Publications

Walking Together

Making Christ Known - September October 2018

[Christ’s] purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13, CEB)

In this issue of Making Christ Known we are highlighting the ministries of deacons, our Ministers of Word and Service. The lay rosters of this church were combined in 2017. Those who had been serving as associates in ministry, diaconal ministers and ELCA deaconesses are now known as deacons.

In the Northern Illinois Synod, we have 18 deacons, five of whom are retired. A majority of our deacons serve or have served congregations as musicians or directors of music. Across the church, however, deacons serve in many different capacities. Deacon Karin Graddy, for example, serves on my staff as our synod’s Director of Communication and liaison for youth ministries. Deacon Cheryl Erdmann works with me as a full-time assistant to the bishop.

As you read the stories of a few of our deacons, I hope you will help me affirm their work among us. Our lives are richer, more mature, because each one of them answered God’s call to a public ministry.

Thank you, deacons!

Walking with you,

Bishop Jeff Clements

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Living Lutheran Stories - September 18, 2018

Looking for the Word

Article
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came … continue
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I'm a Lutheran: Bettye Olson

Article
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn. Artist and retired art teacher  I believe art has been my passion, my work, my inspiration and sometimes my healer. It has always been part of my. … continue

“We have to work as one”

Article
Editor’s note: Each ELCA Ethnic Specific and Multicultural Ministry has developed a mission strategy unique to its needs and aspirations. In this monthly series, we will feature the presidents … continue
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Living Lutheran Living Lutheran
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Fear not - Presiding Bishop Eaton

I’m leaving for my first trip to Holden Village, a retreat center near Chelan, Wash. I’ve heard about this Lutheran Shangri-La for years. I have sung and played the Holden Evening Prayer in many settings. I’m excited. The theme verse for the week I’ll be in residence is “Fear not,” which is part of a longer passage found in the book of Isaiah.

For me, Isaiah 43:1-7 is one of the most hopeful and lovely passages in all of Scripture. This word of promise and grace comes to the people of God who are in exile in Babylon. It is difficult for many of us to imagine the intensity of these words and of the promise they contain. God’s declaration that “you are mine … you are precious … and I love you” is almost too good to be true. Hearing and trusting this promise, the people were undoubtedly, as Zechariah says, “prisoners of hope.”

“Fear not.” “Do not fear.” “Do not be afraid.” “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” “You are to fear and love the Lord so that ....” What about all this fear? I think the notion of fearing a loving God is confusing. How can fear, which feels oppressive, be part of God’s life-giving relationship with us? Are we to fear, or fear not? And yet, there it is. In Scripture and in the catechism, we are told to “fear and love God.” We are also told “fear not.” I think both are possible.

There is a lot of fear going around in our world, our country and our church. The evidence is all around: heavily armed police and military personnel at airports; the strident fearmongering that blares at us from media outlets of the left and the right; the possibility of nuclear war; even manufactured threats about personal hygiene (do we have the whitest, brightest teeth?).

This kind of fear makes the world seem chaotic and overwhelming. It drives us into smaller and smaller relationships. It’s limiting and inhibiting. This kind of fear plays to our sinful nature, particularly sin as defined by Martin Luther: “the soul curved in upon itself.” This kind of fear puts us in the center of a limited universe that is restricting and life-destroying. That is why this kind of fear is an effective means of control.

The fear of God that is found in Scripture and the catechism is the opposite. The fear of God is actually part of an expansive and expanding existence. Instead of our crowded little worlds with us at the center, we are able to experience the depth and breadth of God’s love. This kind of fear is about awe that makes us tremble in the presence of God’s power expressed in love. The absence of fear and awe makes God, the cosmos and the world small, impoverished and parochial.

Here is how I think it is possible for us to fear and fear not. If we fear and love God, if we assume an attitude of awe, we are set free. Rather than being limiting, this kind of fear is liberating. We are liberated from futile attempts to save ourselves. We are liberated from exhausting attempts to justify ourselves. This kind of fear is the best response to the constricting and life-destroying fear that the world peddles. It is not denying that the world can be a frightening and dangerous place. Rather, the fear and awe of God make it possible to face real threats with the confidence that this is God’s world—God’s redeemed world.

Listen to God’s promise: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2-3).

A monthly message from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her email address: bishop@elca.org. This column originally appeared in Living Lutheran’s September 2018 issue. Reprinted with permission.

