Do You Want to Be Made Well?

“Do You Want to Be Made Well?”
Setting wellness goals for Lent

Jesus asks a man who was ill for 38 years if he wants to be made well (John 5). Well, what would you say? And if the answer is yes, then what are you going to do about it?

During Lent, choose one area of wellness that you’d like to focus on, one area where you’d like to “be made well,” and let Jesus make you well. The following will help you choose an area, reflect, and set some goals. There are some ideas – or choose your own!

 

Whatever you choose to do, incorporate prayer into it. Ask God for help, thank God after, or reflect regularly on how what you choose to do is bringing you into a closer relationship with God. Talk to a friend about it, or Pastor Johanna, or journal about it.

 

Spiritual Health: Living a centered life focused on God affects each aspect of our well-being. Turn to God for strength as you seek to live well in Christ. Nurture your relationship with God through prayer, devotions, worship, nature, art, and music. Explore who you are and know whose you are.

  • Attend Midweek Session on Feb 28 @StM: Contemplative prayer.
  • At the end of each day, think over the highs and lows of the day. Ask about each, “Where was God in this?” Do this alone, or with a friend.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Write down five things each day that you are grateful for (try for different and specific things each day!).

 

Social/Interpersonal Health: We are created by God to be social beings, living in community and instructed to help and love each other. We maintain social well-being through interaction, play and forgiveness. Take time to nurture your relationships with family, friends, congregation and co-workers.

  • Attend Midweek Session on Mar. 7 @BLC: Non-violent communication
  • Attend Midweek Session on Mar. 21 @BLC: Forgiveness, with Bishop Macholz
  • Having trouble forgiving someone? Ask God daily to help you want to forgive.
  • Be more intentional about thanking people you encounter at work and home.

 

Emotional Health: Being emotionally well means feeling the full range of human emotions and expressing them appropriately. Self-awareness is the first step. Recognizing and honoring your own feelings and those of others — stress, contentment, anger, love, sadness, joy, resentment — will help you live life abundantly.

  • Attend Midweek Session on Mar. 7 @BLC: Non-violent communication
  • Attend Midweek Session on Mar. 21 @BLC: Forgiveness, with Bishop Macholz
  • Try to boil down the emotion you feel to: mad, glad, sad, or afraid. Name it aloud: “I feel _____.” Don’t confuse “feel” with “think,” and speak for yourself, not someone else.
  • Practice deep breathing for five minutes each day.

 

Physical Health: While we are not all born perfectly healthy or able to live life without injury or illness, we can live well by tending and nurturing our body as a gift from God. Feed it healthy foods, keep it hydrated, build physical endurance through regular exercise, and respect your body’s need for rest.

  • Choose one unhealthy eating habit, and change it (drink more water, drink less soda, don’t eat after 6pm, “strive for 5” fruits/vegetables, avoid high fructose corn syrup, try “meatless Mondays”…).
  • Give your body what it needs: an extra hour of sleep, a daily walk, rest…
  • Get rid of some of the chemicals in your life (toxic cleaning supplies, artificial fragrance, personal hygiene) and replace them with something “green” and natural.

 

Financial Health: Being financially well involves making decisions based on our values, as reflected in the way we save, spend, and share. Tending to one’s financial well-being in this way requires us to be resilient, generous, and focused on sustainability.

  • Attend Midweek Session on Mar. 24 @BLC: Financial wellness (Financial Peace University)
  • Complete a “Money Autobiography” (Google it, or ask Pr. Johanna for a copy)
  • Try a Buy-Nothing Lent: don’t buy anything except food, essential items (gas, toilet paper…), and experiences that will enhance your relationship with God or neighbor.

 

Vocational Health: We all have a calling — a vocation — to follow Christ’s example by living a life of meaning, purpose and service to our neighbor. Our vocations make up our life’s work and passions — they are the everyday roles through which God calls us to help make this world a better place. Those who are well vocationally are faithful stewards of their talents and abilities, and find opportunities to build and use them.

  • Attend Midweek Session on Feb. 21 @St.M: Vocational wellness (living into our call)
  • Each evening, write down something you did well that day, and something that brought you joy. At the end of each week, notice any patterns – what comes up frequently?

