Food Pantry and Clothing Closet
The food pantry will remain open, but we will give guests their box outside. The food pantry continues to be extremely busy. Thank you to all who continue to volunteer their time for this ministry. The clothing closet will be closed until further notice.
If you are interested in working in our food pantry, please sign up for a shift at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0E44ACA62EA6FF2-food or contact Anne and/or Bonnie.
From the Financial Officer
The 2020 average monthly amount budgeted for Undesignated Donations (Anticipated) for Ministry Investment is $7,667. You donated $4,855 in June. Thank you!
You donated $40.00 to mortgage reduction in June (to be applied toward the principal balance). Since inception, a total of $89,607 has been donated to the (Happy Hearts – Hopeful Future) debt reduction campaign.
The mortgage balance was $136,455.15 as of 06.30.2020.
There have been a couple of times when someone else has come to church and the one of the entrance doors has been left ajar or unlocked. It is imperative that if you are the last person to leave the building that you check to see if the doors are locked and latched. Please allow the door to shut and then gently pull on the doors to see that they are latched. Often the pin at the top of the door will remain up and therefore will not allow the door to fully close and latch. If that happens, just push on the “crash bar” on the door (as if you were using it to open the door) and the pin will generally drop down and allow the door to latch properly. Thank you.
From the Pastor
The coronavirus pandemic has attacked our country for the past five months and shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Vaccinations and treatments to control the disease remain elusive and on the distant horizon.
All Saints Lutheran Church has rolled creatively with the punches. During the spring, worship services were offered online thru Facebook Live. This summer services moved outdoors to the church parking lot with continued to use of the Facebook Live option. Under these circumstances, the congregation has functioned well. The food pantry has been a life saver for families who have lost jobs and needed groceries.
Needless to say, these have been difficult and unpredictable times. Last January no one would have guessed a pandemic was on the horizon. Even as the illness progressed and spread from China to other countries, the common assumption was the problem would remain regionalized. Now the disease infects people on every continent with deadly consequences.
I have been particularly surprised at how this health phenomenon has become a political football. Understandably, even medical experts vary in their analysis of the disease and its progress and treatments. The problems created by the illness have been magnified by individuals who made the issue the center of a contentious political debate. If nothing else, the argument about masks and social distancing has been confounding.
I certainly don’t like masks over my face. They are stifling and uncomfortable, but I also understand their necessity to prevent passing the infection to others.
I am concerned for myself and family, friends and members of the church. We need to take politics out of the debate and do what is right, reasonable, and compassionate to protect everyone. The body bags of victims buried in open pits ought to be a lesson for us to take an abundance of precautions.
For my part I will act with a great caution. Due to my age, gender, and underlying health conditions, I cannot take a chance with becoming infected. I think twice about going to the grocery store now. I stay home to avoid mixing in crowds.
As Christians we remember Christ commands us to love our neighbor. During this pandemic, that commandment ought to shape our opinions and actions. We remain alert to pandemic news, follow medical guidelines and do so out of our love for others. That commandment applies to all of us, regardless of our political persuasion. If Christ can go to the cross for us, surely we can act with caution to save our neighbors in these trying times.
Pastor Richard Pokora
Update on Members Hospitalized or receiving care
Art Raney: During a conversation Tom and Julie had with Art recently, he made the comment that he would not still be here without all the prayers. So, keep sending those prayers of healing for Art! He can feel them. It has been more difficult and lonelier this spring and summer since he hasn’t been allowed visitors (even family) due to COVID-19. He would love to get phone calls and cards/letters. His room phone number is 563.484.3570.
Dru Novak: Dru was recently diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. They have set up a Caring Bridge Site to keep friends and family informed. https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/drunovak and would appreciate prayers. Michael can be contacted at 317-446-3504, but please text him first with your name and ask if it is a good time to talk (he is still working).
Message by Pastor Pokora – July 26, 8th Sunday after Pentecost
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed … So begins our Gospel lesson for today, a continuation of the grand catalogue of parables that makes up the thirteenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.
The Kingdom of heaven is like … What is the kingdom of heaven like? When we hear that expression our pondering generally lifts us out of this world. We live here ~ God lives in that place that is completely other. Our Father who art in heaven … these words come easily and encourage us to associate heaven with somewhere else.
But when Jesus came into the world and proclaimed that the kingdom of God is at hand, he was not talking about some celestial realm. He was speaking of the God that the Jewish people knew intimately, only now Jesus was claiming that this God was uniquely present through his life and ministry. To describe what this would mean for people, Jesus told parables. He told parables that had an intriguing, captivating, sometimes even destabilizing effect.
Much like a person showing you a set of pictures from his or her vacation on a smart phone, so Jesus gives us a bit of a parable slide show, telling us stories that reveal small realities of life in God’s kingdom. First, Jesus tells us that the grain of mustard seed, although the smallest of all the seeds, can grow into the largest of all the bushes and can provide shelter for birds. Things are not always the way they seem.
