Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The current occasional nature of our "Eye on Zion" newsletter presents the challenge of what to include and what is timely. This issue will cover some events that have happened that we want you to be aware of; some of those events happened months ago. Nevertheless, we want you to feel connected to your church family. And perhaps more importantly, this issue will cover some events that are planned that the leadership of your church hopes you will consider attending.
On a personal note, Carol and I want to thank all of you for remembering the 25th anniversary of my ordination. Carol and I agreed before we entered the candidacy process that ministry would be a family commitment. I am the ordained pastor, but being the pastor's wife or the pastor's kids comes with responsibilities and hardships. I thank God for Carol, and my children, Drake and Aaron, for being understanding when I missed events in their lives or was at meetings a couple of nights a week. And I thank you, the membership, for your generosity. Besides tithing your gift to Lutheran Disaster Relief, we have not decided how we might use the gift.
You will read in the Worship and Study table articles that your church leadership is still frustrated with a general lack of participation. Worship attendance is still down by about thirty percent. Those who are missing run the full age range of membership, but especially concerning to me are young families with children. Some of our youngest members have not been in church for two and a half years! To that end, we will continue with what was normally the summer schedule of our blended worship service on Saturday at 5:00 pm and just one traditional Lutheran liturgical worship service on Sunday at 9:30 am.
While we did have Vacation Bible School this summer, a nightly attendance was around thirty compared to ten years ago when we would routinely hosted over one-hundred children. And once again, the Study Table is not planning Sunday School due to a lack of children in attendance and adults who could teach. Instead, we will continue hosting Kidz Church, a ministry for children ages three years through sixth grade during the Sunday at 9:30 worship service. However, going this direction, we don't raise our children in the spiritual discipline of worship and prayer.
And while that last paragraph was an expression of my frustration, I am full of hope, because "Hope Happens Here" – at Zion that is. "Hope Happens Here" will be a theme that you can expect to hear throughout the upcoming program year. It is true! No matter what life throws at us, God revealed in Jesus Christ has got it under control! And for that reason, we have hope, and Zion is a place where that gospel message has been preached for over 200 years. Do you have a story of how God in Christ has brought you hope through Zion? I would love to hear it. Reach out to me so we can communicate.
I hope to see you all at the September 11, church family picnic.
With you on the journey of faith.
The Rev. Duane A. Jesse, Pastor
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