April 29, 2009
I've just recently returned from my first synod assembly of the season—the Northeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly held in Brainerd, Minn. It reminds me once again how wonderful it is to be out and about in this church and to hear about all the creative ministries.
At each meal I sat with a different group of folks and asked lots of questions about their congregations and about the challenges and blessings. I heard far more stories than will ever make the pages of The Lutheran , though many of them would inspire readers. I met Mark Osthus, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Proctor, Minn., a diverse congregation of American Indian, African American, Asian and European descent. Osthus has a ministry at the local correctional facility, too—and upon release, some of the former residents have joined the congregation. Immanuel and Osthus also are trying to help a family threatened with deportation. And for a fun fact: The congregation knows five of the 10 ELC liturgical settings!
I met Chris Hill, pastor of Light of the Cross in Garrison,Minn. , and some of that congregation's members—and learned about a variety of ministries that happen in that relatively small congregation. Members are active and always willing to take on more. And I met so many more members and pastors with great stories. I could go on and on .... And in the plenaries I learned about even more ministries and such generosity among the congregations and members.
The ELCA has so many stories to tell—ministries aplenty. I am proud fo be part of this church where so much outreach and creativity exist, where the gospel is preached and the Good News shared in innovative and amazing ways.Thanks be to God.