Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

September 2023 Newsletter

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3

I always chuckle over the fact that Jude had plans to write a much larger tome to the church that would have been all about the basics of our faith.  But instead of that he wrote a quick 25 verse note that made it into the canon of Scripture.  His reason for sending this quick note is that an emergency has come up.  False teachers have crept into the flock and are destroying what the Apostles had delivered concerning the faith the Church had in Jesus Christ.  And as Paul puts it in Galatians 1 there is no other Gospel and that if anyone teaches anything else, let him be anathema.  Jude writes imploring for them and us to “look out!”

The New Testament is very adamant in the encouragement to hold fast to what has been delivered to us.  The faith in Jesus is something that is handed down and something that could be lost.  We could say that our faith and the contents of our faith is our heirloom.  The devil wishes to steal that treasure.  Along with the quote from Jude above, we can see similar things spoken in Galatians 1, and 1 Corinthians 15.  Paul uses this same idea in 1 Corinthians 11 to detail the teaching on the Lord’s Supper.  Simply put: Retain what you have received!  Do not go running after anything else!  This is what the Lord has given.  
We confess that our church still today retains what was first given.  We are the “One, Holy, Christian, (or Catholic-which means common, see Jude 3) and Apostolic Church.” What we mean by this is that our confession of faith is the same confession of faith that the Apostles handed down to us from Jesus.  Our faith is what is held in common among all who profess the name of Christ: past, present, and future.  We have the same heirloom—Christ—that the Apostles handed down.

This is the faith that must be contended for as Jude puts it.  This heirloom is to be the treasure of every Christian and so it must be fought for so those who come after us may also possess eternal life.  And generations and millions of Christians have paid the price to pass on this heirloom with their blood.  

This fall, our Sunday morning Bible Class will be sharing this heirloom and equipping us to believe it and use it.  We are moving on to The Augsburg Confession.  In the year 1530, The Church and Holy Roman Empire demanded that Luther, and those with him who had started the Reformation, to fall back in line with Rome and accused them of teaching false and misleading ideas, and even slandered them with lies.

When these charges were brought forward, The Princes, Pastors, Theologians, and key laity leaders of the Reformation met and hashed out and wrote this document that they then confessed before the Emperor, Charles V.

The purpose and goal in their own words was this, “As can be seen (in the various articles of belief) there is nothing (we teach) that varies from the Scriptures, or from the Church Catholic, or from the Church in Rome, as known from its writers.”  And later on, “Our churches do not dissent from any article of the faith held by the Church Catholic.  They only omit some of the newer abuses.”
From this we can see that our claim as the Lutheran Church is this: we are in sync with the one True Church.  We have the possession of the heirloom that has been handed down.  We have the treasure, the Gospel, which is to be loved, rejoiced over, shared, and passed on.  In this sense, Lutherans are the true Catholics.  We could say that Lutherans are catholic, not Roman Catholics.  We are Orthodox, not Eastern Orthodox.  And we are Evangelical, not the American Protestant Evangelical.    

And this faith is to be contended for.  So I encourage you to come and learn this faith more, to behold this heirloom that is our faith.  Contend for it!  Learn to articulate it and fight for it.  The Augsburg Confession teaches us how to read the Scripture and how the Church has read it for 2000 years by quoting the Fathers.   Why should you come?  Because it is that contending that our Lord blesses.  The multiplication of the faith comes from the Lord who blesses churches and congregations who fight for it.  And I know that all of you desire to do this as well.  Come grow and learn with us on Sunday mornings at 10:15am starting September 17th.  We will have extra copies of the Augsburg Confession for you to have and take home with you, so you will be well equipped!
Schedules for Sunday can be found on the round table in the center of the Narthex by the offering box.  But here are some topics we will go over: God, Sin, Jesus, Salvation, Pastors, Good Works, The Church, Baptism, Lord’s Supper, Confession, Worship, Civil Governments, Free Will, Worship of the Saints, Marriage of Priests, Power of the Church, and much more.
Bible Classes
In addition to the Sunday Bible class mentioned above, we have many opportunities here at Christ Lutheran to take up that are available to continue learning and walking with Christ.  Here are the options:

Sunday, September 17th: Sunday Morning Bible Class at 10:15am. Topic- Augsburg Confession

Monday: Monday Morning Men’s Bible Breakfast 7:30am-8:30am Topic- Gospel of Luke

Tuesday, September 5th: Tuesday afternoon Bible Study at 3:00pm.  Topic- Listen, Love, Repeat. Six week session on living an other-serving life in a self-serving world.
Wednesday, September 6th:  Wednesday Morning Bible Study at 9:30am, following chapel at 9:00am.  Topic- Minor Prophets (Jonah, Amos, etc.)

