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May 2011—In this Issue:
Living Easter, Making a Difference
Not long ago I read an article in Christian Century that described research about the characteristics young people most look for in a church or faith community. Not surprisingly, young people are passionate about making a difference in the world and connect best with churches and other organizations that share that passion. Also not surprising is the fact that many young people and youth do not see the Christian Church in which they grew up as a particularly effective outlet for making a difference in the world.
Pastors of Lutheran Churches here in Hawai‘i are hearing much the same message from member youth and young adults: They are too busy to engage regularly in the life of the congregation; church isn’t as interesting or engaging as other social/service opportunities; church is an anachronism belonging to their parents and grandparents, not the current generation. The result has been a decades-long slip in attendance by young people within mainline congregations and a decades-long hand wringing by leaders of the church trying to figure out how to lure young people back.
In desperation, our national and local church body try to make worship more “hip,” offer fun outings and service opportunities, spend millions of dollars on youth events, and hire cool web designers to appeal to the digital generation. At the same time, we complain about any significant change, stop funding campus ministries, and marginalize youth as the “future of the church.” As one youth said, “If you want me to come to church, take me seriously and help me find a way to make a difference.” In some ways, the church is listening. Youth and adults attending the last ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans did thousands of hours of community service as part of the youth gathering. Surveys following the event showed that community service was the highlight of the event. So much for mosh pits and rock bands. It turns out that making a difference really does make a difference!
Interestingly, the ELCA and other Lutheran Churches are literally tops for community service in the U.S. Lutheran Services in America, a partnership between the ELCA and LCMS that touches one in 50 families in the U.S. Together with Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Disaster Response, Lutheran Immigration Services, Lutheran Social Services, and countless outreach ministries by local congregations, our boring, irrelevant church is touching the lives of people in need in nearly every corner of the world. Locally, Lutheran Church of Honolulu feeds over 250 persons each month at IHS, collects hundreds of pounds of food every year for Angel Network, and provides emergency assistance for dozens of folks in need. The Hukilau Conference recently launched “One Pot, One Hope,” a monthly lunch program on the Wai‘anae coast. It is almost as if we are truly taking Jesus’ command to love rather seriously!
Perhaps the Christian Century article is right, maybe the church is boring and irrelevant, but we are living out the Easter resurrection story with light and love, food and friendship, worship and wackiness. Our struggle may be to find a way to share the story of making a difference with our youth and then ask them to lead us into the next generation, so that we can make a difference in new and exciting ways. So ask a young person next time you see them, how would like to see our church make a difference in the world? You might love the answer!
Council met Tuesday, April 19. Here are some of the highlights of the meeting:
Food for Thought will meet next on Saturday, May 7, at 6:30 PM at the home of Irmgard Hörmann, for potluck supper and discussion. All are welcome.
For information, please contact Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
Writers’ Workshop will hold our next meeting on Monday, August 15, 2011, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM in the Boardroom at LCH.
All are welcome. For information, please contact Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
In Stitches will meet on May 14 and May 28 from 9:00 to 11:00 AM in the Boardroom. We will be working on replenishing our supply of lei, but welcome you to come and work on whatever craft you bring from home. We will train you to make our ribbon lei if you”d like to learn and you don’t know how.
The May session for Process Thought will be devoted to the discussion of the poems listed below. We meet on Saturday morning, May 14, from 9:30 to 11:00 AM, and again for a repeat session on Sunday, May 15, at noon. Newcomers are certainly welcome.
All of the poems except for the last two are available online; just follow the links below.
LCH now has a dishwasher and a new convection range! Through the generous memorial funds honoring Jeanette Hanson and Annabelle Beck, our kitchen has been blessed with these new appliances. May they be put to good use for many fellowship opportunities in the years to come!
Sign up sheets to help with hospitality for the Bach B-Minor Mass performances on Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14, are now available in the courtyard. There is a job for every talent—from parkers, greeters, guides, to ushers and refreshment servers. We want to warmly welcome all concert goers to our LCH campus and ensure they have a safe and rewarding musical evening with us. Join a Hospitality Team for one evening, and attend the concert yourself on the other, free of distracting responsibilities.
All are invited to attend and take part in interesting discussions—spiced with fun, films, and faith studies—in our weekly Adult Forum, between services on Sunday mornings, beginning at 9:15 AM in the Boardroom.
