

Come see the baby Jesus laid in the manger and celebrate his birthday with carol singing, holy communion and a Christmas message by Pastor Jan. We will end the service with our traditional candle lighting while singing “Silent Night”. Bring your friends, neighbors and family as we rejoice in the birth of Jesus.

Festival of Lessons and Carols for Christmas
On December 26, the Sunday after Christmas, we will hear the story in scripture and song at our regular 9:00 a.m. worship time. There will be favorite carols mixed in with those less familiar.

Come join in the singing and praises as we continue to celebrate Christmas and the hope that Christ brought into the world. Then enjoy a time of fellowship over coffee after the service.

Poinsettias for Christmas

If you would like to order a poinsettia plant for the altar for Christmas Eve, please sign up on the bulletin board next to the mail boxes. If it would be easier for you, just call or email Dee in the office and she'll sign up for you.

The cost this year is $10 per plant. Please indicate if you'd like to dedicate the plant in honor or memory of a loved one.

Christmas Blessings and Happy New Year Wishes

to You and Your Family from the Staff at Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church. Pastor Jan, Dee, Renate and Thomas

Craft Show & Bake Sale

Thanks to all who shared their time, talents and labor to make this year's craft show and bake sale another outstanding success!

Many showed up on Friday to help set up for Saturday's sale. The bakers came out in dozens and our bake tables overflowed with delicious baked goods. The crafty ladies made more than 50 kitchen hand towels that sold extremely well.

Our cooks and sales staff in the kitchen, at the bake table and the craft table contributed to our success. And our clean-up crew did an awesome job cleaning up and moving all the furniture a second time.

The majority of our vendors reported that they were very pleased with our facilities and hospitality and many hope to return to our 2011 craft show. Again, thank you to all who helped.

Church Council Members for 2011

Thanks to all who accepted a two-year term on the Church Council and as Board Chairs. Newly elected for 2011-2012 at the October congregation meeting and installed in December are:

  • Sandy Blackwell, Vice President
  • Susan Ludwiczak, Secretary
  • Don Lubbers, Treasurer
  • Janet Timmons, Worship and Music
  • Debbie Wolfe, Outreach
  • Irene Howey, Inreach

The following officers will continue in their present positions through 2011:

  • Louise Bugg, President
  • Betty Stephens, Financial Secretary
  • Barbara Krumrey, Trustee
  • Jean Peters, Education
  • Jim Bugg, Stewardship

A big thank you to outgoing officers Rick Orban, Evangelism, and Alice Stamman, Youth. Their dedicated service is much appreciated.

Education Report--the Book of Galatians

As part of our Book of Faith Covenant, we faithfully read the Scriptures each week in preparation for next week's Sunday Worship Service. We also use daily devotional guides.

The Book of Faith initiative of the ELCA suggests the study of Galatians. We are considering this for our next Adult Bible Study. Paul's teachings in Galatians formed, through Martin Luther, much of the basis for Lutheran, Reformed and Evangelical theology. Luther, like Paul, had profound transformative grace encounters with the living God. Each was simply overcome by God's gracious presence.

In Galatians 1:11 Paul has "Here I Stand" moments, much like Luther's appearance in the city of Worms before the Emperor. Paul stood up to the Jerusalem church. Martin Luther stood up to the Catholic church and the Emperor. For both of them it was because they had experienced the grace of the living God in a personal way.

Verse 2:20 is the most notable Bible scripture explaining the Gospel (good news). "I have been crucified with Christ, and no longer live, but christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live my faith in the son o Go, who loved me and gave himself for me."

"We of SLLC could study Galatians in our adult bible class, in small groups, during a specific season of the church year, or by getting a copy of the study guide through www.bookoffaith.org. The study is only 4 sessions, which could be entitled "How to meet God, transcend religion, and live in grace and power forever."

Respectfully submitted, Jean Peters, Education Chair

SLLC November Council Highlights

Progress on our Vision of Health and Wellness for Seniors—the new floor in the fellowship hall will be installed the week after the craft show. The air conditioners will be installed in the spring. Thanks to the congregation for supporting this upgrade so that we can expand our stretch & tone exercise class and offer more health and wellness programs for our neighborhood.

Call process for a pastor--Ministry Site Profile—the written profile for SLLC is almost ready for congregation review. Our profile team and the Ascension profile team are meeting with the cluster dean Pastor Heierman on December 4 to work on the joint profile.

Parsonage—Thanks to the work crews who did electrical and plumbing repairs as well as lots of yard cleanup at the parsonage during November. Our goal is to get the parsonage ready for occupancy as soon as possible.

Thanksgiving and Christmas food and gifts—we have the names of three local families. LaRosa Market is partnering with us again this year.

Come, Light the Fire update—Debbie Wolfe represented SLLC at the November steering team meeting for the seven small congregations in our cluster. Future meetings of this group will rotate among the participating churches. The group plans another “revival” gathering in 2011 for all the churches in our cluster.

Craft show—all tables have been rented, our cooks are preparing baked goods, and we are ready for the third annual craft show and bake sale. Thanks to everyone who helped.

Stewardship—we have a 50% response to our call for pledges for 2011. Thanks to everyone. It’s not too late if you would still like to turn in your pledge card.

Next meeting: December 14 at 7:00 p.m. New Council members are invited.

Sylvan Lake Lutheran News, November 2010

Change

Old joke: (Q) How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb? (A) Change???

We resist change in a lot of places in our lives and welcome it gladly in others. We are odd creatures, indeed. I wonder sometimes how God took the risk of using us sinners to be the messengers of the gospel – the message of love, mercy and forgiveness.

November is a month of changes in the church calendar. We begin on All Hallows Eve, October 31st, which we celebrate as Reformation Day because Martin Luther, knowing people would be attending worship the next day, chose that date in 1517 to post his 95 Theses, points of dispute to be debated and discussed within the church.

Because of the church’s resistance to change (!) these points were never formally debated. Instead, Martin Luther was eventually branded as a heretic, various princes, dukes and other nobility chose to take their territory away from the Roman Catholic Church in protest, war broke out that destroyed and killed and maimed, and, when all was said and done, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation had resulted in several church bodies rather than “The Body of Christ”. Members of these churches persecuted one another for centuries, further dividing the “Body” and making it difficult for members of other faiths and no faith to see Christianity as a faith that “does what it says”.

And, all this because of the fear of change!

Well, brothers and sisters, change keeps happening anyway, and we can’t cover it up by having a blowout Halloween celebration instead of recognizing our sin of rebellion against God and one another. So, we move on to the next day, November 1st, All Saints Day.

We’ll celebrate All Saints on Sunday, November 7th this year. That is the day we recall first members of the congregation then friends and family members, who have died in the faith during the year since last All Saints. Although this is a solemn ceremony there is, as always in the church, deep joy that the faith has been passed along through these departed saints, and that the aftermath of Luther’s attempt at reforming the church has not left the gospel un-proclaimed. We owe a debt of gratitude especially to the saints who have guided us into faith, imperfect proclaimers though they may have been. (See “sinner” in your nearest dictionary.)

On November 21st we end the church calendar year with Christ the King Sunday. The scripture in Year C of the lectionary cycle is about the crucifixion of Jesus, what we might think is a weird choice for a festival day. It is in this scripture passage, though, that we hear some of the most wonderful words ever spoken to a sinner (us): Today you will be with me in Paradise.

November 28th begins the new year, the season of Advent, a time of attention to the return of Christ in triumph at the end of time, the coming celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem long ago, and the continuing life of Christ Jesus in our hearts by faith. That’s a lot of “attention” to cram into some of the busiest days of the year, days that sometimes seem too short and sometimes too long, as well.

We have been blessed with Debbie Wolfe’s gift of little Advent devotion booklets that will help us focus our attention on the Gift of Christ from the heart of God to our needy hearts, hearts that are resistant to change over which we have no control. Maybe, just maybe, turning our attention to Christ’s coming will help us change.

Shalom - Pastor Jan

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving Families
This year, we will again be gathering food to give to 3 local families for Thanksgiving dinner and some meals for the week after. We are getting the names of the families from Roosevelt School, as we have for the past two years.

Please sign up in the narthex for the items you would like to bring. If you’d rather donate money, please designate it for the Good Samaritan Fund. We will purchase perishables and other items from LaRosa Market on the day they pick up the food.

Deadline for bringing in the food is: Sunday, November 21, by noon.

Thanksgiving Potluck and Worship, November 23
We have invited our friends from Ascension and St. Andrew Lutheran Churches to eat and worship with us the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

6 p.m. Potluck supper.

7 p.m. Worship with a joint choir.

Come and get to know our friends from the other churches. Come and give thanks together for our many blessings.

Advent and Christmas 2010

Advent Midweek Soup Suppers and Worship
Sylvan Lake Lutheran will be hosting three Advent midweek soup suppers and worship services. We have invited our friends from Ascension and St. Andrew Lutheran Churches. They will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 8 and 15.

6:00 p.m. Soup Supper.

7:00 p.m. Study from Isaiah and worship service led by Pastor Jan.

Take time from the busy-ness of the holiday season to come and eat, study and worship together as we prepare for Christmas. It helps us be mindful of what Christmas is all about.

Christmas Eve Worship, December 24
Come and celebrate Christ’s birth at our special Christmas Eve worship service. We are pleased to have the Nagy harp and flute duo sharing their beautiful music with us again this year. Leda Nagy is on the harp and Elemer Nagy plays the flute.

We have an early worship time this year for Christmas Eve, so that Pastor Jan can get to St. Andrew in time for their service.

5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Prelude of harp and flute music by the Nagy Duo

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Candlelight service with communion.

Bring your families, friends and neighbors to share in this festive service and to shine their candles as we sing “Silent Night…Christ, the Savior, is born!”

December 26, Worship at 9:00 a.m.
This will be a service of carols and the word. Come sing some carols that we don’t usually hear and some of your favorites, too.

Education Report--Book of Faith Covenant

Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church is a Book of Fiath Congregation. Here is a free internet source to assist with your weekly Bibles readings. Actually, there are many excellent online sources you can use and, if you have one, please share the information about it with everyone.

Bible Gateway is the one I use. Go to: www.biblegateway.com.

They make the search for passages, keywords or topics very easy. They also provide you with the option to select the Bible version. Personally, I read more than 1 version each week. With the World Wide Web at our fingertips, we don't need to own all the translations of the Bible.

They have 21 English versions available. Each version provides me with a different persepctive on the passage.

As we continue this covenant and our walk of faith with the Lord, we can share passages that inspire us. If you do not want to write an aritlce for the newsletter or make an announcement about your special passage, please contact either Jean Peters or Debbie Wolfe and we will share on your behalf.

Debbie Wolfe

Congregation Meeting, October 3, 2010

We called a special congregation meeting on October 3 to seek approval to use money from our current endowment fund to make improvements to the large fellowship hall.

The Stretch & Tone exercise class we began in March 2010 has grown with many people from the community attending. We have had over 40 people come to at least one class and the group has outgrown the back tiled room. We now have exercisers in the hallway and in the back kitchen.

In order to expand our program into the fellowship hall, we need to remove the old carpeting and replace the tile. In addition, the heat during the summer months makes exercise very uncomfortable and a hindrance to attracting folks. Air conditioning, as part of the renovations, would alleviate the heat concern.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the recommendation to withdraw up to $12,000 from our endowment fund to make improvements to the fellowship hall. Discussion ensued about only withdrawing the contingency funds, if needed. A suggestion was also made that we install the air conditioning units next spring and withdraw the money at that time. The trustees will be responsible for carrying out this project. Vote was taken and motion passed with 22 in favor and one abstention.

The flooring will be commercial grade vinyl and the air conditioning units will be purchased from the company that provided them for the sanctuary.

It is exciting that we have made a commitment to expand our programs of health and wellness for those in our congregation and in our community who are over 40. Please complete the survey you’ll find in this newsletter with your ideas for the programs you would enjoy participating in and return it to the Church Office. We’d like to get one or two new programs going in early 2011.

Thanks to all, Louise Bugg

SLLC October Council Highlights

Call Process for a Pastor: Ministry Site Profile—the profile team asked congregation members to complete a survey about their expectations and priorities for a pastor. Surveys will be completed after worship on October 10 and 17. The profile draft will be presented to the congregation for comments. Then, our team will meet with Ascension’s profile team on October 30 to begin developing a joint profile.

Open Forum during coffee time October 17—we will try a survey question to see if that generates more discussion. The topic on October 17 will be ideas for health and wellness programs to begin in early 2011 after our fellowship hall is renovated with the new floor.