 

Intellectual Health: Using our minds keeps us alert and active. Stay curious, ask questions, and seek answers. Explore new responsibilities, experience new things and keep an open mind. And remember, knowing when and how to let your mind rest is as important as keeping active.

  • Choose two activities during Lent that you have never done. Do them!
  • Attend any of our Wednesday midweek sessions, either Bible study at lunch, or soup, study and prayer in the evening (beginning at 5:30pm)
  • Be intentional about taking a sabbath, even just an hour a week. Instead of thinking or learning – pray, breathe, color, or something else to rest your mind.

 

 

Schedule of Midweek Topics:

Feb. 21 @StM – Vocational Wellness (Living Into Our Call) with the Rev. Mary Johnson, assistant to the bishop for candidacy (for ministry)

Feb. 28 @StM – Spiritual Wellness (Contemplative Prayer/Examen) with spiritual director, Bonnie Matthaidess

Mar. 7 @BLC – Interpersonal/Social Wellness (Non-Violent Communication) with Kit Miller, director of the Ghandi Institute for Non-Violence in Rochester

Mar. 14 @BLC – Financial Wellness (Financial Peace) with Kerri Donahue, teacher of Financial Peace University courses

Mar. 21 @BLC – Emotional Wellness (Forgiveness) with Bishop John Macholz

For detailed descriptions, see February Newsletter, or church website.

Healing of our Every Ill: Lenten Series 2018

The world is a broken place in need of healing. We seek health and wholeness in our personal lives, in our bodies, in our relationships… We all want to move from dis-ease into a life of wellness. 

God wants that for us, too! So during Lent this year, we will focus on how we can find such health and wholeness in all aspects of our lives. Using the Wellness Wheel as our guide, and trusting that our baptism is at the core of all healing, we will pursue health of body, mind and spirit in various areas of life. See below for a schedule of events:

Ash Wednesday: 7pm at St. Martin, imposition of ashes and Holy Communion. We will reflect on our brokenness, our “dustiness,” and the ways that our baptism promises us clean and whole hearts.

Sunday, Feb 18: Healing Service
On this first Sunday in Lent, we will have a healing service as our main worship service for the day. We will set our healing goals, and commit to seeking God’s help in finding healing in our places of dis-ease. Pastor Johanna will be available during and after worship for individual healing prayer and anointing, an ancient healing practice of the church.

Wednesdays at noon: Bible and Lunch.
Join us for a Bible study over your lunch hour on Wednesdays during Lent. From noon to 12:45, we will study scripture with an eye toward how it offers healing. Brown bag lunch.
Wednesdays in February @ Bethlehem Lutheran Church (1767 Plank Rd, Webster)
Wednesdays in March @ St. Martin (813 Bay Rd, Webster)

Wednesday evenings:  Soup Supper and Study.
In the evenings, join us for soup at 5:30, and stay (~6pm) to learn about one of the spokes on the “Wellness Wheel” from experts on those topics (see descriptions below). After we learn (around 7pm), we will do Holden Evening Prayer together.
     Feb. 21 – Vocational Wellness (Living Into Our Call) with the Rev. Mary Johnson
     Feb. 28 – Spiritual Wellness (Contemplative Prayer/Examen) with Bonnie Matthaidess
     Mar. 7 – Interpersonal/Social Wellness (Non-Violent Communication) with Kit Miller
     Mar. 14 – Financial Wellness (Financial Peace) with Kerri Donahue
     Mar. 21 – Emotional Wellness (Forgiveness) with Bishop John Macholz

Vocational Wellness: Are you living into your calling? Have you had a major change in your life (like retirement, or empty nest) that makes you question what your call might be now? Mary Johnson, Assistant to the Bishop for Candidacy, works with people every day who are discerning their call, whether that is to the ordained ministry, or some other ministry. She will help us discern our gifts and calls for whatever life situation we find ourselves in.

Spiritual Wellness: Where is God in your day-to-day life? This is a question Ignatius of Loyola asked, and from which he developed the “examen” – a simple practice of thinking over your day and discerning where God was present in it. Bonnie Matthaidess is a local spiritual director with a passion for Ignatian spirituality, and will help us learn how to incorporate this transformative practice into our daily lives, and deepen our relationship with God.

