The Community Keg

Dear Friends,
 
What a fulfilling worship experience I had on Sunday morning as celebrated the children in our congregation. It was Children’s Sabbath Sunday. We baptized little Blaine Lloyd, gave 3rd graders, Jackie and Luke, their Bibles, and rocked three little ones into our community of faith as part of our 96th annual cradle rocking ritual. It was powerful. I am thankful that Jesus reminded us to always welcome the children into our midst and be become like them in ways that demonstrate trust, humility, wonder and dependence. Thanks to all who helped make Sunday so special.
 
As we look ahead to this Sunday – Laity Sunday – First UMC members, Tom Ervasti and Tom Lundberg will be preaching and leading worship. What a gift these two will be to you all who worship on Sunday. My family and I will be out of town on Sunday, visiting colleges with our daughter, Annica, as she prepares to narrow down her school of choice. I thank Tom and Tom for their leadership and willingness to serve in this way.
 
I’ll be back in worship and preaching on Sunday, October 28 – Stewardship Sunday. A day you will be invited to make or increase your financial commitment to First UMC in order to continue to maintain our general operating needs while adding a new staff position for children and youth ministries and increasing pay for current staff. View the 2018 Stewardship Challenge here. This is an important challenge and decision for all at First UMC to be praying about and making. Do not decide on an amount you are or are not able to give without praying about it. It is crucial that we each ask, in prayer, that God’s will be done at this time and in this place.
 
To help illustrate the importance of Stewardship Sunday and the vision we hope to follow, I share this classic and timeless story with you. Read more…


Let the Children Come

Dear Friends,

World Communion Sunday 2018 – First UMC

 
On Sunday we recognized World Communion Sunday in worship with altar and chancel decorations and by celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion. It was a day that joined with Christians around the world in gratitude for who we are – united – as the Body of Christ. We are grateful to Cindy Kopp and Kay Oien for their decorating skills and commitment to helping us most fully experience the joy of special days like this.
 

Cradle Rocking at First UMC – September 1961

This coming Sunday we celebrate Children’s Sabbath Sunday – a day set aside every second Sunday of October to celebrate children as active participants in the life of the church today. As part of celebrating we will baptize little baby boy, Blaine, and present two of our third graders with bibles promised at their baptisms. 
We will also offer our 96th annual cradle rocking – a custom brought to Lindstrom by Swedish immigrants nearly 100 years ago. The first cradle rock for our congregation was in 1922! We will rock three little ones this Sunday! Read more…


A Busy Month!

Dear Friends,
 
Wow! The calendar says October 1st!
It’d be hard to believe if the morning temperatures weren’t in the upper 30s and lower 40s. The seasons are definitely changing.
The calendar says a lot more than just it being October. With it being October, comes much more. But before I highlight what’s to come, let’s look briefly at what’s begun in September. On Rally Sunday, September 9, we kicked off our Fall preaching and worship theme, “Together: Created for Community” with a beautiful outdoor worship service in our pavilion. God blessed us with perfect weather! That series concluded this past Sunday, September 30 after looking throughout the month each Sunday how we were not only created for community, but called to community, united in Christ as part of a community, and finally sent out with the Spirit to broaden our community of faith. As we celebrated this theme of community we also spent three weeks at adult bible studies on Wednesday nights looking closely at our strengths and God-given talents and how we might want to use them to inspire our community of faith. In addition, our confirmation program began with an expanded age group including 6-8 graders. We have six students in the program this year. Sunday school is underway thanks to many dedicated volunteers. In a nutshell, that was September. Now, onto October …  Read more…


Together: We Are Sent!

Dear Friends,
 
Okay, so this week is a crazy one for me – thus a day late on the blog – and a shorter one at that!
Nothing major going on with me, just a combination of events that have limited how much time I’ve had in front of the computer (which isn’t always that bad!). 
 
I continue to feel grateful for our time in worship together. Last Sunday I was happy to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of worshiping in our current building. It was built in 1968 and the first worship held in it was on Sunday, September 22 of that year. At the close of worship on Sunday we invited all current members who were worshiping that day 50 years ago, to come forward for a photo. Great memories for them and an important milestone in the history of our 160 year old congregation. Read more…


Together: United in Christ!

Dear Friends,
 
What a hoot!
 
It was a joy to experience my first Annual Hootenanny at First UMC last Saturday night. There was such joy, much laughter, authentic community, and great food! It truly was a picture of the community that we are celebrating at First UMC this month as part of our preaching and worship series, Together: Created for Community. I would like to express appreciation to all who helped make it happen, on behalf of the entire congregation. Thank you! Read more…


Called Into Community

Dear Friends,

What a celebration of community we had last Sunday as we worshiped outdoors under a beautiful blue sky and warm sunshine! It was spectacular. Thank you to all who were able to join us and celebrate, not only in worship, but also at our breakfast and mission and ministry fair. It truly took our community of faith to make it happen! Well done! We’re not done celebrating community. For the next three Sundays we will look deeper at how Jesus calls us into this community (and for what purpose), how Jesus unites us in community, and how he then sends us out into the broader (global) community with his message of love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Read more…


Carried In Community

Dear Friends,
 
I pray you had a blessed and restful Labor Day weekend. However, I realize that for some, it was anything but restful. Many are worried, concerned, frightened, and anxious over any number of things. This makes it difficult to rest when our minds are racing with all of the uncertainties of life. Last Sunday, as we began our worship at First UMC with receiving prayer concerns, as we usually do, those in attendance were reminded of the burdens that are on some of our hearts. I am grateful that our members feel closely connected – enough to be vulnerable among one another – enough to share from one’s heart – enough to ask for the prayers and support of those brothers and sisters in Christ that make up their Community of Faith.
 
A Community of Faith. That is exactly what we are going to begin celebrating and thinking intentionally about this Sunday as we kick-off our “Together: Created for Community” fall preaching and worship series. Read more…


Start From the Inside

Dear Friends,
 
“Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand:
there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” -Mark 7:14-15
 
When my family and I moved a couple years ago, it became a good opportunity to purge some of our collection of belongings that we had accumulated over several year’s time. It felt good to sort and to donate and to save. I’ve noticed this has been happening at First UMC as well this Summer. Read more…


Fall at First UMC!

Dear Friends,
 
The Great Minnesota Get-Together begins this Thursday.
For me, the reality of this is always bittersweet. My family and I always attend the State Fair at least once and sometimes twice during it’s eleven day stretch. We look forward to the food, the entertainment, and yes, even the crowds. There’s just something I love about people-watching. There is such incredible diversity among God’s people that is something to celebrate and never more evident than at the State Fair. Read more…


Connected or Disconnected?

Dear Friends,
 
I know it’s only Monday, but I pray your week is going well so far. My prayer for you this week is that you are connected to Christ. 
 
I pray you are connected to The Vine. I pray you are able to “abide” in Christ and find hope and comfort and
 peace. The word “abide” literally means to “make one’s home in.” Our scripture this coming Sunday from the gospel of John (John 6:51-58) challenges us to abide in Christ – in a rather alarming way. Read more…