A Disciplined Lenten journey

The other day, Pastor Herb invited me to address the folks attending his class, to outline the Lenten worship schedule at SAKLC. After I presented the outline, I pointed out to the group that Lutherans do not believe that God will not love us more if we attend all the Lenten worship services – we don’t subscribe to a doctrine of works righteousness! However, I pointed out that we experience the promise and joy of Easter in a qualitatively different way after deeply entering into a disciplined Lenten journey. That journey includes almsgiving (giving to others) and works of love (a labor of love) to the benefit of others. The disciplines of Lent also include the examination of one’s conscience, and the leaving behind of those things that separate us from God and neighbor. And yes, the journey of Lent also includes worship!  So, here are a few of the opportunities for you to journey together – as the SAKLC family – through this Lenten season: Read more…

Pericope Group

As Ash Wednesday approaches, and with it the season of Lent, I encourage you to be aware of the multiplicity of worship services and concerts offered at this very special (and powerful!) time of the year. Believe me when I tell you that the Day of Easter is particularly wonderous following a time of preparation.
Starting in Lent, I’ll lead a weekly lunch-time pericope group at SAKLC. The word pericope means
an extract of text, and refers to the study of biblical passages rather than whole books; in particular the scriptural texts for the coming week. The group will meet each week, and continue year-round. And, while participants will benefit from regular attendance, each week is somewhat stand-alone, and so folks may come and go as schedules allow. Handouts will be provided, along with a printout of the passages under discussion a week in advance. I’ll lead the group, but mutual conversation and the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and discoveries is absolutely encouraged. Bring your lunch with you. And, during Lent, stay for the Lenten concert series at 1pm! If you can’t join us in person, you may join us via Zoom Videoconferencing. And so:
Pericope Group
(Weekly study of the forthcoming Sunday’s Bible readings)
Each Wednesday, Beginning March 13th
SAKLC Fellowship Hall

Highlighting February Events

As I prepare to depart on my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I’m acutely aware just how much is scheduled to happen at SAKLC right after I return! (That’s the problem with an all-expenses-paid journey provided by an non-SAKLC source; the timing is beyond my control.) So, in addition to the thanks due to Pr. Wogen for agreeing to lead worship here on February 10th; and to Dcn. Kim for her additional labors while I’m gone; I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the following events in the life of the congregation in the month of February:

  • The music classes offered by our Minister of Music, Michael Bodnyk The concert that will be held in our meditation garden. (See February’s Keynotes for details.)
Mondays, February 18, 25 and March 4, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm or
Wednesdays, February 20, 27 and March 6, 10:00 am – 11:30 am.
(Simply attend the day/time most convenient for you.)
The following topics will be covered:
Session 1 (2/18 and 20):  The Reformation
Session 2 (2/25 and 27): The Lutherans in America
Session 3 (3/4 and 6): What we believe (the Sacraments), and how we’re structured (polity.)
Lot’s of opportunities for learning and for fun at SAKLC.  See you there!

Do you feel called to offer yourself as a Eucharistic Minister at SAKLC?

For many people, the Lord’s Supper (or Holy Eucharist) is a fundamental part of their faith. That encounter with God in Christ Jesus, the grace received, and the forgiveness bestowed, is at the very core of their faith lives. Those in worship each Sunday have the opportunity to receive the Sacrament each Sunday. However, those who are hospitalized, or are resident in a care facility, or are housebound, have no access to weekly communion. The ELCA addressed this reality by including a rite of sending in the new red service book and hymnal (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, or ELW). This rite allowed for the taking of the elements of Holy Communion from the community at the table (that’s us!) and out to those unable to be present. Thereby, our meal becomes their meal; and our celebration, their celebration. So, a lay person taking Communion to someone’s bedside isn’t pretending to be a pastor – they’re not presiding at the bedside! – instead, they’re sharing Sunday’s Supper.
In order for all to receive weekly Communion who wish to do so, many ELCA congregations recruit, train, and send out Eucharistic Ministers.  Here’s an explanation and description that ministry which I recently shared with the SAKLC Care Team:

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

In February, I have the incredible blessing to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. (I have never had this opportunity before, and it has long been on my bucket list.) An additional blessing is that the pilgrimage is fully funded by a fraternal organization, the Knight Templars. This very generous organization annually sends around seventy Christian clergy (liberal and conservative, men and women) to the Holy Land. I am so very grateful and will share more about this organization when I return.
For now, I ask for your prayers as I prepare for the pilgrimage. It is a physically demanding trip – and, well… have you seen my physique?! There is also a period of study before, during and after the journey. And, of course, the Holy Land is not entirely at peace.  So, please, keep me in your hearts and prayers until I return.
And, I thank SAKLC for this study leave. I need it! It is all too easy for a pastor to become focused solely on tasks, challenges, schedules, and the like. To recharge spiritually; focus on Jesus; contemplate Sacred Scripture; immerse oneself in prayer; journey with colleagues… then return to ministry within this wonderful congregation, is an awesome blessing.
My thanks, in advance, also go to Deacon Kim who will pick up many of my responsibilities while I’m away; and to Pr. Wogen who will preach and preside on the Sunday I am gone.  Great colleagues are also a blessing!
Pastor Blyth

Important Congregation-Wide Meetings

At the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, the leadership of SAKLC proposed several future-focused staffing decisions based on the departure of the director of music, the imminent departure of a long-serving administrative assistant, and the expiring contract of the deacon. As the Finance Committee and Council moved through the budget process, a reasonable assumption was made: that our 2017 drop in income was due to the protracted pastoral transition, and that our 2018 income would return to the normality of 2016 levels. Sadly, our income in 2018 mirrored almost exactly that of 2017, producing a significant and unsustainable deficit.

And so, how to balance our budget in 2019? If SAKLC enjoyed significant pledging, we could estimate future income effectively… but it isn’t. So, chastened by our experience in 2018, a very realistic 2019 budged began to develop. The proposed 2019 budget will soon be mailed to all voting members of the congregation, and be made available at church, via Connections and on our website. Read more…

There, is love.

There’s a saying that I come across once in a while:

Those who are knowledgeable, know that Frankenstein wasn’t the monster:

Those who are wise, know that he was.

A similar thought comes to me each time I see this cartoon.

Technology Truly Can Bring Us Together

For several weeks now, our worship services have been “broadcast” live on the church’s Facebook page.  Folks out of town (and even out of the country!) have been ably to join us in real time or catch up later.  Read more…