Working Together to Make a Difference

September 25th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

The burdens of daily life can get heavy-especially when we try to bear them alone. Likewise the work of the church can get feel like a burden if left only to some people. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit is poured out generously on everyone within the community of faith-and even on those outside the community of faith-in order to accomplish God’s purposes. When the Spirit is shared among us, we can work together, as one, to bear God’s healing, hope and compassion to the world.

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen

September Newsletter

August 28th, 2015

Dear disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

I don’t know how I would have ever gotten through this without my faith!” How many times have I heard that sentiment from others-as well as said it myself. Whether the “this” is a failed relationship, an unexpected illness, a pink slip at work, or something else, when a crisis hits we need support. And for us as Christians, we have the support of our faith and our church to give us hope in the midst of despair.

But not everyone has that kind of support. Some may have grown up in the church and fallen away. Some may have had a bad experience with church and rejected it. Others may have never heard of God’s promises, or thought they were for them.

That’s why our congregation is participating in National Back to Church Sunday on September 20th. We are asking you to take a look around and invite a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend to worship that day. This isn’t a sales pitch to get more people in the pew or offerings in the plate. This is a way that we may reach out to those who need what we all need-real hope in a world that too often feels hopeless. Following worship we will continue our hospitality with a potluck lunch, helping us get to know the guests who join us that day.

Take a look at the video invitation below. Then pray about who you might invite to discover the hope that can transform lives through a relationship with our loving Lord, and the living body of Christ in the community of faith.


For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…plans to give you hope and a future.….” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Your hopeful servant of Christ,

Pastor Gretchen

 

The Mystery of God’s Love

February 24th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

We have now begun the season of Lent, a rich time for us to focus on our inner spiritual growth as we journey towards Easter. Together as a community of faith we reflect on the mystery of God’s love through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and how Jesus leads us through our own “deaths,” and wilderness experiences to new life.

There are many opportunities to help make this a meaningful time through prayer, Sunday and Wednesday evening worship, our Lenten conversations, and works of love. Check out the details in our most current eNewsletter.

May our gracious and loving God walk with us
during this time of mystery and growth.

See you in church,
Pastor Gretchen

Come as you are

January 30th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

Ever feel like you have to hide those parts of yourself you don’t want others to see? That you have to clean up your act before you come to worship? Not so, says Lutheran seminary professor David Lose: “Our God is a God of the broken, and our church is a fellowship of the needy.”  All it takes to be a follower of Jesus in the community of faith is to recognize your deep need and trust that Jesus has come to meet it.

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen

The Baptism of our Lord

January 9th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

As we observe The Baptism of our Lord this Sunday, we also remember the blessings we receive in baptism: forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, a community of faith and everlasting life. Come and celebrate the grace-filled water of life through which God accepts us as beloved sons and daughters!

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen

A New Year Resolution

January 5th, 2015

Dear disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

It’s January–the beginning of a new year. The time when we look back at where we’ve been and look forward to where we want to be in life. There’s a lot of advice about how to get more organized, more healthy, more financially secure. I particular liked the wisdom offered by a 96 year old woman, the oldest living yoga teacher, who lives out her belief that age is just a number: “I don’t believe in age. When people ask me about age, I tell them to look at all the trees around them. They’re hundreds of years old. They may look as if they’re dying at the moment, but they’re not; they’re recycling themselves. And in a couple of months, they’re going to be reborn again.”

Martin Luther offers his own advice about how we can be reborn again–not just at the start of a new year, but at the start of each new day. He encourages every Christian to remember their baptism daily. Every morning upon waking, make the sign of the cross on your forehead—and on your children’s foreheads if you’re a parent. When we remind ourselves who we are, everything else we do flows from our sense of self, our core identity as beloved sons and daughters of God.

On Sunday January 11th we gather in worship to give thanks that we have been “sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever” as we observe The Baptism of our Lord. Then we gather for a potluck and our annual meeting to celebrate the ways we have fulfilled our identity in the past year, and the ways we anticipate God will continue to lead us into the next year.

If I may suggest a resolution for the new year, it would be this. Find one new way to deepen your commitment to this community of faith—your community of faith. Whether it’s through regular presence in worship; deepening your prayer life; offering your gifts in leadership or service; or becoming more engaged with the Bible. Not only will your commitment bless you personally, you will bless and strengthen the body of Christ as we fulfill our mission together “to witness the Good News of God’s love through service in our community and beyond.”

Happy New Year!

Pastor Gretchen