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St. James Lutheran
 Pastor Walt's Weekly Email 
Friday, 25 March 2011

Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ,

 One of the great joys of being a pastor is the privilege to be with folks in holy moments.  These moments can happen at significant stages in people’s lives (such as birth, baptism, confirmation, marriage, and dying).  These moments can also happen at unanticipated times (on 'regular' Sundays and Mondays too). As the Spirit connects with our lives there is always the potential for a holy moment to be experienced.  When that happens, words are often hard to come by.  We are left to relish and treasure the sacredness of the moment in joy.

 As we gathered as a community of faith on Sunday to worship, it was a great joy to participate in a few of these holy moments.  Truly, the Spirit was working overtime, connecting in multiple ways.  What a joy to see so many folks come to the Altar Table and to witness holy joy in their faces!   

 As you most likely know, Sunday was a special time in my family as Noah received his first communion.  I have vivid memories of my first communion when I was in fifth grade.  Thinking back, I am grateful for the church that witnessed God's love to me at that important time in my young life.  Truly that was a holy moment that made a lasting impression.    I can't even begin to imagine what Sunday's moment in time might mean in Noah's and his classmates' lives in the coming years.  It is my prayer that we - as church together- have witnessed God's love to them - and that this experience might influence their discipleship in a positive and life changing way.

 Though I can't see into the future, I would like to reflect some more on my experience last Sunday.  Truly this was another holy moment in my life.   As I shared Eucharist (that wondrous gift of God that has been so essential in my personal faith journey) with my child, the words "given for you" hardly made it out of my mouth.   There was so much joy - like the joy on the day of his baptism.  To think that the Creator of heaven and earth was present and willing to take care of my child.... wow!  To think that his life will be forever in the light of this sacrament.  Even if he chooses to run away, God's grace and love will be near - inviting him to return.  Sacraments do that for us all.  They invite us to come back, to be part of a community that struggles with trying to be faithful.  They also challenge (and here is where it gets a little scary) to go beyond ourselves and our comfort zones so that God's love and care might be known by others (even those we would label 'enemies'). 

 On this coming Sunday we will gather once again around the table to be fed.   You are invited to come and feast upon the very goodness of God.  Together we will be strengthened and challenged to respond to the feast.   Together we'll invite the Spirit's presence to move us to faithful action.  Together we will gather on holy ground.  With eager anticipation, I look forward to those unexpected holy moments that God will no doubt provide.

 

See you in worship

 In Christ,

Pastor Walt

 

Posted by: Pastor Walt AT 09:56 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, 18 March 2011

Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ,

As we draw to the end of the first week in Lent, I am thankful for the renewal and new life that God is gifting to St. James.  What joy it was to celebrate Eucharist both on Sunday and Wednesday - to watch as we gathered at the Table to receive the presence of the Living God.   

On Monday night, the St. James Childcare Center, Inc. Board of Directors voted on the recommendation of the Restructuring Task Force to change the name of the Childcare Center to the St. James Lutheran Early Education Center.  This move reflects a shift towards providing Lutheran preschool education as a top priority for the center.  Extended childcare will continue to be provided around the operating schedule of the Lutheran based preschool.  Once this name change is legally processed, an official announcement will be made.  

On Tuesday night, Council considered a variety of initiatives that will strengthen our community and our mission to praise and serve.  I won't go into detail here as you will have opportunity to read through the minutes for yourself (either electronically or as they are posted in the narthex).  Please be sure to do this.  Council continues to make a concerted effort to be open, transparent, and available in its leadership.  I am deeply grateful for their hard work, perspectives, and consideration of new ideas.  The Spirit has blessed St. James with a depth of creative leadership.  If you have a joy or an idea that you would like to share, please be sure to bring it to any of the Council members (their photos are posted on the bulletin board in the narthex).  You are also welcome to come in person to the Council meeting - every third Tuesday of the month.

One of the major items of consideration at last Tuesday's Council meeting was the presentation of the St. James Lutheran Early Education Center (E.E.C.) plan. This extensive plan charts out a new course for the future of the center that will make it once again a vital source of education and care for preschool children in this community.  At the heart of the plan is the concept of having the church and the E.E.C. walk a closer walk together.  Details (such as specific policies, procedures, job descriptions) are still in the process of being sorted out by the Restructuring Task Force.  As soon as these are completed and shared with the teaching staff of the E.E.C. copies of the complete plan will be made available to the congregation and parents. Action on the plan will be taken in April by the Council.  As the process continues, please join me in prayers of discernment. 

On Sunday, the fifth graders will be receiving their first communion during both of our worship services.  Please join them and me at the Table.  Together we will be strengthened by the God who constantly comes near and journeys with us.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Walt

 

The Rev. Walt Lichtenberger, S.T.M. - Pastor

St. James Lutheran - Burnsville, MN
cell phone: (952) 836-8588
emergency pastoral care hotline: (651) 354-1883
 
Posted by: Pastor Walt AT 09:44 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, 03 March 2011

Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ,

 

Recently there have been many conversations taking place at St. James regarding Eucharist. 

 

This past Sunday during the Adult Education time, I shared a progress report of the Sacramental Practices Task Force.   This group, which you are invited to attend on Monday night March 7 at 8:00pm, is exploring the ways we gather as a community for our Eucharistic celebration.  Recommendations such as frequency, starting age, who is welcome at the Table, and method of distribution are in the process of being formed and will be shared with the congregation in May before they are presented to Council for action.    

 

On Tuesday night, Pastor Will and I met with the fifth graders helping them prepare to receive their First Communion.  What joy this time was!  Teaching First Communion is a real treat.  The boys and girls bring with them such enthusiasm and excitement.  My prayer for them is that they  will continue to look forward to receiving the Real Presence of Christ for the rest of their lives.

 

This coming Sunday, March 6, we will gather at the Altar Table for Eucharist.   Together we will celebrate the Festival of Transfiguration.  We’ll remember the story of Jesus’ being on the mountain top with Peter, James, and John.  It is the last Sunday before our Lenten journey begins and it anticipates the glory of Easter.  After our second worship we’ll gather around another table for a Congregational Potluck.  Together we will celebrate the overwhelming positive response of the congregation to our Mission Budget 2011 crises.  There will be good food, great conversation, balloons for the kids, and maybe even a little magic.  Bring a dish to share and share in the joy.

 

On March 13, the First Sunday in Lent, there will be a special Training Lunch for Eucharist Servers.  If you have ever helped to serve communion or if you ever thought you might like to do so, this is your chance to sign up for this meaningful service.  Together we’ll talk about basic Eucharistic theology and walk through what is involved with serving communion.  Everyone, from youth to adults, are invited to come.  Bring your calendars and we’ll sign you up for an upcoming worship.

 

Starting on Ash Wednesday and throughout the season of Lent (on Sundays and Wednesdays) we’ll have Eucharist each time we gather for worship.  Our Lenten theme, Come to the Table to be Made Whole, will invite further reflection on Eucharist and how we encounter the healing Presence of God as we eat and drink in God’s Word.    In today’s “snail mail” a Lent brochure is being sent out that lists many different opportunities for your household to grow spiritually this Lent.  I look forward to this journey and our ongoing conversations as we gather around many different tables.

 

See you in worship,

In Christ,

Pastor Walt

 

The Rev. Walt Lichtenberger, S.T.M. - Pastor

St. James Lutheran Church, Burnsville, MN

Office: (952) 890-4534  ext. 112

Emergency Pastoral Care hotline: (651) 354-1883

Cell phone: (952) 836-8588

www.stjameslc.org

 

 

Posted by: Pastor Walt AT 05:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email