I LIKE CHURCH, BUT… THOUGHTS TO PONDER A while ago a book caught my eye entitled “I Like Church but…” I picked it up and started to peruse through the book. The title intrigued me and I wondered how members of our church would answer that question.
If someone gave you a bumper sticker that read, “I like church”, would you display it on your car? All of us have had many good experiences that underscore such feelings, but is it a completely honest expression? I suspect most Christians would have some reservations. To tell it like it is, they would need a bumper sticker that reads, “I like church, but…”
There must be a thousand ways to finish that sentence; I like church, but… Even so, I suspect that rather than risk exposing their hurts, the majority of people actively involved in the life of a congregation would smile and say. “That’s enough. Just leave it like it is, with three little fill-in-the-blank dots there.”
Just a little further into chapter one the writer goes on to say, “Calvary gave new meaning to Family”. He continues by saying God has always had a family plan. Adam and Eve were crafted a family. God promised Abraham that through his family all people of the earth would be blessed. Jesus himself was born into a family, enjoying a father, a mother, brothers, and sisters (see Mat. 13:55-56).
But during Jesus life there were clues that Jesus would give new meaning to family. One such clue came while Jesus taught a standing room only crowd. His earthly family arrived, but there wasn’t room for them. Someone whispered to Jesus that His mother and brothers were outside and wanted to see Him. “Who are my mother and my brothers?” He asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark. 3:33-35).
From the beginning, churches were cast in the role of caring families. People in the early church had to care for one another because of the immense persecution suffered under Jewish leader Saul of Tarsus. Then one day Jesus, in His resurrected glory, appeared to Saul. Blinded by the experience, Saul spent three days repenting, praying, and waiting for the teacher whom Jesus said would come and heal him. Imagine the emotion of the moment when Ananias finally arrived. Just picture him giving this enemy of the church a hug, saying, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here has sent me so that you may see again….” (Acts 9:17) With the name “Brother, Ananias welcomed this recent anti-Christian terrorist into the family of God.
Just as families are not perfect, so churches are not perfect. They weren’t in the beginning, and they haven’t been in any era of history. But churches are families, and good families give mutual care.
Calvary reveals the church family as Christ intended it—caring for the grieving widows and welcoming the worst of sinners when they come to faith in Him.
Immanuel has become a Stephen Ministry Church. Please keep the Stephen Ministry here at Immanuel and the Stephen Leaders, Julie Lorenz and Katherine Canfield in your prayers as they continue to lay the ground work and foundation for this ministry in our congregation. Pray that the Stephen Ministry will be a source of warmth, care and blessing for many years to come, enabling the entire congregation to grow as a nurturing community where people are cherished and cared for and their needs taken seriously, all in the name of Jesus Christ.
There still remains a thousand ways to finish the sentence; I like church, but… I challenge each of you to think about how you would honestly conclude that statement. Then think about how you could be part of the solution to effect the change needed. Feel free to share your thoughts with me. God Bless.
MAY 4TH CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
Even though the weather may be exhibiting un-wanted traits, it is Spring, and with it comes the Spring Congregational Meeting. Immanuel’s Constitution stipulates that an election be held every two years for Parish Planning Council members and executive. 2014 is an election year and it will be held in conjunction with the Spring Congregational meeting on May 4th. With that in mind, Council is seeking the names of those who wish to allow their names to stand for positions on Council. Those eligible to sit on Council must be at least 18-years of age and a Communicant member of Immanuel.
If you have someone you would like to nominate for Council, or if you are interested in running, please speak to Dori Modney or Kerri Masnyk. While candidates can also be nominated from the floor on the day of the election, the prospective candidate must be in attendance on that day to acknowledge they agree to allow their name to stand. Prospective candidates will be contacted by Nominations liaison, Linda Egli. I would ask that if you are approached to allow your name to stand for election, please give it serious and prayerful consideration.
Dori Modney, Chairman, Parish Planning Council
HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE
Please note the following schedule of special services during Holy Week.
April 13th Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday worship at both 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
April 17th 7:00 p.m. Maundy Thursday worship with Holy Communion.
Please join us as we celebrate the institution of the Lord’s Supper and as the altar is stripped in preparation for Good Friday.
April 18th Good Friday: 11:00 a.m. In this solemn service we recall the suffering of our Savior on the cross of Calvary, and rejoice in triumphal statement of Christ, “It is finished.” Everything has been accomplished for our salvation...there is nothing that we can add.
April 20th Easter Sunday
9:00 a.m. Traditional Worship with Holy Communion
10:00 a.m. Easter Breakfast - everyone welcome.
11:00 a.m. Contemporary Worship with Holy Communion
Luke 24: 36-38 (Jesus Appears to His Disciples) Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?”
If you would like to know more about Sunday School, have questions about what is happening in the Sunday School, or would like to help with Sunday School please talk to the Sunday School Coordinator, Kathy Withage. I would also like to know what the parents think about what we do at Sunday School. If parents could please speak to me about what they feel their children are doing and learning at Sunday School that would be great. Please either talk to me at church or call me at 403-345-5454 or give me a note in my mailbox at church or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sunday School staff are discussing making changes but we would like parent’s input as well. We are very concerned that our resources are not being used as planned. We order materials for the program and attendance does not match up to what we order so lots of the leaflets are being wasted. We are very concerned about attendance at Sunday School. There are some days when there have been no children in a class that nine children should be present in; in this case we have a teacher preparing and then no children coming to class, plus all the materials that get wasted. Since Christmas, attendance has been low in all the classes. Our average attendance is about 46% or about 19 kids out of a possible 41.
