August 2021 connection

From the Pastor:

Greetings in the name of Christ,

I pray that your sum- mer is going well. I have ben enjoying getting to all the trips I had to put off last summer. I en- joyed visiting with my in-laws last month as well as seeing the national mall. I also had a great trip to cedar point. My family and I are really looking forward to all meeting in August. It is a blessing that we are able to visit each other even though we all live so far away.

I have enjoyed seeing all of the baptisms this summer as well. God has given us an amazing responsibility to share His Word with the next generation, and to model its teachings.

I have noticed that the people who signed up to take care of a section of the grounds have been very diligent and it is paying off. The church grounds look very nice. The last section of bricks has begun to arrive for the memorial garden, and it might even be finished earlier than we anticipated.

Preparations have begun for our return to Sunday School, and I am really looking forward to seeing our young ones engaged in Bible study and mission once again.

Blessings on your August,

Pastor Aaron

July 2021 Connection

From the Pastor:

Greetings in the name of Christ,

As you receive this newsletter, I will be relaxing in Smithfield Virginia, likely tuned into Facebook to worship alongside you from
afar. I will also be celebrating 40 years of life, 11 years of marriage, and 8 years of being your pastor while I am gone. God is
pretty great.

I have really been encouraged to see so many members of the congregation in attendance each week. While being able to worship online was such a wonderful gift, I missed just being with you all. All the baptisms and celebrations going on at the church remind me of the first buds of flowers poking up through the dirt after a long winter.

Summer is upon us now, and I am excited to see those buds mature into the ministries of St. Paul Lutheran church. I love to see God honored through our serving each other, and I am grateful to have a congregation of disciples of Christ.

Blessings on your July,

Pastor Aaron

June 2021 Connection

From the Pastor:

Greetings in the name of Christ,

Spring has brought us fresh air in a lot of ways this year. I am grateful to be able to wor- ship with my congregation, hear your voices, and see your faces. We overcame a lot of chal- lenges and weathered a big storm together. I am very proud of the way many of you found ways to love your neighbor.

As summer gets started we are starting to make plans for old and new activities. I am looking forward to cookouts and ice cream so- cials. There will be fundraisers and community involvement. I look forward to seeing what fun stuff my congregation can come up with.

I will be headed down to Virginia Beach for the annual trip to see the in-laws. Jon and Lo- relai love to see their cousin Vince, and Melissa and her sister turn into teenagers again when you leave them together too long. Of course, when my brothers come to visit later this sum- mer, we won’t get into any mischief.

It is a good time to start considering where you might want to serve at St. Paul when we get back into the swing of things this fall. If you are like me, you developed some new habits that could use some adjusting, and fell out of some habits you want back. Let’s work together to become the people God made us to be, re- deemed us to be, and helps us be.

Blessings on Your June,

Pastor Aaron

April Connection

From the Pastor:

Greetings in the name of our Risen Lord!

This week we celebrate Holy Week, getting ready to wrap up Lent on Easter Morning. Often we start Holy Week with Palm Sunday, having a processional and a singing of Hosannas. We save those palms for the next year’s Ash Wednesday. This year we will still see a few palms, but did you know that Palm Sunday is also Passion Sunday? Often churches spend this day focused on the entire story of the passion. The word passion in this context means “to suffer” and it begins with the triumphal entry and ends with his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Churches traditionally created passion plays, recreating the events in theatrical fashion. One of the most popular movies of all time was a retelling of the passion. This year our focus will be on Pas- sion Sunday, as we continue to Return to the Lord.

I am also looking forward to the Sunday School program getting started again. Right now we have tentatively scheduled the preconfirmation and middle/high school youth to get started the week after Easter. We will con- tinue to move forward when we can, and make sure that we are training our youth in the ways of Christ.

The family and I have been getting ready for spring. We had our first camp-fire of the year, busting out the smores and cleaning out the fire pit. Before you know it the garden will be planted and the pool up and running.