Interpersonal/Social Wellness: How can we have conversations that restore instead of divide? The division in our country and in our personal relationships is a painful reality. So often we only hear from others what we expect to hear, rather than taking the time truly to listen. Can this ever change? Kit Miller is the director of the Ghandi Institute for Non-Violence in Rochester. She recently spoke to the UN on her program’s efforts at peace-making, especially among youth. She will lead a workshop for us on “Four ways to hear a message,” helping us learn not only to hear, but to listen to people’s truest needs, even as we discern our own.

Financial WellnessDo you crave financial freedom? Kerri Donahue (BLC member) found new financial freedom through David Ramsey’s course, Financial Peace (www.daveramsey.com). She was so moved by it, she began teaching the course to offer others this same freedom. She will share what the class is about, and offer information for those interested in taking the full class next time she offers it later this spring.

Emotional WellnessWhat pain are you hanging onto, and how would it feel to let it go? Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts God gives us, and one of the hardest both to receive and to give. But when it happens – what liberation! Upstate NY Bishop John Macholz will join us to talk about forgiveness: how to seek it, how to receive it, and why it matters in the life of a Christian.

Reformation Oktoberfest Family Fun

Join us for an evening of fun, food,

and learning about Martin Luther and the Reformation!

Saturday, October 28, 4pm-6pm
St. Martin Lutheran Church
813 Bay Rd. Webster

Enjoy classic German fare – brats, sauerkraut, and (root)beer.

Learn about Martin Luther and the Reformation
through games and activities that are fun for the whole family.

~ Color a Luther Rose~

~Nail your thoughts to a real door~

~Learn what in the world the Diet of Worms is~

~Participate in Luther’s famous Table Talks~

~Act out scenes from Luther’s life~

Following the party, at 6pm, join us upstairs for a presentation offered by a Reformation scholar (St. Martin’s own Dr. Tim Stoller) on the history of the Reformation.

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott!
So let’s celebrate!

 

God’s Work, Our Hands Day, Oct.1: Project description

Each year, St. Martin, Bethlehem, and Immanuel Lutheran Churches (all the Webster Lutherans) join forces in a service project to serve our communities. This year, our day of service will be Oct. 1.

We have a couple of exciting projects in store! As usual, there is one indoor project, and one outdoor project:

Outdoor: There is a house in the village of Webster that is in need of paint. It belongs to a single handicapped woman who cannot do the work herself. We are working with Rotary on this: we will scrap the house and prime it, and Rotary will paint it. If there’s time, we may do some yard work, too.

Indoor:  We have watched in horror as Texas, Florida, and islands off the Florida coast have been bombarded by hurricanes this season. Working with Church World Services, we will be assembling flood clean-up buckets and hygiene kits to help victims with the recovery effort. We are collecting items through September, and will purchase the rest of what is needed. On Oct. 1, we plan to assembly 30 buckets and as many hygiene kits as possible to ship down south.

Plan to join us for these projects! We all are one in mission…

Pastoral Letter regarding Charlottesville

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

At the very core of Christian teaching is the imperative to “love your neighbor as yourself.” In the Gospel of Luke, when someone asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus’ response is the famous parable of the Good Samaritan, in which a Samaritan – whose race and faith are that of the hated “other” – helps an ailing Jew, at great risk to himself.

My friends, the events we have watched unfold in Charlottesville since last Friday are entirely contrary to this central message of our faith. White supremacy, racism, neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism, white nationalism – call it what you will, but as Christians who proclaim Christ crucified and risen, who abide by Christ’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself,” we must call it what it is: an evil that is contrary to the Gospel.

This is not a partisan or political issue, and it is destructive to point fingers at the “other side.” This is a human issue, and it is certainly a faith issue. People who proclaim Christ cannot stand by silently while our neighbors, fellow humans created in the image of God, are degraded, dehumanized, attacked, and killed, simply for differing in race or creed. As Luther says in the Heidelberg Disputation of 1518, we must not call evil good and good evil, but we must call a thing what it is. And racism, whether overt as angry, torch-carrying white supremacists, or covert in our daily life, is a sin. As a pastor of Christ’s Church, I condemn the racist oppression and violence we saw in Charlottesville last weekend, and that which we see around the world on a daily basis, and I hope you will do the same.