Budget for 2011—the council approved the proposed budget presented by the budget committee. It will be presented at the October 31 congregation meeting.

Stephen Ministry Training—We have an opportunity to get training for SLLC members as Stephen Ministers. They are trained to listen as well as walk beside people going through difficult times. Classes would start in January and take about 6 months. Those interested should talk with Pastor Jan about what is involved.

Parsonage Vacancy—the renters have now vacated the parsonage, so we will be scheduling two workdays for clean up and fix up in the near future.

November 13 Craft Show—all tables have been rented. Now we need volunteers to help run the show, make and sell baked goods, and work in the kitchen. Contact Susan or Sandy to volunteer.

Stewardship—the pledge cards are due at the October 17 worship service, which will also be a service of healing.

Next Council meeting November 9, 7 p.m.—our meetings are open to the congregation.

Submitted by Louise Bugg

Biannual Congregation Meeting, October 31, 2010 Highlights

Our biannual fall congregation meeting accomplished these tasks:

  1. Approved the slate of candidates for the Council, whose 2 year terms begin January 2011. The incoming Council members are: Vice President, Sandra Blackwell; Treasurer, Don Lubbers; Secretary, Susan Ludwiczak; Worship and Music Board Chair, Janet Timmons; InReach Board (formerly Elders), Irene Howey; and OutReach Board (formerly Evangelism), Debbie Wolfe.
    Thanks to all for stepping forward to fill these important vacancies. Thanks also to our outgoing council members for all their hard work and dedication—Diana Wagner, Secretary; Debbie Wolfe, Treasurer; and Rick Orban, Evangelism.
  2. Approved the budget for 2011—Our budget for 2011 is $90,369, which is a reduction of $10,317 from the 2010 budget. We have 48% of our family units pledging for 2011.

Discussion included the call process for a part-time pastor to be shared with Ascension Lutheran Church, the upgrades to our fellowship hall which will begin with new flooring installed November 16-19, Alcoholics Anonymous group’s request for another evening for a book study meeting, and a Stephen Ministry training opportunity.

We adjourned to another delicious potluck meal enjoyed by all.

Louise Bugg

Sylvan Lake Lutheran News, October 2010

Pastor's Corner--October 2010

Courageous Stewards

At this season I recall a Wal-Mart TV ad of several years ago where a shopper walked through the aisles dropping merchandise into the shopping cart while the music played in the background, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The youth adviser on the church staff in Erie loved to replicate that as she shopped in preparation for her children’s return to school – she kept the rest of the office staff in stitches doing her impersonation of the TV ad.

The season I’m thinking about is “the giving season”. It is always “in season” to give; and still we put emphasis on this at a certain time of the year, usually the autumn, after the harvest of fruits, vegetables and grains has lifted our awareness of the bounty of our land. I sometimes wonder if the congregational stewardship campaigns in the Southern Hemisphere take place in October and November, too, since there the climate season is spring. Maybe it works even better in spring when people look forward with hope as they plant the seeds or seedlings and await the later fruition of their labors.

I’ve always believed farmers are a courageous group. To plant with hope takes courage, especially since the one who plants has no control over the weather and relatively little control over the land. Yet, there goes all that expensive seed into the ground!

Can we be Christians as farmers are farmers? Yes, if . . . The big “if” is that being a farmer is a way of life, not just a label. So, too, is being a Christian. If the farmer never planted a crop he or she would not be a farmer. So, too, with the Christian. If we never followed the words, the will and the example of Christ Jesus, we wouldn’t be Christians.

Years ago, probably in the 1970s or 80s, I heard the expression, “Stewardship is everything you say and do after you say, ‘I believe’.” Every aspect of being a Christian can be defined in terms of stewardship. For example, worship is stewardship of the faith God has given us. (Remember, faith is a gift!) Worship is stewardship of our relationship with God, the giving of ourselves to God through praise, prayer and committed actions.

In a like manner, evangelism is stewardship of the gospel. We have been made trustees, or stewards, of the Good News, not to hoard it (it’s personal but not private!). We are called to share it with others. Service, too, can be understood as a stewardship of life. It is discipleship, attending to the bodily, spiritual, material, emotional and social needs of the people God has placed in our care and keeping. We are involved in Christ’s ministry of reconciliation with God, too and are called to love the unloved, to pray for all people even our enemies, and to care for outcasts.

Practicing spiritual disciplines is also stewardship – the stewardship of time. This practice requires us to manage our lives in such a way that we can set aside time for prayer, Bible study, and other spiritual disciplines. People who steward their spirits well are open and obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

This is a broad, wholistic view of stewardship, which we define as the management of the whole created universe and all of life – grateful recognition of the One who had redeemed us (bought us back) and given us all good gifts. “Christian stewardship has to do with what we give with what we have, what we do with what we keep, and what we plan for when we leave,” wrote Richard Armstrong and Phil Olson several years ago. “How many people include God in their estate planning?” they asked. Even more to the point of financial commitment, they wrote, “Financial stewardship includes how we get the money we make, how we give the money we have, and how we spend the money we keep.” (Congregations, Winter, 2003)

There will be other approaches to you about monetary stewardship – Jim’s sermon and handout materials on September 19, Story Sunday on September 26, and other opportunities to hear the biblical word about sharing your resources. I urge you to seriously consider what proportionate giving may be for you, how you can grow in the many facets of becoming a good steward, and how God has blessed you to be a blessing to others.

Remember, we are on a journey of faith – together!

Shalom - Pastor Jan

Backpacks & School Supplies for Oakland County Students

Thanks to everyone's generous donations, we assembled and delivered 50 backpacks filled with school supplies to Oakland County Department of Human Services in Pontiac on August 23. These gifts were received warmly and graciously and we were assured they would be forwarde to local schools for students in need. This was, indeed, another worthy outreach project we were able to provide to our community.

Craft Class, Saturday, October 2 at 9:30 a.m.

Come and make kitchen hand towels for our November craft show or learn to make them for yourself or others. They make great Christmas gifts!

If you have a portable sewing machine and are able to bring it that would be helpful. If not, come, learn and help with the assembly of the towels.

Supplies needed are: new kitchen towels, new potholders (not mitten style) that match or complement towels, large buttons, needle and thread. Materials will also be available at class.

Come and join us with a cup of coffee and a fun morning. If you have questions, please talk to Ginger Madill or Sandy Blackwell.

Special Congregation Meeting, October 3, 2010

At its September 14 meeting, the Congregation Council approved a proposal to improve our large fellowship room using money from the endowment fund. These improvements, including a new tile floor and air conditioning, will enable us to expand our health and wellness programs for seniors. As you may know, we have already outgrown the tiled space by the back kitchen for our Senior Stretch and Tone classes, and we would like to add other classes such as line dancing.

It is required that we have congregational approval to use endowment funds; so we are having a special congregation meeting after worship on Sunday, October 3, to consider and vote on this proposal.

We have price quotes from reputable local companies and have selected one for the flooring and one for the air conditioning. We would like to make this decision quickly so the work can be done before the craft sale.

Thank you for considering this proposal and for coming to the special meeting on October 3 to hear the details and cast your votes.

Louise Bugg, Council President, September 15, 2010

Craft Show and Bake Sale, November 13, 2010

We will be hosting our third annual craft show and bake sale on Saturday, November 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Already a number of tables have been reserved by vendors with a wide array of crafts.

Please mark this date on your calendar now and plan to help by working in the kitchen, the bake table, or selling church crafts and, of course, to shop.

Help will also be needed for set up the day before our show an for clean-up following this activity. This has been our largest fund raiser in past years and we appreciate everyone's support.

If you have questions or would like to offer your services, please contact Sandy Blackwell or Susan Ludwiczak.

Education Report from Jean Peters

I have a Layman's Commentary on Psalms by Arnold B. Rhodes. I'm very interested in how the Psalms were used in worship in the Old Testament days and by Jesus and the early church (Christian) in the New Testament

Psalms 113-114 are sung before the Passover meal and Psalms 115-118 after it. They are also used at the Feast of Weeks, walking to and from the Tabernacles, and Deication (Hannukkah). It is also possible that Psalms 113-114 were sung before the Last Supper.

The name of God is to be praised similarly to the Lord's Prayer "Hallowed by they name." The temple choir responds to the soloists (vs.1) in vs. 2-4. God's name is to be blessed "from this time forth and for evermore."

Although God is the Lord of Glory, he stoops to meet the needs of his people (vs. 6-7). Verses 7-8 are from the song of Hannah in I Samuel 2:8 "He...lifts the needy from the ash heap" depicts the most extreme example of wretchedness. The ash heap is the village dump "...and (vs.7-8 also)to make them sit with the princes" continues the response. Throughout this part of the Psalm, God's concern for lowly and needy persons and lowly Israel is illustrated. (Isaiah 54:1, 66:8)

It's wonderful how the Old and New Testaments are intertwined in the Psalms and Christ's coming is more meaningful. Just think, we Christians are praising the Lord with the Jewish people, all the saints here on earth and in heaven, and all our family members who have gone before us. The Lutheran expression of religion is awesome and the Lord wants all to come to Him and be one. I see the vision of that happening as we share pultips and communion with other like faiths. I enjoy the mystery of the workings of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God.

Please continue faithfully in your Book of Faith studies.

Respectfully submitted, Jean Peters

SLLC September Council Highlights

Senior Stretch & Tone Class—we will try two more classes each week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 2 to 3 p.m. There is still class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. Please pass the word to your friends and neighbors.

Fellowship hall flooring and air conditioning—the Council approved a proposal to use the endowment fund to make these improvements. A special congregation meeting will be held on October 3 following worship to have a discussion and vote on this proposal. See separate article.

Call process for a pastor—we have a team (Sandy, Max, Don, Polly and Pastor Jan) working on our Ministry Site Profile. Ascension Lutheran is also working on their profile. This is the first step in our process to call a shared half-time pastor for our two congregations. There will be an opportunity for congregation review and input to our SLLC profile in October.

Stewardship program, Sept. 19 – Oct. 17—pledge cards will be available Sept. 26 and are due back on October 17. Please prayerfully consider your gifts of time, talent and money for 2011.

Come, Light the Fire! September 25 at Calvary, Clarkston—the Council approved donating $150 from our Yard Sale earnings to this 7-congregation event. Each congregation is contributing so that congregation members can participate with no fees. Our goal is to have at least one SLLC representative at each breakout session.

Congregation meeting, October 31—Council approved the slate of candidates for open positions for 2011. The Council also passed two continuing resolutions to change the name and scope of two boards for the next two years. The Board of Elders will become the Board of In-Reach with the same functions as the elders plus other functions that pertain to the well-being of our members. The Board of Evangelism will become the Board of Outreach, with the same functions as Evangelism plus other activities of service to the community. Youth ministry will be part of In-Reach. We will evaluate how well these changes help our new mission and vision.

A Budget Committee is being created to develop a proposed budget for 2011. This will be reviewed at the October Council meeting and presented at the Oct. 31 congregation meeting.

Town Hall meetings—the first Town Hall meeting during fellowship will be September 19. This will be a time not only to hear what’s going on, but to ask questions, make suggestions, and voice concerns. We will hold these meetings on the Sunday following a Council meeting.

Treasurer’s Report—thank you to all who have donated to the “adopt-a-bill” program. All special donations are much appreciated.

Fall worship services—in September, we returned to Setting One in the new ELW hymnal. October 17 will be a service of healing to commemorate St. Luke, Evangelist.

Parsonage—we have received word that our renters are purchasing a home and will soon be vacating the parsonage. We will dedicate some days in October to cleaning and fixing up the parsonage for its next occupants. All help is appreciated.

Next Council meeting October 12, 7 p.m.—our meetings are open to the congregation.

