Is summer over yet? Technically, no. Fall doesn’t begin until September 21st. But for most of us, neither the date nor the weather indicates when summer is over. School does. Summer holidays are over because kids are grounded for school. For us in Lethbridge, the town population increases substantially with the influx of university and college students. And church attendance also increases, or at least, returns to where it was last spring. Fall has become a time for new resolutions, and many resolve to return to Sunday Worship and attend more faithfully.
It is encouraging when church attendance rises in the fall. As a Pastor, I know I get a boost in esteem to look out into the congregation and see the empty pews from summer filled again. It’s certainly the same for regular church attenders who, when they see the church attendance up, feel good to be a part of a numerically successful ministry. Why can’t we have such success all the time?
Forty years ago everybody went to church every week. Now consistent church attendance is a rare thing and is continuing to decline most everywhere. What happened? Looks like God’s Word isn’t drawing in the crowds anymore. Maybe God’s Word isn’t enough to build faith. Maybe people aren’t coming because we haven’t done enough to lure them in. Jesus called fishermen to build his church after all, and any good fisherman knows that if you’re not catching fish, you’ve got to switch bait…right?
Wrong. It is true that Jesus first called fishermen to be his disciples saying to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). But the thing to remember is that these disciples fished with nets. They weren’t bait fishermen, they were net fishermen and that is an important detail. They were not called to draw reluctant men to God through enticements or shiny new lures tailored towards a particular type of fish. They were not called to snare fish with a hook, carefully hidden by fresh bait. These disciples were called to catch fish by casting out the same old net over and over again, in the knowledge that it is Jesus who provides the miraculous catch as he wills.
So if you are encouraged by full pews, or anxious about empty ones, that is normal. I get that way too sometimes. When that happens it’s time to back up a bit, and remember our comfort shouldn’t come from the multitude of saints surrounding us in worship, or from the trophy catches we’ve made for Christ through our own ingenuity and skill. Christ didn’t call us to switch bait, to redesign or redefine worship in order to make it more attractive to people who otherwise have no patience nor regard for the Lord that bought them. When the church appears weak and unattractive, remember that is precisely how Christ manifested himself to the world (Isaiah 53:2). And so our comfort does not wax and wane with attendance numbers, but comes from Jesus Christ himself who is given to us in Word and Sacrament, forgiving our sins and preparing a place for us in heaven.
So dear friend in Christ, next time you worship be sure to take your eyes off of the empty seats and place them on your seat. Are you sitting there? Then turn your ears to God’s Word, are you hearing it? Do you believe it?...all of it? Then turn your heart to the Holy Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. Do you believe that in this Sacrament Christ is giving himself to you, for the forgiveness of your sins? Now you are prepared to look at the empty seats. And you will not see a church that is failing, but a world that is rejecting the lord who bought them. And you will no longer fear the judgment of the world, but pity the judgment of God against the world and seek to cast out the net of the gospel again and again into the world that all might repent and be saved. And as for yourself, you have no reason to be anxious and every reason to rejoice. For your seat is filled. Like Mary seated at Jesus feet, you have chosen the better portion, and it will not be denied you (Luke 10:42).
Pastor Nathan Fuehrer
OUR FALL SCHEDULE
Our Fall schedule will resume on Sunday, September 7, 2013. At that time please watch for the following opportunities for worship and for Christian Education.
• 9:00 a.m. Traditional Worship will again be offered. This service is normally from the Lutheran Service Book, makes use of traditional hymns, and is lead by the organ. • 11:15 a.m. Sunday School following the Object Lesson at the 11:00 a.m. service.
• 11:00 a.m. Contemporary Worship. This service is lead by a worship team which may include piano, guitar, bass guitar and other instruments. Normally the liturgy is spoken and the songs are selected from a variety of contemporary resources.
Our Lord Jesus Christ commands in the last Chapter of Matthew "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU." The Holy Bible is God's own self-disclosure, and so Jesus commands his church to teach God's Word because it's not something we're born with, but something we need to learn. Therefore, confirmation is a program to make disciples by teaching them God's Word. "Discipleship" or "Learning" is a lifelong exercise for the Christian, but confirmation is designed to confirm in the student a basic knowledge of the God of the Bible in Jesus Christ, and the way that he intends to work in and through all believers. Those who are "confirmed" in the faith have been given the tools needed to "examine themselves" before receiving Christ's own body and blood in Holy Communion (1 Corinthians 11:28). Confirmation instruction is intended for youths in Grade 7 and Grade 8. If you know of any such youth who wishes to participate in confirmation this year and hasn’t received an invitation, please contact Pastor Nathan at 403-915-4336 or by email at email@example.com Confirmation begins on September 4th at 6:00 p.m.(orientation with students and parents.
There is an urgent need to fill a number of Sunday School teaching positions. If you are interested in being part of the Sunday School program in any way please let the Sunday School Coordinator, Kathy Withage, know. Her home phone number is 403-345-5454. Teachers and assistants work on a one-time-a-month rotation, which means that you only teach once a month and on the same Sunday each month. Thank-you to all the volunteers that continue to dedicate their time to the Sunday School program each year. You are fantastic people!!
