This is All Saints’ newsletter for July 2013.
+ Pastor’s article (See Below)
Pastor’s vacation: Pastor Clark will be on vacation from June 24 until July 8. He will be traveling with Sara and Susannah, driving first to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit family and then to Breckenridge, Colorado to visit friends. Pastor Don Sondrol will preach and preside 6/30 and July 7. Pastor John Grebner will be available in case of emergency, 563-322-0769 (church) 563-388-5944 (home). We would like to thank Pastor Sondrol and Pastor Grebner for their continual service to the members of All Saints.
New Financial Officer: Tim Sampiller
At its June meeting, council affirmed Tim Sampiller as the congregation’s new Financial Officer, replacing Nate Kooi who is moving with Katey to Iowa City. In accepting the position, Tim vacates the vice presidency, which the council will fill next. He remains on the New Vision Team, and, by virtue of this new position, will also serve on the Stewardship Education Team.
Tim works at the corporate office of Ruhl and Ruhl Realty. His background is in marketing and graphic design. But, by his own admission, he’s always had a thing for numbers. Thank Tim, and those who will be working with him on All Saints’ finances: Marsha Holstrom, Claire Nemeth, and Julie Schoville.
People of God called All Saints,
In August, I will be a voting member to the 2013 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). It’s like a congregational meeting for the whole denomination—with reports, budgets and resolutions, celebration and debate, and, at the center of it all, prayer and worship.
This year, the assembly will be held in Pittsburgh. Until now, assemblies have been held every two years in cities across the country—Minneapolis, Chicago, Orlando, Indianapolis. Future assemblies will be held every three years.
“Always Being Made New” is the assembly’s theme this year—in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ELCA. In 1988, three Lutheran denominations joined to form the ELCA, which today “is composed of 4.8 million members and nearly 10,500 congregations across the U.S. and Caribbean.”
Why join together? Because of their conviction… Because of Jesus Christ, we were already one, and we could do more together than separately. Our common Lutheran heritage also meant (and means!) we get to make a unique witness to a gospel that’s always reforming the church and changing people and the world. Because of the story and Spirit of Jesus, we are always being made new.
So what’s new in the ELCA? New and renewed leadership, for one. At this year’s assembly, there will be elections for presiding bishop and secretary of the church. The presiding bishop serves as bishop on behalf of the whole ELCA. The ELCA website puts it this way:
“In addition to fulfilling such roles as preacher, teacher and administrator of the sacraments, which traditionally belong to the office of bishop, the presiding bishop of this church serves as president and chief executive officer of the corporation and oversees the staff, budget and overall administration of the church.”
Current Presiding Bishop Mark Hansen will stand for reelection. If reelected, it will be to a third six-year term.
Also new is a proposed social statement on criminal justice. Social statements, once adopted, are teaching documents of the church on a variety of issues—from education to human sexuality. They also guide the advocacy work the ELCA does through the Lutheran Office of Governmental Affairs.
Social statements are both commissioned and adopted by the church in assembly. They are written and researched by specially formed taskforces and reviewed and revised through a process including individuals, congregations, and other church organizations.
The proposed statement before the assembly this year both affirms and recommends. In the words of the two-page brief overview, the ELCA “affirms the fundamental principles of the U.S. criminal justice system such as due process of law and the presumption of legal innocence. Yet, this church hears people’s cries that reflect the current system’s serious deficiencies.”
In addition to these, there is the ELCA Malaria Campaign, L.I.F.T.—Living Into the Future Together study and report, and memorials from synod assemblies across the church.
Many people look at churchwide assemblies the same way as synod assemblies and congregational meetings—as a chore to do. But I really like them. Each reflect and shape who we are and why we are.
The ELCA is a church in three expressions: congregations, synods, and churchwide. There are lines of authority and accountability, but we are not a top-down hierarchy. We are interdependent partners. Churchwide and synods, like congregations, are direct democracies. Assemblies and congregational meetings are the highest policy- and decision-makers, councils and bishops serve on behalf of the whole.
The same is true for me, which is why I’m called a “voting member” and not a “representative.” As I vote at the Churchwide Assembly, I do not represent the Southeastern Iowa Synod or All Saints. I do not answer to constituents like Congress does. Instead, I “represent” the whole church, the common good, our mission together for the sake of the gospel and the world, as I am lead by the Holy Spirit.
Thanks for praying for me and the Assembly, and thanks be to God!
Pastor Clark Olson-Smith
National Leadership Training / QCI partnership
After worship on July 14, I’ll be traveling to a week-long continuing education event outside of Chicago. It’s Gamaliel National Leadership Training, and I hope one or two of you will be joining me.
When All Saints joined Quad Cities Interfaith, this leadership training event was a key way they offered to strengthen our congregation. It will involve intensive training in the tools, attitudes, and disciplines of community organizing.
There are five tools:
2. Core teams
3. Effective meetings
And four attitudes…
1. The work of the church is in matters of life and death. What could be more important?
2. Our ministries should have an urgent relevance to the daily lives of people. Are our ministries resulting in a stronger congregation, or are we just keeping on keeping on?
3. Congregations must build power to be relevant. Who instilled a spirit of timidity in us?
4. Power is rooted in relationship attuned to self-interest. How can we love one another if we do not know one another?
Community organizing has a language all its own. So does theology and the church. All it takes is a little time and effort to come to deeper confidence using it so that we might live it.
I and whoever accompanies me gets a chance to do just that, translating community organizing for our purposes and putting into practice what is useful for All Saints’ sake and the sake of our neighborhoods.
The surveys many All Saints’ people completed in the spring reflected a broad consensus. Many agreed we have an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the wider community. This training will help us do just that.
Many who attended this training before told me that it was life-changing for them. I am going expecting to be changed.
Let me know if you’re interested. QCI is determined not to let the cost ($300 for registration, room, and meals) be a stumbling block.
From the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center
Thank you All Saints Lutheran Church for the blood drive you held recently. Your service and leadership on behalf of he community blood program is greatly appreciated. Eight units of blood were collected at the drive, and because of your combined generosity, as many as 24 patients will benefit from lifesaving blood products. We are incredibly fortunate to have the support of dedicated sponsors like you. What you do saves lives. Thank you, for your partnership and all you do to make lifesaving possible.
By the Numbers: All Saints publishes attendance and giving summaries in print only. Contact the office for a copy.
In Our Prayers: All Saints publishes its prayer list in print only. Contact the office for a full list.