The Sunday School children have their Object Lesson during the worship service. They then go to the Fellowship Hall for a few minutes of time together, to sing a song or two or do some other fun activity, the offering is collected, they are reminded of their lesson for the day and they all say a prayer together. The children then go to their Sunday School classrooms. We have three classrooms operating this year: a Pre-School/Kindergarten, a Grade 1/2/3 and a Grade 4/5/6. They do interactive lessons with their awesome teachers for about half an hour. They always have a leaflet to take home that lets the parents see what they learned that day and there are usually some things to do at home. These materials cost about $2,000 per year.
Lesson schedule for April:
April 6 Jesus Raises Lazarus (Lesson 6)
April 13 The Passion of Christ (Lesson 7)
April 20 Easter Sunday (No Sunday School Classes)
April 27 The Resurrection of Jesus and the Empty Tomb (Lessons 8 and 9)
The Great Commission Matthew 28: 18-20 (Speaking to 11 disciples on the mountain) Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.”
In His Service, Kathy Withage, Sunday School Coordinator
LITTLE LAMBS CHRISTIAN PRESCHOOL
The preschool students have had a great month learning about manners and friendship, as well as a dinosaur theme and a fun field trip to State and Main Restaurant. In April the preschool will be learning about the real meaning of Easter, and another field trip to Aggie Days!
In May the preschool will be doing a Bottle Drive Fundraiser, and funds raised will help offset the cost of arts and craft supplies. The congregation of ILC is encouraged to save your bottles, cans and milk containers to contribute to this fundraiser. Details about when and where bottles can be brought will be in the next newsletter.
Registration for the 2014-2015 is ongoing. Our morning classes are currently full, however we are still taking a waiting list, and there are a few spaces left in the afternoon program. If you are interested in registering, please contact Tanya at email@example.com, or by calling 403-892-6627.
Connect Children with God’s Eternal Good News at VBS: Every child needs to hear the Good News that Jesus their Savior calls us, teaches us, keeps us safe, saves us, and provides all we need by His amazing grace through faith. At Gangway to Galilee VBS which is being held July 14-18, 2014 you will connect children with the most important message of their lifetime: the miraculous story of what Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. As VBS continues to grow each year the amount of work it takes for it to run also grows. We are not only looking for volunteers for the week of VBS to work in various areas but also for people willing to help out in the weeks leading up to as well. If you can help we have many ways to be involved to suit your schedule and interests. VOLUNTEER TODAY! Immediately and urgently needed to help with planning are : A Music Coordinator, A Snack Coordinator, A Decorating Coordinator, A Craft Coordinator, Recreation and Games Coordinator, A Registration Coordinator, A Story Telling Coordinator and A Bible Challenge Coordinator. To help with VBS Call Debbie at 403-328-8172 or Katherine at 403-756-2149 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also watch out for the insert in the bulletins in April to sign up. Join us for an Amazing Grace Adventure!
Moms and Tots continues to meet on the 2nd & 4th Thursday of every month. All moms with Preschool children are welcome to attend… drop in any time. For more information please call Katherine at 403-756-2149 or email email@example.com
Once again we are in need of childcare providers for our Mom & Tots Group. We have again lost a wonderful childcare provider to the work force. With a grateful hearts we thank Josh Langill for helping us out while he could. We now desperately need a minimum of one more Childcare provide for moms & tots to continue to meet twice a month. Please consider volunteering your time at least once per month for 1.5 hours one Thursday a month. Please call or speak to Katherine Canfield 403-756-219 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you could help.
Immanuel Lutheran Church
February 28, 2014
A-BC District Mission Donations for Month 40.00
A-BC District Mission Donations to Date 80.00
CLWR Mission Donations for Month 110.00
CLWR Mission Donations to Date 290.00
Servus Credit Union Cheq. Acc.t Balance $2661.99
Dedicated Accounts Balance 40,469.11
Church Extension Savings 10,000.00
Budgeted Income $32,584.42
Actual Income 26,610.54
Budgeted Disbursements 65,181.87
Actual Disbursements 29,480.12
YEAR TO DATE
Budgeted Income 65,181.87
Actual Income 54,521.64
Budgeted Disbursements 65,181.87
Actual Disbursements 61,052.06
A UNIQUE FORM OF STEWARDSHIP
Three boys on the playground were bragging about their dads. One said, “My dad scribbles a few words, calls it a song and they pay him $50.00.”
“Oh yeah?” said another. “My dad scribbles a few words, calls it a poem and they pay him $100.00.”
“That’s nothing,” said the third boy. “My dad scribbles a few words, calls it a sermon, and it takes six people to collect all the money in the room!”
May the Lord shower his blessings on you and your family on Easter and for always and fill your lives with joy and prosperity. Happy Easter.
20 Rocky Mountain Blvd West Lethbridge AB T1K 8E1 (403) 327-4336 email@example.com
Office hours and worship schedule
Office hours: 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM, Monday - Friday
Sunday Worship (summer schedule starts June 16): 10:00 AM - Combined Service - Holy Communion on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month