"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
I love summer! I love spending more time outdoors than in. I love getting all sweaty hiking or running or working in the yard, and then jumping into a cool shower or a refreshingly cold lake. I love summer deluges of rain and thunderstorms followed by cool nights. I love sleeping under a single sheet with no blankets and waking to the early morning sun.
I don’t know about you, but I may have to be dragged kicking and creaming into my fall clothes. You may have to tap me on the shoulder and invite me out of my summer daydreams to join you in the realities of fall.
But what great activities we have in store for you this fall…
Day of Service On Saturday, September 6, we head into our fall season with a day at the Federal Way Farmer’s Market. We will be handing out water bottles with the Calvary logo on them, inviting families to join us for worship and learning, and providing school supplies and comfort kits to kids for school. The band will play, puppets will be performing, and your hospitality and support will make it a great day.
Coming Attractions Let the forums begin! On September 7, leaders from the congregation will give you a preview of upcoming events for the fall—namely, stewardship and the annual financial plan for 2015, the beginnings of a capital campaign, and our 60th Anniversary celebrations. Come learn more about Calvary’s mission and vision.
Creating Welcome On September 14, we begin a series on how to be more intentional about
welcoming newcomers: “Creating Welcome” is the theme for this three-week forum series. We will talk, walk through practical exercises to raise our awareness of how to welcome, and hear from a panel of people who have experienced welcome here at Calvary.
Love and Marriage Dovetailing on our “Welcome” series, we will be discussing Marriage in the October Adult Forum. The Marriage Policy Task Force, which convened last spring to facilitate conversations within the congregation about Calvary’s marriage policy, will help us begin to make sense of what it means to be a Lutheran congregation in a state in which same-sex marriage is legal. Currently, our congregation has no set policy about gay marriage. Our special guest for this conversation will be Bishop Rick Jaech, who will join us to preach, and will lead the October 19 Forum.
And the Band Plays On Our own Tony Willing and his Portage Fill Big Band will headline Calvary’s Anniversary Outreach Fundraiser for Reach Out on Saturday, October 25. We are inviting friends and members of the Federal Way community to join us in raising funds to benefit our winter homeless shelters and celebrate our 60th Anniversary with a lot of big band music and swing dancing. (Oh, come on, you know you want to!) Save some room and collect your pennies, because the Dessert Auction that night will feature delicious, sometimes-sophisticated creations by our own members, friends, and a few local businesses. Yum! So invite friends; ask people you work with or work out with; heck, welcome some strangers—and join us for this celebration. Can’t wait to get my swing on!
Okay, maybe fall will be easier to adjust to than I’d anticipated. I’m getting excited already. (But now that I’m done writing this article, it’s time to dream of white sand beaches and tropical fish for a few more days…)
Looking forward to getting back in season with you.
Your sister in Christ,
Rev. Lori A. Cornell
“Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” ~ St Francis of Assisi
On September 8th Calvary will have the opportunity to put in to practice the values that we preach as Christians. On that day we will be joining the larger church body as we live out the ELCA motto: “God’s Work, Our Hands.” On the Day of Service we will strive to be the hands and feet that bring good news and light into the world of those who are under resourced. This is an opportunity for us to reach out to a group of people who may not feel comfortable darkening our door. We can be ambassadors of Christ’s love as we cheerfully and faithfully serve our neighbors.
This event provides us the opportunity to come together as a congregation and interact with each other in ways that will benefit our Christian community as we benefit the community at large. Imagine all of the congregation members of all ages working together for a common purpose, with each person serving to the best of their ability and sharing their gifts. Events like this one serve as a reminder to children and youth that they are an important and vital part of the life of the congregation and they also provide the adults an opportunity to guide and mentor future leaders. Our cooperation with and inclusion of members of all ages in this activity will speak volumes to those encountering us for the first time.
We will serve the community, work side by side, and have fun together in the name of the Lord. This event will also be a great way to invite those who have tenuous connections to the congregation to join us in serving a purpose larger than ourselves. Our actions will speak louder than any words we could read or proclaim from the pulpit. No long term commitment is required. We are asking for everyone to commit to one afternoon on Sunday the 8th, where each of us can share our gifts with a community in need. We will have carnival games, music, food, puppet shows, landscaping, flower potting, the library book-mobile, and a place where parents can get school uniforms for their children.
Every journey always begins with a first step, and our first step will be to move from Calvary’s comfortable walls outside to a world of people who need the presence of a loving, living Christ embodied in each of those who will be serving on that day.
This is a monumental task, but the rewards that will be reaped from our faithful interaction with each other and with a community in need will be well worth the investment. Joined together in the name of Christ and doing God’s work, we will be able to demonstrate to those we serve that we are more than people of faithful talk; we are people of faithful action.
A Service Blitz!
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 11Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies. 1 Peter 4:10-11
I know we’ve barely entered Summer, but I want to talk about the Fall. On September 8, we’re inviting every Calvary member to participate in a Service Blitz.
What’s a Service Blitz? It’s an opportunity for our congregation to commit one afternoon to serving Christ by serving members of our community.
What kind of service? Currently the Planning Team (which consists of Jean Balogh, Holly Fisher, Sue Snyder, and I) is exploring opportunities that meet the following criteria:
1. Representation of all age groups in the congregation.
2. Each member serves in a capacity that s/he is comfortable.
3. Visibility: Site for service is a public site with greatest opportunity for Community to see Calvary members serve.
4. Service does not replace the worship, but complements it.
5. Other congregations in the community are invited to join us.
6. Equity is the goal of the project: Do what the community needs—not what we want them to have.
7. Ask the congregation for buy-in.
8. Majority of service is done on site only that day, with the effect of having the greatest impact on those served in a short period of time.
9. Service exemplifies diversity of culture.
10. Service project invites community to participate in service.
Why, you may ask, would we want to do a single day of service on September 8th’? Well, first, the idea of a single day of service is to make a big impact quickly. Second, we want to get as many people serving in the same place at the same time as possible, and choosing a single-day project is a great way to do that. Third, we want to invite others to join us in the service. Already, we’ve invited our partner ministry, Federal Way Chinese Fellowship to join us, and we will be inviting neighboring congregations to participate as well. And, finally, September 8, is a day that all Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations have been asked to celebrate the denomination’s 25th Anniversary by serving our neighbors.
So, what does this have to do with you? Well, our hope is that each of you will mark September 8th on your calendar, and plan to participate in the event. The day will start with a “Coming Together” worship service at 10am, followed by a service celebration lunch for all ages, and then all of us will be off to serve!
In the meantime, look for details about how you can participate. Think, as Peter suggests in the quote above, about the gifts that God has given you, and the strength with which you have been supplied. Are you good at planting, moving bark, singing, providing hospitality? Can you think of a young adult (a child, grandchild, neighbor, or friend) that you could invite to serve with us? Inviting young adults to serve alongside of us is one way for us to include newcomers in our ministry in a way that is nonthreatening, and enables those young adults to accomplish good alongside others who share their commitment to service.
Look for more exciting details in the coming weeks. Until then, enjoy these Summer days.
In Christ, Pastor Lori