I've started my continuing ed with a class called Building Cultures of Generosity that meets regularly through the fall and winter that is all about putting on a fall stewardship campaign. They suggest starting Sunday, September 25th, which for me is ideal. Should the council approve of the Social Concerns Committee’s Winter Gear Drive, we would have a wonderful push for creating a culture of generosity on multiple fronts: through giving of material things, through giving of money, through giving of time.
The goal of the campaign is not to raise any specific amount of money, but to encourage people to make a specific decision instead of not deciding at all. The hope is that people will intentionally decide to give any amount more, be it of time or resources. For several weeks we will feature Temple Talks in church, send out mailers, and ultimately sow seeds that will help to improve the already generous culture at Fairbanks Lutheran. I’m hoping to invite a challenge donation if we can get 19 families to make pledges on pledge Sunday.
I’ve had visits with three member families, including one at a nursing home. This month I have had a few extra visits with random community members who have needed an ear in a hard moment.
This year, God’s Work, Our Hands Day snuck up on me, but we came together and added a fresh coat of paint on our old sign (special thanks to Liz and Barb who came the Monday after to apply a second coat). The sign looks renewed and rejuvenated—hopefully a reflection of how Fairbanks Lutheran feels!
Youth programming is beginning to ramp up at FLC. I have been meeting with two of our teens for Confirmation on Thursdays. Their faith is forming well as they wrestle with the thought-provoking content at the heart of our faith, using the Colaborate curriculum, which they seem to enjoy. Youth Group will begin on Sept. 25th where we’ll join with Christ Lutheran Church and University Community Presbyterian Church every other Sunday for Learning, Service and Fellowship. Our commitment to the youth continues as we work on our youth room; I myself helped a member to bring in furniture that is waiting to be setup once the flooring is in. We also have two new rugs: one in the sanctuary for the Pray Ground and a beautiful floral one for the youth room.
Bishop Shelley asked that I help out Lord of Life Lutheran Church in North Pole by giving them a mock interview, so they can get some practice going through the call process as well as receive feedback from someone who has recently gone through the process. Let’s keep praying for our neighbor church to find a pastor!
Much of September has been spent preparing for our upcoming educational opportunities. I attended the Mary Martha Bible Study Kick Off and assisted them by reviewing a study-series by Max Lucado. Elsewise, I’ve been developing a course on Why Lutherans Worship, so we can dive into what happens on a Sunday morning and why it’s so special. I’ve also been studying up on 1 John for our Thursday afternoon class.
We opened our space for the Oliver Backlund memorial and the family asked me to offer an opening and closing prayer at the memorial as well as a reading of “The Cremation of Sam McGee.”
Early on in my time here, I heard a request to offer another online option for folks who don’t use Facebook. I’ve since started recording sermons separately and placing them onto a podcasting service LibSyn (at present it is only $5 dollars a month, could be more if we want more statistics or need more space, but as of yet I don’t anticipate the need). This allows anyone to subscribe and get sermons automatically sent to their devices. We already have one rating of five stars, so we’re basically famous. Presently, it’s on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, but my understanding is that other apps add from Apple’s directory since they invented podcasts. Robin Lockwood has informed me that some of her friends are listening, so our church is already impacting others, especially since we’ve already had 50 downloads already. You can find it on our website under Worship & Ministry > SERMONS.
Before our meeting, I’ll have met with Tanana Valley Council of Churches aka the local ministerial association. I’ll also have met with the mutual ministry committee for the first time.
Looking ahead, I’ve spoken with a handful of families that wish to become members. In October, I hope to offer a one-time new member orientation although I have to figure out what that will look like since so many people are hesitant to take a proper class as so often has been the tradition. Hopefully, we can have them ritually welcomed by the end of October.
Finally, my installation will be this following Sunday. I’m excited to formally celebrate your calling me to be your pastor. Can you believe this is my third report to you? We have three months of ministry together under our belts. Erika and I have been so humbled by your love and faith in us, and I hope to do right by you. Thank you for calling me to be your pastor.