Sunday, January 24, 2016

Faith Ev. Luth. Ch. Pastor's Annual Report for 2015


January 2016 Annual Meeting of Faith Ev. Lutheran Church

Move

April 13, special thanks to every member of the congregation for all the help in preparing the Parsonage, the food, helping move tons of furniture, appliances, household goods, books, and all else.

Installation

April 19, Pastor Mark DeGarmeaux, Liturgist; Pres. John Moldstad, Jr., Preaching; 11 Pastors in attendance. Special thanks to the musicians, the choir, and all the members for a wonderful day, getting to know more members with an excellent meal, and the loving attention to all the details of preparation and clean-up.

Worship Services

Sunday, Divine Service
35 Sunday Services (8 with the Lord’s Supper, Rite I), 25 with Rite II, 2 with Matins
Mission/Reformation Festival Last Sunday of Oct. with guest Pr. L. Wentzlaff.
Advent, Vespers
3 Wednesday Advent Vespers with Individual Absolution, Dec. 2, 9, 23.
December 16 was cancelled due to bad weather.


Festival/Holiday
Thanksgiving Vespers, Wed. Nov. 25th
Christmas Program
Christmas Eve, Lord’s Supper
Christmas Day, Lord’s Supper


CCCC
    Pastor began rotation in the worship schedule at the Clara City Care Center. Services in 2015 were held:
April 23
June 18
July 2
August 6
September 3

Pastoral Teaching Activities

Sunday School

Establishing curriculum and schedule. Monthly meetings with teachers preparing for the upcoming lessons. We are using the Small Catechism and the curriculum made freely available by the Churches of the Lutheran Confessions. The congregation is blessed to have several volunteers to teach and assist in teaching. Please give them your personal thanks.

Vacation Bible School

Pastor was involved in writing, teaching, and performing music for the Summer VBS and the Christmas VBS.

Confirmation Class

There are 11 students in the confirmation classes from grades 6-8. After a few weeks it was determined that 4 of the students would benefit more from basic catechetical instruction. Confirmation classes begin with a short devotion using the Office of Suffrages in the Hymnary. Classes divide. The Pastor’s class is taught from the Scripture and also uses the ELS Explanation book for Luther’s Small Catechism, Luther’s Large Catechism, Walther’s God’s No and God’s Yes, and the Hymnary.
Confirmand Examination was done during the Children’s Christmas Service.
There are two other confirmation students being instructed apart from the Wednesday classes.

Youth Group

Monthly Bible Study and meetings have been held from May through December. Pastor hosted several campfire meetings June 28. Activities for the youth have included:
Shootout at Lopez’, July 19
Lutheran Youth Convention at Bethany Lutheran College, July 23-26
Hiking at Upper Sioux, October
Trip to Apple Orchard, October
Camp Indianhead, July 5-10
Stingers Baseball Game, August 5
And probably some other events that have slipped the Pastor’s mind.

Women's’ Christian Fellowship

Pastor held opening devotion for the Women's’ Christian Fellowship. The lessons focused on what worship is, how it came to us from God in the Old Testament, How Jesus fulfilled this and gave us the Means of Grace, How the Apostles Worshipped, How this was carried out in the early Church, how our church year relates to the Old Testament and Christ’s fulfillment, how our worship service today is arranged, where it comes from in Scripture, and how we gather around the Means of Grace where God has promised to come to us to serve us with forgiveness.
In December we went through the Christmas narrative with Christmas hymns.

Bible Studies

Sunday Bible Study
Sunday Bible studies in 2015 focused mainly on reading through the Gospel of Matthew from Chapter 1 through 23. At the beginning of Lent in 2016 we will resume with the Passion Narrative through the resurrection in chapters 24 to 28.
There were 4 topical Bible Studies on Sundays through 2015.



 Wednesday Bible Study

Wednesday Bible Studies have been mainly topical. Topics have included, the History of the Bible, How to Better Read and Understand the Bible, Note Taking for Bible Study, Archaeology and Ancient Inscriptions and How These Relate to Understanding the Bible and History, Distinguishing Between God’s Law and God’s Gospel, How to Evaluate a Sermon or Preacher on the Basis of Scripture, The Origins of Some Denominations of Christianity. How the Old Testament Teaches Christ (Pictures of Christ in the Old Testament).
We did study some particular books of the Bible to apply skills from these studies, these included: Jonah, Ruth, several chapters of the Gospel of Mark.


CCCC Bible Study
Pastor was asked to teach Bible Study at the Clara City Care Center for the Month of October. The dates were October 5, 19, 26. Pastor was ill on the 12th. The Bible Study was the first four chapters of Genesis: Creation, Man, The Fall into Sin, the Promise, and Cain and Abel.
Adult Instruction
Pastor has been meeting regularly with four different families in adult instruction. There are two other families scheduled to start instruction soon. This instruction typically takes place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings and/or afternoons.

