Hello St. James Community,
We are deep into the green season, the season after Pentecost, in our worship calendar. Last week we had a lovely outdoor worship service that boasted 86 people on a sunny Sunday morning! We will have one more outdoor worship service this year on Sunday August 27th. I pray it is as beautiful as it was this past Sunday on that day.
We sit in a place at the end of July with one foot in the summer and a toe in the fall. It feels too soon to think towards the school year, and yet I know it is coming for many of our families. We long to soak in the summer moments, freezing some of them in time, and fast-forwarding others to a more structured moment.
We are also looking forward to the fall programming at St. James. To that end, the Christian Education committee is gaining feedback to build programming for the children and youth this fall. We held one online forum for brainstorming Sunday school on Tuesday July 25th. It was a wonderful opportunity to grapple with what our children crave from church and how we can best support both children and families’ faith formation in the midst of busy lives.
There will be another opportunity to voice your thoughts in person after worship this Sunday, July 30th. Feel free to come to the Common Room after worship. If you have children or grandchildren going into Sunday school and/ or if you have time and energy to volunteer for this vital faith formation ministry, we would love to see you there. The connections and memories children make in ministries like Sunday school show them they are valued and an integral part of the life of the congregation. I pray we can engage more people and continue to foster a village of care for our young people.
Nurturing the young among us and investing in them, also impacts the adults who carry those seeds with them into their next adventures. Case in point, last week we had a couple come to the church around 5pm and ring the doorbell. It turns out it was Greg Bouvier and his wife Rose. For those of you who have been around for some time at St. James, I learned they used to live in the little house on the corner (which is no longer there) and performed custodial work and helped out with the youth group at the time. They were around during Pastor Tony Danielson’s tenure. They said hello to everyone and appreciated being able to see the church again on their way back to Nebraska. Greg is now the Senior Pastor at Sheridan Lutheran Church in Lincoln, NE. Their picture is included so you all can see who they are. They’re a pretty adorable couple.
Another happening: We have a wonderful partnership with the Congregation Sagrado Corazón in Waukegan led by Pastor Nestor. Pastor Nestor has recently received his United States citizenship! His mentors were St. James members Ann and Tim Anderson, who were there to support him and his family for the swearing in ceremony. In the future, Pastor Nestor and I would like to work towards furthering our partnership. We hope to connect the children and youth from both congregations as a starting point for cross-cultural awareness and learning.
All of this feels to me like planting seeds–as we’ve been talking about through Jesus’ parables in our gospel of Matthew lately. It all connects and comes back to Jesus Christ. He is our root system and the water that nourishes our seeds. He is the one who sends the sunshine to help us grow in warmth and love. He who draws all people to himself and holds all things together will continue to bless, keep and preserve God’s children.
I thank God for all of you and the ways the Spirit is moving and inspiring the congregation of St. James, its partners and the seeds that are being sown yesterday, today and tomorrow in Jesus’ name.
Blessings and prayers for you,