Submitted by Louise Bugg

Mark Your Calendars through Advent

  • October 2 Craft Class, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Come help make hanging kitchen towels for the Craft Sale.
  • October 3 Special Congregation Meeting after worsship to consider using Endowment Funds to improve fellowship hall. Note: Crop Walk this afternoon.
  • October 16 “History, Healing and Hope”—formerly known as Church Days, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Hope Lutheran in Farmington Hills. Free Synod event; bring your Bible; registrations due October 8.
  • October 17 Service of Healing within our Communion Service on Sunday. Note: Pledge cards are due back this Sunday.
  • October 31 Reformation Sunday with Congregation Meeting and Potluck. Come vote for Council members and review/approve the 2011 budget.
  • November 13 SLLC’s Third Annual Craft Show and Bake Sale, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Contribute baked goods; rent a craft table; buy some Christmas gifts.
  • November 20 Craft Show at Ascension Lutheran Church, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • November 21 Thanksgiving Food Baskets ready for pickup by local families
  • November 23 Thanksgiving Service 7 p.m. and Potluck Supper 6 p.m. at Sylvan Lake Lutheran with our friends from Ascension and St. Andrew.
  • December 1, 8, 15 Advent Midweek Soup Suppers 6 p.m. with study and service at 7 p.m. We’re inviting Ascension and St. Andrew to join us.
  • December 19 Christmas Food Baskets and gifts ready for pickup by local families

Sylvan Lake Lutheran News, September 2010

Pastor's Corner--September 2010

A New Start

“Back to School” has always been one of my favorite seasons. It isn’t really a season such as winter or summer, nor is it like one of our holiday seasons, but it is as real to most of us as any of those. Even in year-round school districts, such as Plymouth-Canton, this is the time when promotion to the next grade level makes for a new beginning after a brief vacation.

Conditioned by the 18 straight years I spent in school before getting my first “real” job, I think of this time as the New Year. I do a better job of getting organized, making changes, and “turning over a new leaf” – starting over, as it were – than I do any time near January 1st. In my conversations with others I have learned that many people feel the same way, as the evenings get cooler and the leaves begin to change color. It is, for a lot of us, a very productive time.

In my heart I know that starting over is available to us every day of the year. Repentance, confession and the knowledge of divine forgiveness happen any time we allow ourselves to turn to our Lord saying that we are sorry for our sins and want to do better. God gives forgiveness much more readily than we find the humility to ask for it. And, more! Almighty God gives us the wherewithal for amending our lives.

Grabbing hold of the power to make needed changes is often tough for us, though, mostly because we think we “should” be able to do it ourselves. Somehow we see our propensity to sin as a character flaw that we can change if we put our minds to it. No such luck! There is no way we can perfect ourselves even when we are the most attuned to our Lord. If that were possible, God would not have needed to provide the solution to our stubborn sinfulness – Christ Jesus.

As we clean out swim gear, vacation supplies, boating equipment and hot weather clothing and put our closets, garages and basements in order in the coming weeks, there are other areas of our living that might need to be reviewed with an eye to re-ordering, too. This is a season for looking at our priorities for the months at the end of the calendar year.

“How am I being a good steward of God’s gifts to me – time, talent, money, energy?” comes to my mind when I realize that 2/3s of the year has passed. As the days are getting shorter I feel some urgency to review how I’m using all of those resources and to create new beginnings in many areas of my life. My hope is that all of us will find time to do that review and a renewal of commitment to the things that matter, especially our daily worship of our Creator and Lord.

Shalom - Pastor Jan

Laughing with Lutherans, July 24

A big thank you to all who helped make this day so much fun! We gathered at the beautiful Sylvan Lake Community Center, which overlooks the lake and the bocce ball courts. Thank you to the City of Sylvan Lake for giving us a free day at the center in honor of our 50 years in the community. There were 29 people, including several from Ascension and two from Good Samaritan churches.

Christine Murrell of Ascension was at the keyboard, leading us in fun songs with motions, like “Father Abraham”. Pastor Jan led us in Bible study of passages that showed God’s humor, including his surprise announcement to Abraham and Sarah that they were having a child.

Then, we had a Laughter Yoga session, led by Sue Ansari, RN and yoga instructor. Sue taught us the benefits of laughter to our health and well-being and got us to relax, act silly and laugh with each other. I think people were a little worried about letting go and being silly, but it turned out to bring lots of smiles, giggles and laughs.

This was followed by a delicious pot luck luncheon, featuring sloppy joes, cold cuts, and a variety of salads and desserts. Yum. Thank you to all the cooks, servers and clean-up crew.

Please check out the pictures of this event on our bulletin board, courtesy of Christine Wolfe.

Louise Bugg

Celia Ruthig, October 7, 1918 - July 13, 2010

Although the weather forecast predicted cloudy and rainy skies, the sun shone brightly instead as our dear sister-in-Christ, Celia Ruthig, was laid to rest on July 20th at Peace Lutheran Church in Saginaw, MI. This is the church that Celia attended with her late husband Walter and children Janet, Thomas and Barbara, before their move to Waterford.

During the service celebrating her life, Celia was remembered by family and friends as a person who enjoyed giving of herself to others. She loved life and her family. Celia never spoke an unkind word about anyone, was always upbeat and cheerful, and a wonderful listener. She celebrated the joys of others and offered kind support to those who were going through difficult times. Celia was described by her children as a stalwart and steady parent, always there, loving, caring and gentle. This is the Celia we all knew and loved at SLLC.

Celia was a faithful member, participating on numerous committees, leading us in prayer during worship, and serving on the church council over the many years of her membership. She served her church and her Lord in a quiet, selfless and unassuming manner.

One church member described her well – “Celia was an example of how to live a graceful and grace-filled life.”

Celia was blessed with a family that loved and cherished her and a host of friends who felt the same way. She has closed the final chapter of her earthly life and was welcomed by angels and God to her eternal life in glory. She will be missed but always lovingly remembered.

Education Report from Jean Peters

In I Corinthians 10:23, 24, Paul says "All thing are lawful," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Ask yourself: might the engagement of a particular interpretation or representation of a biblical text be beneficial to faith? Use those opportunitites to engage others in conversations of faith rather than as points of difference.

Paul looked at an Athenian (Greek) altar to an unknown God and used it as a springboard to teach about the God he knew. (Acts 17:23-34). We can look to the interpretations, questions, and challenges in other cultures as points of conversation relating to the God we know.

With hope let us rethink the ways in which we use the Bible and proclaim Jesus, allowing for the possibility that our minds might be renewed in the process of engaging God's seeking people. Jesus became upset with people who knew how to tithe but had no clue how to love their neighbor. Think about showing love, not the necessity of being right. One gift of love is bringing the arrogance of self-rightousness to its knees.

Respectfully submitted, Jean Peters

Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee will be meeting August 30 at 11:30 am to begin preparation for the Annual Congregation Meeting on October 31, where a slate of nominees for council membership will be presented.

We are asking that you prayerfully consider accepting a position if you are asked to serve or continue to serve the congregation as a council member.

Sincerely, Sandy Blackwell, Committee Chair

Come, Light the Fire, September 25, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

You are invited to come to Calvary Lutheran in Clarkston on September 25th for a day-long event to seek ideas and make commitments for seven congregations to work together in mission. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to “Come” and light the fire in our hearts.

The seven churches joining together are: Christ Lutheran, Gloria Dei, Good Samaritan, Holy Spirit, Lutheran Church of the Ascension, St. Andrew, and Sylvan Lake Lutheran.

The day has three components:

  1. Worship and music to connect us to God. Our dynamic speaker is Rev. Franklin Jackson, St. Andrew Redeemer Lutheran Church, Detroit.

    Music will be led by the Praise 150 band. Praise singers and instrumentalists are invited to join them. Please call Wendy Kane by Aug. 31 at 248-335-9881 (at Good Samaritan) or 248-673-4062 (at home).

  2. Activities of community service, including packing school kits for local schools, health kits for Lutheran World Relief, and assembling quilts for those in need in our area.
  3. Break-out discussion sessions to make plans for joining forces for ongoing ministry. The topics include: music ministry, youth ministry, lay leadership, seniors and health ministry, Bible study and prayer, care for our communities, and teens talking with teens.

The day goes from registration at 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 pm. Lunch will be provided. Calvary Lutheran is located at: 6805 Bluegrass Drive, Clarkston.

This is a very special event you won’t want to miss. It is the kickoff for our ongoing work together in mission.

Pre-registration forms will be available soon at each church. For more information or to volunteer to help, contact: Louise Bugg, Debbie Wolfe, Sandy Blackwell, or Louise Bugg

SLLC August Council Highlights

Senior Stretch & Tone Class—beginning in September, we will be adding two more classes each week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 2 to 3 p.m. The demand for this class has shown that we are indeed meeting a need of seniors in our neighborhood. Please pass the word to your friends and neighbors.

Fellowship hall flooring and air conditioning—we now have price estimates to replace the old carpet with tile and to install two air conditioners in the fellowship hall. This will provide a larger space where we can exercise and do other health and wellness programs. The price is estimated at $11,000. The Council is discussing the use of our endowment fund to make these improvements, which will require congregation approval. Special donations are also welcome.

Meeting to begin the call process for a pastor—our Council and Transition Team and the Council and Transition Team from Ascension Lutheran will meet with Pastor Beck from the Synod on August 11. Pastor Beck will educate us about the call process before we create a Joint Call Committee to seek a half-time pastor to serve both of our congregation.

Stewardship drive, Sept. 19 – Oct. 17—this will be our opportunity to pledge our time, talents and money as we share the gifts so generously given to us from the Lord.

Congregation meeting, October 31—Council set the fall congregation meeting for October 31, following the worship service. We will elect new council members and vote on the 2011 budget. Then, we will enjoy a delicious pot-luck lunch.

Town Hall meetings—because we have so much going on, the Council decided to hold informal “town hall” meetings once a month for anyone who would like to talk about what’s happening at SLLC. These talks will be held the third Sunday during fellowship time. This will be a time not only to hear what’s going on, but to ask questions, make suggestions, and voice concerns.

Nominating Committee—Sandy Blackwell, Irene Howey, Susan Ludwiczak, and Pastor Jan are the members of this year’s Nominating Committee. Please prayerfully consider saying “yes” when you are asked to serve.

Treasurer’s Report—thank you to all who have donated to the “adopt-a-bill” program. This is a big help in paying for our utilities, and continuing donations are much appreciated. This month we spent $1,200 from our savings to pay our bills.

Fall worship service—in September, we will be returning to the new ELW hymnal for our worship service. We will also return to having a single worship folder and bulletin.

Parsonage repairs—please watch for the announcement of a work day at the parsonage. There is a list of repairs that need to be made for the comfort of our tenants as well as for the upkeep of our property. Any help is appreciated.

Next Council meeting September 14, 7 p.m.—our meetings are open to the congregation.

Submitted by Louise Bugg

Sylvan Lake Lutheran News, July - August 2010

Pastor's Corner--Summer 2010

We knew it would happen...

We knew it would happen and it did. We always want it to hold off a bit longer but, inevitably, by the 22nd of June it is already happening. Yes, the days are beginning to get a bit shorter as dawn comes a tad later and sundown occurs a bit earlier day by day by day through the rest of the golden days of summer.

So, like the intelligent beings we are, we crowd as much into those hours of daylight as we possibly can. We sail, golf, garden, swim, lounge and grill outdoors with a vengeance. We try to get out the door of our workplace at the appointed time so that we can use the remaining sunny hours for recreation, visiting or picnicking.

Weekends are especially precious in these days of summer. Our state parks are crowded with RVs from Friday through Sunday and sometimes families live there throughout the week while the breadwinner commutes on the weekend. Get-togethers of alumni, family, friends or co-workers abound on weekends, some at local venues and others involving travel. Unlike the fall and winter elaborate meals our summer holiday weekends involve barbeques, salads, ice cream and watermelon.

Crowding our weekends with relaxing and recreation involves something we don’t think about as “summery”. That is, in order to “recreate” fully, we need to include “recreating” our relationship with God the Creator. Once, on a trip with a church group, the man sitting beside me on the bus gestured toward the scenery outside the window and said, “How can anyone look at this beauty and not believe there is a gracious God who created it?” I heartily agreed with his sentiment and I added, “And, give God thanks for it!”

Giving thanks to God for the summer days is one way to keep in touch in our relationship with our Creator. Using the bounty of extended daylight and easy meal preparation can also be used as a reminder that, for some of those who are poor, the summer means less food rather than more. Children who have received free breakfast and lunch during the school weeks are now home and needing to be fed out of stretched budgets. No-choice “vacations” in some industries means less money earned, and the “state flower” – the orange cone (flower) – that decorates our roads during construction season may mean longer, gas-using commutes to work. “Go in peace; remember the poor” continues to send us out the doors on Sunday mornings with a reminder that part of our gratitude to God can be expressed in acts of charity.

Our hammock or porch-swing reading might include books or magazine articles that inspire us. Or, we might choose to spend time reading the Bible – what a concept! Tackling a book of the Bible that we’ve avoided or just never knew much about might be a good project for a couple weeks of reading the book itself and a good commentary about it.