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2019 Women Leaders Retreat - Walking in the Light of God

Monday, January 28, 1 p.m. - Tuesday, January 29, noon

Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center • 1834 IL Rt. 2 • Oregon, IL • 815-732-2220 • lomc.org

Our spiritual lives as individuals and together are lives of journey.  They are unfolding, en route, and along the way.  Both interior and exterior walks yearn toward the light of God with its wide embrace of love.  Light is the most common image for the divine across traditions.  You are invited to take time apart with others seeking direction and guidance regarding the journeys we are on and the light we seek.  This question will be ours across the retreat time: “Where do we find our steady path on which to journey for growth in spirit and joyful service in times certain and uncertain?” Let us companion one another on the road.

The journey is home.  (Nel Morton)

Registration cost 

  • $70 for a shared room (up to three in a room)
  • $90 for a single room. All rooms have an en-suite bathroom with shower.

Please bring

  • your own lunch Monday (optional)
  • a shoe or a boot, a flip flop or a high heel, a sandal or a clog – some item of your footgear that symbolizes where you are in your journey now.
  • food/snacks to share for breakfast Tuesday (coffee is provided)

Schedule

Monday

  • 11:30 am – Lodges open
  • 12 noon – Bring your own lunch
  • 1:00-2:00 pm - Intros/Sharing
  • 2:00-2:30 pm - Worship
  • 2:30-4:30 pm – Retreat Session: “Meandering Steps”
  • 4:30-5:30 pm - Free Time
  • 5:30 pm - Supper
  • 6:30-7:45 pm - Retreat Session: “From the Emmaus Road”
  • 7:45-8:00 pm - Break
  • 8:00-8:45 pm - Evening/Devotions
  • 8:45 pm - Snacks/Sharing/Free Time

Tuesday

  • 8:00 am - Breakfast
  • 9:00-11:00 am - Retreat Session: “From the Bremen Town Musicians”
  • 11:15-12 noon - Worship/Eucharist
  • 12 noon - Departure
The Rev. Dr. Martha A. Brunell

Retreat Presenter the Rev. Dr. Martha Brunell (Martha) is a pastor in the United Church of Christ.  She is also a spiritual director, a writer, and a retreat and workshop leader.  Originally from the northeast, she has sunk deep routes in the middle of the country as an adult.  For several decades she was an inner city pastor in Saint Louis where her ministry included work in domestic violence, end of life care, grief education, and adjunct teaching at Eden Theological Seminary and Aquinas Institute of Theology.  Since the spring of 2013, she has been the pastor of Mayfield United Church of Christ in rural Sycamore, Illinois.  Mayfield is a small, progressive congregation that began its life in 1860 as a stop on the Underground Railroad.  Now the congregation is active in habitat restoration for the Monarchs, has an active partnership with the Jane Adeny Memorial School for girls in Kenya, and is engaged in numberous projects and programs locally and further away from home.  Martha loves to read, write, walk, travel, pass along stories, and develop new programs to share with others.  She is a Veriditas trained labyrinth facilitator, is fascinated with the connection between who we are and the land on which we dwell, and takes great delight in the lives of her adult daughters,  Amanda and Molly.

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... for members of Good Shepherd, Oak Park which had a fire 9/5

A fire took place in the church building of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Oak Park on Wednesday, September 5. Please keep the congregation in your prayers. that resulted in significant damage. Thankfully, no one was injured.

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Making Christ Known

    Making Christ Known - September October 2018

    [Christ’s] purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13, CEB)

    In this issue of Making Christ Known we are highlighting the ministries of deacons, our Ministers of Word and Service. The lay rosters of this church were combined in 2017. Those who had been serving as associates in ministry, diaconal ministers and ELCA deaconesses are now known as deacons.

    In the Northern Illinois Synod, we have 18 deacons, five of whom are retired. A majority of our deacons serve or have served congregations as musicians or directors of music. Across the church, however, deacons serve in many different capacities. Deacon Karin Graddy, for example, serves on my staff as our synod’s Director of Communication and liaison for youth ministries. Deacon Cheryl Erdmann works with me as a full-time assistant to the bishop.

    As you read the stories of a few of our deacons, I hope you will help me affirm their work among us. Our lives are richer, more mature, because each one of them answered God’s call to a public ministry.

    Thank you, deacons!

    Walking with you,

    Bishop Jeff Clements

    Download the issue.

    Download (PDF, Unknown)

    Read more