Dear Friends,

In my back yard, there is a sports complex with a fairly new high school baseball and softball field. Tonight, the field was all lit up and could be seen for miles because there was an evening game. The temperature was in the mid-80s with humidity high enough that it looked like an evening fog. Although I was never a ball player myself, I love to hear the shouts from the fans cheering on the players.

What’s are some of your favorite summertime memories? Maybe your summertime stories are anything but ball games, fairs, farm-life, pools, camping outdoors, or even Iowa heat and humidity. Maybe summers were the time for traveling, sightseeing, or visiting family and friends all over the country. Your memories or maybe even this 2021 summer is all about being on the road and meeting new people along the way. With this big National Holiday weekend, maybe you think of how much you love fireworks on the 4th of July. Just remember that for many people and our furred friends, the sounds of explosives are terrifying.

The stories of our joys and challenges, celebrations and fears explain how we understand the world around us. Sometimes our stories seem familiar or unfamiliar, boastful or humble, truthful or impossible or even just plain confusing!

In our passage this week from 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, it can be a bit confusing, at least for me. Paul was trying to share the story with the people in Corinth about how he knows a lot of things, important things. He says that he doesn’t have to boast, but he could because the things he knows are the truth. Then there some other things mentioned; it’s a lot to ponder. (Uff dah!) until the very end of passage when Paul basically sums it all up by saying, (Pastor Katie’s translation), God, in my hardships and in my joys, in my story of life, the truth is: your grace is all I need. So, thank you for loving all of your children of your own making and continue to give them your strength, your love, and your promise of life everlasting.

What’s your story of God’s gift of grace? To share our stories, we need to gather together! Come to worship this weekend, invite friends over, or meet people right where they are and listen to one another’s story of highs and lows, joys and sorrows, the stories of God’s gift of grace.

This weekend, we celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism with Elle Elizabeth Meseck and Andrew Joseph Parrish and their families. We look ahead to the amazing week of VBS and Day Camp. We will have a special summertime Next Steps with Pastor Katie for prospective members on July 18 after 9:45 worship. We end the month of July with a Youth Mission Trip – with 4 open spots that still simply must be filled! Our summertime at Holy Trinity is God-honoring and simply - vibrant!

Go to our website for the most up-to-date information and invitations.

See you at church,

Pastor Katie

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We welcome the raindrops and pray for days of renewal of the earth, our households, and our communities. Just as soon as I say something like that, I can sense a “but, Pastor Katie the rain is ruining our plans to go to…”

Our passage this Sunday from 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 (NIV) has this bold message for you and for me. After Paul encourages us as faithful people of Christ, he says, “see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” Meaning, imaging and addressing the needs of others is our witness to God’s gift of grace for you and for me.

Paul continues in the NIV translation and says, “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.” What a powerful message to say to us this very moment in our time that this isn’t about diminishing one another’s story of joys and/or challenges, but lifting them both up with mutual respect, care, and compassion.

I have this amazing group that I meet with each week, my small group. They are “my people” in this place and time who not only share their stories, they listen to my own. I feel safe in this group to discuss but also not feel obligated to solve personal or world issues. The way I see it, “we are holding one another’s story today.” The greatest gift we can give to one another is our time, our fully listening ears, our commitment to be compassionate and to hold one another’s story. In this, as individuals and as a group, we have equality.

Paul completes the passage for this Sunday with, “The goal is equality, as it is written; The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” We may read this to mean a political movement. Maybe it could be and should be read in that context. But what I hear in this space and time is our need, our want, and our calling to listen to one another and demonstrate compassion for all of God’s children with equal dignity, respect, and honor. How we could change our everyday conversations if we looked at one another without categorizing or assuming, but fully listened and held one another's story, including the center of each story our personal hurts, joys, and challenges?

Beloved children of God, we know we are created and inspired to grow in our relationship with God and with one another. What is the best way to take steps forward in our growth? By engaging in worship, sign up to serve as an usher/greeter/praise team or tech team. Sign your children and youth up for VBS/Day Camp, or helping with the many projects at Holy Trinity including crafts and quilting. What ways are stirring your heart right now to share in the Good News that we are loved and forgiven by a gracious God?

Blessings to you always,

Pastor Katie

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Dear Friends,

As I’m typing away, the minutes are counting down to our first summer Club 56 gathering. What is Club 56 you may ask? It is a ministry that is designed especially for our youth who are in 5th and 6th grades. It has been a long road to launch a new ministry, then press the pause button for a year, and then reach out to a new group that is already 50% different than a year ago. There are about 35 students in this combo group! So, my heart is full with anticipation on what could happen in the lives of our youth as they will hear about a loving God, a forgiving Savior, and an inspiring Spirit. How will they look at the world and the issues that we face today and tomorrow?

Over the summer months, the Lancasters will have 5 out of 6 adult children move or continue to live out-of-the-area; 4 of them live out of the state. I did this same thing at their same age! What were my parents thinking as we packed up with enthusiasm and moved on and out? I wonder now, do my own children fully comprehend just how proud I am to be their mother at the same time my heart hurts with their absence? I am thankful, deeply thankful, for the summers after summers that our family vacation was decorating the church for VBS at all hours of the night. Or the years after years our family life included an active and engaged life with God and with the church in worship and family ministry.

I did not say perfect attendance! I said, we were active and engaged. The church wasn’t a building; rather, it felt like our second home with the bumps and hiccups of any household.

As my adult children have entered into this amazing season of life and the life of our growing family, I find myself leaning into the Hebrew passage, known as the Shema, that guided my heart and maybe it will provide you comfort as well as motivation from Deuteronomy Chapter 6:4-9.

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Plan to gather this weekend for worship in several different ways:

  • Meet in-person at either 8:30 or 9:45 a.m.

  • Meet on Facebook Live at 8:30 a.m.

  • Watch on our webpage a recorded version of the 8:30 in-person service.

We welcome Pastor Ron Schardt as our special guest pastor this Sunday. Pastor Schardt is a thoughtful colleague, former seminary professor, as well as a missionary and resource leader for the ELCA. He is also a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and we are glad to share our time together. He will begin a new Men’s Small Group on Thursday evenings, beginning June 17 at 7:00 p.m. at The Patio at Holy Trinity.

Blessings to you and your household,

Pastor Katie

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