And, of course, there are those long weekends when it is very tempting to cram leisure into Sunday morning as well as the other hours, when we can dutifully turn our steering wheels and our hearts toward worship services, at home or wherever we are staying. Yes, you can worship God in nature, as so many say, but God has a much harder time convicting us of sin and announcing forgiveness at the lake or on the golf course. Then, too, there is that special meal that Jesus loved us so much to give. Gratitude – called Eucharist in Greek – is expressed and strength for faith is received at the Table of the Lord – even as the days grow shorter.

Shalom - Pastor Jan

June Yard Sale Thank You

Thank you to all who helped with our recent community yard and bake sale. The weather was great, we had many shoppers and much help. Volunteers arrived at 7 am to set up tables and display all the items we had to sell. This year, although we rented fewer tables, our donations were two-fold so we ended up using more of the tables for church items than in the past. At 3 pm we started our clean up and by 4 pm the last of the unsold items were packed up and delivered to the Salvation Army.

Again, thanks to all who donated baked goods and household items to sell; to those who priced and sorted items; those who cooked and sold food, as well as those who worked at the tables selling items and baked goods; to those who helped with publicity; and to the folks who set up and helped with the clean up. Many hands made this activity flow smoothly and earned a nice income for the church.

Barb and Sandy

Laughing with Lutherans Retreat and Picnic, July 24, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Imagine lots of Lutherans laughing and having fun together! Come and join in the fun on July 24 at the Sylvan Lake Community Center, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome—even non-Lutherans!

Thanks to the City of Sylvan Lake, we are able to enjoy a free day at their beautiful new community center on the lake. Our activities will be inside the new, air-conditioned building and, weather permitting, we can eat outside on picnic tables on the patio. The Community Center is located at 2456 Pontiac Drive.

We have invited our friends from six other congregations in our cluster—Ascension, Christ, Gloria Dei, Good Samaritan, Holy Spirit and St. Andrew. This is an opportunity to get to know people from these churches. We are happy to be able to host this first joint gathering of these congregations.

Here is the schedule of events for the day:

Time Activity
10:00 am Welcome
10:15 am Bible study and fun songs--Pastor Jan at the lectern and Christine Murrell at the keyboard
11:15 am Laughter Yoga led by Sue Ansari, RN and laughter yoga trainer
12:30 pm Picnic lunch--bring a dish to pass.
2:00 pm Closing and cleanup

We need helpers for this event—for set up, clean up, food preparation and food service. Please sign up on the sheet on the bulletin board if you can help. Many thanks.

Education Report from Jean Peters

Jesus said after his resurrection, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John was baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1) The Book of Acts is the acts of the Holy Spirit, a book of history of fast moving events of transition not doctrine.

We now live in the age of the Holy Spirit of God which began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and continued in the life of the early church with Peter preaching and healing (Acts 3) in Jerusalem. Peter and John even ministered in jail and when they were released, they prayed the believer's prayer and were enabled to "speak the word of God boldly" (Acts 4).

The witness of Philip to the Samaritans and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 brought the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles. The conversion of Paul furthered the spread of the Gospel and many were baptized with the Holy Spirit to the ends of the earth (Acts 13-28).

Just recently a congregation member told how her mother was miraculously saved from certain death by different family members having been prodded by the Holy Spirit to check on her. She finally was taken to a very knowledgeable doctor. Now they know that low blood sugar, a 90% clogged carotid artery, and a previously undiagnosed lung problem were causing this very serious situation. After an operation, oxygen brought into the home, and much family support, she is so much better and able to be at home. Thanks be to God!

May our eyes open for for the works of the Holy Spirit, especially as we plan for partnering with another congregation to further God's plan for spreading the Gospel by smaller ELCA congregations in our area. Pastor Jan Marvar is truly a blessing to us in this planning process. Reading and studying Acts can energize anyone's faith in our Triune God.

SLLC June Council Highlights

  1. Annual Yard and Bake Sale, June 12—Sandy and Barb reported that we earned over $500 at this year’s sale. Some remaining items will put up for sale on Craig’s list, so we could earn a little more. We will tithe 10% of our earnings for our Good Samaritan Fund designated for those in need. A big thank you to Barb and Sandy for co-chairing this event and to everyone who contributed their time as well as items for sale.
  2. New congregation directory—will be ready to distribute by June 27. Copies will be put in your church mailbox for pick up. Those not picked up within a few weeks will be mailed. Thanks to Dee for all her hard work updating it.
  3. Congregation Meeting, June 27—Council spent time reviewing our financial situation and the opportunity we have for sharing a ½ time pastor with Lutheran Church of the Ascension. The congregation will vote on a proposal for sharing a pastor that is similar to the proposal passed by the Ascension congregation at their June 13 meeting. Debbie will prepare a financial presentation along with some envelopes for “adopting” utility and other bills.
  4. How to hazard-proof your home, June 29—we are hosting a free class from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. about making your home safe from falls and other accidents. We have invited the small congregations to this, too.
  5. Laughing with Lutherans, July 24—we have invited our friends from 7 congregations in our cluster to join us at this event. It will begin with Bible study and singing. Then, we will have a Laughter Yoga session led by Sue Ansari, RN, followed by a picnic lunch. A sign-up sheet will be posted for those who would like to help. Debbie, Jean and Louise are working on this.
  6. Kid’s Fun & Fitness Day, August 14—Diana Wagner is spearheading this event at our church. It will feature games, prizes, fitness testing, outdoor fun and food. Contact Diana to see how you can help.
  7. Waterford Area Crop Walk—orientation August 15th, 6 p.m. and walk on October 3. Both are at Christ Lutheran. Anyone interested in representing our church this year?
  8. Small congregations meetings—we have had two meetings with representatives from the small congregations in our cluster (those worshipping under 150 people) to plan an all day event on September 25th. We are talking about such things as joint choirs, joint youth activities and joint outreach efforts. The idea to work together came from Good Samaritan Church and they are leading this planning group, which is meeting at SLLC. Debbie, Louise and Pastor are representing SLLC. If you would like to participate in this group, please let Pastor or Louise know. The next meeting of the planning group is July 21, 7:00 pm.
  9. Annual Craft Show and Bake Sale—Mark your calendars for November 13th. Sandy and Susan are co-chairing this event. Next Council Meeting July 13, 7 p.m.—our meetings are open to the congregation.

Submitted by, Louise Bugg

SLLC Congregation Meeting June 27--Highlights

A special congregation meeting was held on June 27 to review our financial situation and to consider a proposal to pursue sharing a ½ time pastor with Lutheran Church of the Ascension.

Financial Situation
Our treasurer, Debbie Wolfe, showed us how we are running short each month due to expenses being higher than our working income.

How are we managing? We are using our savings and checking accounts to cover the deficit. At the rate we are spending, we have savings to last for about 16 months.

What can we do about this? Suggestions included:

  • Designate special donations to pay utility and other operating expenses, using new “adopt-a-bill” envelopes that Debbie designed. They will be in the pews and the office.
  • Increase our tithing to a higher percentage of our income. We reviewed a chart entitled “What is God’s percentage?” to help us evaluate our weekly giving.
  • Reduce our utility costs wherever possible. A small ad-hoc group plans to recommend ways we can “go green” and reduce expenses.
  • Remember we have our endowment fund for emergency or special needs, but only with permission from the congregation.
  • Improve the condition of the parsonage so that our investment will be protected and it will be ready to sell when the housing market improves. One or more workdays will be designated for parsonage repairs.

Proposal for Sharing Pastoral Staff with Ascension
After a productive discussion, the congregation voted to approve this proposal: “We, Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church, wish to pursue calling ½ time pastoral staff to be shared with Lutheran Church of the Ascension, ¼ time with each congregation.”

During the discussion, these important points were raised:

  • The cost to us is about the same to partner with either St. Andrew or Ascension.
  • On June 13, Ascension’s congregation approved a similar proposal to share with us. They are a willing partner and one with which we already have a good relationship.
  • We would continue in our current relationship with St. Andrew sharing Pastor Jan until we find a pastor to share with Ascension.
  • Pastor Jan is willing to lead a joint transition team with members from SLLC and Ascension to begin work immediately on plans for sharing between our congregations. This will help pave the way for the Joint Call Committee we will need.

Please continue your prayers for the Spirit's guidance as we move forward together with Lutheran Church of the Ascension.

Louise Bugg

Second Oakland County Senior Planning Coalition Meeting

On June 4, Sandy Blackwell, Louise Bugg, and Jean Peters attended a second meeting presented by the Oakland County Senior Planning Coalition. The Senior Planning Coalition was formed in 2009 to analyze the impact of older adult population growth on Oakland county, assess the benefits and challenges that the aging population will present in the future, and begin developing a plan for how the county can meet those challenges and seize various opportunities.

The coalition is made up of the Area Agency on Aging, the Oakland County Senior Advisory Council, United Way of Southeastern Michigan and other agencies. Following the annual “Silver Tsunami” report which was presented at the initial meeting in May, one purpose of the second meeting was to find dedicated volunteers who would be willing to help define and carry out some of the report's recommendations.

The recommendations from the initial report were reviewed and prioritized with the following committees established for planning and implementation:

  • Social Services
  • Housing for Seniors
  • Transportation for Seniors
  • Health and Healthy Lifestyles for Seniors

One pertinent recommendation under social services was for churches and other religious organizations to form an interfaith corps of trained volunteers to assist seniors. Senior health and healthy lifestyles also interested us as it aligns with our mission of health an wellness.

The next step is for the individual committees to meet and develop plans for implementation.

Submitted by Sandy Blackwell

SLLC Kid's Fun & Fitness Day, August 14, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

On Saturday, August 14, we will be holding an outdoor Kid’s Fun & Fitness day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church. This day is for kids of all ages. There will be games and prizes, fitness testing, and picnic food to purchase. There is no admission fee. There will also be adult blood pressure and blood sugar checking and other health information available.

It turns out that our Kid’s Day is on the same day as the Sylvan Lake Police Department’s Kid’s Day at the Community Center. Having two kid’s events as summer vacation winds down—one about fitness and the other about safety--will double the fun for them.

Here are some areas where help is needed at the church. Please sign up on the sheets near the mailboxes for anything you are able to do.

  1. Putting up flyers and posters in the community before the event and signs with balloons the day of the event.
  2. Set up on Friday evening, August 13, and Saturday morning, August 14, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m., including canopies, chairs, tables, games, etc.
  3. Donating food, paper products, drinks
  4. Making and serving food
  5. Monitoring a game activity (we need lots of people to help with these)
  6. Helping with fitness testing
  7. Handing out score cards for games, raffle tickets, and prizes
  8. Directing parking and welcoming people
  9. Assisting with blood pressure and blood sugar taking and recording
  10. Clean up from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

If you have any questions, please contact Diana Wagner, Louise Bugg or Dee in the church office at 248-682-0770.

We seek new relationships in our community to spread the word about living a healthy and fit life in God’s world. Please let the kids and adults in your neighborhood know about this fun day so they can mark their calendars. Your assistance in any way is greatly appreciated.

Diana and Louise

Sylvan Lake Lutheran News, June 2010

Pastor's Corner--June 2010

The long, green season!

I’m going to risk sounding very un-professional and quote a man who was robing as Assisting Minister in a former congregation one Sunday and asked, “Is this the hundred and thirtieth Sunday after Pentecost?” “Something like that,” I replied, because it sometimes seems as if the season begins on Pentecost Day and goes on forever.

It is half the year. I call it the long, green season, because, after Pentecost and Holy Trinity Sundays, we have green paraments on the altar most of the weeks until Advent begins. So, why is the church calendar set up that way?

The half of the year that begins with Advent is when we learn about Jesus and his gift of salvation. This includes Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter seasons. The “church half” begins the second Sunday after Pentecost. In this season we “wear” green on the altar to symbolize life and growth. We celebrate new life in Christ Jesus and growth in discipleship for this very long season, when the gospel readings concentrate on Jesus’ teachings and acts of mercy that demonstrate his way of life for his followers.

Although every Sunday is a celebration of the Resurrection, the Sundays after Pentecost, or Ordinary Time, are simpler in nature. We usually use either a Kyrie or a Hymn of Praise, or neither. In churches that have big candelabra, they are usually removed during this season, and processions are either eliminated or minimal. The emphasis is on being disciples who are equipped inside the church at worship and sent out to be the church in the world.

That means we concentrate on the Word – read, spoken, and eaten in the Sacrament – rather than on ritual. Sometimes this means we can be a bit more creative with our worship services, not always sticking to the lectionary for scripture readings, changing the arrangement of our worship space, and perhaps adding some new elements to the worship service that we do not do at other times of the year. It gives us opportunity to try out new settings of the liturgy or have less structured worship services.

