Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

April Newsletter Update

“While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.  But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”

Gah!  I just love the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.  They are fraught with tension and excitement.  There are the women, the disciples in the boat, and the men on the road to Emmaus just going about their way and their lives when Jesus unexpectedly arrives.  We are outside looking in and eagerly waiting for the people in the narrative to make the realization that we have:

“There’s Jesus!  Ah! If only you knew!”

You almost want to scream at Mary on Easter morning: “There he is!”  or to the disciples on the road of Emmaus, “If only you knew who you were talking to about the hope of Israel!”
So unlike our experiences!  Or at least we think that.  After all, our daily life is just so…regular. 
Perhaps that is the reason why every day of our lives needs to be busy, weekends filled with plans and work on the constant go.  Something to keep us from the void and bare.

Life in the church can feel the same way.  “Here we go again.  Easter is done and back to the drab and routine again…”  I once heard someone say following a trip back from Camp Luther that the church should be like Camp Luther every day.
But one of the things that I love most about the post resurrection appearances of Jesus is that Jesus doesn’t just wow them with great spectacular shows and lights.  Sure there is tension but it is in the most mundane ways that Jesus makes himself known.  He gives a simple greeting to Mary by calling her by name.  He breaks daily bread with the disciples in Emmaus.  The new creation breaks forth in the most common ways.

That is how it is for you too you know. You got wet in the name of the Triune God, and just like Mary, you are called by name and recognize Jesus.
Jesus breaks bread with us upon our altar, and boom, forgiveness and new life are given in this Sacrament.  There, we glimpse Christ and also each other just in moment of sharing a meal. 
We get to look at the text and think, “There is Jesus guys!”  I wonder just how much the saints look upon us and think the same now with what we so often think is mundane in our life together in worship and as the church.  It makes the plain and ordinary that much more filled with tension and excitement in the fact that the Risen Lord Jesus is there.  Amen.

The Risen Lord Jesus Christ continue to guard and keep you always in him until the day of his coming again when he will raise the dead and restore his creation.  Amen.
Post Easter Reflection
I love Holy Week, there is nothing like it.  The Christian faith centers around this week every year.  This year for Easter Sunday we had just around 400 people who attended just on Easter morning.  What a thrill to hear shouts back when I screamed “Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!”'

I tried to throw the curve ball in the sermon by talking about how Easter teaches us to do funerals.  Funerals teach us about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.   It is important to realize that your funeral is an opportunity to give witness to your faith in who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for you (and will yet do when he raises you from the dead).
Attached to this newsletter mailing are funeral prep forms.  Fill these out, makes copies for yourself, your family, and for the church as well.  This helps you think through your faith, give peace to family members who sometimes worry that they don’t know your favorite Bibles passages when I ask them during funeral prep, and also gives a witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Help your family say with confidence concerning the hope we have in Christ, “He is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!”

Financial Report
The finances are doing well.  Overall, the congregation is ahead on the budget by about $13,000.  This is good and thanks be to God for this because He has inspired such generosity and giving among us.  If we desire to call a second pastor to our congregation, we will need to make about 40,000 each month.  We are a little shy of that number being routine, but we are working toward that.  Let’s keep working toward that goal and praying that our Lord will give us direction over his harvest fields.

Our tithe has been such a wonderful blessing and a good spiritual discipline to keep up.  For the month of April we will be giving to the LCMS Disaster Response.  When a tornado, hurricane, or other disasters and forces that result from the curse of Genesis 3 happen, The LCMS Disaster Response provides manpower, resources, and support to these communities who are suffering.  If you want to read more, check out their site:
We have $50,000 in our building fund.  Plenty to get some stuff done that is on our scheduled building maintenance.  We had some emergencies come up over the last month.  Our compressors for the heat failed 3 times and needed to be replaced.  With Sunday School being in person this fall and winter, no heat would be a bad thing not taking in the need for the pipes not to freeze. 
There has been a bustle of activity surrounding the columns along the sides of our building.  In fact, the news is faster than I can keep up with myself.  So bear with me here.  And if something doesn’t make sense, come see me or give us a call.

