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December 2009—In this Issue:
View the entire issue as a full-color PDF via the link below:
December 2009 HeartBeat (PDF)
This week I received notice that Herb Brokering died. The notice came like so many I receive from the ELCA—a short email accompanied by a prayer. The notice seemed terribly inadequate for a man of Herb’s stature, history, talent, courage, and insane sense of the gospel. You know him, though you may not recognize his name.
Herb was a pastor, poet, musician, and hymn writer whose gifts graced our church for many decades. His best known hymns, “Thine the Amen.” (ELW 826), “Earth and All Stars!” “Praise, Praise! You Are My Rock,” and “Alleluia! Jesus is Risen!” are sung around the world. He was also a broker of peace, leading tours all around Europe and the Holy Land seeking reconciliation and harmony where rancor and distrust seemed to reign. In his later years he worked tirelessly for Wheatridge Ministries, bringing justice to the health care field.
I met Herb for the first time when I was 12 years old. He spent a few weeks in our house on sabbatical while we were away on vacation. He seemed wise, playful, and full of energy. I would meet him again while in my first call in Athol. The conference flew him in to help celebrate an congregational anniversary in Osborne, Kansas. We picked him up in Wichita and flew him to Kensington, KS, in a small aircraft owned by one of the congregation’s farmers. What a delight to fly in the clouds with the man who penned “Earth and All Stars!” He saw the world with poetic eyes and was deft at helping others to see the beauty inherent in the gentle curve of the seam where clouds and blue sky meet. He saw God’s hand there. That night in worship he walked up the aisle during the offering carrying an enormous satchel stuffed with all sorts of rags and whatnots. As he walked up the aisle he squawked like a bird, bleated like a sheep and whinnied like a horse. “Offerings were noisy affairs in Jesus’ day,” he said. Stopping in the middle of the aisle he swept the congregation with his playful eyes and whispered, “Back then, you could see, smell, and hear the price of sacrifice. Now we slip a nice quiet check into the plate and it hardly hurts at all.” It was the best stewardship sermon I have ever heard.
People like Herb Brokering are shepherds of faith who lead us to Christ. Through the gifts of hymnody, poetry, a turn of phrase, and superb writing, he move us body and spirit to see and hear God in Christ more clearly. Like any good shepherd, he moved us to greener pastures without our really being aware of it. I am thankful for him, and for his generation of leaders who gave much of their lives to the proclamation of the gospel and the betterment of God’s creation. As that generation passes, it becomes our time—pastors and lay persons alike—to take the mantle placed on our shoulders and share that gospel message with the next generation. I pray we can be shepherds of faith who see the beauty of God in earth, stars, loud boiling test tubes, and loud cheering people. But most all, I pray that we will always “sing to the Lord a new song.” Thanks, Herb.
P.S. In a conversation with my friend Steve Eulberg, Herb once remarked that when he got to heaven, the first question he was going to ask was “Where did all those hymns go that I sent to Augsburg Fortress and they lost?” I hope he has his answer.
The LCH Council met on November 17th. Here is a brief recap of the items discussed:
Council President Olivia Castro and Ministry Planning Task Force Chair Jim Niermann report to Council on the Ministry Plan.
The November 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 for all your support. In-gatherings are scheduled for the first Sunday of each month, so your next opportunity to participate is December 6th.
Sunday, December 6th, at 11:15 AM, following the 10:30 service, the chairperson or another representative of each committee will meet in the Boardroom with Pastor Jeff and Council President Olivia Castro. This meeting, repeated the first Sunday of every month, is to enhance communications among committees. See you there!
Thanks to everyone who participated in our October’s ‘Ohana Gatherings and our wonderful LutherFest.
Thanks, also, to everyone who has completed a pledge for 2010. Our pledges were dedicated during worship on November 22, but additional pledges are always welcome.
Those who turned in their pledges before November 22 should have received a “thank you” letter for the Financial Secretary, and others will get their letters soon. Please check to make sure your pledge was recorded correctly.
Blessings on your journey,
Offering envelopes will be available at church on Sunday, December 13, for those who requested them when making a pledge. If you would like a box of envelopes for your contributions but did not make a pledge or forgot to check the box your pledge card, please let the office know, and a box will be ready for you on December 13.
