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September 2007—In this Issue:
View the entire issue as a full-color PDF via the link below:
September 2007 HeartBeat (PDF)
A Culture of Welcome
One of the comments I hear most often from our guests in worship is “What a friendly congregation you have here!” Lei greetings, helpful ushers, outgoing greeters, and friendly members help visitors to feel comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. My family has certainly experienced a wonderful welcome since our arrival, and it is wonderful to see that same spirit shared with our guests. The culture of welcome here at LCH is one of the key items that came up in our recent Ohana meetings. When asked “What is God up to at LCH?” many of you answered, “Helping us to be congregation that welcomes everyone.” A visible expression of our welcome is Lutheran Church of Honolulu’s commitment as a Reconciling in Christ congregation. We are one of a few congregations on the Oahu who have made a firm and public statement welcoming gay, lesbian, and transgendered persons into the full and grace-filled ministry of our church. While many congregations are willing to share a pew or minister to LGBT folks, it is rare to find a community of faith willing challenge its own bigotry, assumptions, and even its parent church in order to extend the welcome Christ extends to all folks. I have watched strangers, long-lost members, tourists and neighbors walk timidly into our imposing nave and leave at the end of the service with a huge smile. As Pastor, I am humbled and delighted to be a part of this.
Of course, our congregation is not of one mind or heart. Not everyone is welcoming, and sometimes we simply fail at sharing God’s Aloha with our visitors, our community, and even our own members. Most of us can share stories about how we have been betrayed, hurt, or disappointed by the church. I suspect that in our most honest moments, we could identify many times when we ourselves have betrayed, hurt, or disappointed our brothers and sisters in Christ. We sometimes fail to love one another as Christ commanded. Sometimes we drive people away with our stubbornness and pride or ignore those deeply in need of the Word of grace and a welcoming smile. In those times we lean on the prayer we pray each week: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” And then we bend our forgiven selves back to the task of sharing Christ’s welcome.
Part of that task is continuously developing the culture of welcome at LCH. Dr. Pat Kiefert, faculty at Luther Seminary has been studying matters related to congregational hospitality for years and has many suggestions to help congregation be more hospitable. In one of his lectures he reminded us that being “friendly” and practicing “hospitality” are not the same thing. Congregational members are often “friendly,”...with each other. They even institute programs and classes to help visitors understand “how things work here.” Hospitality goes much further by removing barriers that keep the stranger a stranger. True hospitality does not seek to acculturate the stranger to “be like us.” Authentic hospitality helps the stranger to “truly be themselves in Christ.” That means gay people get be gay—even in church! Children get to be children—even in church. You get to be you, warts and all—even in church. Not only that, we will love you for it.
Like every congregation, our journey into a culture of Christ-like welcome is not complete. We have a firm foundation in the welcome with which Christ welcomes us. In the power of the Holy spirit may be continue to share God’s Aloha as God’s missionaries to the world.
Pastor Jeff Lilley
Make a donation (up to $249.00 per person) t LCH at any Foodland or Sack N Save checkout between September 1 and 30, 2007, using our organization’s code below, and Foodland and the Western Union Foundation will match donations up to a total of $285,000 for all organizations combined.
Our Organization Code is 78224
There is good news as the books closed in July. Giving reached $124,028 for the year, or 87% of the $142,289 that the congregation budgeted. We are closing the gap! Also in July, nearly $1,000 was contributed toward the Capital Campaign.
By Peggy Anderson
To empty shelves...“littles”;
Fill the spaces.
To an empty stomach,
They fill the need.
To an empty soul,
They fill the spirit.
To empty hearts,
They give hope.
One Friday, I arrived at the Angel Network; the shelves were lacking the usual abundance of tuna, Vienna sausage, Spam, and canned fruits—even Pork and Beans was slim. But, hooray, the delivery from LCH arrived.
After stocking the shelves with our donations, I saw the little spaces narrow, and I began to feel God’s spirit. The meat shelf began to “stock up.” Now someone’s hunger would be filled.
The miracle continued when the empty souls arrived. They were grateful, and they left with souls filled with compassion.
The empty hearts—filled like a sponge with caring, and the hope that the emptiness “in our community” would be filled with LOVE.
Please remember to bring your donations for the Angel Network on the first Sunday of every month (September 2, October 14, November 4, and December 2).
Several members of the congregation have asked to learn or re-learn basic crochet. Instruction will be available at the In Stitches group which meets every second and fourth Saturday of the month in the Board Room from 9:00 to 11:00 am. We have the hooks and yarn; all you need to bring is the willingness to learn.
We will continue to work on church projects and our own projects at these meetings. Come and join us. The next few meetings are as follows: September 8 and 22 and October 13 and 27.
For more information or encouragement, contact Linda Miller through the Church Office (941-2566).