Our property board has done a lot of work this last month gathering information and trying to sort this out.  We had planned to bring the issue concerning the keeping/removal of the columns to the voters since a change in the building’s appearance would require a congregational vote.

But after more researching and asking, it was decided that we will keep the columns as another way was discovered to get at the source of the mold and water problem that reside inside the columns without tearing them down.  The past week, work began from a company and also aided by our Men’s Maintenance Group to wrap the columns and bore into the columns to fix the damage.  So the columns will be repaired and fixed to hopefully prevent the same issue from happening again.

The cost for this is being prepared, and once we have those we will share.  As stated above, we have plenty in our Building Fund and this was budgeted to be done this year anyway.  The working sacristy is also being cleaned out and repaired as well during this time from the inside.  The repair to the brick work itself will be done later this fall.
The windows around these columns will also be fixed as they are inefficient for heating due to age and wear.  This will be done along with the columns to get these areas all done at once. 
Part of the larger solution to all of this is landscaping.  Options for drainage tile and sloping the water away from the building are being discussed so that the water does not sit around the building and continue to cause this problem to reoccur.

That is all the information I have in my notes and from the notes I have received.  But if something is not clear or hard to understand, once again, please come see us.  We will be glad to explain better in person.
Summer Plans
With Easter past us, we now turn to the next few months.  Confirmation will be taking place next month on May 23rd.  We will have normal service at 9:00am and then a confirmation service at 10:45am.  This year we will have thirteen 8th graders being confirmed.

The month of June will see our Sunday services being held outside, weather pending.  We are hoping this will be a way to encourage those who have not been able to gather in person to make the leap of faith to join us.  Being outside and spaced out will be a great chance to return in person if you have not yet done so.
VBS will be in person this summer.  Tammy has been doing a lot of planning and more information will come out about VBS soon.

This summer we will have a couple of Bible Class options.
The first will be Worship 101.  We did this last year via livestream, but wanted to have this occur in person this summer.  We will dig into the topics a bit deeper and also have more time for reflections and questions as well.  So please join us for that. It will be held on Tuesday evenings at 6pm starting in June.  

The second will start on Sunday, June 6th at 9am for Bible class.  We will gather just to read the Bible.  It will take us a year to read through it.  Each Sunday, we will read the weekly plan for the Bible and if you attend Bible Class for a year, you will have read through the Bible.  During class we will just read.  No discussion, no stopping to explain.  We need to just keep our noses down and let the Holy Spirit point us to Christ.
Of course, we want to answer questions, so we will have places to leave your questions that we will respond to in writing and on livestream to have a full experience.  I encourage you to attend this if you want to pick up the discipline of reading the bible in a year.  It will be fun to do. 
Finally, the last thing on my list for this month is chapel.  Wednesday morning at 9:00am is chapel.  What chapel is, is just an abbreviated church service.  It lasts around 30 mins.  It came into being because I loved daily chapel during college and Seminary and wanted to have it for myself and to also get you to experience it as well.  I miss the routine of daily worship and wanted a taste of it for you all as well.

Chapel will take a summer recess beginning after Memorial Day weekend.  So during the summer months there will be no chapel.  After Labor Day we will pick it back up in the Fall.  So chapel will go from Fall through Spring.  That gives me some downtime during the summer that is usually spent planning the next year, taking some rest, and resting the brain so that I can refuel myself for another season of Ministry.  Life ebbs and flows as it were.
I do believe that is all I have time for to write this month.  I pray that these help you stay connected with what is going on.  Of course, this is not everything.  But these are written so that you may know some of the main things that are going on at our congregation and what I see as important things to let you know.

God’s peace to you all as we continue to celebrate the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ has conquered death and the grave and has given this victory to you!
In Christ,

Pastor Andrew Belt
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