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November 2007—In this Issue:
View the entire issue as a full-color PDF via the link below:
November 2007 HeartBeat (PDF)
A Thankful Heart
A large and apparently heavy shopping bag swung from her walker as she shuffled toward the door leading into Sears. She was like a stone in the narrows of a stream. Those trying to get out of the store rushed by one side, and those trying to get in bumped past her shopping bag and jostled one another in a mildly annoyed fashion. By the time she reached the door, things were backing up around her, but she could not let go of her walker to open the door. She was stuck, and the river of shoppers impatiently squirted past her through adjoining doors.
I started to step around her to get by when I realized she was stuck. Helping her move back a few inches to clear the door, I held it open for her and she hobbled through. She paused and spoke a few words in Japanese that I did not understand and with eyes clear and bright said “thank you.” The whole transaction took only a few seconds, but she seemed very grateful for a simple act of kindness that cost nothing and took no time. She was thankful for my action, and I was thankful for the grace I saw in her eyes.
Our lives are filled with opportunities to give kindness and live thankfully. We can become so focused on our own needs and our own journey that we fail to appreciate the life of the brother or sister walking right beside us. That unnoticed life may be filled with God’s story of grace, a thankful heart, or an amazing tale of redemption. If we rush by bent toward the goal of our own achievements or our own incredibly important tasks, we miss an opportunity to love and be loved. We miss a sparkle of thank you in an old woman’s eyes.
Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan is often quoted as a guide to how we should treat one another. But the parable is more than a morality tale urging people to be nice. It is an unfolding of grace in the lives of two people whose unlikely relationship illustrates the power of God’s wondrous love! While others rushed by the bleeding and broken man, the Samaritan chose to help; he chose to spend himself for the sake of another. We will never know if the two men in the story became life-long friends, or if they never encountered one another again. But we can be sure that each was changed by the encounter. Grace does that to you.
Each day in my prayers, I give thanks for many gifts God has bestowed on my family, the world, and me. It is an easy list to compile. But in my prayers I often return to the eyes of a little old woman outside Sears in Ala Moana Center. I doubt she realized that my gift of opening the door for her was nothing compared to the gift of her thankfulness. I doubt I will ever see that little old woman shuffling around with her walker again. But in my prayers, I see her eyes, windows to a heart of thankfulness.
Pastor Jeff Lilley
Crescent C., daughter of Laurie Leach, was confirmed on October 28, Reformation Sunday. Having completed her studies last spring, Crescent spent the fall semester working on a Credo paper in preparation for her confirmation. The paper was an opportunity for her to express how her faith has developed and matured, as well as how she hopes to live out that faith in the future. Congratulations, Crescent!
One of my favorite activities when I’m traveling is going to plays. Yes, I like art galleries and music concerts; however, there’s something special with a play. It might be the story, maybe it’s the actors, or it might be the discussion after the show...“What did the playwright have in mind?” Yes, I enjoyed the shows in London on my trip this past month, but my favorite was one at the Plymouth Playhouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was inspired by the book Growing Up Lutheran by Janet Letnes-Martin and Suzann Nelson. A husband and wife team, Jim Stowell and Jessica Zuehlke, wrote the play; music and lyrics were by Drew Jensen. The play is a musical comedy entitled Church Basement Ladies. The play takes place in the early 1960s, so of course, I can relate. The play is about relationships and change—change in their lives, the community, and the church.
I think about LCH and our relationships. I think about LCH and our changes. I hope and pray that they will be blessed and meaningful. I hope we laugh more, pray more, give more, share more, and do more.
This brings me to stewardship. I hope all of you will reflect on what God is doing in our lives, the community, and the church. I hope you will help us here at LCH reach our goals and budgets so we can continue to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in all our programs and activities.
Not a part of an Adult Study on Sunday Morning? Join Pastor Jeff to talk story about your faith each Sunday morning at 9:15. Bring your stories, questions, curiosity, or desire to fall in love with God and each other to the circle of chairs located near the water cooler in the Hörmann Courtyard. This is an informal time of sharing for persons of any age.
Pastor Jeff will host a Bible study on Tuesday mornings in November and December, beginning at 10:00 am and ending by 11:15. The first six sessions will prepare us for Advent and Christmas by studying the birth narratives of Jesus along with the scriptures focusing on the end times. Persons of every age are invited and encouraged to attend. If you are able to provide transportation for our kupuna, or if you need transportation, please contact Pastor Jeff at the church office, 941-2566.
