I’m so grateful for what technology has allowed this past year. Throughout this pandemic, we have been able to gather each and every week for worship. We have connected online for council meetings, ministry team meetings, prayer group, and Bible study. In many ways, we have stayed connected. And yet, I think we can all agree, it’s still not the same. There is something about face-to-face interactions.
Over the summer, I would love to grab a coffee, go out to lunch, or sit on your porch and just chat. It would be great to catch up with you! Yes, many of you have gotten to see me each and every week on a screen, but I have not been able to see you. So, if you’re interested in chatting sometime this summer, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the church (608-343-7322) and we’ll set up a time this summer. I hope you’ll take me up on this offer!
Maybe it is the nine months of unpredictable Wisconsin weather, but there is just something about summer. Even though much of life remains the same, there is something about the rhythms of life that seem to change if only for a season. Barbeques with friends, pool parties, family reunions, 4th of July celebrations, camping, and so much more.
This summer, I am thrilled about the many opportunities we will have for us to begin reconnecting as a congregation. I’m hopeful that you will join us as we meet again face-to-face FINALLY! So, come and reconnect in worship, around campfires, on retreat, at camp, on mission trips and more. I believe we all learned this past year there is something about face-to-face interactions that no Zoom meeting can replace.
As you make plans for your summer, I really hope that you will make plans to reconnect in person with our community. I miss seeing you all! And don’t be afraid to invite a friend to join you for worship or around a campfire. Lots of new people have connected to our congregation over the past year. They just might need your invitation to take the next step and join us.
Hoping to see you soon,
This week, I’ve been spending the bulk of my time taking part in the Festival of Homiletics (aka preaching). It’s an amazing conference where preachers from all denominations around the world come together to hear some of the latest and greatest preachers of our times. But instead of traveling to Atlanta, Denver or Minneapolis (I wish!), this year we get to enjoy this in the comforts of our homes via the internet.
When I shared what I was doing with Andrew, he asked, “So you just sit and listen to preachers all day? I can’t even listen to one sermon.” Yes, we sit and listen to sermons all day and it’s great!
What is exciting in the preaching world is coming to the end of this pandemic (hopefully!) and asking the question, “what’s next?” The church has changed in the past year in ways we never expected. And so now we’re challenged not to wonder about how we get back to where we were, but where the Spirit is leading us next. And so that’s the challenge we take on as a congregation. What’s next for Peace Lutheran Church in Tomah, WI?
This Sunday, our church council will be gathering for a retreat to consider just that. We will dream and listen for what God might have in store next for Peace. It’s an exciting time to be the church. One thing is certain, the church will not be business as usual. The Spirit will make sure of that!
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
This Sunday we lift up our graduates and celebrate with them this important milestone in their lives. As I think back to my own graduation, I don’t remember a whole lot. What I do remember is being thrilled to start a new chapter in my life. The possibilities seemed endless, and the future was before me.
Let us gather this Sunday and celebrate the endless possibilities that are before Mia, Ciera, Ella, Amelia, and Shani. Let us celebrate the gifts God has blessed them with that will bring love and compassion and hope to this world. And let us remind them that even when life is hard (and it will be!), there is a community here that is ready to welcome them.
Congratulations Mia, Ciera, Ella, Amelia, and Shani! We are proud of the people you are becoming, and we cannot wait to see what the future holds.
May you always know God’s love and grace for you,
First off, a big shout out to everyone who has been making our outdoor worships at Peace possible!
There have been several of you who have been showing up early on Sundays to make sure everything is ready. I could not do it without you. You know who you are! THANK YOU!!!
There is no doubt it takes a lot more work to move everything out and back into the church for these services, but it also provides us with a safe opportunity to worship together. In my opinion, I think it’s worth it! But instead of relying on the same 5 people, I’m hoping a few of you might sign up to help out for some of our upcoming outdoor worships. We continue to need readers, flower providers and musicians. But we’re also looking for set up and tear down crew, ushers, and on occasion, someone to live stream the service. Please consider helping out and sign up below if you (or your family) are able to help with any of the upcoming worship services.
Click here to Volunteer for May/June Worship Services
As I make plans for May, it’s hard to believe how quickly (and at times, how slowly) this past year has gone. Our teachers, staff and students have made it through a full school year of COVID-19 restrictions. And they’re counting down the days to summer break…believe me! Our high school Seniors are making plans to say goodbye to a chapter in their life. And parents are left wondering, where has the time gone?
For many, May becomes a month of finishing up and planning for the future. Whether it is dealing with end of year schedules or making plans for summer getaways, getting out the lawnmower or weeding the flower beds, I think we all feel a sense of busyness that comes with the change in weather.