But quick as we may be to call racism the sin of others, we must also be willing to confess our own part in it. This October, we will remember that 500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg door. The first thesis states, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt. 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” With this in mind, I have been praying for God to help me use this week’s events as a mirror, helping me to look into what darkness lies in my own heart.

So in addition to denouncing hatred and bigotry and embracing love and diversity, I hope you will also join me in a time of prayerful repentance. Pray that God would open your eyes to times you have fallen short of defending your neighbor of a different race or creed, times you have found yourself making judgments of someone (even unconsciously) based on their skin color, or times you simply remained silent, ignoring or avoiding the racism and bigotry around you. Silence is complicity, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said regarding the resistance to Hitler and the Nazis: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Let us speak and act, brothers and sisters, out of love for our neighbor. Let us listen to the stories of those most affected. Let us repent of our role, however big or small, and change our ways accordingly. Let us pray, for victims, perpetrators, leaders, and for ourselves. If you would like to talk, pray, confess, or cry with me, I welcome you. My door is open.

In faith and hope,

Pastor Johanna

 

Note:

If you would like to talk in person about the events of last weekend, please join me at Bethlehem at 9:30 on Aug 20, this Sunday morning. We have our joint worship and potluck at 11am on that day, so I will be available for conversation prior to that.

If you would like to do further exploration of systemic racism, including personal reflection, or see our Lutheran church body’s perspective on systemic racism, please check out the ELCA’s Social Statement on the topic: Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture. This 8-page document can be read individually, but is well-used as a study resource with a group. If you are interested in such a study, I would be very interested in having a group engage in this important topic in this way. The statement can be found here: http://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture

Pastoral Response to Charlottesville

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

At the very core of Christian teaching is the imperative to “love your neighbor as yourself.” In the Gospel of Luke, when someone asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus’ response is the famous parable of the Good Samaritan, in which a Samaritan – whose race and faith are that of the hated “other” – helps an ailing Jew, at great risk to himself.

My friends, the events we have watched unfold in Charlottesville since last Friday are entirely contrary to this central message of our faith. White supremacy, racism, neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism, white nationalism – call it what you will, but as Christians who proclaim Christ crucified and risen, who abide by Christ’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself,” we must call it what it is: an evil that is contrary to the Gospel.

This is not a partisan or political issue, and it is destructive to point fingers at the “other side.” This is a human issue, and it is certainly a faith issue. People who proclaim Christ cannot stand by silently while our neighbors, fellow humans created in the image of God, are degraded, dehumanized, attacked, and killed, simply for differing in race or creed. As Luther says in the Heidelberg Disputation of 1518, we must not call evil good and good evil, but we must call a thing what it is. And racism, whether overt as angry, torch-carrying white supremacists, or covert in our daily life, is a sin. As a pastor of Christ’s Church, I condemn the racist oppression and violence we saw in Charlottesville last weekend, and that which we see around the world on a daily basis, and I hope you will do the same.

But quick as we may be to call racism the sin of others, we must also be willing to confess our own part in it. This October, we will remember that 500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg door. The first thesis states, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt. 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” With this in mind, I have been praying for God to help me use this week’s events as a mirror, helping me to look into what darkness lies in my own heart.

So in addition to denouncing hatred and bigotry and embracing love and diversity, I hope you will also join me in a time of prayerful repentance. Pray that God would open your eyes to times you have fallen short of defending your neighbor of a different race or creed, times you have found yourself making judgments of someone (even unconsciously) based on their skin color, or times you simply remained silent, ignoring or avoiding the racism and bigotry around you. Silence is complicity, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said regarding the resistance to Hitler and the Nazis: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Let us speak and act, brothers and sisters, out of love for our neighbor. Let us listen to the stories of those most affected. Let us repent of our role, however big or small, and change our ways accordingly. Let us pray, for victims, perpetrators, leaders, and for ourselves. If you would like to talk, pray, confess, or cry with me, I welcome you. My door is open.

In faith and hope,

Pastor Johanna

 

Note:

If you would like to talk in person about the events of last weekend, please join me at Bethlehem at 9:30 on Aug 20, this Sunday morning. We have our joint worship and potluck at 11am on that day, so I will be available for conversation prior to that.

