So Many Things to Share!

First, I am grateful for our family of faith. For each of you: for the way you look for and welcome new folks to our family, for the way you have decided to sponsor a new refugee family, for your honesty in speaking about mental health issues including addiction, for your energy and support of our local non-profits, and for the way you love and care for other members of our family and community. Thanks be to God for all of you! Second, I have so much to share, I’m sure this short article will be too full! I’m going to just highlight the topics so you can scan for those that are of interest.

9:00 am Summer Worship – This summer we will have one worship service at 9:00 am here at Shepherd and one worship service at Calvary Lutheran (6817 Antrim Road, Edina – at 10:30 am with the same preacher at both services. Starting April 15 Calvary will be without a pastor. In our partnership SOTH staff and pastors will fulfill the interim role until they are able to call a new half-time pastor. We hope they will have someone called by July or August. Please pray for our friends at Calvary and the call committee. So, it’s a bit earlier than usual, but we will worship at 9:00 am at SOTH so our preacher can then dash over to Calvary. If 9am is too early, we encourage folks to worship at Calvary at 10:30am and make some new friends in faith! Summer worship times begin on Sunday, April 29.

Annual Meeting – April 29 at 10:15am – Worship at 9:00 am – We have had a wonderful year of ministry and our church council is looking forward to the opportunity to tell the story! We will take a bit of time and reflect on our future as well in light of our Engagement Appeal Strategic Plan. In addition, we have a few council members who are transitioning off the council and we will need to vote in our new council members. I hope you will make plans to join us, there is good news to share and a hopeful future to envision.

April 8 and 15 – You may not know that our very own Brian Henning is a published author! We are so grateful to be part of Brian’s story, and for Brian to include us as a family in his story. He has written a chapter in the book titled, “The Divine Spark: Personal Stories of LGBTQ Discovery.” As part of the launch of the book, Brian will be signing copies on Sunday April 8 and 15 when you can purchase a copy. Our church at large needs to be reminded of God’s love for all people and for all people to be welcomed into fellowship, leadership, and participation. I hope you will purchase a book and have Brian sign your copy!

April 28 Mental Health Connect Fundraiser – More details inside… make plans to help support this important partner in providing assistance for those with mental health needs. Thanks to our Faith Community Nurse, Kaye Wothe and the Care team for making this happen!!

June – It is amazing to me that Pastor Joanna has served at SOTH for five years already, and will be leaving on sabbatical the last week of May! Please pray for her (and those of us she’s leaving behind!) as she has this opportunity. Pastoral sabbaticals are important times for reflection, rest and travel. I am grateful for Pastor Joanna’s five years of ministry, and grateful that our family provides this time for pastoral renewal. It is important and valuable time.

Finally, a word of thanks to Shawn Wacholz our families’ administrator. As some of you know our church management software had catastrophic failure this winter. We apologize for the delay in tax statement delivery caused by this failure. Over the past two months Shawn has worked with our software vendor to install and implement a new management system. It has been a challenging conversion. Thanks to Shawn for her diligence and determination to ensure that things are being implemented properly and with integrity. Please say “thank you” next time you stop by. I am grateful for Shawn’s service!

That’s it! I know inside you’ll find much more about upcoming ministry activities, pastoral reflections, inspirational staff articles and more. Thanks be to God for all that God has given our family and all we are able to share with our neighbors!

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