Just as summertime allows us more freedom to move about in our daily lives so the Pentecost Season gives us occasions to more freely try out new things. If you have ideas for worship, learning, fellowship or service, please feel free to connect with the committee members, the Council members or the pastor, who might be able to help you plan ways to experiment during this long, green season of life and growth.

Shalom - Pastor Jan

Congratulations 2010 Graduates!

Hayley Ludwiczak, daughter of Susan Ludwiczak and sister of Grace, will graduate from Walled Lake Northern High School on June 6th. Hayley graduates with outstanding academic honors. She was awarded a Walled Lake School District Legacy Scholarship for Architecture as well as the Future Architect Award for her school. She placed 2nd at the regional level and 6th at the state level in an engineering competition.

Hayley participated in the Girls Varsity Track team for three years, throwing shot put and discus. She participated in Student Council, German Club and Tech Crew.

Hayley plans to go to Central Michigan University to earn a two-year pre-architecture degree. She will complete her education at Lawrence Tech with a Bachelors Degree in Architecture and a Masters Degree in Urban Development.

Merry (Khanna) Grande, daughter of Polly and Vin Khanna, and a former member of SLLC, received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in May 2010. Merry, her husband Andy, and their two children will be moving to Munich, Germany for a year while Andy does a medical fellowship there.

Laila (Bugg) Poisson, daughter of Louise and Jim Bugg, a former member of SLLC, received a PhD in Bio-statistics from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, on April 29. She currently holds a position as a statistician in the Research Department of Henry Ford Health Systems.

Melissa (Bugg) Kennedy, daughter of Louise and Jim Bugg,also a former member of SLLC, will receive an MD degree from the School of Medicine, Wayne State University, on June 8th. She will then begin a residency in obstetrics/gynecology at William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak in July.

Annual Community Yard and Bake Sale, June 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

How can you help?

  • Donate household items (no clothing) in good, clean condition (drop off at church)
  • Publicity – Make signs/banners
  • Rent a table or encourage a friend or relative to rent one
  • Invite your family and friends to shop
  • Help set up tables 7am on June 12th
  • Help price items June 7
  • Help with sales on June 12
  • Donate baked goods
  • Help with clean up at 3:00 pm on June 12

This fund-raiser has always been a busy, but fun day. Not only do we sell baked goods, but hot dogs and refreshments are available for purchase. This is another opportunity to meet our neighbors!

Co Chairs: Sandy Blackwell & Barb Krumrey

SLLC Door Hangers--Pass Them Around!

Once again, the SLLC door hangers are ready to be distributed to our neighbors. Please consider taking some time to walk around our church neighborhood and drop them off to tell our community what’s going on at SLLC this summer. There is a sign-up sheet at the church to choose the block(s) you’d like to walk. Thanks to Rick Orban, who has spearheaded this outreach for many years.

We did some homework this year and checked the community ordinances to make sure there was nothing preventing distributing our materials door-to-door. These communities exempt churches and other charitable organizations from needing permits--West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills, Sylvan Lake and Pontiac.

Here are some “dos and don’ts” when you distribute the door hangers:

  1. Place the door hanger securely so it won’t get blown about the property.
  2. Do not place the door hangers on mailboxes.
  3. Do not place them on vacant properties or those with “No Trespassing” signs posted.
  4. If someone asks you to leave their property, please do so right away.

When doing this work, you are the Lord’s ambassadors and our church’s ambassadors—telling the community who we are and inviting them to our activities. It is an opportunity to live our mission by showing God’s love to our neighbors.

A Word from Jean

Our mission is to be a living Gospel; to let God's love shine through us.

There are four unique Gospels; a single view could not tell the full story of Jesus' life and ministry. Matthew wrote to the Jews and presented Jesus as the King of Israel by citing references in the Old Testament. Mark used more Latin and presented Jesus as the suffering servant to the Romans. Luke wrote about Jesus as the perfect human being for the Greeks who loved to explore eternal truths. John wrote his Gospel for the Christian. It reveals the intimacy of fellowship and communion between Jesus and His followers and the role of the Holy Spirit. The four Gospels were written for four different pruposes, from four different perspectives and to four different audiences.

The Gospel of Matthew tells the great message that God is not out there somewhere. He is waiting to pass into a hungry heart; his life into our life. When the Kingdom is enthroned in our life, Heaven is here among us, where he reigns in the spirit. "Is Jesus the King of your life?"

The Adult Sunday School Class (10:30 a.m.) and the Mary Martha Circle (1st Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m.) welcome you to be with them as they read and study the Bible. The Adult Class is currently reading the Gospel of Mark.

Come and be filled with the love of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

SLLC May Council Highlights

  1. Lakes Area Memorial Day Parade, May 31—We have 500 sandwich bags containing wrapped candies and our summer schedule ready to distribute at the parade. This year our “vehicle” will have a Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church sign on each side, thanks to Rick Orban. If you’d like to be in the parade, or if you are cheering from the roadside, please remember to wear your red Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church tee shirt. If you need a tee shirt, please contact Dee, Sandy, or Louise.
  2. Updated congregation directory—is coming soon to your mailbox.
  3. Campbell’s labels for education— we are now giving them to Roosevelt School.
  4. July 24th Retreat and Bible Study at Sylvan Lake Community Center—we are talking with a local Laughter Yoga trainer about coming to this retreat and teaching us about laughing for health and wellness. If you’d like to learn more about this, please go to ELCA Pastor Laura Gentry’s website: www.laughingwithlaura.blogspot.com. Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Lansing, Iowa, hosts a Laughter Club, which is their free health ministry to the community, see: www.laughinglutherans.com. Sounds like fun!
  5. Synod Assembly May 20-22—Jim Bugg and Jean Peters (subbing for Alice Stamman) were our voting representatives to this year’s assembly held in Lansing. It began with a Lunch on the Capitol Lawn, co-sponsored by Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, to which legislators were invited. Our congregation’s focus is senior health and well-being. One of the LSSM’s areas of advocacy is services for senior adults. This is an opportunity to talk to legislators about the needs of seniors in our community.
    The first worship offering at the Assembly was “Jacksons for Justice”—suggested $20 donations for ELCA World Hunger. We had a special offering Sunday, May 16 and collected $205. Thanks to everyone! (Note: over $25,000 was collected at the Assembly for World Hunger.)
  6. Lutheran Volunteer Corp—we will have a “noisy offering” on the fifth Sunday of each month this year to collect loose change for the LVC. LVC partners full-time volunteers with local churches or service agencies, almost like a Peace Corps in the USA. Two teams will be in Michigan for the first time this year—one in Detroit and one in Port Huron.
  7. Carpet Removal in Fellowship Hall—prices are being sought for removal of current carpeting and installation/refinishing of tile floor. We would like to expand our exercise program space because we are outgrowing the tiled space. Barb Krumrey, Jim Bugg and Doug Sinks will investigate this and report back.
  8. Financial Update—we continue to use savings to meet our monthly expenses. We are spending the savings faster than predicted and will use them up before the end of 2010 if we continue at this rate. We will be posting envelopes very soon for those able to “adopt-a-bill”. Please consider helping in this way if you can.

Next Council Meeting June 15, 7:00 p.m.—our meetings are open to the congregation. All are welcome.

Submitted by, Louise Bugg

Ascension and Sylvan Lake Lutheran Churches--What's Next?

On May 8, Lutheran Church of the Ascension hosted a meeting to talk with us about sharing a pastor and keeping our separate congregations and buildings, like we are doing now with St. Andrew.

In order to share a pastor with Ascension, we would need to discontinue our arrangement with St. Andrew for a ¾ time interim pastor. Then, we would enter into a new agreement to split the cost of a permanent ½ time pastor with Ascension. Half time means a pastor who is paid for 25 hours a week.

On May 11, we hosted a joint meeting of Ascension and SLLC councils and agreed to take these steps:

  1. To look at the idea of sharing a half-time pastor seriously and to also look seriously at the option of staying with St. Andrew for now.
  2. To create an estimated compensation package for a ½ time pastor and an estimated cost for sharing supply pastors for the Sundays our pastor was not in the pulpit.
  3. To review our income and expenses to see if we can afford our half of these costs.
  4. To have each Council report to their congregation at a meeting in June. Ascension’s congregation will meet June 13 and SLLC’s congregation will meet on June 27 to decide what to do next.

Please mark your calendars for this important congregation meeting on June 27, immediately following the worship service. We will have a potluck lunch after the meeting during which we will take a special offering of $1 per person to support the nation-wide ELCA effort for World Hunger. If every Lutheran contributes $1, over $4 million would be raised.

And please continue to lift up Pastor Jan, Minister Jill McKinney, our congregation, Ascension and St. Andrew in your prayers as we seek the Spirit’s guidance on what’s best for our futures.

Louise Bugg

Oakland County Senior Planning Coalition

On May 3, Sandy Blackwell, Jean Peters and I attended a meeting of the Oakland County Senior Planning Coalition. The prediction is that by 2020, as baby boomers age, almost half of Oakland County’s communities will have more seniors over age 65 than school-age children.

Oakland County is preparing for what they call the “Silver Tsunami” as its residents become seniors. The Coalition has come up with a list to make Oakland County a “destination” for retirees. The list includes:

  • Senior services to help older adults stay in their homes as long as possible;
  • Transportation options for those unable to drive;
  • Wellness programs to help seniors have improved quality of life, minimize health issues, and minimize related costs in later life;
  • Promotion and support of healthy, active lifestyles and behavior changes.

At the end of this presentation, there was a brief time for questions. I quickly raised my hand and, when I got a chance to speak, I told them how our small congregation in Sylvan Lake realized that we were becoming seniors along with the community around us. Our focus now is on health and wellness for seniors. We have an exercise program for seniors that is drawing people from our neighborhood and is outgrowing our space. We are also working on a parish nurse program. I asked if the County was considering partnering with churches to serve seniors, stating that transportation isn’t as big a problem when the services are right in the neighborhood.

“What a great idea,” the discussion leader said. Then another attendee from a church in Clawson spoke up; she was a social worker. And someone from a synagogue chimed in that they should also be included. Pretty soon the leader noted that partnering with churches and religious groups should be given a higher priority and asked that we come to the next meeting on June 4th. They are going to be working on implementation plans to meet these challenges.

As soon as the meeting ended, Sandy, Jean and I were surrounded by people wanting to talk with us. We exchanged information with people from other churches in Clawson, Royal Oak and Southfield; with a doctor from Doctor’s Hospital; with the speaker from United Way of Oakland County; with someone who was organizing an inter-faith network in Macomb County; with a radio host who is affiliated with the American Senior Gazette; and with a reporter from the Detroit Free Press. We felt overwhelmed. One small congregation, by speaking up, suddenly released all this energy about churches working together to help seniors in Oakland County.

The three of us huddled over lunch at a restaurant and asked ourselves: “What had just happened”? It confirmed to us that we are indeed on the right track with our new vision—to become a vibrant church where many come from our neighborhood to participate in programs of physical, emotional and spiritual health and well being. And we have identified our neighbors as primarily adults over forty, baby boomers, and seniors.

We are now anxious to follow up on this exciting development. If you would like to get involved, too, please consider coming to the meeting on June 4th at 9 a.m. in the County Commission Conference Room at 1200 Telegraph. If you’d like a ride or if you’d like to tell us your ideas about this, contact Sandy, Jean or me.

Louise Bugg

Sylvan Lake Lutheran News, May 2010

Pastor's Corner--May 2010

Sounds like an Easter message to me!

Just as the Christmas season has some commemorative days that speak of tragedy and sorrow, such as the martyrdom of the Innocents (the babies of Bethlehem that were killed trying to kill the "newborn King of the Jews") and the martyrdom of Stephen, so Easter season has its "downers", too. Most of the time we can skip around some of those dates if they don't fall on a Sunday, yet discipleship after the resurrection and ascension of Christ is not an easy path in any age.

Today, April 6, as I write this, we commemorate two great artists -- Albrecht Duerer and Michaelangelo Buonarroti, whose works are still admired with awe and who had some very tough times in their lives. Perhaps I'll tell you the story of Duerer some Sunday this season. Friday of this week, April 9, is the date of a 20th century martyr's death, that of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Pastor Bonhoeffer not only opposed the Nazi regime of Germany but, after many months and years of agony, decided to join an attempt to overthrow Hitler, and was arrested for his links with a comspiracy to assassinate Hitler in 1944. His last words to his comrades in prison were, "This is the end. For me, the beginning of life."