If you would like to do further exploration of systemic racism, including personal reflection, or see our Lutheran church body’s perspective on systemic racism, please check out the ELCA’s Social Statement on the topic: Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture. This 8-page document can be read individually, but is well-used as a study resource with a group. If you are interested in such a study, I would be very interested in having a group engage in this important topic in this way. The statement can be found here: http://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture

Joint Worship and Potluck: Aug 20 @11am

It’s time for our annual joint worship service and potluck with our partner congregation, St. Martin Lutheran Church. Sunday August 20 (that’s this week!) we will gather at 11am in the Bethlehem Pavilion for a service of Holy Communion. (This replaces our normal 8:45 worship service!) Consider bringing mosquito repellant – never know who might be out!

After worship we will have a potluck lunch. Bring a dish to pass, and consider bringing your own dishes and silverware so that we can minimize our footprint on God’s beautiful creation. If you have some fun yard games, bring those, too! Let’s all have a good time!

** In addition: many are wrestling with the events in Charlottesville last weekend. If you would like to speak about that with other concerned members, Pastor Johanna will be at Bethlehem at 9:30 for that conversation. This will be a time of conversation, prayer, and thinking about how we as Christians are called to respond to such hate in our community and world. We will be in the Prayer Room (go around to the back parking lot, in the red door, first door on the right). See you there.

VBS Safari With God a hit!

“This is our favorite VBS.” -parent

Learning about Jesus

“I’m definitely coming back next year!” -several kids
“The kids actually learn and remember things that matter.” -parent
“They were singing the songs in the pool yesterday.” -parent
“My favorite thing was just being here!” -kid
These were all things said by participants in this year’s VBS and their families at our Thursday night program, where we showcased some of what we learned during the week. It was indeed another excellent Vacation Bible School experience for the 35 kids who participated – and their families!

The kids help pastor bless the offering to be sent to Pangani Lutheran Children’s Centre

The theme was “Karibu Kenya: Safari With God,” and we learned about some stories that showed us how God is always with us on our journey – whether that journey is through Kenya, or through life. During the course of the week, we raised $300 for Pangani Lutheran Children’s Centre, an outreach ministry to girls living on the streets and in the slums of Nairobi. God is good!

A special treat of the week was having with us Mayukwa “Wala” Kashiwa, who taught us about some African customs – including how to do African drumming and dancing! All the other stations – crafts, games,

Making rainsticks

story-telling, and snack – all did their work to the beat of authentic African drums. The kids learned about how to greet someone in Africa, how to avoid getting bitten by a snake or eaten by a leopard, and how dancing can make an announcement or tell a story. Wala had all of us “dancing for God” all week long.

Many thanks to everyone who made this possible – the kids, their families, and 29 youth and adult volunteers from Bethlehem and St. Martin churches. We’re already looking forward to next year!

African dancing with Wala

Change of Worship Time, July 2: 8:45am

Please remember that starting on July 2, we will begin worship at 8:45am instead of 9am. This will allow Pastor Johanna more time to be with us following worship, before traveling safely to St. Martin for their 10:30 service. Please note, this is a TRIAL. We will get feedback from the congregation before making this a permanent change. The trial will run for 6 months, through the end of the year. Thanks for your patience as we figure out what is best for our congregation, our pastor, and our covenant with St. Martin.

 

Strawberry Social, Thurs, June 15

Warm weather is finally here, so it’s time for our annual Strawberry Social! Here are the details:

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When: Thursday, June 15, 4:30pm until gone.

Who: the whole family, and all your friends!

Menu: Beef BBQ dinner ($8) or hot dog dinner ($7), which includes main course, two sides/salads, and drink. Desserts (including strawberry shortcake, other cakes, ice cream…) are a la carte, and range in price from $1.50 to $4.50.

Why: For food, fellowship, and strawberries, obviously, but in addition, all proceeds from this event will go to support Mended Little Hearts. This organization helps families of kids born with congenital heart disease. Help us support this important work!

Come enjoy the food and fellowship, and while you’re at it, take a walk in our prayer garden, which is in full bloom right now! Weather is supposed to be great on Thursday – hope to see you!