Our life together at LCH and our life in Christ bring us so much joy that our hearts overflow and many of us give to our church as a thankful expression of that joy. So this year your Stewardship Committee is organizing our stewardship activities around the theme “giving from the heart.”
Several of our members gave temple talks to share their thoughts about “giving from the heart.” Mitchell G. spoke of the excitement he felt in planning (with help from Mom!) a benefit concert for Heifer International. Crescent C. told us about her experience in giving at Camp Wapo. April Smith reminded us what St. Paul taught about sharing our gifts and being generous. Jerelyn Watanabe reminisced about what it was like growing up at LCH and serving as an acolyte, and then as an adult being asked to share her gift of singing by participating in choir and serving on the Mutual Ministry Team. Bob Tellander and Sean D’Evelyn will share their thoughts with us on November 4. Thanks to all these volunteers and also thanks to Carolyn Koehler for her help in producing our printed material. These are just a few examples of how folks at LCH are “giving from the heart.”
We hope you all have received our Stewardship mailing that included a letter, pie chart, pledge card, and EFT form. If you have not received a packet, please call the church office at 941-2566, and we will get the materials to you as soon as possible. You can also read the materials on the LCH website at <www.lchwelcome.org/life/stewardship.html>.
This year we encourage everyone in our ‘ohana to make a written pledge—a simple agreement between you and God to “give from the heart” and a way to remind yourself to be a regular, faithful giver. Pledging is also a great help for our church leaders as they plan for the daily operations, ministries and outreach programs at LCH. Good things can be done with whatever contribution you are able to make.
You are welcome to turn in your pledge cards on Sundays in the offering plates or during the week at the church office. Our dedication of pledges will be at both morning services on November 11.
Thanks to all of you for your prayerful consideration and plans to “give from the heart” to LCH in 2008 and beyond.
Your Stewardship Committee
This year’s Lutherfest will be on Saturday, November 10th, at 5:30 pm, in the Hörmann Courtyard. Join us for a fun evening of entertainment (including a visit from Kate and Martin?), a silent auction (see below), and a wonderful LCH potluck dinner. Main dishes of bratwursts and roast chicken will be provided.
If you are able to contribute to the potluck, here are the suggested items:
In addition, nursery care will be available, with fun and games provided for the keiki.
Please RSVP to the office by Monday, November 4th, with a headcount of number of adults and children under 12 years old.
During some recent “housecleaning” at LCH, we uncovered some surplus treasures, and we would like the opportunity to liquidate them and help ourselves at the same time. Thus the idea of a Silent Auction at the upcoming Lutherfest was born.
The items include things such as one-of-a-kind jewelry, vases, and other assorted handcrafts. The values of the items for bid range from $15 to $950. And to encourage us, Thrivent will match funds raised up to $1,300. The monies raised from this auction will go towards seed money to repave the back parking lot on our Punahou Street campus.
Francisco Barajas has graciously agreed to be our Auctioneer. Let’s put some FUN in FUNdraising and come prepared to bid on these treasures and help to get things smoothed over in the parking lot!
The LCH craft group, In Stitches, will continue to meet through the Fall. The meeting dates are as follows: November 10 and 24 and December 8 and 22—the second and fourth Saturdays of each month—in the Board Room, from 9:00 to 11:00 am.
We work on church projects, or our own projects, and encourage each other in our art. For more information call Linda Miller through the Church Office (941-2566).
November’s Process Forum will focus on a recent book by Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great. One of the several works known as part of “The New Atheism,” Hitchens’ book takes some swipes at his understanding of some of the religious activity and thought of today. He makes no references to Process Thought, but that is no reason we cannot respond to his arguments from the process perspective. Come even if you do not know much about process thought.
Join us on Saturday, November 10, 9:30-11:00 am for presentation and discussion led by Fritz Fritschel. A repeat session will be held on Sunday, November 11, at 12:00 noon, both times at Lutheran Church of Honolulu.
Writers’ Workshop will meet next on Monday, November 12, 7:00-8:30 pm in the Board Room (or the Rainbow Room) at LCH.
The schedule for the Fall 2007 season ends with a session on December 10. And to kick off the new year, our next session is scheduled for January 7.
Lunch Bunch will meet on Sunday, November 14. Everyone will gather in the LCH courtyard at 12:00 noon and decide where to go from there. Please join us! For more information, call Stephanie Miller through the Church Office (941-2566).