There will be a fullness to our month at Peace, as well. We hope you will join in the ways we serve, worship and celebrate this month. Check out the worship notes below and join us for God’s work. Our hands. Sunday. Come and bless our seniors and celebrate Pentecost with us. Even in the busyness of life, we hope that our time together in worship can be a time to take a deep breath and be reminded of the One who brings order to the chaos, the One who finds blessing in busyness, the One who shares love, hope and grace in the messiness of life.
We hope you will come and be blessed at Peace this month!
Over the past year, nature has become a safe haven for me. Going for a hike at Black River State Forest or Wildcat State Park. Jumping on our bikes and taking a ride on the trails. Taking our camper for an overnight in a state park. In nature I have felt comfortable taking off my mask, letting down my guard and enjoying some time that feels normal with my family.
At the same time, with all that is going on in the world, I don’t know that I’ve really considered how I cared for nature this past year. I have been much more focused on what it gives me rather than what I can give back. And so, I’m grateful for the opportunity to worship this Sunday with a focus on creation. Perhaps it will give all of us a moment to refocus on God’s creation and consider the ways we might bring restoration to all God has created.
In a time when there seems to be so much out of our control, perhaps we can focus on the small ways we can bring healing to our earth. So I hope you’ll consider this next week one small thing you might do to care for creation. Consider how you might reduce your environmental footprint. Check out an online footprint calculator to see your impact. Type in “footprint calculator” and you’ll find 19,100,000 results on google. Try out one of the calculators. Perhaps it will inspire an idea for how you might care for creation in the coming year.
I hope you join me for worship this Sunday & Happy Earth Day!
Can you believe it? This will be our 12th GWOH (God’s Work. Our Hands.) Sunday at Peace in 7 years! Although this past year has brought some changes to GWOH Sunday, on May 2 we will be bringing back our fellowship (a.k.a. FOOD!).
So, what do you need to do? Check out the GWOH Sunday information on the Events tab. Also check out the other opportunities we’ll have on that day including our Noisy Offering for World Hunger, food collection for our Little Pantry and Families First collection of laundry and feminine products. Feel free to drop those items off at church anytime.
And then come for a day of worship, service, and a sack lunch back at Peace. It’s going to be a great day to gather as we serve our community!
In service and love,
With the change in weather, we’ve been blessed to gather in person once again! Although I will admit, Palm Sunday was less than ideal weather. However, Easter was glorious! We are making plans to continue with outdoor worship on the first and third Sundays of the month, so please mark your calendars. And stay tuned as more information will be available after our council meeting tonight.
And yet with these changes, there are quite a few unknowns. Now that COVID-19 variants are moving closer and closer to us, we cannot know how this will affect the COVID rates in our area. At the same time, more and more people are getting vaccinated. Hooray! (Please consider getting scheduled for your vaccination if you have not done so. Anyone 16 and up is now eligible.) And yet, the weather is always going to be a wild card.
Just as you have been flexible over the past year, I ask for your grace as changes need to be made over the next few months to adjust to these unknown factors. Due to weather or significant increases in the COVID rate, worship might need to go online again for a week or longer. So please stay connected to our website and Facebook page for the latest information.
It is everyone’s desire to gather again. However, our council is doing everything we can to make sure that when we gather it is as safely as possible. Thank you for your patience this past year and we look forward to seeing you in worship…outdoor or online…and hopefully before we know it, in our sanctuary!
It’s Holy Week. A week to reflect and wonder. A week to listen and be still. A week to worship and pray.
This all sounds lovely and yet, in my household, life is just starting to ramp-up again. I’m starting to feel a sense of busyness that I haven’t felt in over a year. Just this week, soccer practice and track practice began. Between picking up and dropping off kids, we managed to record our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. Plans are being made for a summer mission trip and Bible camp. And I’ve been busy scouting out campsites for a few weekend trips. Is it possible that life could be moving back to “normal?” Whatever that really means?!?
And then as we looked at our schedule for this week, we were reminded that we still need to stop and worship and reflect. Perhaps soccer practice just isn’t going to happen today.
In the midst of whatever busyness you might be feeling, I hope that you will take some time to be still and worship. To listen and reflect. Share a special meal with your family and then join us for our online Maundy Thursday communion service and Good Friday online service at 6:30 pm. Come and walk the Path of Jesus outside Peace anytime through Easter. Or, crack open your Bible and read the passion story found in the last few chapters of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Carve out some time this week to dwell in this story.
And then, join us on Easter morning as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Let us roll the stone away and proclaim the promise of life.
Blessed Holy Week and Happy Easter to you,