Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!!!

This Easter morning celebration marked my 5-year anniversary of serving as your pastor! In all honesty I am amazed at how fast the time has flown by. Looking back, it is remarkable to see how much we have accomplished in our service of God and our neighbor.  And all of it was made possible because of your remarkable generosity. You have volunteered countless hours for leading or serving on committees and taskforces (including the new Mission, Vision, Core Values and the Reconciling in Christ Welcome Statement). You donated your time for worship leadership, communion preparations, washing of linens, changing the paraments, cleaning the sanctuary, serving and preparing meals. Several of you worked tirelessly for nearly a year to create a new accounting chart of accounts for Chi Rho center, Child Care Center and Church all together. Ann Paulson is currently working diligently in making sure that the porting of our congregational data from the old and into the new program went well! (watch for more information about “Breeze” soon!) The Facility committee has addressed about 1 million facility issues and handled them all valiantly. The CAN Committee continues to meet the needs of 15 families each and every month with food for the backpack program at Justice Page Middle School (please remember to bring in nonperishable food items).  The Missionary Circle has given out $5000 over the past 5 years to 5 girls in Tanzania’s Maasai Girls school. And… and… and…. All of this ministry done in Christ’s name is absolutely splendid work—and you have done it all very well! Because Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!

As we look forward, we can see that God is alive and moving through and amongst us; and it is therefore clear to me, at least, that perhaps this summer we ought to revisit the Cottage meetings one more time and together ask: “Taking into consideration our Vision, Mission and Core Values, to where and with whom is God calling us to serve?” It is an amazing time to be St. John’s Lutheran Church.  And I am so honored to be your pastor as you accomplish such amazing things in Christ’s name.

Finally, sometime this summer we will take time out and celebrate with Samuel and Meghan Grace at his remarkable ministry here at St. John’s and this remarkable new opportunity to pursue his Doctoral Degree in conducting. We will also be sad at his leaving. Samuel, I was sincere when I said that we can fill the position, but we can never replace you. We wish you and Meghan all the best and in all sincerity hope you will stop back here when you are in town.

A special thank you to Susan Zabel, Ann Paulson, and Jeanne Tuvey for being the congregation’s Voting Members to this year’s Minneapolis Area Synod Assembly: “In This Together: What the World Needs Takes All of Us,” held at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Ramsey on May 3 and 4.  Thank you also to Tamara Gebhardt who attended the pre-assembly workshop, “In This Together: Until All Are Fed” led by Mikka McCracken, Director for Planning and Engagement, ELCA World Hunger at Cross of Hope in Ramsey on the morning of May 3.

Christ is Risen!  Christ is Risen indeed!  Alleluia!