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Please join us there, if you cannot join us in person!

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Elim Extra for Sunday January 21, 2024

Pastor’s Reflection

My apologies if you didn’t get the notice that worship was cancelled due to snow last Sunday, and showed up to an empty church! We tried to notify everyone on Saturday night when the forecast was predicting heavy snow, so please do let me know if you fell through the cracks so I can make sure to put your number in my phone.

We are going to delay the Baptism of the Lord by one more week, and do our affirmation of baptism this coming Sunday. (So this week’s bulletin will be the one we sent out last week.) This message of divine belovedness is too important to miss, especially after exploring Jesus’s manifestation of divine vulnerability and divine grief on Epiphany.

In my online reflection on First Thessalonians 4 last Sunday on Facebook, I lifted up some questions from our Bible Study about resurrection hope. Paul called on believers not to avoid grief, but to grieve differently, to grieve with hope. Many bereaved persons, even those who are believers, have a hard time feeling that eternal life is real, when they are so drastically separated from their beloved. That’s okay; just cling to whatever hope you can find, even if it is the simple hope that by working through the tasks of grief, it is possible to someday feel better. That is new life and resurrection in and of itself, on the other side of this hard and difficult work.

Bishop Michael Girlinghouse applies personal grief work to congregations: “We need to recognize the reality of loss and its impact on our congregation, acknowledge the grief, and, with the courage of our faith, work through it – as hard as that can be. After all, as people of faith, we do not grieve as those with no hope.” (From Embracing God’s Future without Forgetting the Past: A Conversation about Grief and Nostalgia in Congregational Life.) In Bible Study this Sunday, we will examine our personal losses and draw strength from our cloud of witnesses. Please read Chapter 3 if you can.

with love, Pr. Chelsea

Elim Extra for Sunday, January 14 2024

Elim Extra for Sunday January 7, 2024

Pastor’s Reflection

Happy New Year! When I penned an article for the January Scribe newsletter, I gloated that January is a grand month for worship, featuring momentous moments from Jesus’ life such as Epiphany and Baptism, the Presentation and the Transfiguration. But I forgot to mention the Massacre of the Innocents, which should make the sweet Christmas story of the Magi come with a warning label. As we begin our wonderful new year with last year’s wars still raging, it seems only fair that we should wrap up our Christmas season by situating the glory of the incarnation within the harsh reality of our world. The gospel writer Matthew was trying to tell us something about the costs of standing up for peace in a world that runs on war. Like the Magi, we have only Jesus’s brilliant manifestation of Peace to guide us through this darkness. In a world of slain children, God’s people’s vision was that a little child would lead them. May the whole world turn its face toward this bright shining star.

love, Pr. Chelsea

Reminders:

–Help pack away our Christmas decorations after worship this Sunday

–Book study resumes this Sunday at 9 AM (Our Bible portion will be Luke chapter 15). Reading assignment for 1/7 and 1/10 – Preface and Chapter 1 of Embracing God’s Future without Forgetting the Past.

–Chair exercises with Leslie starting January 14th before coffee hour

–Council meets January 14th

–Worship team meets January 21st

–Save the date! Congregational Meeting January 28th