LITTLE LAMBS CHRISTIAN PRESCHOOL
Little Lambs Christian Preschool is gearing up for another great school year. Shannon Steeves will be returning as our full time teacher this year, and we would like to welcome Melissa Gillam as our new classroom assistant. School will begin on September 3rd and 4th with orientation days, and regular classes will start on Monday September 8th. Many of our classes are full for the upcoming year, but there are a couple spots left, if you or someone you know would like to register a 3 or 4 year old for preschool. Please call Tanya at 403-892-6627 for details. A big thank you to Debbie Lemke and Heather Steeves, as they continue to volunteer their time to help our preschool great!
JOIN THE CHOIR! Immanuel Lutheran Church is organizing a choir under the directorship of Monica Baczuk. We would like to begin practice this September. If you are interested in participation or would like more information, there is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the Narthex.
Lectionary Bible Study: I would like to begin a weekly Bible study at 10 a.m. on Sundays between worship services. This study would be based on the scripture readings for worship that day. If you are interested in attending, please let me know by placing your name on the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the Narthex.
Adult Information and Catechism Class: I would like to begin a weekly study on Lutheran Doctrine and the Chief Parts of the Small Catechism. This would be both for those interested in becoming members and also for current members who could use a refresher course on what Lutherans believe, teach, and confess. The class would be held on Saturday afternoon and divided into a different topic each day. If you are interested in attending any or all sessions, please let me know by placing your name on the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the Narthex.
THE QUILTING GROUP
The Empty Spools Quilting Group will resume meeting every Wednesday from 1p.m. to 4 p.m. on September 3. All are welcome to join us, on a drop-in or regular basis.
COFFEE FELLOWSHIP First of all, I want to thank all who offered to do Coffee Fellowship during the last year! It was greatly appreciated. Starting September 7, we are going back to our old schedule. The 9:00 a.m. service will offer coffee fellowship every Sunday while the 11:00 a.m. service will have coffee fellowship on the NON communion Sundays. Again, those involved in a group of some kind, individual families and friends should feel free to sign up to serve coffee in the narthex, close to the kitchen entrance. You have the option of serving us in the narthex or in the Fellowship Hall. It is not what you serve or where you serve that matters but the fact that by doing a Sunday, you are encouraging us to fellowship as Christians at Immanuel and it gives us an opportunity to meet new people visiting in our church! Thank You! Linda Egli
PUERTO PENASCO PIE AUCTION
Pie/Cake Auction September 28, following the 11 am service. Once again we are fortunate to have John Arnold as our auctioneer; plan to bid on a delicious pie or cake. Donations are needed so get out your favorite recipes and whip up a tasty dessert for auction. All proceeds will be directed to the mission work in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. FaithLife Financial will match funds raised up to $500.00. In the past, this has proven to be a fun event so you won't want to miss it. Hope to see you there! Contact persons are Shirley Masnyk (1-403-800-4230 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and Janet Ainscough (403-394-1196).
AN EVENING WITH CRIPPLE CREEK
Bring a Friend and Join us for An Evening with Cripple Creek and Dessert on Sunday September 21 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are only $4.00 per person or $10.00 per family.
The Cripple Creek duet will be performing old time country gospel & blue grass hymns and songs. Everyone is invited to come out for this evening of fun and fellowship and even join in the singing if you desire. All funds raised will go toward supporting the Stephen Ministry program. We need your support to purchase learning material for the upcoming training session. Tickets are available after church services on Sunday morning from Leonard & Julie Lorenz, Sandra Zasandy, or Katherine Canfield or at the church office Monday – Friday. See Ya All There!
MOMS & TOTS GROUP All mothers are encouraged and welcome to join our Moms & Tots group. This group is an opportunity to build community by providing an open, caring and accepting atmosphere where women can come together to share this important season of life. A place for mentoring where mature women listen, encourage and offer information and perspectives gained through experience. A place for practical instruction, teaching focuses on areas of common interest, offering inspiration and information that is relevant to the life of a mother. Interested? Our Moms & Tots group meets the 2nd & 4th Thursday mornings of the month from 9:45 -11:30 a.m. Next sessions are Sept.11th & 25th. The program is free and everyone is welcome. If you need more information or wish to attend please call Katherine Canfield Parish Coordinator 403-327-4336 or 403-756-2149.
Stephen Ministries needs you! God does not always call the equipped but God does provide us with the Holy Spirit and does equip the Called. We are now recruiting for more Stephen Ministers. Please prayerfully consider participating in this ministry. Stephen Ministry Training will begin this fall in October. To Learn more or to volunteer speak to Katherine Canfield 403-756-2149 or Julie Lorenz 403- 381-8332. The Stephen Series, in which Immanuel is enrolled, is designed to train laypeople for caring ministry. Loving others in Jesus’ name is a challenge and an opportunity for all God’s children. Likewise, the joy of helping others is the privilege of all Christians, for the Holy Spirit has given gifts to each Christian to use in service to others and to build up the church (1 Corinthians 12:7–11). Stephen Ministry will rely on the gifts the Holy Spirit has given to our lay members so that, as more people are equipped to care, Christ’s love for us will be able to go out from us in ever greater and more effective ways.
