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November 2008—In this Issue:
View the entire issue as a full-color PDF via the link below:
November 2008 HeartBeat (PDF)
Where, then is hope?
In the parable of the house built upon a rock, Jesus says that everyone who hears his word and acts on it is like a person who built a home on a rock. When the wind blew and the rain beat on it, it withstood the onslaught. But those who do not hear and act on God’s word are like a person who built their house on sand. When the wind and rain came, the house tumbled to the ground. This passage in Matthew 7 came to me as I thought about the ongoing economic crisis. With the wisdom of hindsight, financial sages now point to high-risk mortgages and their attendant financial instruments and recognize them as a “house built on sand” that crumbled unexpectedly. Although much of the rhetoric has focused on Main Street versus Wall Street, the fact of the matter is that a lot of folks are hurting from this crisis. Yes, some of them took risks and lost. But others went happily to work each day unaware of the sand beneath their feet until the day their pink slip arrived on their desk. Still others, confronted with mortgage foreclosures and financial ruin have committed suicide rather than face the shame of failure. They, and we, are looking for hope. The promise of financial security and uninterrupted economic growth has not worked out quite like some folks expected. My question is this: Why did we place our hope there in the first place?
While in Mexico during my sabbatical, I lived with Maria and her brother. He ran a small dry cleaning business above which they lived in a modest flat. Like their neighbors, they worked several jobs to make ends meet and certainly did not have a pension or own stock. Yet each day they made their way to church for prayer, put a few pennies in the poor box, and went on their way. On my walk to school, I passed hundreds of others doing much the same thing. Their hope was not measured so much in worldly goods but in their love for God and the love they shared with family and friends. Certainly there is nothing ideal about being financially poor, but in my limited observation, it seemed as though they had built their houses on firm ground. They not only believed in God, they believed God. Family was not an inconvenient impediment to work; it was their first work. Hope for these folks was not a win of the lottery or a spike in the market but a quiet and powerful approach to life that honored God, loved family, and valued honesty.
I certainly do not mean to demonize our economic system or idealize my experience in Mexico (a place of amazing poverty). I simply do not think the stock market or home values are good instruments for bearing hope. Jesus was clear that Caesar could keep his money. Instead, he gifted us with his word and called us to act on it. That word calls us to love God and our neighbor, feed the hungry, make peace, share our wealth, and know that God will always fulfill God’s promises. The riches God promises have little to do with financial prosperity but everything to do with the prosperity of love. Our hope is built on the rock of God’s loving and abiding promise. The cross of Jesus bears witness to this promise and calls us to lives of compassion and service. As we move through the current economic crisis. Perhaps we can find ways to partner with those who are in crisis and share God’s word of hope. Perhaps we can help construct a world built on the Rock!
Please help Christine Dolfo (sister of Beverly Shelton and Ivan Kaeo) pay medical expenses for her breast cancer surgery and chemotherapy. Make checks payable to LCH and note Christine Dolfo on the memo line.
Mary Fastenau, Council Secretary
The LCH Council met on October 14, 2008. Here is a brief recap of the items discussed.
Eugene H. Peterson, writer of The Message, gives us this contemporary translation of 2 Corinthians 9: 12–13. “You show your gratitude through your generous offerings. Giving is what we do best. It is the air into which we were born. It is the action that was designed into us before our birth. Giving is the way the world is. Our life is for others. That is the way creation works.”
Mahalo to all who have supported our “Slow and Steady Step-Up” Stewardship program for 2009.
We enjoyed several rounds of lively honu ‘ohana gatherings where we discussed what stewardship means and shared our goals for LCH for the coming year.
Our pledges were presented in worship on October 26, and everyone who submitted a pledge will be receiving a confirmation letter shortly. Of course, you are still welcome to turn in your pledge card if you have not already done so. Feel free to drop pledges in the offering plate, mail them to the church, or bring them by the office. Our goal is to have 100% member commitment to LCH for 2009.
All of the stewardship materials are available on the LCH website, or you can call the office, and Kanani will be happy to send you the materials. You can also ask one of the team members listed below, and they will be happy to provide you with information.
Keep an eye on the honu and see how your generous offerings are used to spread God’s good news!