Another builder of the church is one whose name may not be familiar, Toyohiko Kagawa, who died in Tokyo in April, 1960. His work among the poor led to some amazing results in his own government, and whose Anti-War League, founded in 1928, met with fierce resistance. I want to end with a piece of his writing in Love, the Law of Life:

"My real experience of religion came when I entered the Kobe slums. Everything in the slums was ugly: the people, the houses, the clothes, the streets -- everthing was ugly and full of disease. If I had not carried God beside me, I should not have been able to stay. But because I believed in God, and in the Holy Spirit, I had a different view of life, and I assure you that I enjoyed living in the slums. With active love and the love-motive, every moment was full of joy. . . . I was not afraid of anything -- not of the many repeated threats from pistols, swords, ruffians, not even from the infectious diseases which infested the slums. My job was to help these people. . . . For me prayer is very real. If you pray with selfishness it will never be answered, but prayer for the sake of God and for the love of your fellow men will surely be answered. A gambler, dying, said to me that he was going back to his Heavenly Father. Then for the first time, like a flash, I was convinced that any man, even the most depraved, is able to grasp the idea of Jesus Christ."

Sounds like an Easter message to me!

Shalom - Pastor Jan

Ten Easter Thank Yous

We give thanks this Easter for:

  1. Our risen Savior, whose ultimate sacrifice makes us whole.
  2. Pastor Jan’s teaching and gospel messages during Lent, Holy Week and on Easter Sunday. We reviewed what we believe by studying Luther’s Small Catechism.
  3. Our church staff—Dee, Renate and Thomas—and many volunteer helpers who all worked very hard to create bulletins and to keep our church sparkling clean for all the extra activities and services.
  4. Everyone who contributed soup, salad, bread and cookies for our Lenten Mid-week Soup Suppers. We served between 12 and 15 people each week and welcomed our friends from St. Andrew and Ascension Lutheran Churches.
  5. Our friends at St. Andrew who hosted several Lenten services, including two of the soup suppers. We enjoyed your hospitality and worshiping with you.
  6. The men (with a few women assistants) who cooked and served a wonderful Easter breakfast. All the food was donated. We served over 40 people, even though breakfast was earlier this year—from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
  7. Everyone who donated food for Easter for three local families, especially LaRosa Market. The families were very grateful for the help.
  8. Susan Ludwiczak and Jim Bugg for our bright new bulletin board displays to greet members and visitors with photos and announcements of our activities.
  9. All who donated “spare change” for the ELCA World Hunger appeal during Lent. We collected over $60.
  10. The beautiful hydrangeas—pink and blue—that decorated our altar for Easter.

Lutheran World Relief Special Spring In-Gathering

LWR issued a special call for Health Kits (towels, wash cloths, tooth brushes, combs, bath soap, nail files and band-aids) to be sent to the people of Haiti and Chile. Thanks to Betty Stephens for delivering our kits on April 15th.

SLLC, together with St. Andrew Lutheran Church, put together 68 health kits. Plus, we collected $102 to send to LWR. Yay!

On March 27, we had fun helping Ascension Lutheran make quilts for LWR. Ascension took our health kits and their quilts to the LWR collection site for shipping. Thank you, Ascension.

Education Report, April 13, 2010

Now we are faithfully reading the scripture lessons for next Sunday and contemplating their connection. Reverend Jan Marvar faithfully gives teaching sermons with a new approach so they are memorable. We now know Luther’s Small Catechism backwards and forwards. We are memorizing scripture so that we feel more connected to our Lutheran faith and more able to talk about our faith. Do you have a partner who holds you accountable? I need to get one and make note cards of the ones I know.

The Bible study of Revelation I attended in Florida made me realize how much of the Bible I know in Praise songs. We can also stay connected 24/7 through prayer. Can’t sleep? Sing hymns, recite Bible verses, talk to Jesus about your problems – one by one; He will give you all the time you need! Thank him for your blessings one by one. Once you get started you won’t be able to stop, and you will wake up refreshed. Talking with Jesus brings such peace.

What now? How about writing out your own personal story of faith. Be ready to tell it when someone gives you an opening. Scary? Maybe, but might have quite a joyful connection with a unique stranger.

Have a little faith. I can testify “all things work for good to those who love the Lord” and I‘m no one special, just a fellow Saint. (How many times did I use connected?)

Respectfully submitted, Jean Peters, Education Chair

SLLC April Council Highlights

  1. Senior Stretch and Tone Exercise Program—we continue to welcome new people from our neighborhood to this enjoyable exercise class led by Vicky Palace. The first class is free and most return for more classes after that. The room we are using fills up with a dozen or so people. If you haven’t tried it, come and bring a friend. We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. The cost per session (after the first one) is $2. It feels good to get our bodies moving. And we have fun doing it together!
  2. Workshop with Ascension, Part II, May 8—the next meeting of our two congregations has been rescheduled from May 1 to May 8, from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Lutheran Church of the Ascension, 4150 Pontiac Lake Road across from Meijers. Our goal is to figure out “What if?” What if we kept our separate congregations and shared a pastor and other staff? What if we decided to merge or consolidate our congregations? Come and share your thoughts and ideas—they are very important to this discussion!
  3. Memorial Day Parade, May 31—we will have an entry in and be a sponsor of the Lakes Area Memorial Day Parade again this year. This is a good opportunity to increase awareness of our church in our neighborhood. The Sunday or two before the parade, we will be filling 500 sandwich bags with candy, and tucking our summer schedule inside, to hand out to parade watchers. If you’d like to donate small wrapped candy, please drop it off at the church office before May 30. And we’d appreciate help stuffing the bags, too.

    If you’d like to be in the parade and hand out the candy, please contact Jim Bugg. Whether you’re in the parade or cheering from the roadside, remember to wear your red Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church t-shirt. We still have a few t-shirts for sale, if you’d like one. They cost $10 each.

  4. Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity—our assigned date to help with a house “rehab” in Pontiac is Saturday, April 24th. We are doing interior painting. A crew of 8 people have volunteered to help that day. Watch for pictures on the bulletin board.

    Also, we will have a presentation by Brad Irwin of Habitat for Humanity after worship on Sunday, April 25th. Come learn about Habitat, their projects for Oakland County, and their partnerships with area churches.

  5. Thrivent Choice enrollment for SLLC—our congregation is now enrolled in the new Thrivent Choice program. Thrivent members will be given an opportunity later this year to designate their “Choice dollars” for specific Lutheran congregations and charities enrolled in the program. Please consider designating your “Choice dollars” to SLLC.
  6. Financial situation update—we continue to fall behind in income needed to meet our monthly expenses. Please look for an opportunity to “adopt-a-bill” in the near future. Your help with this would be much appreciated.
  7. Door hangers—Rick Orban is once again getting door hangers made for us to distribute in our neighborhood. Look for more information in May and an opportunity to sign up for a street near the church.

Submitted by, Louise Bugg

Annual Community Yard and Bake Sale, June 12

Our annual community yard and bake sale is scheduled for Saturday, June 12. You may bring your donated items to the church and we will price and store your donations. Items that are clean and in good repair are easy to sell. We don not accept any clothing for this sale. If you are interested in renting a table to sell your own items, the cost is still just $10. Table reservations will be on a first-come, first served basis. To reserve your table, contact the church office at 248-682-0770, or sllc@sbcglobal.net, or use the table rental form on this website.

Pull out your recipes and think about what you can donate to the baked goods table as part of this sale. This has been a popular addition to our yard sale. Folks appreciate the opportunity to purchase home-made baked goods at reasonable prices. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide

Sandy Blackwell and Barb Krumrey, co-chairs of the sale.

Looking Ahead--Mark Your Calendars

May 2, 4 p.m.—Rejoicing in the Lamb Hymn Festival at St. John Lutheran Church
Our Praise Team will join singers from southeast Michigan for an ecumenical hymn festival, led by Michael Burkhardt, organist and choir director. The program begins at 4 p.m. and promises that you’ll leave with a song in your heart. St. John is at 23225 Gill Road in Farmington Hills.

May 8, 9 a.m. - 12 noon—Finding God’s Way Together, Part 2
Meeting of SLLC and Ascension congregations at Lutheran Church of the Ascension, 4150 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, to continue discerning how we can share our resources and do God’s work together.

May 31,9 a.m. - 12 noon—Community Memorial Day Parade
We will be walking in the parade on Orchard Lake Road and handing out packets of goodies with invitations to activities at Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church. Don’t forget to wear your red SLLC t-shirt—whether you are walking in the parade or cheering from the sidelines.

June 12, 9 a.m. -3 p.m.—Annual Yard and Bake Sale
Time to start spring cleaning. Please set aside those treasures you find and remember items sell best when they are clean. There will be a church table of donated items for sale. You can also rent a table for yourself for $10.

July 24—Adult Retreat and Bible Study Day
We have reserved the whole day at the new Sylvan Lake Community Center for an Adult Retreat and Bible Study. The City of Sylvan Lake gave us a free day in recognition of our 50 years of service in the community. We will be planning the events for the day with our friends from Ascension and St. Andrew Lutheran Churches.

November 13—Third Annual Craft Show and Bake Sale
It’s not too soon to start collecting your craft handiwork for sale at our annual craft show. We will have a table dedicated to crafts donated by church members. This is your opportunity to share your talents by donating the things you have made, e.g., photography, art work, needle crafts, wood carving, Christmas decorations, and even fly tying. Or you could rent a table of your very own!

Sylvan Lake Lutheran News, March - April 2010

From The Pastor--March 2010

We are in a transitory time.

That statement applies to all sorts of “time” – our era in this early twenty-first century, the present economic recession, our mortal lives, and the evolution of our future as a congregation, to give some examples. It also applies to each season of the church calendar, especially this season, Lent.

There are so many people in the church, and mostly out of it, who want to skip Lent and leap right into the triumph of Easter. This reminds me of a cartoon I saw ages ago of a pastor shaking hands at the door of a church with a man who was saying, “We always sing the same songs when I come here, either about the birth of Jesus or his rising from the dead.” Well, guess who was skipping all the parts in between! Maybe he should have come at least on Good Friday, so he would understand the words to the Christmas carol, “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice”: “Christ was born for this!”

Lent is the best time of the church year, though, to really contemplate our transitory-ness. I know there is no such word, but it fits. Throughout this season our Sunday gospel readings tell about Jesus moving forward to Jerusalem, knowing that it was there that he would die. It was there that he must die. His life, though as transitory as yours and mine, was lived so that we would have a glimpse of God’s eternal plan of salvation for us, no matter what era we live in. Jesus invites us, as he did the thief on the cross next to his, to live in Paradise with him. His resurrection from death opened the door to Paradise; but remember, first Jesus had to die.

We do, too. There are a lot of “little deaths” that have to occur as we remember the past, leave it behind, and move forward into an unknown-to-us future. The decisions we make in the “now” chart our course for the “then” of our life together as a congregation. Not only individuals but also whole churches are to die to self and live to Christ.

Dying to self and living to Christ we find, in our plans and in our actions, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. We do not need to be afraid of failure, though it can leave us feeling sad that something we put a lot of energy into didn’t turn out the way we thought it should. Yet, there is that promised peace! Our ancestors in the faith made decisions and acted with that same promise of peace. If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t be where we are. If they had lived fearfully then, there would be no one who believed in Christ Jesus today. It was not just the early believers, who were persecuted, who needed to remain faithful; it was also the believers who brought the gospel to each of us; and, it is each of us who takes those steps of faith today to “keep the faith” or “keep on keeping on”, as living to Christ has been expressed.

As we follow Jesus’ Lenten path this March, we know that beyond the grave is resurrection life. It puts a different perspective on our own life and work as a congregation of believers today. We already know that “our own” is not just ours but also is God’s work or place or people. So, we move into our future knowing that there may be amazing surprises waiting.

“The past is prologue” is the quote on the United States Archives. Our past as a congregation has been the prologue to where we are today, and the future can be re-shaped if we are more aware of the possibilities before us and make an intentional effort to live in the peace that surpasses understanding rather than the anxiety often generated by our own thoughts. I hope that each member remains open to the opportunities that God may bring our way when we align our hopes and dreams with our prayerful discernment of God’s purpose for us, for today and the near future.

Shalom - Pastor Jan

Super Souper Bowl Sunday

Thanks to everyone for donating and purchasing homemade soup on Souper Bowl Sunday, February 7. You’ll see some cool pictures posted in the entry hall of the church of smiling people ladling soup into containers. This youth-sponsored activity raised $245 for the Haven, a women’s shelter in Pontiac. Yay!