Saturday, September 8 at 9:30 am
Sunday, September 9 at 12 noon
Isenberg Hall, LCH
Monthly presentations on various topics from the perspective of Process philosophy/theology will resume in September. Fritz Fritschel will discuss the theological, scientific, and philosophical strains of thought that came together in the early 20th century to shape the Process perspective. Sunday’s presentation will follow the 10:30 a.m. LCH service, and a light lunch will be provided.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
4:00 pm at Lutheran Church of Honolulu
The Lutheran Church of Honolulu and Hawai‘i Vocal Arts Ensemble will present a concert in memory of Carol Arnold featuring music of Bach, Mozart, and Brahms.
The program will include J. S. Bach “Cantata 106: Gottes Zeit ist die Allerbeste Zeit,” Mozart “Litaniae Lauretanae, K.195,” and Brahms “Nšnie.” Soloists include Georgine Stark, soprano, Carl Crosier, alto, Douglas Hall, tenor, and Timothy Carney, baritone in the Bach; and Rosanna Perch, Chandra Peters, Stephanie Shade, soprano, Susan Purnell, alto, Wayne R. ‘Doc’ Wilson, tenor, and Nicholas Walters, bass in the Mozart. Conductors will be Timothy Carney and Carl Crosier, Katherine Crosier, organ, and Eric Schank, piano. Poster (PDF)
Tickets are $20 general admission;
$15 senior and military; $5 students.
Call the LCH church office at 941-2566 to reserve ticket(s).
The next Lunch Bunch is on Sunday, September 9. Everyone will meet in the LCH courtyard at 12:00 noon then decide where to go. Please join us!
For more information, contact Stephanie Miller through the Church Office (941-2566).
Writers’ Workshop will meet on Monday, September 17, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in the Board Room at LCH.
The meetings for the Fall 2007 season is as follows: October 15, November 12, December 10, and to kick off the new year, January 7.
For more information, please contact Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
Game Night is at Stephanie Miller’s home, the fourth Saturdays of every month, starting at 6:30 pm. The next Game Night is on Saturday, September 22. It’s a potluck, so bring a dish of your choice, and a game!
For directions to Stephanie’s home or for more information, call the Church Office (941-2566).
The next Food For Thought will be at Irmgard Hörmann’s on Saturday, September 22. All are welcome to this video/pot luck social get-together. For information, contact Linda Miller through the Church Office (941-2566) after September 10.
Come along with Carl and Kathy Crosier as they share photos, music and memories of their recent trip to Germany and Switzerland on Friday, September 14, at 6:30 pm. They attended the ten-day Leipzig Bach Festival in June, which held concerts in St. Thomas and St. Nikolai Churches, where Bach worked as a church musician for 27 years. The evening will include a 30-minute audio slideshow, guaranteed not to put anyone to sleep! Bring a potluck dish to share.
The Mutual Ministry Team extends their deepest appreciation for the large number of LCH members and friends who took part in the Ohana Gatherings during May through July. About 100 members and friends attended one or more sessions.
Our generous hosts included Stephen and Selena Schmidt, Carol Langner and Fritz Fritschel, Jeanette Hanson, Mary Fastenau and Jeanne Castello, April Smith and Carolyn Koehler, Peter and Jan Flachsbart, Jimmy and Olivia Castro, Peggy Anderson, Peter Lee and Michael Formby, and Pastor Jeff and Jean Lilley. They opened their hearts to make all of us welcome and comfortable, whether at home or at the church. For the kupuna of our congregation, Brian Weiss hosted a special event at the Waioli Tea Room. You shared your thoughts and ideas about “What is God Up To at LCH?” Members of Mutual Ministry Team and other volunteers captured the notes from each session.
So now what? The notes are being collated and key themes identified by the Mutual Ministry Team. These findings will be shared with the congregation and with Jim Niermann of the Ministry Planning Task Force. Besides these recent Ohana Gatherings, you have participated in many previous events to identify opportunities to move LCH into a new phase of ministry to the community we serve. Together, all of these findings will be synthesized into our Ministry Plan that will take us into our future at LCH to which Pastor Jeff Lilley has been called to serve.
Congratulations to Sean and Charlotte D’Evelyn on the birth of their son, who was born on August 15, 2007. He was 8 lbs. 15 ozs. Two photos of the proud parents and baby are posted in the Courtyard at LCH.
Baptized on Sunday, August 26,2007, was baby Sueda, who was born on March 29, 2007, in Honolulu, to Kelly and Alexandra Sueda. She is the granddaughter of Stephen and Linda Miller and the niece of Stephanie Miller.
It was a truly joyous celebration! My nieces and nephews and their offspring, my relatives from distant shores, my childhood friends, my LCH family, and five beloved pastors filled The Hörmann Courtyard with music, storytelling, teasing and laughter.
