Second Week of Advent REPENTANCE CAN’T WAIT (PEACE CAN’T WAIT)

Sometimes,
While the sky is still dark,
I slip sock feet into tennis shoes and go for
a walk.
Step by step
I ask my deepest questions,
While the sky lets go of its deepest dark blue.

Am I doing enough?
Ink to indigo.
Does my brother know how much I love him?
Indigo to navy.
Will my friends keep showing up?
Navy to royal blue.
Will we ever know peace?
Royal blue to gold.

And after a while, my pilgrimage must end,
So I turn apologetic feet toward home
And walk my repentance back toward the sun.
And once again, while I stand in sock feet and
tennis shoes,
God takes my breath away.
For once again,
The sky’s deepest void is now a watercolor
of light.

And I am reminded
That like the sky,
God touches everything.
And I am reminded,
That like the sky,
Nothing is so broken that it can’t be
painted gold.

In the morning light, there is peace.

Prayer by Sarah Are | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org

First Week of Advent: God’s Promised Day Can’t Wait (HOPE CAN’T WAIT)

Someone once told me that hope was naive—
A foolish game that children play
When they pray that summer won’t end,
And bedtime won’t come.

Someone once told me that hope was naive as they
Cradled pessimism in their lap like a sleeping cat,
Stroking their ego while they stoked a fire within me.

Unfortunately for them, I’m allergic to cats.
And unfortunately for them, those who deny hope
Will never know vulnerability;
For hope requires us to believe in a better day—
Even when this one is falling apart.

Hope looks the 24-hour news cycle in the face,
Hope looks our broken relationships in the face,
Hope looks our low self-esteem in the face,
And declares at low tide that the water will return.
Hope is exhaling, trusting that your body will
inhale again.
Hope is watching the sunset and setting an alarm.
Hope is planting seeds in the winter, assuming
summer will come.

I never said it would be easy.
The ground is frozen, you are thirsty,
and the night is long.
But I will say this—
I have found hope to be the rhythm of love and
the fiber of faith;
For to hope is to believe in God’s ability to bring
about a better day,
And like a child with an Advent calendar,
I will always be counting down the days.

So to those who cradle pessimism and fear,
You can find me outside—with the kids—wishing
on stars,
Praying to the God of today
That tomorrow will be just as beautiful.
Set your alarm.
We’d like for you to join us.
The sunrise won’t wait.

Prayer by Sarah Are | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org

Share the Bounty – A Little History

Learn more about Holy Trinity’s Annual Fundraiser

The 28th Annual Share the Bounty fundraiser will be held on November 8, 2019 at 7:00 pm. This annual event is a major fundraiser for our Women of the ELCA – all of the money raised for this event goes to Holy Trinity’s Families in Need fund and helps to provide Christmas gifts for families in our community that otherwise wouldn’t have a Christmas due to financial difficulties.  It also provides assistance for those in need throughout the year.

Long time Holy Trinity member Laura Dwyer proposed the needy family fund to Pastor Seltz. It was established to minister in a Godly and loving manner to local families with special needs who have for whatever reason found themselves in financial crisis. It was meant to catch the people who “fall between the cracks” of the governmental system and be a “hand up, and not a hand out.” The fund provided food and gifts at Christmas and helped with temporary emergencies throughout the year as funds allowed.

The first year the Needy Family Fund was seeded by member donations.  In 1991, continued funding was needed for the project, and four ladies put their heads together to find a way to raise money.  Laura Dwyer, Phyllis Nader, Joan Newman and Doris Srock were instrumental in developing Share the Bounty.  The idea was simple – sharing the goodness that God has so richly provided us so that we could help those in need.

The ladies sought donations of handmade crafts, new items and services to be offered in a ticket auction.  Matching funds were requested from Aid Association for Lutherans. Rather than asking for donations of goodies to eat, it was decided that they would buy the fanciest sweets they could afford.  This gave the ladies an opportunity to enjoy the evening without having to worry about preparing all the food.

Over the span of 28 years, we estimate that we have helped more than 270 families.  In addition, the fund provides a way for our pastoral staff to assist people with emergency needs throughout the rest of the year.

We’ve worked with various social service agencies to find families in need.  In the past, we have helped families through Salvation Army and Samaritas (formerly LSSM).  This year we will assist families from Salem Lutheran Church and Randolph Elementary.

Share the Bounty continues to be an enjoyable event for the members of Holy Trinity as well as others in our community.  We are looking for a Holy Trinity Member to sponsor an action team.

You can help us this year by: Attending Share the Bounty – it promises to be a memorable evening; donating a handmade and new items as well as certificates for services; taking a tag from our Angel Tree – these are gifts for the children in the families we sponsor; or making a tax-deductible donation to Holy Trinity’s Needy Family Fund.