Education Report

The congregation of Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church is anticipating renewing our knowledge of Luther's Small Catechism during Lent. There will be study guides for the mid-week Lenten meetings and a copy of Luther's Small Catechism for anyone who would like one.

These are our basic beliefs, the backbone of our faith, and are Biblically based. Know your beliefs inside out, backward and forward. Have no doubts about who you are, and whose you are. Be able to converse easily about your beliefs.

Lent began with Ash Wednesday and the first of five mid-week services began February 24.
Submitted by Jean Peters, Education Board

ELCA World Hunger Coin Boxes

During Lent, we are collecting spare change in coin boxes to be given to the ELCA World Hunger program, a comprehensive program that responds to our neighbors in need around the corner and around the world. If you need a coin box, you can pick one up at church.

During this time, we have an opportunity to remember those who do not have the food, money, or resources they need to live. Some of us are keeping our coin boxes on our dressers, by the washing machine, in the kitchen, or wherever we might collect spare change. By using these coin boxes, we can take steps every day to remember those who are hungry.

Please bring your boxes to church on Easter Sunday for a special offering.

Easter Food Baskets for Three Local Families

We will be providing Easter food baskets for three local families again this year. Thanks to Roosevelt School for putting us in touch with families needing assistance. We are thankful that we are able to help.

The signup sheet for needed food items is posted at church. We plan to provide food for Easter dinner as well as other food supplies for their families. The deadline to get the food to the church is Palm Sunday, March 28.

If you would like to donate money instead of food, please designate it for our Good Samaritan Fund. We use the Good Samaritan Fund to purchase perishable items like bread, milk, eggs and cheese as well as other items needed to complete the baskets.

Thanks so much for anything you can provide to help these families. We know how very much our help is needed and appreciated.

Senior Stretch and Tone Exercise Class Comes to Our Church

On Tuesday, March 9, we had an introductory session called “Senior Stretch and Tone” at the church. It was a hit! The participants recommended that we offer it at least twice a week.

Beginning on March 16 and continuing for 10 weeks, we will offer “Senior Stretch and Tone” at church from 11 a.m. to 12 noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This low impact stretching program is designed to release stress and tension in our bodies, improve our posture, strengthen our muscles to help prevent injury, and maintain flexibility and mobility. Plus, it is a great way to relax and have fun together.

The session is led by Vicky Palace, the instructor of this program for West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation. She developed the stretching exercises and has been leading these sessions for ten years. She recently received an award from the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association for her dedication to getting seniors moving in West Bloomfield.

All are welcome to participate in this program. The cost is $2 per session and the first session is free. We honor God by caring for our bodies so that we can better do God’s work in our world. The sessions are “drop-in” with no advance registration required. Please come and invite your friends and neighbors.

SLLC Congregation Meeting February 28, 2010--Highlights

  1. Delegates to Synod Assembly—we elected two representatives to the Synod Assembly, which is in Lansing this year on May 20-22. The theme is “For the Lord Loves Justice”. The program begins with a picnic at noon on the Capitol lawn and an opportunity to talk with legislators about the needs of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan.
  2. Annual reports—were reviewed and approved. Thanks to all for their dedication and contributions to our worship, church life, service and outreach during 2009. We had a very exciting year culminating in the 50th anniversary celebration in the fall. If you would like a copy of the reports, please contact the church office.
  3. What’s ahead in 2010?
    1. Transition Team—Pastor Jan is leading this team in a review of the developmental tasks we need to accomplish during her interim ministry. The team is planning an event to discuss our past and its impact on our future.
    2. Mission Action Teams—we are forming 4 teams to work on: healthy living, community games, community crafts, and services to seniors. The first exercise class is scheduled March 9 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.
    3. Working with Lutheran Church of the Ascension—on March 6 we are having a workshop with our friends from Ascension to explore how we can do God’s work together and share our gifts and resources to benefit us both.
    4. Book of Faith commitment—how can we monitor ourselves for our commitment to read the Bible more? Suggestions included: having a buddy system, e.g., on email; sharing during fellowship; putting a chart on the wall. Our new congregation directory will include email addresses to facilitate this.
  4. Our financial situation—we reviewed the SLLC Financial Position report in the booklet. We are using savings to cover the shortfall in income to cover our monthly expenses. Ideas about how to close the gap included:
    1. Try to increase our giving
    2. Use “adopt-a-bill”
    3. Continue to decrease expenses wherever we can.
    4. Continue with donated musician services.
    5. Let the congregation know our financial situation in the newsletter.
    6. Share expenses with another congregation.
  5. Closing prayer—we closed with prayer and table grace and adjourned to a delicious pot luck lunch.

Council Highlights From February and March

  1. Action Teams—the Community Games team is being convened by Pastor Jan. The Services for Seniors Team is being organized by the Men’s Group, led by Doug Sinks. The Community Crafts team needs a convener. If anyone would like to help with this, please contact Louise Bugg, Sandy Blackwell or Pastor Jan.

    The Healthy Living team is being chaired by Rick Orban. Its first activity was an exercise class on March 9 for seniors called “Senior Stretch and Tone”, led by Vicky Palace of West Bloomfield Parks and Rec. It was so well received that we are going to hold the class twice a week from 11 a.m. to 12 noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning March 16 and going through May. Then, we’ll evaluate how it is working.

  2. Sunday Servants—we have some new volunteers to assist with Sunday worship, including readers and assistants. Pastor Jan will hold a training session for those interested before their duties begin this spring.
  3. Entry hallway changes—you might have noticed that the former pastors’ pictures have been relocated from the “hall of fame” to a new home in the library. The entry hallway can now be used to post information about our activities—especially outreach activities.
  4. Meeting of Joint Council with St. Andrew, March 3—we are coordinating our calendars to share Pastor Jan and to keep track of what is going on at each congregation.
  5. Workshop with Ascension, March 6—members present from SLLC and Ascension made presentations about their churches, so we could know each other better. We then identified what we have in common and brainstormed ideas that we could do together to share our resources and work with a shared purpose. The next meeting of the two congregations will be at Lutheran Church of the Ascension on May 1.
  6. Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity—Jim Bugg will represent SLLC on March 20 at the kickoff breakfast for the 2010 building program. We are asked to make a congregation commitment to this year’s building projects by March 26.
  7. Easter breakfast, April 4, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.—the Men’s Group will be serving breakfast again this year. The food is being donated. We have donors for the sausage and biscuits, fruit and juice, pancake mix and syrup, and 6 dozen eggs. If you would like to help, we still need: 6 dozen eggs, sausage links, milk and butter. Last year, we served 88 people! Tickets are the same price as last year: $6 for adults and $3 for children.

Looking Ahead--Mark Your Calendars

May 1—Finding God’s Way Together, Part 2
Meeting of SLLC and Ascension congregations at Lutheran Church of the Ascension, 4150 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, to continue discerning how we can share our resources and do God’s work together.

May 2—Rejoicing in the Lamb Hymn Festival at St. John Lutheran Church
Our Praise Team will join singers from southeast Michigan for an ecumenical hymn festival, led by Michael Burkhardt, organist and choir director. The program begins at 4 p.m. and promises that you’ll leave with a song in your heart. St. John is at 23225 Gill Road in Farmington Hills.

May 31—Community Memorial Day Parade
We will be walking in the parade on Orchard Lake Road and handing out packets of goodies with invitations to activities at Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church. Don’t forget to wear your red SLLC t-shirt—whether you are walking in the parade or cheering from the sidelines.

June 12—Annual Yard and Bake Sale
Time to start spring cleaning. Please set aside those treasures you find and remember items sell best when they are clean. There will be a church table of donated items for sale. You can also rent a table for yourself for $10.

July 24—Adult Retreat and Bible Study Day
We have reserved the whole day at the new Sylvan Lake Community Center for an Adult Retreat and Bible Study. The City of Sylvan Lake gave us a free day in recognition of our 50 years of service in the community. We will be planning the events for the day with our friends from Ascension and St. Andrew Lutheran Churches.

November 13—Third Annual Craft Show and Bake Sale
It’s not too soon to start collecting your craft handiwork for sale at our annual craft show. We will have a table dedicated to crafts donated by church members. This is your opportunity to share your talents by donating the things you have made, e.g., photography, art work, needle crafts, wood carving, Christmas decorations, and even fly tying. Or you could rent a table of your very own!

Sylvan Lake Lutheran News, February 2010

From The Pastor--February 2010

Lent

The season of Lent begins Ash Wednesday, February 17th this year. Every year when we begin to talk about Lent I remember the story my father told us about his first encounter with the word. He was working in a store as a sort-of “super stock boy” and the boss asked him to make up a display window for Lent. Dad’s only word-association with that term was “lint”, so he made a window display of quilt batting, the closest thing to “lint” he could conceive.

Lent is really a simple word that means “lengthen” because the daylight is getting extended in the northern hemisphere as we move from the shortest day of the Winter Solstice to the longest day of the Summer Solstice. Lent usually bridges the calendar seasons of winter and spring, and we humans, more attuned to the alignment of Earth and Sun than we’re aware, begin to feel a bit lighter spirited (no pun intended) as we experience more light each day.

In the church calendar, Lent is a six-week period to follow more closely our Lord Jesus on his journey to the cross, watching him care for needy people, those who are blind, people who are sick in a variety of ways, and most of all, people, like you and me, who are wanting to hear words of forgiveness that heal our relationship with God and with one another.

Ash Wednesday we’ll worship with Holy Communion at Sylvan Lake at 12:30 PM for a brief service and at St. Andrew at 7:00 PM, with the imposition of ashes reminding us of our mortality – dust to dust, ashes to ashes – and of how we are joined to the victory over death the risen Christ shares with us.

Besides the Sunday gospel readings, we are going to look at another way God has blessed us with knowing Christ more fully. On Wednesday evenings after Ash Wednesday we shall enjoy soup suppers and a worship/study time focusing on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Beginning with Confession, we’ll look at the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Holy Communion, Wednesday evenings of February 24th through March 24th, and in Holy Week on Maundy Thursday, April 1st. We learn, as we study this small book, how being obedient to the will of God looks, not only in the obedience of Jesus, but in our own lives, as well. No matter which hemisphere we live in, we can become more attuned to God’s designs for our relationship with our Lord and with one another.

Happy Lent! For the saving acts of Jesus should give us deep, abiding joy.

Shalom,
Pastor Jan

Opportunities To Give For Haiti

ELCA Disaster Response--financial contributions to support disaster relief efforts in Haiti can be made at www.elca.org/haitiearthquake

Thrivent Financial For Lutherans--If you have a Thrivent account, Thrivent will match your gift--$1 for every $2 you give. Information is found on the Thrivent website at www.thrivent.com/helpinghaiti/index.html

Souper Bowl Sunday, February 7

Come to worship February 7 and plan to buy some "Super" soup after the service. You may buy soup to take home and/or to eat and enjoy in the fellowship hall with friends before leaving church.

Already many have signed up to donate their own specialty soups so there will be many kinds to choose from. Proceeds will be given to our local women's and children's shelter called The Haven. These women are victims of domestic violence.

Book of Faith Initiative--Daily Devotions

As you find ways to increase your Bible reading, one method to consider is using a daily devotional book. We are ordering print copies of a couple of different devotional books for you to choose from. They will be available soon in the church narthex.

Another option is to read daily devotional messages on the Internet. Still Speaking is a daily devotional that you can bookmark in your browser and read online. Or you can subscribe to a free daily email meditation. To check it out, please go to: Feed Your Spirit

Sylvan Lake Lutheran's Newsletter Goes On The Web

Beginning in March 2010, we are going to make the news from Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church available on our website each month.

The most recent issues of the newsletter will be listed on the home page for you to select the one you’d like to read. You’ll find them in the section: “Click On The Page You Want To Visit”.

We will continue to provide a print copy of the newsletter for our current, active members. We hope that most others will be able to keep up with the SLLC news online. The web version of the news will be available before the print copies arrive.

If you would like to be notified when the latest news is available on our website, please contact the SLLC Office by mail, phone or email. We need to know the email address you would like us to use.

If you are not a current, active member and would like to receive a print copy of the newsletter, please send a donation of $10 per year to cover the costs of printing and mailing. Please send your subscription request with your mailing address and enclose your donation payable to: Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church. Subscriptions will begin in March 2010.

Your comments and suggestions about making our news more accessible to you are most welcome. We expect our web distribution of the news will evolve over time as we learn what works best. Thank you for your suggestions and patience as we move into the electronic world.