A small amount of yeast can grow flour into bread enough to feed a town, not unlike the transforming power that we can experience as a follower of Jesus.
A great treasure, unexpectedly found in the field of life, reminds us that faith and commitment to Jesus are so important that, when our eyes are opened, we must be willing to sacrifice everything we have in order to possess this great gift of faith.
The priceless pearl, a small thing among the counterfeits and trinkets of life, has value far greater than everything we own. But we must first understand that. Many people do not. For those of us who know and love the Lord, we acknowledge that our faith is the greatest possession that we have, adequate for all of life’s challenges.
Finally, the full fishnet, teeming with both good and bad, is a sharp reminder that we must constantly be discerning the virtuous and noble from the corrupt and pointless. We are not to judge other people, but we are to sort things out in our lives so that we make certain that … the most important thing is the most important thing!
Each of these tales makes it clear that one thing is required, and the sum of the parables makes it clear that if we follow Jesus, it will require everything. The price for the treasures of God is everything we have. The cost of discipleship is our whole life; we cannot be partial followers of Jesus!
The Kingdom of God, Jesus insists, is like a man who, while plowing a field, hears his plow hit something, checks it out and finds buried treasure. Back in Jesus’ day there were no banks; people buried their valuables in the ground. Sometimes they forgot where they buried the treasure; often they died without retrieving their wealth.
Some would question the ethics of this man who said nothing but suddenly was interested in buying this land of apparently small value. To our 21st Century ears this smacks of deception and fraud. But in Jesus’ day the traditional Jewish law was clear: what is found belongs to the finder; property ownership did not include what was hidden in the ground. Jesus does not seem to share our contemporary concern with fairness and legal obligation. Go for the gold! … Jesus seems to say. Take a risk … put everything on the line for the one thing that matters!
Grab the treasure. There was a time when people understood that. They knew that faith in Jesus Christ demanded the best that they had … the best that they could be. I remember a time when my faith in Jesus Christ compelled me to become a Lutheran pastor. Some people I know questioned that decision. I remember in my first church someone once said to me … Why are you a minister? You could have become an attorney or other profession.
William Willimon, a Methodist bishop and teacher at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina, reflects on how eager he was as a young person to find excitement and adventure in life. He writes:
Back then, anybody with a bus leaving to find buried treasure, well, count me in! Oh, but then I got a degree, I got a job, I got tenure, I got reserved parking, and I bedded down. Now, if Jesus were to come up and say, “Hey, there’s buried treasure around the next bend in the road,” I would likely have responded, “Now, does this include health insurance? Do you guarantee that my sacrifice will be worth it? Do we have seat belts?”
Perhaps this is our greatest challenge today, dear friends. Belonging to a church costs us very little. We are not threatened because of our faith. For most of us … Christian … is an option on a list of preferences we can check or not, as we choose. Life is short, dear friends. The only thing worse than not reaching your goals is to set your goals too low. What does it mean for you … for me … to be a follower of Jesus Christ? Have we, perhaps, settled for the wrong treasure … have we sacrificed faithful commitment to Jesus Christ for the good life, creature comforts, and not much else?
Once Jesus walked in Galilee and Judea, calling people to follow him. He explained to them what discipleship would cost: rejection, beatings, deserting family, letting the fishing business go, giving up the soft job as a tax collector. And you know what? People did it. They followed him.
That’s what it means to be a part of the kingdom of God. That’s what these five little parables are all about. Once when the going was tough and Jesus’ enemies were closing in on him, he asked his disciples: Are you going to leave me? The disciples replied: Lord to whom shall we go; you have the words of eternal life. The Kingdom of God is still the treasure, hidden in the field. May our response always be … Grab the treasure! Amen.
May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Important Upcoming Dates (dates are subject to change due to Covid-19)
Forum: The forum that was scheduled for Sunday, March 22 will take place later, date still to be determined. At the forum titled “Vision for the Future” we will discuss what lies ahead for All Saints Lutheran Church.
Semi-Annual Congregation Meeting (Note this is the 2nd date change): The May semi-annual congregation meeting will be combined with the November/December semi-annual congregation meeting which will take place on Sunday, December 6, 2020 (elections, celebrations, and budget).
Annual Delegate Assembly: The Annual Delegate Assembly is scheduled for Thursday, August 27th at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church 2601-15th St, Moline, IL 61265. Registration begins at 6:30 pm and the meeting will commence at 7:00 pm. The evening will include music, words of witness from our clients, and special reports.
Because of the partnership with Churches United of the Quad City Area team, we wish to honor you, All Saints, with a special presentation during our program for your service with the ministry. Please RSVP by Friday, August 14, 2020.
Thank you for your contributions and support throughout the years!
Rev. Dr. Melvin Grimes