From The Pastor--April 2011
Lent and Hunger and Easter Celebrations
Long ago and not so far away Christians fasted during Lent. They did so for a variety of reasons but two of them are still significant to us today. Fasting during Lent meant only having one complete meal each day, and no meat, with the exception of Sunday which is always a Resurrection Day celebration, though more subdued in the weeks of Lent.
In these days Roman Catholics and many others still keep that fast on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. Others are intentional about a total fast one day a week, while still others give up one meal during the week. Some of us just give up eating some fattening, not-good-for-me food during this season.
Why? To identify with the poor. Ah yes! You thought I was going to say something about the suffering of Jesus, but that is not the intent of fasting. Jesus’ suffering is in the past; people in our own communities and all over the world are hungry today. Not only is the person fasting to identify with the poor but also to donate the money that would have been spent on the missing meat or total meals to feeding those in poverty, people who are really hungry. We encourage that kind of “fasting” with Rice Bowls or ELCA World Hunger offering boxes or other such devices, but a jar or an envelope will do as well.
Do you want some statistics to encourage you to fast for the cause of hunger? Approximately six children a minute die of hunger-related causes and impure water. Yes, that was correct; a child dies every ten seconds of the day and night, every day, due to lack of proper nutrition or just plain no food. Think how you would feel if there were 360 dying children on your front lawn! That is only one hour’s toll. Multiply that by 24 hours for a total of 8,640 children dead on the church lawn, though even our property would not hold that many.
OK, maybe that was a bit too graphic. Let’s put it this way: In the United States every year people spend enough on food for our pets to adequately feed every person in the world. Yet, somehow, we can ignore hungry people, maybe because they don’t scratch on our door or whine at us while we are trying to relax at the end of the day. BUT, nevertheless, they are here! We who are satisfied each day just tend to forget about them.
That could be our first error. Long-term engagement with the cause of hunger comes the way long-term engagement happens with any cause or concern: relationships. If you know someone who is hungry or who has lived with hunger for a part of their life, or you have done so yourself, you are more likely to keep aware of the need for ways to feed hungry people. If you have never spoken with a hungry person you are less likely to be moved by the extremes they are in, and often for no more reason than that a serious illness or accident put them out of their job and into the masses of people in poverty.
How can you cross the class barriers that our ordinary lifestyle erects so that you can, indeed, meet people who are poor, people who depend on your extraordinary offering in order to live? One simple way is to watch the DVD available on the table by the office. There you will “meet” four families grateful for your ELCA Hunger offerings. Another is to serve in one of our community places of hope where you have opportunity to converse with and listen to people who are our near neighbors living with hunger. Another is to keep in contact with the families we serve with our Easter food baskets, inviting them to come with you to worship.
A very brave woman named Karen came to worship with us Sunday (March 20th) who had been homeless for four years. I hope she returns and gives us a chance to get to know her; and I hope she then feels free to invite her friends to join us at worship as well.
You will be reminded each Sunday at the end of the worship service during this season to remember the poor. There is another way suggested by Dr. Craig L. Nessan of Wartburg Theological Seminary, who spoke at the N/W Lower Michigan Hunger Event March 19th. He reminded us that we do not really pray for daily bread; we already have it, and more than just that. It was a man who had “no place to lay his head” who taught us to depend upon God to provide daily bread; we are a lot more affluent than Jesus was. Dr. Nessan suggested that we ought not pray that petition in our worship services and Bishop Schleicher had us pause instead of saying that petition at our Eucharist worship to end the day.
Try it. It might be effective for you. Leave out praying that petition for yourself during Lent, much as we leave the alleluias out of our worship in this season. Then, when Easter arrives, along with alleluia, bring back praying that petition with a renewed awareness of your neighbors for whom that is a real petition, a real begging God to provide through us, through you.
And, when you pack that bag of food for distribution on Palm Sunday pray for each can, each carton, each vegetable or fruit you include to carry your concern for hungry people to them in the name of Jesus and to the glory of our gracious God. And may “Happy Easter” have a very deep and different meaning for you this year and in all the days and years to come!
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, April 17.
If you would like to donate money instead of food, please designate it for our Good Samaritan Fund. There are special envelopes in each pew. We use the Good Samaritan Fund to purchase perishable items like bread, milk, eggs and cheese as well as other items needed.