You are welcome to just drop your check in the offering plate without putting it in an envelope or to put your check or cash in a plain envelope from home or one of the envelopes provided in the pews.
If you still have envelopes from 2009 or previous years and want to keep using them, that’s fine too. However, since numbers are reassigned each year, the counters may not be able to match your “old” number with you. So, if you use old envelopes, please cross out the number and be sure to write your name on the envelope.
Food for Thought will meet for our last potluck supper and discussion of the year at the home of Irmgard Hörmann on Saturday, December 12th, at 6:30 PM. All are welcome. For directions or information, please contact Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
Writers’ Workshop will meet next on Monday, December 7, 7:00–8:30 PM, in the Boardroom (or the Rainbow Room) at LCH. All are welcome. For information, please contact Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
Come join the LCH craft group and work on your last minute Christmas crafts amid laughter and fellowship. We have plenty of lei for the time being (thank you all our crafters!), and we are just having fun enjoying each other’s company. We’ll meet in the Boardroom from 9:00 to 11:00 AM on December 12th and 26th.
Those who have attended Process Forums have enjoyed our discussions centering on selected poems. December will also be a poetry month. Poems will include “Parsley” by Rita Dove; Emily Dickinson’s #303 and 544; and e. e. cummings’ “Sonnet II” and “spring is like a perhaps hand”; and others. Hey it’s fun!
The forum meets Saturday, December 12, 9:30–11:00 AM, with a repeat session on Sunday, December 13, around noon.
For more information contact Fritz through the Church Office (941-2566).
During Advent, we would like to invite the whole congregation to join our children for the Jesse Tree devotions each Sunday in the Nave at 9:10. It is a tradition at LCH for the children to present this short service of music and readings during Advent.
During the four Sundays of Advent, the children will be focusing on the people in the Old Testament that lead the way for Christ. This year the Jesse Tree service will be held on November 29 and December 6, 13, and 20. The older children will read Bible stories and prayers, the youngest children will hang ornaments on the tree representing each story, and everyone will sing the Jesse Tree song.
Following the fifteen-minute devotion, the Sunday school teachers will take the children to their regular classes.
As we enter this Advent season, we begin to prepare for another joyful celebration of Christmas! Please take a moment to invite your friends and neighbors to join you for worship on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas!
Bill Potter, Webmaster
Additions to the LCH website over the past few weeks include pictures and stories on the Congregational Life page about LutherFest (with a link to a slideshow with additional pictures) and the Handel concert on November 1. Of course, we continue to provide audio of sermons and children’s conversations, archives of The HeartBeat and E-News, as well as lists of readings and music for every Sunday.
We have also implemented a couple of enhancements to the prayer section of our daily prayer feed. In addition to the basic order for the four daily offices, you can now choose to include a different environmental prayer each day of the week as well as your own thanksgivings and intercessions. Make daily prayer a part of your daily routine at <www.lchwelcome.org/office>.
CHICAGO (ELCA)—The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a revision to the reinstatement process for former clergy and other professional leaders who were removed from the church’s official rosters for disciplinary reasons or resigned in lieu of discipline—solely because they were in a lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship.
The change, adopted Nov. 15, applies to former ELCA associates in ministry, deaconesses, diaconal ministers and ordained ministers. The Church Council is the ELCA’s board of directors and serves as the legislative authority of the church between churchwide assemblies. It met here Nov. 13–15. The action was a response to the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, which adopted proposals to change ELCA ministry policies. One change created the possibility for Lutherans in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationships to serve as ELCA associates in ministry, deaconesses, diaconal ministers and ordained ministers. The assembly also adopted a social statement on human sexuality by a two-thirds vote.
The revision to the reinstatement policy applies only to people in lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationships. The council’s decision makes it possible for a person to begin the application process for reinstatement beginning Jan. 1, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2011. The revised documents will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee and the ELCA Conference of Bishops at its March 4–9, 2010 meeting. After consultation with the bishops, recommendations will be sent to the ELCA Church Council. At its April 9–12, 2010 meeting, council members will consider the revisions and may adopt the revised policy documents.