Melissa is still keeping me busy inside for the time being. We have been doing lots of renovations and making our home a bit more cozy by the day. It’s a lot of hard work, but it is worth it to see the finished product, and I sleep like a baby when I’m done.

Blessings on your April,

Pastor Aaron

St Paul Connection, Dec 14

From the Pastor:

Greetings in the name of Christ,

The leadership of St. Paul Lutheran Church has been considering our response to the recent rise in Covid -19 cases in our community. We are very concerned about gathering together in large numbers for the time it takes to conduct service, and doing high risk activities like sing- ing. It is extremely likely that we would transmit the virus in these circumstances, even with masks and distancing. We have also affirmed that we are able to participate in worship with our current online live streaming. The Word of God is enough to sustain us through difficult times, and we are still able to have that.

That being said, we also know that there are benefits to gathering together. The question we have been asking is: when do the benefits of gathering together outweigh the risks? We have decided that for Christmas Eve, they do. We will be gathering together for two services on Christmas Eve, one at 3:00p.m. and the other at 7:00p.m. They will both be the same, and the purpose of having multiple services is to spread out attendance to mitigate risk. There will be communion offered at both services. The 7:00p.m. service will be streamed on Facebook as well.

I want to assure you that there is nothing wrong with worshiping from afar. If you are in a high risk category, interact with someone who is, or are feeling sick that day, I urge you to stay at home. Remember that the Wise Men weren’t there on Christmas either.

We will also be continuing to meet virtually on Sundays. The pause was effective in reducing numbers of cases, but we are experiencing the spike that came from Thanksgiving, and we will be expecting another, larger spike after Christmas. The Elders will continue to meet to reevalu-
ate when we should return to in person gatherings on a regular basis, and I will keep you informed.

Now, more than ever, we look to the coming of Jesus Christ with hope and Joy.

Blessings on your Christmas, Pastor Aaron

St Paul Connection, Dec 2

From the Pastor:

Greetings in the name of Christ,

I pray that God would bless you as we begin another church year. Advent marks the be- ginning of the festival season, and serves to remind us of the promises God keeps. He promised us a savior, and sent His own Son to save us from our sins. That is why His name is Jesus, which means “God Saves”.

I want to offer you encouragement as we enter into the cold and dark season of winter as well. It might seem a lot easier to skip the Christmas decorations this year, especially if you have had to cancel plans for family and friends to come over and enjoy them. But the darkness didn’t stop God from sending His light into the world. John:1 says that the darkness tried to overcome the light, but it can’t. God does not allow it.

So dig up that decoration box and set up those manger scenes. Join me in pointing to the true light of the world, even if only to remind yourself that God has promise never to leave you or forsake you, and God always keeps his promises.

Happy Advent! Pastor Aaron

Connection, October 20, 2020

From the Pastor

Greetings in the name of Christ,

Blessings on your fall!

I am very happy to announce that the front door magnetic key process is finished! I want to remind the members of the congregation that you are allowed to get a key to the church, free of charge, whenever you want. You could decide to upgrade to a key fob for $5.00. The doors will be unlocked at specific times to let preschool families in, and you can always show up during work hours and push the doorbell. The outer doors do lock at night, to prevent people from coming into the vestibule after dark. Your keycard will always work on both doors. On Sunday, the doors will unlock at 8:30, and lock at 9:15. They unlock again at 11:15 and lock at 11:45. Again, any member can apply for a key that will work any time on both doors.

I am also excited to take a little time off in November. We will get a chance to hear from a pastor we haven’t heard from before on the 1st, a Rev. Martin from Lansing. We will also get a chance to hear fromPastor Bogda on the 8th. I want to encourage you to give them a warm welcome and make them feel the love I always feel when I serve you.

I will be back in the office on the 11th of November, fresh and ready for a blessed advent season. This year we are taking a look at Jesus’ family tree. My morning devotions will be from the devotional book that we ordered to go along with the series. If you are unable to pick on up in person, you can contact the office and get one to follow along.

Blessings on your November,

Pastor Aaron