Faith Conversations Challenge for Couples
This Month talk about the book of Ephesians. Read each Chapter together or individually, then focus your conversation o the passage below and discuss the questions that follow. Seeking Unity: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesian 4:3 • Do you prefer that we openly discuss difficult issues or keep then to ourselves to avoid conflict? • What are the difference between keeping peace and making peace? • How can we discern when to keep peace and when to make peace? We’re clearly called to unity with our spouse. Sometimes that means we need to let go of our own grievances; but other times, to be truly unified, we’re called to make peace. A divisive issue can cause more damage when it’s hidden. Squarely facing the issue---always with a humble and gentle spirit---is sometimes the only way to bring true peace. Unity develops when both husband and wife, even with their difference, see the issue in the same light through the guidance of the Spirit. –Jaime Schreiner Battling Together: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” Ephesians 6:13 • What has been the hardest struggle in your life so far? • What part of the “armor of God” is the most difficult for you to put on each day? • How can we fight for each other in spiritual battles against sin? We face countless attacks from the Enemy every day. The pressures of life can weaken our defenses against temptation. While our spiritual armor is enough to protect us, God has also given us a secret weapon—our spouse. No one knows our strengths and our weaknesses as well as our spouse does. There’s no better partner in the battle against sin then a praying, encouraging husband or wife. –Heather Green
2014 FALL YOUTH RETREAT
Parents Do You have a Youth between the ages of 12- 18 years? Please take note of this wonderful opportunity to support your youth’s learning and help them have the tools to stand firm in their faith!
SPOKEN is the 2014 Fall Youth Retreat held Oct. 31 – Nov. 2 at the Foothills Lutheran Church, Calgary. A special free parent session is available free on Thurs. Oct. 30 at 7:00 p.m. Youth 12- 18 year are encouraged to attend. Cost is $55 per youth. Calvin Smith was formerly on the pastoral staff of a church in Guelph, ON. overseeing the youth and small group ministries. Through working with young people, both inside the church and with a small group at the University of Guelph, Calvin personally witnessed the devastation brought to our youth by the teaching of evolutionary rationalism. But he also saw the life – transforming effect of biblical answers that encourage people to know that God’s Word can be trusted from the very first verse. There will be a special session open to the public on Thursday Oct. 30 at 7:00 p.m. This session is open to anyone & everyone, there will be a children’s program for kids ages 4-10. There is no charge and no registration required however RVSP for children’s program are appreciated. Sign Up on the Bulletin Board today or let Katherine Canfield know you are interested in attending.
Lutheran Historical Institute “I will remind the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” (Ps.77:11) Did you know that the Holy Scriptures use the word “remember” 150 times in the Old Testament alone? Sometimes it is in reference to God remembering one of the saints of Old. Often it is an encouragement for His people to remember what He has done to redeem them and how He has promised to be with them with His mighty arm. It has been rightly said that those who do not know the past are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past. How do we know the past? It is by the retention of records. In a word, it is by having archives. Archives help our recollection of the past by providing us with accurate documentation of what happened. As such, they become the basis for actions in the present and help us plan for the future. In a sense, much of the Old Testament is actually the archives of God’s people, Israel and because the Old Testament constitutes God’s Word for us, it is also our archives. It is in the spirit of God’s Archives in the Holy Scripture that three entities for our Church form “The Lutheran Historical Institute” (LHI) in Edmonton almost three decades ago: Concordia University College of Alberta, the Alberta-British Columbia District, and the Concordia Lutheran Seminary. Lutheran Church Canada, auxiliaries and associate agencies of the Church have since also looked to LHI as the place for their records. Achieves of the college and District existed prior to 1985 but the involvement of the seminary provided the vision that archives could be incorporated into the training of future pastors. If you are willing and able to help support The Lutheran Historical Institute please pick up a form from the bulletin board in the Narthex and mail to Lutheran Historical Institute, 7100 Ada Boulevard NW, Edmonton, AB. T5B 4E4
Immanuel Lutheran Church Financial Statement July 31, 2014
MISSION OFFERINGS A-BC District Mission Donations for Month $660.00 A-BC District Mission Donations to Date 2,030.00 CLWR Mission Donations for Month 280.00 CLWR Mission Donations to Date 955.00
BANK ACCOUNTS Servus Credit Union Cheq. Acc.t Balance $7,993.92 Dedicated Accounts Balance 39,251.63 Church Extension Savings 10,045.48
CURRENT MONTH Budgeted Income 32,584.42 Actual Income 28,499.09 Budgeted Disbursements 32,584.42 Actual Disbursements 33,465.45
YEAR TO DATE Budgeted Income 195,506.50 Actual Income 174,411.09 Budgeted Disbursements 195,506.50 Actual Disbursements 174,368.18 A lump sum payment of $10,900.00 was made on August 1st towards our mortgage.
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