It’s that time again for poinsettia orders, which will be showcased in the nave for Christmas services. Here is your opportunity to place your order for this festive event. Please fill out the form and submit your payment to an usher or LCH office no later than Sunday, December 13th. Mahalo!
Aloha! Parking in the Makiki Neighborhood is very tight. For this reason, the Congregational Council recently renewed a towing contract with ACE towing. Every evening ACE towing patrols the church parking lot (not the Poki Lot) and tows any cars present in the lot after midnight. Cars are towed to the ACE towing yard on Sand Island where they can be redeemed for $175 cash only.
If you are having a church event that will run past 11:00 PM, please make arrangements with the Parish Administrator (941-2566) well in advance of your event. Participants will be issued a placard to hang on their mirror so they will not be towed. If your car breaks down in the church parking lot or you must leave your car over night for any reason, be sure to contact Kanani immediately so that she can authorize your car with the towing company.
We know this is inconvenient. However, since we contract with Punahou students to park in our lot Monday–Friday, it is important to assure that their parking places are available when they arrive for school.
Mahalo for your understanding.
The LCH Council is proud to announce six recently-awarded tuition assistance scholarships to LCH members: Jacob Burkman (Luther Seminary); Naomi Castro (University of Hawai‘i); Seth Lilley (University of Hawai‘i); Karyn Castro (University of Hawai‘i); Nicholas Castello (Irvine Valley College); and Meghan Lilley (University of Kansas).
The funding for these scholarships is independent of the LCH budget. The scholarship monies came from the earnings of the Hörmann Scholarship Endowment Fund, an endowment established by the Hörmann family. We have been blessed this year by sufficient earnings to award a record number of scholarships.
Pastor Jeff and Jean Lilley invite you to join them on a tour of Luther’s Germany and the Passion Play in Oberammergau. The tour will begin in Berlin June 4th, 2010, and visit several historic Reformation sites including Wittenberg, Eisleben, Erfurt, Eisenach, Mainz, Worms, Heidelberg, Rothenburg and Augsburg.
The tour will conclude in Oberammergau where our guests will see the internationally acclaimed Passion Play. First performed in 1633, the Passion Play is a powerfully dramatic presentation of the last days of Christ’s life and is only performed every tenth year. (If you miss this year you will have to wait until 2020 to see it!)
The tour will end June 14th in Munich, The cost of the tour is $3,695 exclusive of air travel based on 35 guests. Lodging, many meals, tickets to the Passion Play, transportation and transfers as well as a professional tour guide are all included. Group flights are available out of San Francisco, but you are welcome to make your own arrangements using frequent flier or other awards.
Pastor Jeff will offer a short lecture each morning on the development of the Reformation as well as a running historical context throughout the tour. Opportunities for worship and spiritual growth will abound!
You can find complete information about the tour at <www.reformationtours.com/site/490868/page/929001>. Please contact Pr. Jeff ASAP as bookings need to be secured in December. Please join us for this wonderful and exciting tour! Call Pr. Jeff at 941-2566 or email at email@example.com.
God’s sense of humor is clearly manifest in the first chapter of Luke.
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, an old man, and announced that his wife Elizabeth, who is also advanced in years, is to give birth to a son named John, Zechariah (like all old men with pregnant old wives) was rendered speechless.
Then the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, a young virgin betrothed to Joseph, and announced that she would give birth to the Son of God, named Jesus. Mary replied to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?”
Mary rejoiced and rushed over to the home of her relative, Elizabeth, to tell her the good news. Elizabeth also rejoiced, saying, “╔when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.”
So Luke paints a picture of a pregnant old woman married to an old man, a pregnant young virgin, and a baby John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb all leaping for joy. Magnificent irony! Is anything impossible for God?
Attendance and Offerings for Sunday, November 29, were not available at time of publication.
Next Heart Beat Deadline is Tuesday, December 15!
Signs and wonders
Sign outside a Minnesota church: “Come in and pray today. Beat the Christmas rush.”
Copyright © 2009 Lutheran Church of Honolulu
1730 Punahou Street, Honolulu, HI 96822 • 808-941-2566
Comments welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org