Pastoral Report on Members

Elders
Meetings averaged monthly, though no regular date was planned. Meetings take place so that the Elders can bring concerns about the congregation, the pastor, or the situation of members to the pastor’s attention. They also take place so the Pastor can speak in confidence to the Elders about situations where he needs guidance.


New Members
3 New members this fall.


Baptisms
2 Baptized December 24, 2015


Deaths/Funerals
1 member passed away in 2015 and funeral services were held by Pastor Muelenhardt.
Pastor served for the funeral of 2 members of Clearwater Lutheran Parish, June 12-13, Grygla, MN.


Transfers
1 Transfer out of membership.


Inactive Members
Pastor has met with a few formerly active members and will keep in contact with them. Some of them he has visited quite frequently. Getting moved in an established in the Congregation and community consumed much time this past year. Focusing on inactive members


Shut-in Care
Technically a shut-in is a member who due to health or age is unable to attend worship services. Thankfully, we don’t have any genuine or regular shut-ins. But we do have members in the nursing home. The members in the nursing home are able to attend regularly through the kind work of family and members. Nursing home visits for these members count more as home visits.


But on occasion we have had members who for health reasons have been unable to attend church for several weeks: such as, for surgery. Pastor has tried to maintain shut-in visits at least once per month while they are shut-in. Pastor has also been visiting a Rock Dell congregation member in the Granite Manor during their vacancy.


Two members of Clearwater Lutheran Parish needed pastoral care for hospital visits during the vacancy of pastors previous call. Pastor traveled to Fargo and to Thief River Falls for these. The one at Thief River Falls coincided with a funeral Pastor served at Clearwater Parish.


Hospital Calls
(1) Alexandria
(3x) Montevideo
(3x) Willmar
(1) St. Cloud


Home Visits
Pastor has been to 19 different member families' homes.


Counselling
Pastor has been involved with personal spiritual counsel with several members. On occasion this has taken place in the Church building. Most often, pastor will drive to meet the member at his or her home or some other place.

Supplementary Activities

Church Institutional Governance
Church Council Meetings
Voters’ Meetings
Building Committee Meetings


Winkel
    A Winkel is a monthly meeting of the E.L.S. pastors in our region. The purpose is mutual study of Scripture and the theology of God’s Word, building, honing, and evaluating preaching and teaching, examination of issues facing the congregations and Christians in our societal context, and discussion of pressing issues faced by member pastors or congregations.
September 14
October 12
November 9
December 14


Synod Convention
June 21-24


General Pastoral Conference
    The GPC is for all the pastors in the E.L.S. and is held annually.
    October 1-3


Circuit #9 Pastoral Conference
    This conference is for the E.L.S. pastors in Southern Minnesota, held annually.
    May 20th



Choir/Musicians/Vocalists
    Faith Lutheran Church is richly blessed in being a singing congregation, and it is especially blessed to have several musicians and vocalists who are willing to serve for the benefit of our services.
    Pastor usually lets the Organists choose the pre-service hymns from the Hymnary or other approved sources. Similarly, the Choir Director and vocalists bring suggestions for the pastor’s approval. He would like to offer his thanks and encourage the congregation members to give these members their thanks also for the extra work they go to.


Caroling
    Congregational Caroling at the CCCC December 20th.


Parades
    Maynard
    Clara City
    Raymond


Community Events
    Participated in a CCCC Thanksgiving Program
    Coordinated and Planned CCCC Birthday Program (January 2016)


Personal and Family Involvement
Family Campfires
    Pastor’s family has held a few campfires to get to know people, inviting members their families and some families associated or interested in Faith Lutheran Church.


Family Outings: Hiking, Sledding
    In order to get to know people better while having fun, Pastor’s family has also made it a point to invite other families associated with Faith Lutheran Church along on sledding trips.


Community Recreation
    Pastor’s family took advantage of the Clara City Swimming Pool. There, Mary made contacts with community members, building relationships with other families.



Articles Written/Radio Interviews While at Faith Lutheran Church
    Pastor has been writing up his sermon preparation notes and Martin Luther’s notes on the Gospel texts as articles. Articles directly related to sermon writing are marked with an x. All these articles are published at my theological blog: http://diatheke.blogspot.com They are also published at Steadfast Lutherans http://steadfastlutherans.org A list of the most recently published articles is available at the bottom of the church website
    The articles and interviews are used by people all over the world, including by people in our own community. Access to these resources has been an influence of interest in our congregation.


