|John M. Gorder, Pastoremail@example.com|
|Nancy Goede, Associate Pastor for Campus Ministryfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Larry J. Long, Director of Music Ministryemail@example.com|
|Meggan Manlove, Field Ministry Internfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Meghan Smith, Campus Ministry Peer Ministeremail@example.com|
|Janelle Rozek Darlage, Secretaryfirstname.lastname@example.org|
Ashes find their way to our brow as Lent begins on February 28. We remember the words of Genesis 3:19, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." Our vital senses are jolted by this sign of mortality. The truth meets us! From this truth we search for more.
But how do we live in this season of ashes? Is this a time for sorrow or is there an element of grace even when death stands so boldly with us?
The current movie, Chocolat, may help identify the essence of the season. The story takes place in a French village in the late 1950's. It is a community literally controlled by a mayor and the "traditions" of the church. The story opens on Ash Wednesday. The discipline of penance is observed by everyone. Fasting is obligatory. The occasional dissident suffers social ostracism, governed by a watchful mayor. The young priest is expected to enforce the fast. As the community gathers, a woman and her daughter move into the village. She is a chocolate confectioner. Quickly she fixes a shop and opens to the "fasting" public. People look through the delicious window, but fear entering the store because of the imposed rules. The woman is gracious and friendly. Some dare enter and conversation soon gives the woman enough understanding to choose the best flavor for those who visit her: a spicy chocolate for one, a dark chocolate for another, a sweet milk chocolate for the next. The temptation to taste is powerful and it is multiplied by the grace of the kind woman.
Quickly we sense the quandary of wanting spiritual integrity, yet being drawn to a new perspective. The dichotomy of law and gospel, bondage and freedom, tradition and new frontier is put to the test. Always, it seems, the choice is absolute...either one or the other, never both!
The taste of good chocolate in Lent helps me remember that even in this somber season, God's grace is present. It reminds me that the law sometimes is so oppressive that suspicion and meanness undermine the joy of living.
In Lent, we do not diminish the importance of serious self reflection on the price Christ paid for sin. Nearly half of each Gospel gives witness to the last week of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. It is important to contemplate how salvation comes to us. Yet, during these weeks of Lent, we savor the taste of grace...of life itself...even with ash upon the brow.
Law and gospel, bondage and freedom, tradition and new frontiers meet us as we live.
I hope you will consider gathering at Augustana on Lenten Wednesday evenings to consider Passages of Hope and Salvation in study and worship. The full story of Christ keeps us in God's grace...always.
The Augustana Church Council met January 9, 2001, with members of the Property Committee as invited guests. The Council is in the process of meeting with various committees to learn more about their activities and needs as well as to discuss future goals. President Dick Johnson spoke for the Council in commending the committee for its fine stewardship of the church, parsonage and grounds.
Council and the Property Committee discussed the Capital Replacement Fund, which was instituted to provide funds for emergency needs. We also reviewed the provision in Augustana's Constitution that limits expenditures to $2000, unless there has been prior Council approval.
The 2001 budget was discussed. Congregational giving has increased this year and was 16% better than last year and 12% over budget. The new budget reflects these increases in its proposed spending for the year.
Pastor Goede presented a request for two Campus Ministry fund raisers in February and March. One will support former member/student/secretary Sara Berndt as she travels to Colombia as a member of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. The other will help finance our Habitat for Humanity team's spring break trip to work in South Carolina. Claire Oxtoby and Carol Albright are leaving the Council as their terms have expired. Dick Johnson expressed the gratitude of the Council for their good and faithful service. The Council will hold its annual retreat in February.
The Annual Meeting of the Congregation took place on Jan. 28 immediately after the 10: 45 service. A report will follow in the March Grace Note.
The Augustana Master Plan (AMP) process moves forward. Dirk Danker, from the architectural firm of Nagle Hartray, has met with the AMP Committee and with representatives of all Augustana committees. These meetings were designed to give us a chance to measure both the strengths and the weaknesses of our current physical plant. On Thursday, January 18 the Christian Education, Property and Archives Committees met with the architects and on Thursday, January 25 the following committees had their turn to give observations and suggestions: Administration and Personnel, Campus Ministry, Churchyard, Evangelism Finance and Stewardship, Parish Life, Social Ministry ISAIAH and the Women of Augustana.