January Council Highlights

Here are highlights from the January 2010 SLLC Council meeting:

  1. Pastor Jan is going to lead the Council in a study of the book The great permission. We will use this for our opening devotions. It is about discovering and using our assets—“the amazing array of abilities and opportunities God has given us”. There is an extra copy of this book in our church library. Feel free to borrow it.
  2. The Joint Council—made up of representatives of St. Andrew Church and SLLC—continues to meet every other month to coordinate our worship services and discover areas where we can work together as we share Pastor Jan.
  3. The Adult Retreat and Bible Study (formerly known as Adult VBS) will be rescheduled from April 23-24 to a date to be determined in July or August. We received a free one-time use of the City of Sylvan Lake Community Center as a 50th anniversary gift. We would like to find a day that we can use the Center for this event and invite our friends from St. Andrew and Ascension Lutheran Churches. We plan to collect donations for Trinity Lutheran Seminary during this event.
  4. Several Council members will be attending the Northwest Oakland Cluster meeting on February 13 in Clarkston to discuss new ways of organizing the churches in our area to better serve our needs and help each other.
  5. Book of Faith initiative—we will be providing devotional booklets for the congregation to use at home. The multi-page survey form was completed in January and sent in.
  6. We accepted, by way of transfer, a new member of our congregation. This membership will be acknowledged in an upcoming worship service.
  7. The Council agreed to reserve the proceeds from the 2009 Craft Show and Bake Sale for use as seed money for a new health and wellness program in 2010.
  8. The furnace has been repaired and our heat has been restored to its previous levels. It took many days for the building to get warm again.
  9. Annual reports from Council members are due the end of January to be compiled for our Congregation Meeting on February 28.

SLLC Congregation Retreat

On January 23rd, nineteen members of our congregation met to brainstorm and discuss ideas for future programs that align with our mission and vision. This proved to be an exciting and fruitful retreat.

Following our opening devotions, we began by talking about why we had gathered together. Our purpose was to seek everyone's input while trying to figure out community programs we could offer in the very near future as well as programs that might require more research and take longer to implement.

We reviewed the process we have been involved in the past two years that brought us to this point of decision-making. There have been several congregation retreats, Bible and book studies, and cottage meetings, not only to help us understand the transformational process, but to help us discern our new mission and vision. In September 2008, we held a Purpose and Principles Retreat from which evolved a clearer sense of our mission and vision. In addition to this process, the executive committee continued to meet with our pastor(s) and work diligently on our mission, vision and guiding principles. (Note: This executive committee has now been retitled the Vision for Mission Team.)

Next, Pastor Jan led us through a series of exercises to help us determine our assets. We first examined a glass half empty and a glass half full and listed what might be in these glasses. Then we met in small groups and began identifying our physical assets, our gifts and talents, and community associations, listing them on slips of paper. We put these papers together to envision what could be done with our assets.

Seven different outreach programs evolved from this process. Votes were taken, and two short-term programs and one long-term program were selected. We stressed that our programs would be community-based. The two programs chosen that can be implemented in the near future were: (1) a community crafts program, and (2) a community game (board games, card, games, etc.) activity or program. Some volunteers readily committed to work on these outreach activities. The logistics and time lines will be developed, and we hope to launch these two programs soon. The long-term program that received the most votes was “healthy living.” This will take a longer period of time to develop, but we look forward to offering community programs that promote health and wellness.

Although we wanted to limit ourselves to three programs, a fourth suggestion that was well-received was called “senior-visitation.” This was described as helping seniors with transportation, errands, or odd jobs. We discussed this further and felt it was something we should be doing and that it would take very little planning to implement. Again, volunteers signed up to develop a plan.

If you were unable to attend this retreat, but would like to assist with any of these proposed programs, please contact a member of the Vision for Mission Team – Sandy Blackwell, Louise Bugg, Janet Timmons, Debbie Wolfe, or Pastor Jan.

Excitement is in the air as we move forward to develop our new goals. Everyone's commitment and willingness to help is greatly appreciated.

Sandy Blackwell

Looking Ahead to 2010

Here it is—the year 2010! Where did that first decade go? I don’t know about you, but for me, it flew by. We’ve had a lot going on at Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church during the past ten years. Last year was an especially eventful one that culminated in our wonderful 50 year celebration in September. Thanks to everyone for your hard work and dedication this past year.

Something that especially excited me was the new mission, vision and guiding values that we developed together. We see our church becoming a vibrant place where many come from our neighborhood for programs of physical, emotional and spiritual health and well being. We want to build relationships with our neighbors and let God’s love shine through us to them.

In the year ahead, there are many outreach programs that we plan to continue. These programs help us build relationships, provide assistance to others, and make our presence known in the community. Please mark your calendars for these programs:

  • February 7 Souper Bowl Sunday, with donations going to The Haven
  • March 28 Easter food baskets for local families
  • May 31 Community Memorial Day Parade
  • June 12 Community Yard and Bake Sale
  • July/August Habitat for Humanity build (dates to be determined)
  • September/October Collect school supplies and health kits
  • November 21 Thanksgiving food baskets for local families
  • December 19 Christmas food baskets and gifts for local families

This year, we have an opportunity to launch one or two new programs that focus on health and wellness and fit our new vision. There are so many possibilities—programs of physical fitness, eating healthily, losing our extra pounds, keeping our minds fit, building healthy relationships, and on and on. I hope you will let me know which ideas particularly appeal to you. Which program about health and wellness would you like to come to? Which one would you invite your friends and neighbors to come to? Which one sounds like fun—more fun to do together than to do alone?

I’d like to hear from everyone as we begin turning our vision into a reality in 2010.

Louise Bugg

Sylvan Lake Lutheran News, January 2010

From The Pastor--January 2010

Epiphany and Lent

The word epiphany is from the Greek "to shine upon" or "to reveal" much as if a light were shone on something, and epiphany means the appearance or manifestation or the sudden realization of an actuality. We speak of someone having an epiphany when something that was obscure suddenly becomes obvious to them.

The church season of Epiphany starts with Epiphany Day, when we celebrate the manifestation of Jesus as a king, or perhaps more than a king, to Gentiles, people who were not Jews. Jews were awaiting God's promised messiah. Gentiles did not have that promise to look forward to, yet the wise men were aware of a celestial event that meant, to them, that someone very important had been born. They searched the scriptures of various religions until they realized they were looking at a star that signified the birth of one who would be known as the King of the Jews. Then they undertook an arduous journey to pay homage to this little king.

We celebrate Epiphany with King Cake, decorated in purple and gold, and, for the ones finding the surprises in their pieces of cake, wearing crowns and pretending to be the Magi following the star to the Christ Child. The tradition of the King Cake is also a Mardi Gras tradition, where the same idea pertains: We have found the King! Mardi Gras is the last blow-out celebration of the shining light of Jesus, born King of the Jews, before Lent, when we shall see him enthroned on the cross and raised from the dead to bring us into his kingdom.

The Epiphany season in the church continues with Sunday gospel readings where Jesus fulfills prophecy or does a miracle that shows forth to those around him more and more that he is the Son of God, the long-awaited messiah. The Magi discover the baby king in a tiny village in Judea and avoid whatever the then-king of Judea had in mind for them because it was revealed in a dream that they should not return to King Herod. Jesus is baptized by John the Baptizer and a voice comes from heaven saying "This is my son, the beloved." The season culminates with the Transfiguration, the Sunday before Lent begins, when it became clear to a few, chosen disciples, by his transformed physical appearance and a heavenly voice, that Jesus is the Son of God. Then, things change.

Even as they walked down from the mountain where the Transfiguration occurred, the disciples heard Jesus again tell them that he would be betrayed, suffer and be killed, and on the third day, rise from death. We focus our attention on the obedience and passion of Jesus during Lent. The season of Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, prayer, and works of love as we follow Jesus on the Way of the Cross where Jesus died on our behalf.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 17, this year, as we remind ourselves that we are dust and to dust we shall return. All of us, of whatever age, will be able to journey to the Cross in a meaningful way through special times for study, prayer and worship in this season.

One of my favorite songs is "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light". This speaks of the light of Christ in the mood of the Epiphany season. The next line is "I want to follow Jesus." My hope is that every one of us will find a special way in these two seasons to follow Jesus, to the cross where he paid the price for our sin, and beyond, where we can live as forgiven and forgiving children of the Light.

Shalom, Pastor Jan

Book of Faith Covenant

At a special congregation meeting held on December 6, 2009, our membership voted unanimously to become a "Book of Faith" congregation. This is our challenge to raise to a new level our church's individual and collective engagement with the Bible and its teaching.

Many suggestions were given for individuals to actively pursue the study of scripture on their own if that is their preference. Support groups and buddy systems were also suggested to help folks stay "on task". We will support one another in this endeavor and assess ourselves periodically to evaluate our commitment.

The signed covenant has been sent to The Rev. Manisha Dostert, our Book of Faith Synod Advocate. The Council will meet on Saturday, January 9, to complete the Group Assessment/Conversation Tool that is also required. Any interested persons are welcome to attend this meeting as we assess ourselves and have conversation about our Bible study in the past, where we are now, what our needs are, and what we envision. Please join us.

Submitted by Sandy Blackwell

Gideons Temple Talk--January 10

Open the night stand drawer in almost any hotel room in the world and you will find a Bible placed there by the Gideons International. The oldest Christian business and professional men's association in the United States, the Gideons have been around for more than 100 years, and have been placing Bibles in hotel rooms almost that long.

Today the association counts more than 140,000 members in 175 countries. According to its web site Gideons International, the Gideons distribute more than 56 million Bibles and New Testaments every year. This averages out to be one million books every seven days, or 107 per minute. Evangelical churches of many denominations financially support the Gideons work of distributing Bibles, not only to hotels and motels, but also to hospitals and doctors' offices, jails and prisons, schools, colleges and military bases.

On January 10 during our worship service, Dr. Maicki, a Gideons member, will share with us more information on Gideons International and their ministry. An offering basket will also be available on this date for anyone who would like to support this Bible outreach.

Submitted by Sandy Blackwell

Souper Bowl, February 7

Q: What do football and soup have in common?
A: Souper Bowl, of course!

Souper Bowl of Caring, a nationwide movement, inspires congregations, schools, community organizations and compassionate individuals in the fight against hunger.

Beginning in 1990 with one youth group, the organization has grown over the years by raising over $60 million dollars for food banks, soup kitchens and other charities across the country to help feed America. Even in a time of economic uncertainty, Souper Bowl of Caring raised $10,338,288 in 2009!

American households that are food insecure have increased to 14.6%. With the number of American households having difficulty putting enough food on the table and shelters having difficulty servicing individuals in need, the support of Souper Bowl is vital.

What is Souper Bowl of Caring and how are funds raised to support this fight against hunger?

On Super Bowl Sunday, as part of the pre-game warm up, youth across the nation are serving and selling donated soup! And, 100% of the proceeds from the soup sales and donatons go directly to helping charities feed the hungry.

Here at Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church, we have participated in Souper Bowl of Caring for the past 4 years. Crock pots and vats of donated Cheesy Broccoli, Creamy Potato, Beef Barley, Pizza Soup and Chili (to name a few) have come into church before service, and have left church empty after fellowship! Purchased with the thought of eating it during the big game, some containers don't even make it out of the building without being sampled or gobbled up!

In the past 4 years, we have raised almost $900 through our soup sales for Haven of Pontiac, a safe haven for women and children fleeing domestic violence. And, this year, the work continues.

Please help us by signing up to donate pots of soup, placing cash donations, and/or buying the delicious homemade soup on Sunday, February 7, after the service. Get that heart warming feeling of helping others, while experiencing that belly warming felling of good soup!

John answsered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has the food should do the same." Luke 3:11

Submitted by Susan Ludwiczak

Good Samaritan Corner

The three families who received food and gifts for Christmas were overwhelmend and gave their heartfelt thanks to everyone in the congregation for their generosity. Our friends at LaRosa Market were also very generous and donated a large box for each family.

We plan to provide food baskets again at Easter time, so watch for the information. In the meantime, please continue to bring food and other household items for the Good Samaritan Food Pantry basket in the narthex. A family in the congregation regularly delivers our food donations to the food pantry, which helps a growing number of families in the Pontiac area.

Envelopes can be found in the church narthex or pew rack for the Good Samaritan Fund. Let us remember those in need, especially during these difficult economic times.

A Big Thank You From The Staff

The staff--Pastor Jan, Renate, Thomas, Louise and Dee--wish to thank you very much for the generous Christmas "bonus" that we received. We are truly blessed to have such a generous and caring congregation. Our best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy year in 2010.

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