Autumn

As a child, I always enjoyed this time of year. After ten weeks of summer fun, our focus would turn towards the start of the school year. Rarely did school start before Labor Day.

One of the most important things we did to prepare for school was to take a trip to the local Sears Roebuck store to purchase new clothes and school supplies. Somehow, it always seemed as if we had outgrown clothes worn the previous year. So, that meant picking up a couple of pair of pants, a few shirts, and a new pair of shoes.

I remember those first days of school. There was the excitement of walking into your new classroom and meeting your new teacher. I still have sensory memories of the sights, sounds, and even the smells of the first day of school. These memories include the decorations on the walls of the classroom and the laughter of children. And who can forget the smell of a new jar of paste or freshly mimeographed paper?

September also brings a sense of newness to our church life as well. In many congregations, Christian education programs are not offered during the summer. September ushers in a new Sunday School year, the start of the new Confirmation program, and the resumption of adult bible studies. September is as good a time as any to seek opportunities to grow in faith and discipleship. And I am excited to be leading the Wednesday morning Bible Study class this year!

I assure you that God’s spirit is alive in this place, even during a time of transition. I see the Holy Spirit in the midst of Trinity when:

  • Young parents bring their children to Trinity to be baptized;
  • Children and youth gather for intentional learning experiences as part of Sunday School and the Confirmation Program;
  • Your leaders are willing to make challenging decisions during this time of transition
  • Members are generous in their giving in order to support the ministry and mission of this congregation; and
  • Youth and adult gather together to serve meals to others from our community.

Indeed, the Spirit is alive at Trinity! Let us embrace the God who is doing a new thing in this time and place!

Pastor Dennis Kelly

 

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Pastor Mark Wiberg

Dear Friends,

 

It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the Rev. Mark Wiberg peacefully passed away this morning, August 30th. While we mourn his loss, we take comfort in knowing that he is now in the presence and protection of our Heavenly Father.

I have been in touch with the family and we are likely to have Pastor Mark’s memorial service on Saturday, September 16th – 10:30 am. Bishop Miller will be with be with us to offer the sermon. Plans will be finalized tomorrow morning.

In His Peace,

Pastor Dennis Kelly

 

“Rest Eternal grant him O Lord, and Let Light Perpetual Shine Upon Him.’

MIRACLE GROW

SEEDS – WEEDS – GROWTH – FEAST

Every summer, my family tries to grow a vegetable garden on raised bedMiracle_Grows in our backyard. Our favorite items to grow in the garden are cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, and string beans. And while it looks like it shouldn’t be too difficult a task to grow these items, it does take hard work.

Those of you who grow your own gardens understand what to do (or not to do) when growing vegetables. You have to have the right soil conditions, a certain amount of sun and shade, plant the seeds at a depth that is optimal for growth, making sure that what you have planted does not get crowded out by weeds, and keeping the produce away from animals that like to eat these vegetables as much as you do! Then, if you are successful at all of these tasks, you will be able to harvest your yield and enjoy the feast you have created.

In the 13th and 14th chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus uses the imagery of gardening in order to teach his followers what it means to experience the Kingdom of God as disciples of Jesus Christ. Based on these passages, there will be a four-part sermon series called Miracle Grow: Planting the Seeds of Faith and Possibility. The themes for each weekend will be as follows:

July 15 & 16 PLANT THE SEEDS Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

July 22 & 23 PULL THE WEEDS Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 (Guest Preacher)

July 29 & 30 WATCH IT GROW Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

August 5 & 6 ENJOY THE FEAST Matthew 14:13-21

Thanks be to God, the Creator of All that Exists!

Pastor Dennis Kelly

Why interim ministry?

The most frequent questions I receive as an Intentional Interim Minister usually start with the word “why?” Why do we need an Interim Minister? Why do you want to be an Interim Minister?

Intentional Interim Ministry has developed out of the experience of congregations in certain situations struggling during an interim period or beyond. One situation is when a pastor, like Pastor Schelter, has served a congregation for a significant period of time. Another situation is when there is congregational conflict due to unresolved issues or to clergy misconduct. Our role is to serve as “temporary shepherds” leading the congregation to calmer waters and helping it to resolve issues of the past and turn the attention to a healthy future.

Interim Ministers are trained specialists who have the following goals for an interim period:

  • Maintain the viability of the church
  • Resolve feelings of grief
  • Reinforce the ministry of the laity
  • Clarify the mission of the church
  • Deal with special needs of the congregation
  • Emphasize fellowship and reconciliation
  • Strengthen denominational ties
  • Increase the potential for a successful ministry by the next called pastor

This kind of interim work takes time. But when the congregation commits itself to this process, the end result, more often than not, is renewed vitality and vision. It allows the congregation to then call a pastor whose skills and abilities can help build upon that vitality and lead the congregation into the fulfillment of its vision.

So why do I choose to be an Intentional Interim Minister? I did not start out as an Interim. I have served four congregations as a regularly called pastor, and I enjoyed that work. However, I constantly found myself taking congregations through significant transitions without realizing that was what was taking place. When I realized that this was what I was doing, I developed a sense that serving congregations in transition was my specific call. So, I decided to seek additional training to allow me to pursue this call. Trinity is now my third call as an Interim Pastor.

I see my ministry as one of accompaniment. I accompany a congregation through its time of transition. As part of that accompaniment I work with congregation leaders and other members to develop a strategic plan for the interim time. I am not here to tell you who you are or what you should be. I am here to help you build upon what you already are and have been and then to discern what it is that God is calling you to be.

Serving as an Interim Minister is often bittersweet. The sweet is seeing the excitement of a congregation that is transformed. The bitter (or not so sweet) comes in knowing that an Interim Minister does not establish the depth of relationships that often comes with a regular call.

So, as I enter into my third month of serving as your Interim, I can say that I am glad to be here, and I look forward to accompanying the members of Trinity in this journey.

Yours in Christ,
Dennis Kelly, Interim Pastor