Mr. Danker's primary role in these sessions was to listen, ask questions, and understand our needs for future ministry. This has been our time to think, to dream, and to speak. Now the design, based on a clear understanding of Augustana's mission, can begin to take shape.
It is an exciting time for us all.
The slate for new council members includes Marian Brauer Wieting, Virginia Balanoff and Don Rem for three-year terms running until 2003. Mildred Dordal has been nominated to fill out a two-year term left vacant by Eric Hyte.
Members of the nominating committee were Sandra Henley, Shelley Barnard, Eric Pittenger, Edgar Krentz and Becky Klein-Collins.
A report of the January 28 annual meeting will appear in the March Grace Note.
As of January 9 the revised totals for the 2001 Pledge drive are as follows: 79 pledges were received. The total amount pledged is $186,869. That is 12% greater than 2000, when pledges totaled $176,649 with 71 families pledging. Thanks to all who made pledges for this year!
The luncheon for new members, hosted by the Evangelism Committee, will be held on Sunday, February 4. New members were received into the congregation on Sunday, January 28. A complete list of names will be published in the March Grace Note.
All women of Augustana are invited to come on February 10 to hear Gordeen Gorder share some observations and experiences of her life and work in West Africa. She will speak beginning at 10:45 a.m. on "Children, Challenges and the Church: A Reflection on Twenty Years in West Africa."
It promises to be an enlightening and stimulating morning!
The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. with coffee, devotions and a business meeting and will conclude with lunch served at 12:00 noon. Please make plans to join in fellowship with us. We will provide child care as needed. Watch for the sign-up sheets in the bulletins the two Sundays preceding the meeting.
February 27 is Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins. Augustana members have gathered on that evening for the last several years to share hospitality, fellowship and fun. Last year we had a talent show and shared dessert.
This year the Evangelism Committee would like to invite you to bring a dessert to share at 7:00 p.m. in the Gustavus Adolphus Fellowship Hall and enjoy activities and special performances. There will be some activities you may recognize from prior years, and there will be other new activities which will be equally as entertaining. These should provide us with an opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and to build new ones with our campus ministry group members who are cooperating hosts for the evening.
There will be more information about this event in the Sunday worship bulletins during the month of February.
The Campus Ministry Spring Break Habitat for Humanity team will have a featured role in the congregation's Fat Tuesday party on Tuesday, February 27. This is a traditional night for silliness, and the team will be auctioning off their time by the hour to the highest bidders to work as babysitters, housekeepers or yard workers. So start thinking about the storage room that needs cleaning, the garden beds that will need raking, or how nice a night out alone would be.
On Transfiguration Sunday, February 25, the children in Augustana's Sunday Church School will once again bury Alleluia banners. That act symbolizes the fact that the word "Alleluia" will not be used during the season of Lent which begins on Ash Wednesday, February 28. During Sunday School classes in February the children will create the banners.
There are several events which you may like to attend:
You are invited to participate in the conference in ways that fit into your schedule. Registration for the entire conference is from 8:00-10:00 a.m. on Monday morning, February 5. You may register for the conference for $85.00 or you may register for one day for $35.00. Persons are welcome to attend special worship and music services. For more information call ahead to Colleen Nelson (773-256-0723) or visit LSTC's website.
"Living in The Presence: Spirituality for our Time" is the theme for the conference. Some of the questions which will be explored are: How does one sift through all the talk about spirituality in the popular culture and in the church? What do Lutherans have to contribute to the dialogue? What can Lutherans learn from others? Is there a good definition of spirituality for our time? Speakers will set the cultural and historical context of spirituality, persons will share their faith experiences, other traditions will be heard from and those who attend will hear about what congregations are doing to enhance the spiritual growth of their members. Speakers and leaders will include, among others, Mary B. Havens, professor of church history at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, South Carolina, Martin Marty, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, and David Miller, editor of The Lutheran magazine.