The last month’s Game Night was lots of fun. Ten people attended. You are invited to the next one on Saturday, November 24 (the fourth Saturdays of the month), at 6:30 pm at Stephanie Miller’s home. It’s a potluck, so bring a dish of your choice and a game!
For directions to Steff’s home or for more information, contact her through the Church Office (941-2566).
Consider skipping a restaurant meal during December, and pledge the $15.00 or $20.00 you save toward fasting & feasting.
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans has awarded LCH a $1600 matching grant for their Care Abounds in Communities collaboration with individual congregations. They will match anything we raise (up to $1600), and our combined contribution will go to Kokua Kalihi Valley (KKV), specifically earmarked for medical care for Pacific Islander immigrants.
KKV was started over 30 years ago by Jory Watland, a local Lutheran pastor. Over the years, it has become a major social service agency in the Kalihi area, providing medical, dental, translation, social work, and many other services to immigrant families. Presently, Pacific Islanders make up a large group of new residents in our state, and the support of KKV is invaluable as they transition to a new life in Hawai‘i.
Because of the calendar stipulations of Thrivent, all donations to fasting & feasting must be made before Christmas. Please be sure to include “fasting & feasting” on your check. May our own blessings be enriched by sharing with others in our community.
Food for Thought will meet for our usual monthly potluck supper and discussion at the home of Irmgard Hörmann on Saturday, December 1, at 6:30 pm. All are welcome. For directions or information, please contact Linda Miller through the Church Office (941-2566).
Bill Potter, webmaster
Again this month, there have been lots of routine additions to the LCH website. If you look around, you’ll find new pictures with Pastor Jeff on the Worship page, and in the Congregational Life section, there are a variety of pictures and short articles about events at LCH, an archive of Pastor’s LCH E-News, electronic copies of all the stewardship materials, and texts of recent Temple Talks in case you missed one.
In last month’s column, I wrote that I would be working on a revision of our home page and the overall look of the site, and that process is nearing completion. A couple of weeks ago, I shared a first draft with members of our Communications Committee. They were all very generous with comments—both favorable and otherwise—and suggestions to incorporate in a revised draft. Just before writing this column, I sent them the next version, and if everything goes well, you may see some subtle but significant changes in the website by the time you get this issue of The HeartBeat. Here are some changes, to look for
Thanks to Pastor Jeff and members of the Communications Committee for their help in developing this “non-extreme make-over” of the LCH website. I welcome your comments on the changes or on any other aspect of the website.
Save The Food Basket is a non-profit community activity which supplies food, dry goods, and meals to people who are disabled with HIV/AIDS. Your commitment to this project in the past has been greatly appreciated.
This year, LCH has been asked to collect 150 bottles of dish liquid and another 150 bottles of laundry detergent in approximately 12 oz. sizes. The recipients cannot purchase these items with food stamps.
Please bring your items to LCH for collection by Saturday, December 1.
Pastor Jeff will lead a book study on Kelly Fryer’s book Reclaiming the “C” Word: Daring to be Church Again, beginning in January. The congregational council is currently studying this book as part of their monthly devotions. Rev. Fryer challenges the current structures of the church and calls us to reclaim our missional heritage in the context of a changing culture. She makes a convincing argument that the Lutheran Church has a gift to give that the world is desperate to receive. If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact Pastor Jeff at the church office, 941-2566. Look for more information in the December HeartBeat!
A great big “Thank you!” goes out to the 25 members and friends of LCH who participated in Foodland’s Give Aloha program during the month of September. Because of your generosity and the support of Foodland and the Western Union Foundation, we now have $5,976.23 more for the mission of LCH.
LCH actually received two checks: one for $4,727.00—the amount directed to LCH by contributors—and another for $1,249.23—the amount of Foodland and Western Union’s matching funds coming to LCH.
For those who turned in copies of your Give Aloha receipts, your contributions will appear on your LCH giving statements. A few asked that their contributions be directed towards the music program, benefit concerts, capital improvements, and the Hörmann Courtyard, but most of the money will go to the general fund.
Next Heart Beat Deadline is Tuesday, November 21!
Out of the mouths of God’s kids
A sixth-grader stood up in class and gave this politically correct report on the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday:
“The pilgrims came here seeking freedom of you know what.
“When they landed, they gave thanks to you know who.
“Because of them, we can worship each Sunday, you know where.”
—via Rev. Karl R. Kraft
Bud Frimoth of Portland, OR, passed on these actual answers from students on their music exams:
Copyright © 2007 Lutheran Church of Honolulu
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