October 2020 Newsletter
Property & Finance Report
We Care by CLWR
PASTORS THOUGHTS (Newsletter Oct 2/20) – “IN GRATITUDE”
Canadian Thanksgiving is on its way. The Coronavirus has changed many plans but people are coming up with creative ways to "gather" for the feast. Remember the Thanksgiving/Christmas commercial a few years ago of a family sitting around the table with a delicious feast before them? It seemed that there was an empty place - until we saw the laptop at the end of the table. A soldier was able to join his family. At the time of that commercial release, the idea of gathering via the internet was a cute advertising angle. How times have changed.
At our weekly MNO Synod Zoom gathering, the clergy have been sharing ideas and frustrations on "how do we DO church now?" We have been feeling low. Our expectation of returning at the beginning of October to our "normal" way of gathering in our beloved churches, singing together and fellowship has been dashed. This past week, however, the clergy was more energized. Our focus has shifted, we let go of expectations and accepted the reality of the situation of Corona impacting our plans in the months ahead. We spoke of planning for Christmas and the other festivals of the church during the coming weeks. At the base of it all is the gratitude and thankfulness we have to serve our loving LORD in the circumstances of the time.
You and I have heard the word "gratitude." We use it to express thankfulness and praise. It refers to the quality of being thankful and a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Throughout life's trials and blessings, displaying a general attitude of gratitude distinguishes the Christian, but it also makes you a lovely person to be around! Practicing gratitude actually increases dopamine in your brain (the stuff that makes you feel good!) and encourages your brain to seek more of the same. So, scientifically speaking, the more you are grateful for, the more you will find things to be grateful for.
There are so many bible verses that express gratitude and thankfulness. I am going to list a few below. However you want, you can find peace and joy through the Word, prayer and gratitude. When you and I pray and give thanks to God, even when it's hard to do, we are promised to be given grace and faith. Many of us have our personal favourite verses that have encouraged us throughout life's ups and downs; Favourite verses you and I turn to during times of distress, sadness, or any time of the year to strengthen our hearts, improve our outlook, or just make a joyful noise. The Word of God is steadfast and continues, through its verses, to inspire gratitude in your own heart.
SCRIPTURES from ESV translation (English Standard Version)
1. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
2. (My personal favourite) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
3. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:57
4. We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 2 Thess. 1:3
5. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chron. 16:34
6. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Romans 11:36
7. I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Ps. 9:1
8. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
9. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
10. Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2
11. And he (Jesus) took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
(Start a gratitude journal. Daily noting at least one thing for which you are grateful. For example, today I am grateful for my salvation and Jesus Christ. I am for you, brothers and sisters in Christ. I am grateful for the Chairperson and Council who are leading us through this challenging time. I am grateful for the Bishops and Clergy of ELCIC who are seeking God's will and direction. I am grateful for a home/heat/health and my family. And the list goes on....)
However, you spend Thanksgiving in 2020 may it overflow with God's grace and peace. Grace and peace to you all, Pastor Laurel
Finance Report: September 2020
Patience is Power. Patience is not an absence of action: Rather it is “timing” it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.
The Covid pandemic continues to control what where why when and how we do things. It does not seem to want to go away so we can return to our normal lives. Council and Pastor Laurel are trying to plan the best scenario at Redeemer that will keep us all safe and protected from the virus. We are planning ahead for Thanksgiving, All Saints Day, Advent and Christmas. We can all pray that the pandemic lockdown will end someday soon.
Council met on-line on Wednesday, September 19th. Dorothy provided the financial reports for August. For the month of August, Giving totalled $4725.00, down by $1058.00 from budgeted. YTD Giving is at $47606.10 which is down by $5031.43 from this time last year. As you can see from the numbers Council is concerned about reaching the budgeted goal for the year. Council thanks those who have been Giving regularly. We encourage everyone to Give their share to help our church stay solvent.
As we will not be serving a Fall supper this year due to the Covid lockdown; Council is asking that everyone donate a monetary gift to the Fall Supper instead of donating food time and talents. We need to meet the budgeted amount of $3000.00 to stay on track for the year. We hope you will support this financial project.
The GOOD news from the Treasurers report is that Redeemer received $5224.08 from Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. This money lifted us out of our line of credit. We give thanks to Dorothy and her staff for their efforts in applying for these funds.
In-Service to the Lord,
Rick Norberg, Marv Hollender, Don Wrobleski
Special Fall Supper Offering
To: Redeemer Lutheran Church Congregation members:
Due to COVID-19, and the restrictions that are still in place, there will be NO Fall Supper at the Church this year. Sadly, we can not have our normal Fall Supper with the fellowship and good food we normally enjoy. Needless to say, we will have around a $3000.00 budget shortfall due to this. At our council meeting on September 16th, we tried to come up with a solution to this dilemma. We are asking all congregation members to make an extra offering contribution to help us stay on track with our Church financial budget for 2020 year. When making out your extra offering, you can list it as a Special Fall Supper offering. You will be receiving a tax receipt at the end of the year for this as well. We are hoping that we can make up all the funds we need to stay in a positive financial state with our general fund. Please keep us in your prayers as we move forward in our mission to keep us all healthy and safe.
On behalf of Redeemer Lutheran Church council, Thank you for your gracious contributions.