Thanks so much for anything you can provide to help these families. Thanks, too, to LaRose Market for their contributions. We know how very much our help is needed and appreciated.
Good Samaritan Corner
Help us fill the food basket in the church lobby. We continue to collect and deliver non-perishable foods, toilet paper and other needed items to the Good Samaritan Lutheran Church Food Pantry.
Donations to our SLLC Good Samaritan Fund are always needed, too. We help those in our community who are in need and use these funds to help with the food baskets at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Envelopes for your donations are in the lobby rack and in the pews.
Let us remember to help our neighbors in need.
Souper Bowl for Caring
On Sunday, February 6, many brought in soup. We had chili, potato cheese, clam chowder, pizza soup, and many other kinds. The soup was all donated so I could put it into smaller containers and sell it to raise money for Haven of Oakland County.
I sold $243 worth of soup and then I got $12 in donations to give a total of $255 to Haven.
Haven is a place in Pontiac for people to go if they have been abused. The money raised will help provide a safe place for them.
Thank you to everyone who brought in soup and thank you to everyone who bought it.
Mitten Tree 2010-11
Thank you all very much! The mitten tree has been covered and emptied three time with gifts of gloves, scarves and hats. The final gifts for this winter were plucked off the tree on March 20 and the tree was boxed up until next year.
Three pairs of gloves, four scarves and seventeen hats were given to children at the Baldwin Center. The two previous batches were taken to Children's Protective Services.
Both agencies have expressed their thanks for your caring and love for the young children this winter.
Book of Faith Initiative--Galatians Bible Study
It’s not too late. You can still join our study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians during Adult Bible Study after worship each Sunday. This is a book that inspired Martin Luther and Paul’s teachings became a foundation for Lutheran theology. We’re finding many similarities between Paul and Martin Luther.
We’re using the Book of Faith study guide that helps us understand the book as a devotional, as a life story, as a historical record, and as Lutherans in today’s world. With all this to learn and discuss, we’ve had some lively and interesting sessions.
It took us several weeks to get through chapter 1 of Galatians, so it’s not too late to join the study. There are five more chapters in the book of Galatians for us to cover.
Studying the Bible helps increase our understanding of scripture, provides lively discussions based on God’s Word, and helps us carry out God’s mission for us in our community.
Hope to see you in class!
March Education Report
The Bible study of Galatians draws a student deeper and deeper into the scriptures, back to Acts with the story of Paul's life, his three missionary journeys and his final journey to Rome. The works of the Holy Spirit are awesome!
How does this study of Galatians translate to us? Can you boldly speak about the Holy Spirit when you make a new friend, meet a stranger on an airplane, or comfort someone with prayer? Are you driven like Paul or Martin Luther to share the Gospel? Do we at SLLC take time to connect with those around us during our daily lives?
Draw a diagram of your life--you in the center and your concerns around you in a circle. Then draw another circle (you in the center) with religious duty and obedience to law around you. Now draw a third circle about living a grace filled relationship with God.
Which diagram best describes your situation? In a study group you could explore this exercise with friends/fellow saints and translate Galatians 1:10 into what directs your life today. We might be surprised. This is the devotional context of lesson one/chapter one of Galatians. You could have this short study at any of the church meetings you attend.
Respectfully submitted, Jean Peters
Gideon Expression Tribute Cards
Recently we had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Maicki share the good work the Gideon's International does by distributing Bibles and New Testaments throughout the world. It was inspirational to hear his stories about how receiving God's word in the Bible has changed people's lives.
We, too, have the opportunity to provide Bibles and New Testaments to others by using Gideon Expression Cards to honor friends or family members. You may use the cards, located in the church lobby area, to express your sentiments for someone. There are several tribute cards available: In Memory, In Recognition and Thinking of You sentiments.
You may choose any amount you wish to donate for Bibles and New Testaments as you mail the tribute card to the person you wish to honor and send the donation to Gideon's International in the envelope provided.
Mark Your Calendars
May 30, 9:00 a.m. Lakes Area Memorial Day Parade
We will be putting together 750 packets with candy and information about our church to hand out along the parade route. We will be assembling the packets during fellowship time after worship the last couple of Sundays in May. Donations of small wrapped candies and zippered sandwich baggies are welcome.