Saturday, May 21, 5:00 PM
The Congregational Council of Lutheran Church of Honolulu has called a Special Congregational Meeting for 5:00 pm, Saturday, May 21, to discuss and make decisions on initiatives directly tied to the congregation’s mission planning efforts over the past several years. The initiatives to discuss are calling an associate pastor and two capital improvement projects, the parking lot and enclosing the Hörmann Courtyard. The evening will include pupus provided by the Council. The evening will include pupus provided by the Council. We expect to be finished by 6:30 pm.
Associate Pastor: During the meeting, we will look at a resolution to issue a two-year term call to an Associate Pastor whose primary duties will be Congregational/Community Outreach and Youth and Family Ministry. Such a call can only be pursued by the express will of the congregation. It is very important that each member of the congregation make their voice and vote heard as we consider this a critical proposal for the life of the congregation. We hope to reach consensus on moving forward with this initiative at this Congregational Meeting.
Approval to begin the call process will be followed by a motion to elect a call committee and an amendment to the 2011 budget. This is the first of several steps in this Call Process. The Call Committee will them submit appropriate paperwork to the Synod Office and consult with the Bishop’s Staff about possible candidates. After interviews of possible candidates, the Call Committee will recommend a candidate to the Church Council, and then the candidate will come for a meet and greet. The congregation will then vote on whether to issue a call. Information packets complied by the Staffing Taskforce are available from the church office.
Mission Campaign 2011: The Congregational Council seeks approval of a Mission Campaign that would combine fund raising for the associate pastor and the capital improvements. On the advice of a consultant, the council is proposing rolling the full cost of a two-year term call of an Associate Pastor into the capital portion of the campaign. Estimates for construction of the Parking Lot range from $70–90,000. Estimates for covering the Hörmann Courtyard with a weatherproof cover are approximately $30–35,000. The estimate for a two-year Associate Pastor is about $160,000. It is our intention to supplement the campaign with some outside funding.
The congregation can vote to move forward on all or some of the above initiatives. Please take time for prayer and conversation about these initiatives and be ready to speak to them at the congregational meeting.
Saturday, May 7 • 9:00 am • LCH
We will gather for worship, hear a presentation on Safe and Healthy Congregations, and have time for Council Presidents, Treasurers, Christian Education, and Worship Reps from our Hukilau churches to talk story together. We have many ways in which we can work together and discover new mission opportunities in our midst.
Registration fee is $30 per person for lunch and to assist with airfare costs from the neighbor islands. Checks should be made to the Hukilau Conference and reservations made to the LCH office (941-2566) by Friday, April 29.
“So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” —Matthew 28:8
Mary Magdalene and Mary walked to Jesus’ grave, expecting to find death. It’s understandable. Images of violence filled their minds. Thoughts of their vulnerability and mortality deadened their spirits. Death had become the defining story of their lives.
Instead of death, the women met a resurrection messenger who said, “He is not here: for he has been raised, as he said.” As they hurried to tell others, the risen Jesus met them. They were changed. Now resurrection, not death, would define their lives.
Jesus lives! Now resurrection, not death, defines our lives. Jesus continues to meet you in resurrection messengers, just as Jesus met me in Pastor Josephus Livenson Lauvanus, president of the Lutheran Church of Haiti. As we walked through the ruins and rubble that lie in the aftermath of Haiti’s earthquake, Pastor Livenson Lauvanus proclaimed, “We will not be defined by rubble, but by restoration, for we are a people of the resurrection.”
Baptized into Jesus’ death and raised to newness of life we, too, are people of the resurrection. We, too, are resurrection messengers. We, too, are about God’s work of restoration.
The world aches to hear the message we have to tell. Sing with joy! Jesus lives! We are a people of the resurrection.
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Bill Potter, Webmaster
April—particularly Holy Week and Easter—saw quite a few additions to the Congregational Life page. As has been the case for the past several years, photos from worship were collected in the Holy Week & Easter slideshow. In addition, pictures and short articles were added with information about Joint Evensong at St. Andrew’s on April 3, LCH Night at Hawai‘i Public Radio, and the AIDS Walk. In most cases, additional photos were posted on the LCH Facebook page.
A small change was also made on the Paraments and Vestments page. A new photo of the altar area was added to document the changes in the display of our scarlet paraments during Holy Week. Unfortunately, there was no detail shot to show the combination of palm branches with the banner, so we will have to wait until next year to document that.