Your Stewardship Committee
There’s no argument that the people of LCH are busy folks. One way to save time and ensure that you never forget your pledge is to sign up for Simply Giving, a system of electronic funds transfer (EFT) offered by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Under this system, once you sign up, your pledge magically disappears from your saving or checking account and appears in LCH’s account. Simply Giving is safe and easy, and there is no charge to you or LCH. We already have more than a dozen folks using Simply Giving, so why not give it a try?
To begin using Simply Giving, just fill in the form you got in your pledge packet and return it to the Church Office along with your cancelled check. You can opt to have your contribution deducted every week (on either Monday or Friday) or every month (on the first or fifteenth). In addition to pledging to the general fund, you can also designate money for capital improvements or other items in the budget. There are even a few people who are adding an extra monthly contribution to Angel Network. Talk to Bill Potter if you have any questions.
One last note for those who are already using Simply Giving: If you want to increase or change your pledge, please provide all the information requested on the form and sign it, but you do not need to submit a new cancelled check.
Checking out entries in the Red Jello Contest at LutherFest. More pictures in the LutherFest Slideshow.
Gather in giving! The October in-gathering for the Angel Network was satisfying. A shopping cart with saimin, canned goods, Spam, and personal care items was collected for the Angel Network located at Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church. Thank you all for your support. In-gatherings are scheduled for the first Sunday of every month, so your next opportunity to participate is November 2.
Sunday, November 2, at 11:45 a.m. (and on the first Sunday of every month), the chairperson or another representative of each committee will meet in the Pastor’s office with Pastor Jeff Lilley and the Council President Brian Weis. This is to enhance communications between all committees. See you all there!
Our supply of leis is down. We need your help to replenish the supply. You can make these lei at home or at the In Stitches meetings the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 9:00 to 11:00 in the boardroom. You can also just come to In Stitches to work on your own project or to join in the fellowship. Our next few meetings are November 8 and 22 and December 13 and 27.
Do not be frightened off by the topic of “Relativity.” One way to think of it is to think of questions like “Where can we stand to get a good view of the world?” and “What is an appropriate perspective?” Marsha Schweitzer has agreed to help us out a bit on this topic. In fact, it was her suggestion and request to deal with this issue. It should be exciting and stimulating. An article by Robert B. Mellert, “Theology and Relativity,” is available through the website Religion Online. The first session is Saturday, November 8th, 9:30–11:00 a.m. at Lutheran Church of Honolulu. A repeat session (without Marsha Schweitzer) will be held on Sunday, November 9th, around 12:00 noon.
Writers’ Workshop will meet on Monday, November 17, 7:00–8:30 p.m. in the Boardroom (or the Rainbow Room) at the LCH. The Fall 2008 schedule includes one more meeting on December 15.
For more information, please contact Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
The Mary Magdalene Society a sale of goods in the Hörmann Courtyard on Saturday, November 15th, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you would like a table, please sign up in the courtyard between and after services. Individuals will be responsible for setting up their own table, sales, and removing all of their left over goods at the end of the day. There is one more must: you must donate a minimum of 15% of your sales to Lutheran Church of Honolulu. You will be on your honor. Of course, you may donate your entire proceeds to the church if you wish. This is a fund raiser for capital improvements. Please bring items that will be of good use. You might consider this a pre-Christmas sale for gift giving. Doors will be open for setup at 7:00 a.m. and all must be ready by 9:00 a.m.
The Lutheran Church of Honolulu Choir will join forces with the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir on Sunday, November 2nd, at 5:30 p.m. in a choral evensong service for All Saints. Under the direction of Carl Crosier, the choirs will sing “Justorum animae” by Stanford, the Evening Canticles (Collegium Regale) by Howells, and “Faire is the heaven” by Harris. Cathedral musician John Renke will play the organ.
Over the years, the two choirs have sung several joint choir services, the last of which was the Bruckner “Mass in E minor” in 2003 as a benefit for the Institute for Human Services.
All are welcome to attend the Choral Evensong which will take place at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, 229 Queen Emma Square. Further information may be obtained by calling the Cathedral office at 524-2822.
You are cordially invited to the Lutheran Church of Honolulu’s 34th Annual Advent Procession service on Sunday, November 30th, at 7:30 p.m. The service is based on the Great “O” Antiphons, which refer to the seven names of the Messiah: O Wisdom, O Adonai, O Root of Jesse, O Key of David, O Rising Dawn, O King of Nations, and O Emmanuel. The “O” Antiphons were the inspiration for the beloved Advent hymn, “O come, o come Emmanuel,” which will close the service in an arrangement by choirmaster Carl Crosier set for congregation, choir and handbells.