Heddy Mueller – Council Chair
An Update of We Care by CLWR
This weekend, the Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) Board of Directors, leadership team and denominational leaders gathered for our annual September meeting. As we came together — completely online for the first time in our history — we were all forced to confront the fact that we are working in a new reality, one that is marked by change and new circumstances.
Everyone at CLWR is committed to meeting the challenges of this moment with humility and courage. We are steadfast in our responsibility to ensure CLWR can respond with integrity, efficiency and kindness in a time of soaring global need, and to make sure Lutherans in Canada can continue a tradition of working toward justice and peace for all people.
Based on those commitments, this weekend we made the decision to begin transitioning We Care, CLWR’s long-standing and beloved commodity shipment program, with the intent that the shipping component of the program will be fully closed by the end of 2021. While many of us feel a deep, personal connection to this aspect of We Care, the decision was made with the unanimous support of everyone involved.
Despite some sadness in making this change, we are united in confidence that this decision affirms CLWR’s most deeply-held values, including responsible stewardship, shared learning and honouring the voices of those we are called to serve. We are encouraged and optimistic at the commitment everyone at CLWR has shown to be the most responsible, effective organization we can be on behalf of Lutherans in Canada.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need experienced by our global partners has never been greater, and they are urgently calling on Lutherans in Canada to respond as generously as possible. The decision to revise the We Care program comes both in response to those calls and as part of our deeply-held commitment to honour the kindness of our church communities, making sure to do as much good as possible.
We are proud of CLWR’s long history of growth and adaptation as an organization. Since as early as the 1950s, the organization has continually adapted its efforts in response to shifting contexts, and especially to the voices of our partners. CLWR has always tried to exemplify the spirit of “semper reformanda” — always reforming — that has guided our faith tradition as Lutherans. Today, facing the prospect of a post-COVID world, we are united in our belief that we must not cease learning, growing and reforming.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new complications to We Care and has amplified existing challenges to a point where continuing the program in its current form would not be a responsible course. Shipping and travel restrictions have left our warehouse nearly dormant for months, despite significant donor dollars continuing to pay for the warehouse space. At the same time, the supplies provided by our current We Care program are neither a rapid nor a cost-efficient way for CLWR to respond to the immediate, critical needs faced by so many around the world.
While earlier in the program’s history, We Care filled a vital gap of needed items, in the world we now face, many of you have expressed growing concern about the climate impacts of shipping supplies from Canada, especially when they are available for purchase much closer to the regions where we work.
The communities and beneficiaries we work with around the world, in places like Ethiopia, Uganda and Jerusalem, have also continued to shape our understanding of their needs. Our work began evolving long ago in response to feedback from our partners, who have taught us to listen to those we serve, to help them build and rebuild livelihoods, and to work alongside them for justice. The transition of our We Care program continues this long and continual process of examining ourselves and our work.
The We Care program, in its decades of operation, has provided comfort and care to tens of thousands of people. To our incredible community of faithful, loyal volunteers and churches, we want to say that we are inspired by you. Your generosity has wrapped warm quilts around those who have lost their homes, put supplies in otherwise empty school classrooms, and has given young mothers the very first clothes their new babies will ever wear.
Your efforts have made such a difference. You have our deep thanks. And we also want to say you are needed now — as much as ever.
Our warehouse will remain open for some time to allow for a transition period, and we expect one final shipment to go out this fall, with supplies that are already in the warehouse. If your congregation is holding on to supplies, we encourage you to reach out to local organizations in your community and ask what their needs are. Many are in need of these items right now. We have identified a number of local organizations who are eager for We Care items to support their critical work. We are well aware of how hard our own country has been hit by this pandemic, with food bank visits rising, many people out of work, and a cold winter coming. Please continue quilting, continue gathering supplies, and contact us if you need help finding an organization in your area that can put these supplies to good use.
Thank you for being a partner of CLWR, and of those we serve. We understand the changes to We Care will be disappointing for some, but we have heard from so many of you who cherish CLWR because of our commitment to faithful stewardship and to being responsible for the calling we have been given.
The need experienced by our global partners has never been greater or more urgent, and the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting those who already face hunger and poverty, with millions more being pushed into extreme poverty. In this context, particularly with ongoing restrictions, it is clear to our Board, staff, and the leaders of our supporting churches, that shipping supplies from Canada is no longer an effective nor a responsible way for us to respond.
As this work evolves, we will count on your continued partnership, and we pledge to continue in our commitment to doing everything we can to be faithful and responsible partners in this ministry.
If you have any questions or comments about this decision, or about what to do with existing items, our Community and Donor Relations Director, Carla Blakley, is eager to hear from you. You can reach her at 204-230-1323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite you to join us in prayer today for the ongoing ministry of our organization, for those we serve, and in gratitude for the incredible legacy of kindness that has reached across the world for so many years through We Care.
2020 Elected Executive:
Chair: Heddy Mueller
Vice-Chair: Rick Norberg
Secretary: Kathy Maxon
Envelope Secretary: Sharolyn Molnar
Treasurer: Dorothy Raynor
Financial Committee: Rick Norberg, Don Wrobleski, Marvin Hollender
Mission Committee: Kathy Maxon, Jan Cuggy, Sharolyn Molnar
Parish Committee: Shelley Kretchman, Jerry Erickson, Tyler Foster