Tickets are available at the church and at the door the night of the event. Tickets are $15.00 includes admission and 10 raffle tickets. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Weinberg in the church office at 734-464-0211.

It takes relationships

Mrs. Gertner seemed ancient to me as I sat in the brightly colored tiny chairs for Sunday School opening. Mrs. Herman was the mom of my best friend at church – she was like a second mom to me – she taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. Despite having a lousy attitude in confirmation class, (and having Pastor Ted heave a bible at me during a Saturday morning session), I developed relationships with people in the church where I attended – and I maintained them through adolescence and adulthood.

The goal of cross generational faith formation is to help people develop relationships. Think about it . . . how many of you can put a name and a face together? Do you know the name of the two boys sitting up front with their mom, while their dad serves as a Sacristan? How about the shy blonde girl and her brother, and their parents? Do you know the name of the kindly lady with white hair that sits in the third row back, on the choir side of the sanctuary? Do you know the name of the guy who makes wine for Maundy Thursday, or the lady who organizes the funeral lunches?

Cross generational faith formation isn’t about making things easy or throwing away “Sunday School.” Remember those promises we made at baptism – “to support and pray for them in their new life in Christ?” – you can find it on page 228 of the ELW. It takes a village to help our families become connected to Christ. It takes relationships.

It takes more than two or three parents teaching Sunday School to a handful of children during the sermon on Sunday morning. It takes more than asking children to sit quietly in church for worship and expecting them to understand why we do what we do.

We need to learn to talk about our faith, together. Perhaps sharing and talking about our faith with those in our church can help us to be better disciples when we walk outside these hallowed walls. We need to participate in this Christ-life together.

Submitted by Kathy Kephart Weinberg

What does it mean to wear a cross?

I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle last week. We ventured out to the Olympic peninsula to take in the beauty of God’s creation. The mountains were majestic. The lakes were peaceful. The forests were absolutely beautiful. God’s creation is amazing. It was a great break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

We also spent some time in the city. As we were walking around the Seattle Center area (a tourist area), I was approached by a street vendor – one of the many locals trying to sell their wares. He handed me something, which I soon realized was CD and that he wanted me to give him some money. I kindly told him I was not interested and he asked “what is that around your neck?”. He was referencing the cross that I had on and asked me what it meant in a kind of taunting way. I told him it was cross and it represented my faith in Jesus. But I left it at that – in hindsight, I could have said more.

His question made me really think – what does it mean for me to wear the cross? Are my actions and words a reflection of my faith? I feel this was a “challenge” from God. And I pray that God will give me strength and courage to live each day as his disciple.

Debbie LaFontaine

Life is Better with Jesus

Seeing God at work in my life was easy during our recent visit with our grandchildren in San Diego.  They are “tweens” of integrity, vigor and fun. They reflect the values taught by their Sunday school and their parents, who live the values of their Christian faith.

God is also present in unexpected places and times. Returning home from this visit, I was waiting for my beer at an airport bar in Nashville. The man sitting next to me said, “I’ve heard people say they were doing God’s work, but I’ve never seen anyone wear it on their wrist.“ He was referring to the plastic “God’s Work, Our Hands” wristband, which I have worn for the past six months and have recently considered taking off.  Our brief conversation revealed that he was a seeker of life’s meaning through a variety of Christian denominations. He was disappointed that he had not found a church that filled him with what he wanted. After briefly discussing our respective faith journeys, we concluded that, no matter which church we attend, “Life is better with Jesus.”

Thank you, God, once again for giving me the opportunity to be your witness.

Paul Stratton

God Works through Kids Hope

God is working in my life. Sometimes I experience the effect of God on me directly. Sometimes I experience the effect of God working through me to help another person. This is how God has worked through me as a Kids Hope mentor.

Today I had lunch with a father and son. What was special about that was that I had been the son’s Kids Hope mentor about five years ago at Randolph Elementary. That had been a time when he was stressed about his parents’ divorce and was having difficulty at school. Dad said that I had helped the son get through a really difficult time. For the past five years the son has spoken of me and our special time together, and he still has a picture of us together on his dresser.

Dad had reached out to me on Facebook and arranged for us to have lunch today. It was like Randolph Elementary was just yesterday, except that my mentee is now taller than I am. I felt good as he talked about how he feels confident about how he will deal with the challenges of starting high school and the changes in his family, as Dad’s girlfriend moves in with her two children. He talked enthusiastically about his interests and hopes for the future. As we prepared to leave, Dad and I reflected on the importance of mentors in our own lives, as both of us still have a relationship with the mentor from our youth.

Thank you, God, for the opportunity to be a Kids Hope mentor.

Paul Stratton