Church members have fabricated banners for each symbol, which will be presented in procession during each corresponding lesson and musical selection. Carols and anthems by Peter R. Hallock, William Mathias, Anton Bruckner, Peter Maxwell Davies, Andreas Hammerschmidt, Herbert Howells, and Bob Chilcott will be performed by the LCH Choir and Compline Choir.
Invite your family and friends to this special holiday service for a memorable evening and worship service. Poster (PDF)
Bill Potter, Webmaster
It’s been more than a year since I reported on our website stats, and recently I have gotten access to additional information about visitors to our site, so this seems like a good time to return to this topic.
By way of background, every time you visit a page on the Internet, the server that gives you access to the page also records your computer’s IP address (the set of numbers that identifies each computer on the Internet), the page you requested, the page you came from, and if you came via a search engine, the search terms you used. Our service provider analyzes those server logs to generate stats on individual websites.
Here are the main stats for the month of September:
One question I haven’t been able to answer in the past has been where our visitors come from. Because our ISP does not provide that breakdown, I registered us with Google Analytics, which can give us that information. Google does not have access to our sever logs, so I had to add a bit of Java script to the bottom of each of our pages to send the information to Google. So far, I only have data for the month of October, but the results are interesting. Since the Google stats are derived in a very different way from the server stats, the absolute numbers do not correspond precisely, so let me break down visitor origins by percentages.
Walter C. Williams, long time member of LCH, died from complications of the AIDS virus in April, 1990, just before Easter. He had served on the Church Council and contributed to congregational life through his talents as a choir member and liturgical artist. A memorial fund was established with the monetary gifts contributed in his honor at the time of his passing. The current value of $963.20 will help pay for the new shelving in the LCH Music Library, housed behind the organ. An appropriate plaque will be posted near by.
In addition to the Walter Williams Fund, Walter gave LCH another legacy. His coming out about his sexuality, and openly dealing with his illness and death, launched the congregation on a journey of discovery. Many members contributed to Walter’s care during his last days, visiting him in the hospital, singing by his bedside, cooking him meals, cleaning out his apartment after his death. We were touched and changed by the struggle of this gentle man. Walter’s courage and witness to his faith eventually led to our congregational vote to become a “Reconciling in Christ” church, publicly welcoming and affirming LGTB persons into full membership. Other major events in the early 1990s also encouraged LCH members to move in this direction, but Walter was there at the start of the journey. We give thanks for Walter’s life and continued blessings to this congregation.
We want to thank you once again for your ongoing and generous contributions to the Angel Network Charities food bank. As you are all well aware, with the current crisis in our economy, all of the food banks find themselves unable to meet the increased necessity to provide sustenance to our sisters and brothers in need.
You all know how crucial the support of your congregation is to everyone in our community, from Wai‘anae to Waimanalo. You are indeed, “Blessed to be a blessing.”
Once again, our heartfelt thanks, and God’s blessings to you and your whole congregation.
LCH would like to graciously thank Don and Biz Person for donating two vehicles to the congregation. The total donation to LCH was $6,605.43, with proceeds going to the Luther Place mortgage. We would like to send a big mahalo to Don and Biz for their donation and continued support.
Thanks for the wonderful summer and continued support!
As part of the Foodland Give Aloha campaign, twenty-five contributions were made to LCH, for a total of $5,524. Many contributions were designated for special purposes: $3,177 for capital improvements and $489 for music. Foodland and Western Union matched a portion of the contributions, resulting in $1,410.10 in additon to your donations, and this was allocated in porportion to the amounts designated.
Next Heart Beat Deadline is Tuesday, November 18!
Signs and wonders
Thanksgiving Day sign outside Faith Temple Church, Sioux Falls, SD: “As you fill your car with expensive gasoline, be tankful!”
—via Pastor Jeff Hayes
“God wants full custody, not just visiting rights on Sundays.”
—South Seminole Church of Christ, Winter Park, FL
Bumper sticker seen on a car in Louisiana: “Jesus called. He wants his religion back.”
—via Jeff Totten Hammond, LA
Bumper sticker designed for his car by Pastor Donald Hoffman of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Lena, IL:
“If you don’t live it,
Copyright © 2008 Lutheran Church of Honolulu
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