Little Free Pantry
Over the last couple of months there has been a group of people in the church that have been chipping away at a dream and a project.  They have finally gathered enough information that they want to start going public with it.  They asked if I would speak to it and I said I would gladly make it known.

The project is called “Little Free Pantry.”  If you are familiar with the Little Free Libraries around town, then this will function in much the same way, but as a pantry that anyone can use and anyone can donate to.  Essentially, it will be a box held outdoors that will be able to contain several non-perishable food items inside.  Anyone can use it and anyone can donate to it.
This group has met with city leaders, police, pantry, and other local organizations, they have done their homework and met several times and are starting to take action.  Jacki Fassler has been spearheading this group and it has been fun to see the drive and motivation as church members and local leadership in Marshfield has taken an interest.

The group is looking for sponsors around town who would keep an eye on the pantries, keep them clean, and provide a way for anyone around town to access them.  The goal is to have four of them in town.  These little pantries will be for non-perishable food items.  They in no way replace organizations like Soup or Socks but will help supplement them.
You will certainly hear more about this in the weeks to come, so keep your eye open for it in the newsletter, during the slide announcements before service and also during announcements before service.  I am excited for all that has been done so far and what it could lead to as we look ahead and am also thankful for the initiative taken.  If you have any questions, or would like to join in the help, give us a call or reach out to Jacki Fassler.
Our financials are still much the same as they have been all year. Our offerings were down this summer, but God is still providing. I mentioned last month that we had received a Covid payroll tax return of just over $40,000. The council decided last month to model the tithe by taking ten percent of this money and setting it aside to support families of our congregation who want to send their children to Immanuel Lutheran School here in town. We will have more information on that in a few months as registration opens for the 2024-25 school year.

Our budget committee will be meeting Monday to start work on the 2024 budget. We are always working on ways to save money and volunteers like the Men’s Maintenance group help a lot with that, but there is only so much we can cut before it starts affecting our actual ministry. As we look at our budget, please consider looking at your own budget. Even just $5 more a week would make a big difference to the work of the Church. To quote Pastor Bradtke (the longest serving Pastor of our congregation): “Who will ever dare to say that his contributions to the Lord have made him poor?” Thank you to all who continue to support the work of this congregation of proclaiming the Word and giving out the gifts of God.

There are several building updates to talk about.  You may note that the front of our building has gone through landscape renovations.  Rocks by the arch were cleared away and grass was planted, and several people are putting thoughts together for what to do with the landscaping there going forward

The fountain by the church was repaired, but it was repaired too well.  The pump that causes the water to shoot up out of the fountain is causing most of the water to blow out of the fountain which drains the fountain much faster than before.  We have decided to turn it on at select times and then shut if off during odd hours until we get that fixed as well.
The parking lot will also be redone.  It has been sectioned off into 5 parts, but the first part that will be done will be the part by the sign as you pull into the church parking lot.  It will go from there to nearly where the dumpsters are.  The company said that it may get done yet this fall, so keep your eyes on that.  That section is the worst of it and will be done first.

The rest is has been put into sections for years to come.  The other part of this is that the circle drive through where the main entrance is by the office will also be expanded a bit to allow parking a bit closer to the building.  There has been a need for additional handicap parking that is closer to the building itself and so we planned on this being added as well.  This will be a nice addition.  If you have any questions about any of this, please feel free to reach out to us or to Jack Strenger who is on the Property Board.
Voters Meeting:
As part of our July voters meeting, our next Voters meeting will be held on Sunday, October 29th at 11:30am.  This meeting is new and the sole focus will be on approving the budget and also electing two officers to council.   We will need one new Treasurer and a Financial Secretary.  If you are interested in these spots, let us know!  New officers will start their terms in January, but are encouraged to come to the November and December council meetings to learn the ropes.

The primary duties of the treasurer include coming to monthly council meetings, counting the offerings and submitting them weekly, and also being able to sign checks and authorize financial matters with the bank on behalf of the church.
The financial secretary helps keep track of the budget, comes to monthly council meetings, forms and manages the budget committee to produce the church budget, and also has the ability to sign checks and deal with financial matters with the bank.

With that, another Newsletter comes to a close.  I always enjoy stopping to take the time to write these and to provide something that I pray is thoughtful and thought provoking, encouraging, challenging, and informative.  Know that the Lord Jesus Christ loves you and that I am proud and thankful for the joy that the Lord has given by putting us together.
In Christ,
Pastor Andrew Belt
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