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February 2018

Glance at the calendar shows we are a people of God

By Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers

Dear Bethanians,

After the Annual Meeting yesterday (with more than 70 in attendance!) I sat down to look at the upcoming seven days, and I thought to myself “What an interesting week.”  This is usually the case, but I thought it might be fun this week to put some ministry/community commentary on the annual meeting spirit, as we celebrate our life together.

Monday          Confirmation class at Woodward

Tuesday         Lecture by Dr. Gordon Lathrop in Seattle

South 40” Task Force on Affordable Housing

Wednesday    Preschool Chapel


                        29 members of the Bethany Choir to Benaroya Hall to hear the St. Olaf College Choir

Thursday       Preschool Chapel

Bethany Choir rehearsal

Friday             “Church Basement Ladies” at the Jewel Box Theatre (Bethany’s sold out fundraiser for Martha and Mary)

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Wind targets the light,
but can't extinguish it

Dear Bethanians,

Epiphany greetings to you in the Year of Our Lord 2018. I am actually composing this on Dec. 21, 2017, the winter solstice, in order to meet the publishing deadline. Yet on this, the shortest day of the year, as our seasonal spirits yearn for sunlight, and our Advent mood anticipates “the dawn from on high,” it seems the theme of light is a constant companion, and still now as we move into

In that spirit, let me share with you an excerpt from a Christmas message written by a friend, Paul Erickson, the current bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod:

“This past week, I participated in a prayer vigil for International Migrants Day, and in the evening, I walked in procession with others who were seeking to honor and remember the plight of millions of people around the world who are forced to leave their homeland due to violence and poverty. Once again, the weight of it all seems to press upon me, and even though we sought to find hope in the midst of it all, the darkness of the current realities was striking.

As we left Faith/Santa Fe Lutheran Church to walk the two blocks to Ascension, following Mary and Joseph in a procession in the Latino tradition of Las Posadas, in which the holy family are seeking lodging, we were handed small candles to light the way. To be honest, I scoffed a bit when I got my candle, as it was a bit windy that evening, and I thought, ‘There’s no way these candles will stay lit.’

And it’s true, as we walked in the cold evening air, the candles were extinguished by the wind. But not all of them. Whenever we arrived at our next stop along the way, there were always a few that had somehow remained lit, and the light was quickly passed from candle to candle, and soon they were all aglow. Then we would walk to the next stop, and again, many of the candles would be darkened by the wind. But again, those that stayed lit shared their light, and the rhythm of the light would be repeated.

That’s how hope works, isn’t it? There are times when the darkness of our lives is profound, and our feeble attempts at lighting candles of hope are often extinguished by the cold, harsh winds of loneliness, violence, and despair. But in this Christmas season, we remember and proclaim that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it. All we have to do, whenever our own light succumbs to the wind, is to turn to our neighbors, and as they share their light with us, our own hope and faith and love is rekindled.

The darkness of the night is real, and thee challenges before us are many and profound. But if we stick together, sharing the light and the hope of Christ that is born in this season and made known to us in the manger, we will shine with the brightness of a new dawn. Thank you for the many ways that you bear witness to the light as you worship, connect, and strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”

Bishop Paul Erickson

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