May (5)
       x Prayers for the Festival of the Holy Trinity
       A Domestic Benediction for Christian Householders....
       x Litany to the Holy Ghost, for Pentecost.
       The Three Outposts, part 8 – The State (Notice of Radio Interview Podcast)
       Let No Man Put Asunder
June (13)
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 5-Dis...
       Resources for the Liturgical and Doctrinal History...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Visitation
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospels: Sts. Peter and Paul...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 4- Ch...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Nativity of J...
       The Three Outposts, part 10 – Conflicts between Ch...(Notice of Radio Interview Podcast)
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 3-The...
       The Three Outposts, part 9 – Conflicts between Chu...(Notice of Radio Interview Podcast)
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 2-Inv...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity I-Div...
       Intimidation: A Needed Reminder from 1884
       Worship Wars New and Old, well, really just Old.
July (6)
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 9-Ste...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 8- Be...
       Brumalia--Ancient Latin Sources: post 46 BC Julian...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospels: St. Mary Magdalene
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 7-Pro...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 6-Sin...
August (6)
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 14-Th...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 13-Ch...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: St. Bartholomew's Da...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 12
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 11-Hu...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 10-Re...
September (8)
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 18 - ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Michaelmas 1 ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: St. Michael and All ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 17 - ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: St. Matthew
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 16 - ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Trinity 15 - ...
       The War Room: A Movie Review
October (10)
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: All Saints' D...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Michaelmas 5 ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Michaelmas 6 ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Sts. Simon and Jude ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Reformation
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Michaelmas 4 ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: St. James the Elder ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: St. Luke the Evangel...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Michaelmas 3 ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Michaelmas 2 ...
November (7)
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Second Sunday in Adv...
       Redeeming Christian Holy Days: The Christians Stol...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: St. Andrew the Apost...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: First Sunday in Adve...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Last Sunday (...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Second Last S...
       x Luther's Notes on the Sunday Gospel: Third Last Su...
December (16)
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Epiphany (January 6)...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Second Sunday After ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Circumcision (Januar...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Holy Innocents (Dece...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: First Sunday After C...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: St John the Apostle ...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: St. Stephen the Mart...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Christmas Day 2 - Na...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Chrismtas Day 1 - Na...
       The Christmas Gospel In Prophecy and Persecution
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Christmas Eve' - Nat...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: St. Thomas the Apost...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Fourth Sunday in Adv...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Third Sunday in Adve...
       Redeeming Christian Holy Days: Brumalia in the Rom...
       x Luther's Notes on the Gospel: St. Nicholas of Myra...



Radio Interviews
For Steadfast Throwdown
  • Recorded April 30: Round 46, The Three Outposts, Part 8: The State, broadcast May 11, 2015
  • Recorded May 7:  Round 47, The Three Outposts, Part 9: Conflicts between the Church and the Home, broadcast June 8, 2015
  • Recorded June 4:  Round 48, The Three Outposts, Part 10: Conflicts between the Church and the Home (Cont.), broadcast June 15, 2015
    For Issues, Etc.
  • September 10, 2015 Interview Review of the Movie, “War Room”


    Pastor purchased a domain name for the congregation and contracted for web service through a company called Hostgator. He also designed and put into production a website using the Wordpress platform coordinated with a MySQL database. In addition to this he has made extensive use of the congregational Facebook Page, a Faith Youthgroup Facebook Page. He also established a congregational Google account, set up an online calendar and blog presence. The blog presence was used as a congregational website until the official website was set up.
    Facebook has been fairly useful for disseminating information. He has not used the blog presence much since the website has been working.
    Pastor also established an email address for the treasurer of the congregation for electronic billing.
    The Google calendar has been widely used.
    The MySQL database works in the website to provide lesson information for each Sunday.
    Pastor has also experimented with publishing digital audio recordings of the Sunday sermons at the website. This works well for the website user. It tends to take a couple of hours to prepare the file for the web. Pastor is looking into ways to streamline or outsource the editing process for the web. The audio files are not currently available on the web due to the time it takes for preparation. He would like to make them available again soon for the sake of the snowbirds and shut-ins. As an additional note. When the recordings were available people from all over the world were listening to them, places like: India, England, Australia, Jakarta, Russia, Germany, South American countries, Israel, and many others.



Personal Retreat - A short break with a couple of my children at a cabin in a State Park
August 23-26


Conclusion
Pastor would like to extend his sincerest thanks to all the members and other supporters of Faith Ev. Lutheran Church. Our first few months here have had their hiccups as we grow to know each other’s personalities and quirks. There are probably several other things which members would like to know and about which they would expect to be informed. Please do speak with the Pastor about these.
Clara City is an exciting opportunity for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have seen what just a little stirring of the kettle can do here. Let us keep our congregation, our city, and our wider community in our prayers. And let us ever hold fast to the Word of God and His service to us in Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament. Faith really does have the gold of God’s grace to offer our community. Let us serve them with our hearts and hands through the Love of Christ. And let us speak to them about His grace and forgiveness, inviting them to receive this blessed salvation.

Text Criticism News

Ancient History and Archaeology