Please consider joining the group riding in the parade and handing out packets. It's a great opportunity to make some contacts with our neighbors and invite them to our worship services and Bible study, to our Stretch & Tone exercise classes, and to our annual Yard and Bake Sale in June.
For those who choose to watch the parade and cheer from the sidelines, it's an opportunity to talk with those sitting nearby. Please consider taking some packets to give our personally.
Thanks to all for your help and support in this outreach effort!
Hiller's Scrip Card Fund Raising Program
SLLC is now enrolled in Hiller's Market Scrip Card Program. For those who shop at Hiller's, this is an easy way to raise money for our church.
Scrip Cards are available in the church office. When you shop at Hiller's, you activate your Scrip Card by puting money on the card via check, cash, or charge card. When you check-out with your groceries, you pay for your purchases with your Scrip Card. Be sure to inform the cashier you will be paying with your Scrip Card before ringing up your groceries. You will slide your Scrip Card through the card machine at the end of your check-out and select "gift card" as the payment method.
With every Scrip Card activation and reload, SLLC will receive 5%. The amount earned is paid every month regardless of the total accrued from everyone's cards. Your cash register receipt will report the amount remaining on your card after your purchase. You can also check your balance online at Hillers.com.
In 2008, Hiller's paid out $235,243 to over 300 non-profits. We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program.
Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church Book Exchange
At the Congregation Retreat in January 2010, one of the groups came up with the idea of sharing our personal collections of books with each other and having book discussion groups about them.
Reading and learning keeps our minds active and talking about books with each other can be supportive, informative and fun. This fits with our vision of health and wellness.
At the March council meeting, we decided to set up a book sharing system so that congregation members and friends can bring in their personal books, CDs and DVDs to share with each other. Justine is willing to take the lead in setting up this program.
The first step will be to clear 4 to 6 shelves in the current library for items to be shared. Then, you can bring in items you would like to share. Please keep your items at home until we have room for them.
We will start with these guidelines:
- Books, CDs and DVDs in good condition are welcome; however, please do not donate videotapes, magazines, newspapers and computer software or games.
- Consider donating Christian materials that are inspirational, devotional, uplifting.
- Fiction and self-help materials are welcome.
- Videos (DVDs) rated G, PG or PG13 are preferred.
- We don’t want to spend time reviewing donations for suitability; however, if there is concern about something that was donated, we will appoint two people to review the item and recommend removal, e.g., the Pastor and a congregation member.
We want to be clear that the views in these materials are not endorsed by our church. There would be no church ownership information put in the items.
Congregation members and friends will use an honor system to take items and bring them back to share with others when they’ve finished using them. They can use the ledger in the library to “check out” the items they take and “check in” the items they return.
So, as you look through your book shelves this spring, please set aside items you’d like to share—materials that have inspired you, supported you, brought you joy and laughter, taught you something helpful in your life. And stay tuned for an announcement that the space in our library is ready for the book exchange!
Join Us In Recycling
Recycling has been going on at SLLC for some time now.
If you would like to join in this activity, first presort your recyclables by type into grocery bags or clear bags. Acceptable items include: paper, plastic, cans, metal items, electronic items. Paper can go into brown paper bags.
- Take a load directly to the Royal Oak Recycling facility, or
- Bring your items to church and put them in the large container(s) in the kitchens. For any unusual or big items, call the office for instructions before dropping them off.
We have an account set up at Royal Oak Recycling at their facility on the north side of M59, 10320 Highland Road, White Lake, 248-387-5555. Use the entrance to Aunt Millie's Bread Store and proceed to the large building at the back. Payment for these items is now being sent to the church regularly.
Unacceptable items at Royal Oak Recycling include: glass, greasy pizza and other waxed containers, yard waste, chemicals, paint cans, light bulbs, propane tanks, flammable liquids, household cleaners, and Styrofoam.
We DO accept Styrofoam in the church kitchen. Please break the Styrofoam into fist sized pieces and place them in clear bags, separate from other recyclables. If you have Styrofoam peanuts place them in another clear bag. We take Styrofoam to another facility.
If you have any questions, call Dan Hosler or contact Dee at the church office, 248-682-770.
Thanks for helping us be good stewards of our earth for the next generations!