All of you by your presence, relieved me of the stress of turning “90.” You turned this milestone birthday into a memorable, joyous celebration.
Thank you for your kindness, for our generosity, and for your endless love.
We received the following thank you for the rainbow scarves we made for the national assembly. We were able to send 10 scarves from LCH.
From Jerry Vagts, LC/NA Grassroots Coordinator:
Words cannot express our thanks and appreciation to all who participated in the Rainbow Scarves Project. It began as a simple idea and grew into a wonderful joining of hands, hearts and stories to share a message of love and support to LGBT Lutherans and their Church. Thank you for making it happen.
We had hoped for 500 and then knitters and crocheters all over the country went to work and we had close to 2,000 scarves to share. They were worn by the volunteers of Goodsoil. It allowed people to know they had a story to share. As the week progressed, more and more people asked to wear them. People on the street would stop and ask what they were for and almost always were wonderfully supportive.
People wearing them kept coming up to me to share a story of the scarf they had randomly chosen and a connection with the person or congregation who made it. A pastor had recently buried a congregational member...one who had been especially supportive of her and her partner. After wearing a scarf for a day, her partner noticed a tag on the scarf...it had been made by the departed parishioner’s mother’s conservative, rural, home congregation. We will never know the distance or impact the scarves have reached. All of you made that happen.
We brought 18 home with us; all that were left. Everyone needed just one more to share with a loved one, a pastor, a gay child, a parent, a friend. Who knows how long the stories will continue. And you made it happen. You, the members in the pew, willing to devote time and attention for the creation of beauty to represent the love we know the Lutheran Church has for all people.
The Holy Spirit was with you as you worked one stitch at a time and it was there with us in Chicago laying lightly on our shoulders as we witnessed to others, Jesus’ love for all.
Bill Potter, webmaster
In last month’s Heart Beat, I wrote about the new LCH Table Talk discussion forum that was being added to our website. The forum “went live” on August 12, and we have already attracted some members. I encourage you to register as a member and get involved in the discussions.
If you saw the latest issue of The Lutheran, you may have read the feature article on “Lutheran laryngitis.” The writer asserts that we Lutherans are reluctant to talk about our faith with others because we don’t have much experience doing it—even in the supportive environment of our congregations. But the magazine does more than identify the problem. There are several “sidebars,” including a list of ten simple (but not easy) ways to practice faith sharing. If you don’t have your copy of The Lutheran, you can find the article, along with the suggested cures, online at <www.thelutheran.org>.
LCH Table Talk gives us several opportunities to start “talking” about our faith in the safety of our LCH ‘ohana. Let me highlight two:
In addition to these two opportunities for faith conversation, the forums can also enhance the fellowship in the groups we have at LCH. Since LCH Table Talk is in its first weeks, there aren’t any forums for individual groups in the Committees and Groups section, but it only takes a couple of minutes to create one for any group at LCH. All you have to do is ask. You can use your forum for general discussion related to your group or use the polls function for planning or decision-making. If you’re part of a group that wants to carry on your discussion and planning out of public view, we can even create a private forum that can only be accessed by your members.
How do you get involved in the discussion forums? Just follow any of the links from our current web pages, or go to <www.lchwelcome.org/forum>. Anyone can read the public forums, but to post your thoughts, you need to become a registered member.
Once you become a member, you can choose a small graphic “avatar” to identify yourself visually and add some information about yourself to your profile. (And there are tools to control how much of your information others see.) To cut down on junk postings and discourage outsiders from publicizing their own sites on ours, new members cannot include outside links in their messages until they have posted five times. As part of the registration process, you will need to enter some letters and numbers shown on the registration screen. This is to keep out “spammers,” so the letters are a bit distorted. If you have trouble with your registration, just email me, and I will help you get registered.
LCH Table Talk is another tool for building and enhancing our sense of community at LCH, so I encourage you to get involved. Please feel free to call or email any questions or comments, or talk to me at church.
Here are some helpful hints for sharing a spirit of welcome to our guests:
Over the past few weeks some of our members have been busy cleaning up and cleaning out our campus. Items that have not been used for many years have been donated to other organizations; damaged and unusable items have been discarded. Additional storage units have been purchased that will allow us to better utilize our limited storage space. For a few weeks, you may not be able to locate certain items as they may have been moved. Please accept our apology for the inconvenience. We ask your continued patience until the project is complete. As a part of the clean up, we are asking ministry chairpersons to inventory their storage areas so that when people ask “Where is...?” we can refer to a list and assist them to find needed items.
Mahalo for your patience.
Next Heart Beat Deadline is Tuesday, September 18!
Copyright © 2007 Lutheran Church of Honolulu
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