If you have visited the LCH Home Page recently, you may have noticed something new in the left-hand navigation area—a link for making online donations. The rest of the column explains how that came about.
Back in September the Concert Committee asked for the ability to sell tickets for Abendmusiken Concerts online, and after some research we decided to use PayPal’s service which allows us to have buttons on our website while hosting the actual transactions on their secure server. This saved us the expenses associated with setting up our own secure web server.
While we were setting up buttons for tickets to each concert, we also created a button to allow folks to donate to the music fund, which supports the concerts along with other aspects of our music program. These buttons have been in use since early October, generating $2,950 in ticket sales and $150 in donations.
Over the years, a few members of the congregation had asked about donating by credit card, both for convenience and to get the rewards associated with credit card use. Given those requests and our generally positive experience with selling tickets through PayPal, it seemed sensible to look at taking additional donations via the website. And if we were going to take one-time donations, we should probably take pledges as well.
It turned out that pledges were a bit more complicated than one-time donations because PayPal only offers fives kinds of buttons. However, after a bit of looking around on other church and non-profit websites, I discovered that PayPal’s “subscription” button could be modified to function as a “pledge” button. The only limitation was that pledge levels had to be specified rather than allowing the individual to input their pledge amount.
In the end, I created a page with separate donations buttons for the General Fund, Capital Improvements, and the Music Fund. Here the individual can choose the dollar amount and pay by credit/debit card or individual PayPal account. For pledges, people use drop-down menus to choose the fund they are pledging to and the dollar amount in $25-dollar increments from $25 a month to $250 a month. For pledges, a PayPal account is required, so if individuals do not already have one, the system will lead them through the process of setting one up.
It’s hard to say how many folks will use these donations links, but we’ll see. For members, the Finance and Stewardship Committees have asked me to tell you that PayPal does charge a processing fee of about 2.5% of the donation. So, if you decided to make your pledge using PayPal, please take that into consideration. If you have questions or encounter any problems with online donations or pledges, please email the Financial Secretary at <email@example.com> or call the Church Office (941-2566).
Our LCH team of walkers take a moment to smile for the camera as they display their Palm Sunday branches at the AIDS Walk.
Mahalo to those who participated in this year’s AIDS Walk at Kapi‘olani Park on April 17. Thank you for supporting through the “C3” (cans of cash for a change) and the LCH “Leis of Love.” Our group of volunteers were a big hit at the event and were a wonderful representation of the servant’s attitude that is such a part of the LCH community. A special thanks to Peggy Anderson for all her hard work in coordinating this event!
As most of you are aware, LCH has been sending care packages to former LCH member Stephen Schmidt, his circuit-riding chaplain, and one of his forward unit men—all of whom are serving in Afghanistan. During the past two months that LCH has been sending out these care packages, both Pastor Steve and I have received emails and letters of thanks from the Marines who have received these packages of aloha. I wanted to share some of the heartwarming comments of one letter in particular that I received this month in the office.
In this letter, the Marine writes that they all love the macadamia nut chocolates and other goodies that have been sent. He writes; “I had never tried guava jelly before, and now, much to the dismay of my waistline, I can’t get enough.”
He continues by writing that “the time and effort that is put into these packages really makes it clear that there are some remarkable people working on these. I just wanted to express our gratitude for the gifts and prayers. On behalf of myself and all of my comrades, I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
These care packages have clearly been serving their purpose—showing care to these soldiers serving in harm’s way. Thank you to all who have participated in this LCH ministry. Whether it was purchasing supplies, baking goodies, donating funds for postage, or preparing the boxes to be shipped, every act of service in this process has demonstrated love, support, and care for these soldiers living overseas. Mahalo.
Next Heart Beat Deadline is Tuesday, May 17!
Signs & Wonders
Sign outside Seventh-day Adventist Church, Palatka, FL:
“Even Jesus has a fish story.”
—via Bill Reynolds, Jr., Palatka, FL
Name of a coffee shop in Charlton, IA:
—via Pastor Dale Schoening, Bussey, IA
Bloopers that Gnash the Teeth
In a church bulletin: “Coming up... Theological Open House. We discuss thought-provoking topics. Your opinions are hardly welcome.”
(Should have been “heartily” welcome.)
—via Rev. Karl R. Kraft, Glassboro (NJ) UMC
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1730 Punahou Street, Honolulu, HI 96822 • 808-941-2566
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