Food Pantry and Clothing Closet
The All Saints Food Pantry and Clothing Closet have been very busy the last few months and we don’t see it slowing down anytime in the near future. The following is a list of items that are very much appreciated and always needed: peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, bars of soap, and laundry detergent.
The Clothing Closet has re-opened and is temporarily located in Fellowship Hall to spread out more. We will take donations on a limited basis. If you have donations; clothes, dishes, blankets, shoes, etc. please drop them off at the church any Saturday from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.
If you are interested in working in our food pantry or clothing closet, please sign up for a shift at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0e44aca62ea6ff2-food
Contact Anne, Bonnie, or Sheryn if you have questions, would like to donate, or prefer talking to someone about volunteering. Thank you for helping people in need!
There have been several times when someone has come to church and one of the entrance doors has been left ajar or unlocked. It is imperative that whenever you leave the building that you check to see if all 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. Thank you.
Message by Pastor Pokora – September 6, 14th Sunday after Pentecost
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.
The liturgical calendar for the Lutheran Church designates this Sunday in September, as the fourteenth Sunday after the festival of Pentecost.
The theme for the day deals with conflict resolution within the church. We read from the Gospel of Matthew, “if any member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.” So here we have a rather nondescript Sunday of the Pentecost season focused on conflict resolution within the church. We respect the church calendar and understand the need for conflict resolution.
The individuals who plot out the church year may not be in touch with the reality of congregational life and ministry. If so, they would understand this day is Labor Day weekend. We need upbeat lessons, hymns, anthems, and themes which promote gathering the flock after a summer of vacations, yard work, family reunions and leisurely afternoons spent picnicking, boating on the river or other traditional recreational activities. It’s a change of seasons.
I understand the origins of Labor Day are of relatively recent origin. A Lutheran magazine article noted the whole idea of Sunday school movement evolved little more than maybe two hundred years ago. Maybe it takes a while for these newer development to work their way into our liturgical calendar.
The article also cited several modern cultural forces buffet the modern idea of Sunday school. For instance, Diane Hymans, a professor of Christian education at Trinity Lutheran seminary in Columbus Ohio, reports, our culture no longer respects Sunday mornings. She adds, “It used to be Sunday mornings were for church. Now…kids are involved in all sorts of sports on Sunday mornings and oftentimes sports win.” We have certainly observed that shift in our own community.
Equally interesting, the article reports, The number of married couples with children in ELCA congregations dropped from 41 percent in 1988 to 26 percent in 2013. In addition, child baptisms in ELCA and predecessor congregations dropped 52 percent between 1970 and 2012. Those are very significant numbers and indicators of what has happened to church membership. We see those changes playing out within our own congregational life.
Finally, Diane Shallue an instructor at Luther Seminary in Minneapolis offers this observation, “We have more exhausted mothers who struggle to get their children up and off to Sunday school or church.” Families with both parents working have become the rule and not the exception and that affects congregational life too. My son and daughter-in-law joined a church in Palatine, Illinois. But with both parents working and three active little girls under the age of five, they have a difficult time getting to church regularly.
Several challenges lie before the modern church, making Labor Day important. We recognize broad cultural forces work against the mission of the church. For example, the generation of young adults coming off age today are much less likely to affiliate with any religion. The Pew report offers this analysis, “Compared with their elders today, young people are much less likely to affiliate with any religious tradition or to identify themselves as part of a Christian denomination. Fully one-in-four adults under age 30 (25%) are unaffiliated, describing their religion as “atheist,” “agnostic” or “nothing in particular.” That a very significant development for church life.
Some churches respond to these encroaching cultural changes in less than productive ways. For instance, I read about a Florida congregation which combined Sunday school and worship into a one hour experience. They put on puppet shows, re-enact radio-theater, create artwork, and write haikus and lyrics as ways to learn Bible stories.” While I am sure such a program keeps families occupied, the idea of worship has been lost to entertainment. The character of Christian education and worship are not changed for the better.
On this Labor Day, we recognize the many changes buffeting church life and our need to address those changes. But we also reaffirm our commitment to Christ, his ministry and our life in the church. Undoubtedly, the Gospel for this Sunday concerns conflict resolution in the church. The assumption behind our Gospel is that we have bound ourselves together in service to Christ and we allow nothing to prevail against our commitment to the ministry of the church.
The challenges the church faces are not only external but internal as well. The psychiatrist Scott Peck wrote that church communities often pass through four stages of development. Peck called the most common, initial stage of building community “pseudo-community.” And sadly, “pseudo-community” is often the only stage that many churches will know.
In pseudo-community, everyone pretends that they are already a community and that they really know each other, even though they really know very little about each other. In pseudo-community, people assure themselves they have only superficial differences and no reason for deep conflict. All the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. Every sermon is “interesting,” or at least “thought-provoking.” Every paper is at least a B-plus.
St. Paul, in our epistle for this day calls not to pseudo community, but authentic community. He gives that community definition that we owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. He calls us to lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Paul writes, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” An authentic community is, therefore centered on Christ and expresses itself through a ministry shaped by love of one another.
Let Labor Day be a day we embrace and rededicate ourselves to the whole ministry of the church. We encourage families to nurture their children’s faith in the educational programs of the congregation. We make worship a priority. Seek authentic community and not pseudo-community. Be a Christ to one another. Let your faith express itself in Christian life. We rally, therefore, not just for a program, but for Christ himself and the cross which symbolizes our community and commitment to it. Amen.
May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.