JUNE IS BUSTIN’ OUT ALL OVER

May 29th, 2014

In the song “June is bustin’ out all over” from the musical Carousel, the characters sing: “You can feel it in your heart, you can see it in the ground, you can see it in the trees, you can smell it in the breeze. Look around! Look around! Look around!” What they’re referring to are the signs of summer.

For us as a community of faith, it’s the signs of the Holy Spirit “bustin’ out all over” we see this month. On Sunday June 8th we celebrate the Day of Pentecost in our 10am worship together. We hear the story of how the Spirit blew upon timid, fearful disciples and transformed them into powerful witnesses to the resurrected Christ. Wear red as we claim the power of the Holy Spirit helping us to grow in faith and courage and love in our daily lives. Then join the fun at Verdugo Park for a Potluck Pool Party beginning at 12:30pm to celebrate another wonderful year of Sunday School—everyone is welcome!

The signs of the Holy Spirit are also at work with another week of Summer Day Camp soon approaching on June 23-27th. Children entering Kindergarten through 6th grade will have an amazing experience of Bible study, singing, craft-making, and fun all led by trained counselors from Lutheran Retreats, Camps and Conferences. This year’s theme is “Power Up!” Just as we daily power up our phones, computers and TV’s, at Bible camp our goal is to POWER up the faith life of children….which is much more difficult and much more important than just pushing the button on an iPad.

Sometime this month you may also anticipate hearing about another Special Congregational Meeting to be held after worship, as we consider receiving a significant lump sum from Brighton Hall in exchange for the use of our Administration Building. This money will allow us to make much needed property renovations that will enable us to fulfill our mission “to witness the Good News of God’s love through service in our community and beyond.”

Look around! Look around! Look around! These are only some of the signs of the Holy Spirit at work moving our church forward in new ways.

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Gretchen Bingea

ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS

May 1st, 2014

With the death of Jesus, his friends and followers were overcome with sadness and disappointment. His death was the end of their hopes and dreams that he would be the one to redeem them. But then…..the unexpected and miraculous happens….Jesus is raised from the dead! Suddenly the world is turned upside down. With resurrection comes a new beginning.

Such is the pattern of our lives as Christians. With every ending we face—the end of a dream, a relationship, a job, life itself—we never lose hope, knowing that God has a new beginning in store for us. In baptism we are joined with Christ in his death and resurrection. Whatever loss we encounter, we keep looking forward with faith to the new thing God is doing.

This month we recognize two endings for our high school youth. Sunday May 18th marks the end of two years of Confirmation instruction for the four students who are affirming their baptism in worship. This is the end of their formal adolescent faith formation in our church. Yet it is only the beginning of a new chapter of involvement in the faith community as they commit to life-long learning and serving in the body of Christ. We are happy that Bishop Guy Erwin of our Southwest California Synod will be with us during worship on Confirmation Sunday and I hope you will be with us too!

On Sunday May 25th we will honor those who are completing their high school years on Graduate Recognition Sunday. While this, too, is the end of one chapter, it is also the beginning of a new period of life and faith. Not only do we celebrate this accomplishment by our graduates, we bless them in the love and grace of family, congregation and God.

As we mark these milestones with our young people, it is a wonderful reminder to them of this faith-filled community that surrounds them in their new journeys. In addition, our regular weekly worship gives mutual encouragement to us all as we face the endings in our lives with hope and courage for the new beginnings we have in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Easter joy,

Pastor Gretchen Bingea