The Sunday bulletin for April 19th can be found HERE

 

My dear brothers and sister in Christ,

 

This email is to let you know about some of the behind-the-scenes adjustments that are being made at the church in order to serve you more effectively.

 

Emails:

 

First, you may have noticed that some of the emails you receive from the church office look a little different.  We are shifting over to using a service called ‘Mailchimp’ which will handle large-group emails. Mailchimp lets us send us send out these emails while also handling bounced and out-of-date email addresses, and helps us follow certain security and privacy laws and guidelines.

 

You’ll notice at the bottom of EVERY email we send this way includes a line that states ‘Want to change how you receive these emails?’ with two links. One will be to ‘update your preferences’ and the other will be to ‘unsubscribe from this list’.  Clicking on these will let you adjust what emails, if any, you wish to receive.  Currently under ‘preferences’ there are 4 options.

  • Newsletter and official notices – It is highly recommended you subscribe to this. This will include the monthly newsletter, any all-church notices that we need to send out,
  • Bible Studies – this will be for notices regarding any new Bible studies starting at the church, especially for any web-based studies that I expect to start within a week or two.
  • Immerse Bible reading program – If you have any interest in Immerse, this list will send you information on when we start the next round of readings.
  • Taking Faith Home – Taking Faith Home is a weekly handout in our Sunday Bulletin. We will email a copy to you each week if you select this option.

 

If someone you know wants to sign up for the church emails, they can do so from our website HERE:  

 

While I worry a little about over-complicating things, I also want to be sensitive to the amount of emails and notifications you receive.   I will also freely admit that I am learning how to set up these systems as we go. If there is a problem with any of them, or you cannot figure something out, please feel free to contact me directly or leave a message at the church office.

 

Communion

 

I am pleased to report that our ‘Drive Through Communion’ was a great success.  On Maundy Thursday and Easter Monday Communion was served to 48 members. I anticipate being able to do this at least once a month, and will announce signups for Communion in these emails and through the website.

 

Bible studies:

 

As stated before, I am looking forward to creating on-line Bible studies. According to my on-line tracker, I should receive a working web-cam this afternoon, and will start sending out information on that hopefully next week.  In the meantime, I would appreciate it if you could take a short survey (see the bottom of the email) that would let me know what level of technology and resources you have available.

 

Voters:

 

 At least in theory, St. John’s had a voters meeting scheduled for April 26th. Obviously it is not appropriate for us to gather for a voters meeting at this time. I can tell you that the church council and elders communicate regularly via email and phone calls, and we will be discussing this and making recommendations to the congregation this month. I do ask for your patience and understanding as we attempt to follow both the spirit and the letter of the church’s constitution.

 

Immerse:

 

I’d like to bring up the Immerse Bible reading experience. Normally we would start up our next series in May, and I am looking at the same resources for online Bible studies to work with our Immerse Reading Groups.  In a typical schedule, we would continue with the volume titled “Prophets”. It is the longest of the 6 volumes, and covers Amos, Hosea, Micah, Isaiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Obadiah, Ezekiel, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Joel, and Jonah.   If we do this, I will need to start collecting order so we can purchase the books.

 

I also wonder if this may be a good time to simplify a little and repeat the volume titled “Messiah” – which covers the entire New Testament.  Many of us may already have a copy of Messiah already, and I have some spare in my office to distribute.   I’ve included a question about your preferences in the survey at the bottom of the email.

 

Pandemic Predictions, Modeling, and why the numbers change constantly.

 

As you know I taught Jr. High Science for a few years. My Father was a teacher. We both laughed that we shared a compulsive need to teach and explain things to others. In the spirit of “I found this interesting” I’d like to share with you a comic written by Zach Weinersmith.  Mr. Weinersmith writes a science and philosophy based webcomic (I have a copy of one hanging in my office by the window), and dedicated his April 13th strip to an explanation  of how and why the Pandemic Models change. You can find that comic HERE: I personally recommend reading through it.

 

Final Thoughts

 

In all of this we continue to serve our Lord by caring for our neighbor. One of the things I find most fascinating is how God hides himself in plain sight. He hides himself in the bread and wine of Communion, yet we receive His very body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. He rules the entire world, let allows us to partake in the government and decisions that get made. Jesus dwells within us, so that when we serve our neighbor, God is showing Himself through you and your actions! When we serve our neighbor, we serve God as well. For all of this I rejoice.  Stay the course of caring for God’s people, exercising faithful outreach, love your neighbors, practice good citizenship, and pray for God’s mercy and grace in our time of need.

 

Your fellow servant in Christ,

 

Rev. R.W. Lutjens

St. John’s Lutheran Church

Wharton, TX

 

IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO, PLEASE TAKE THE SURVEY BY CLICKING HERE