September 2018

Greetings to the Holy and Beloved People of God,

Thank you for your willingness to be an internship site for Nicole Hanson-Lynn as she completes her seminary education and prepares for ordained ministry. This is a rare opportunity to be involved at the ground level of our church’s process of training its leaders. Internship is a learning time before being called and ordained to Word and Sacrament Ministry.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America takes great effort in training its future leaders and values a process that recognizes a mutual relationship between the individual and the community. I can recognize a call from God to serve the community through Word and Sacrament (ordained ministry) but it also must be recognized by others in the community. This community at Christ the King has said yes, we will help Intern Nicole by recognizing her call to ministry and that it comes from God.

Nicole has been engaged in this process for a long time. Her call has been nurtured through her home congregation, St. John Lutheran in Kasson, MN. They have supported and encouraged her, as well as Wartburg College and camping ministries. For the last 3 years she has been taking classes through Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN and involved with a Candidacy Committee from her home synod, Southeastern Minnesota and they will continue to walk with her until she is approved for ordain ministry and called to a church.

We get to be a part of this process for the next year, helping her to further discover this call to ministry where she is being set apart to tend to God’s Word and how God has been made known to us through Jesus and how God’s grace comes to us in the sacraments of Baptism and Communion. She is learning how to provide leadership in a congregation.

When she is called to a church, that church will trust that we have been faithful in our part to walk with her in this learning process as well as the seminary and the synod. At her ordination, Nicole will be asked these questions:

·      Will you preach and teach in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and creeds and confessions?

·      Will you be diligent in your study of the Holy Scriptures and faithful in your use of the means of grace?

·      Will you pray for God's people, nourish them with the word and sacraments, and lead them by your own example in faithful service and holy living?

·      Will you give faithful witness in the world, that God's love may be known in all that you do?

 We get this opportunity to walk with her as she prepares herself to boldly say, “I will, and I ask God to help me.” Take this opportunity to be in conversation with her about her call to ministry and think about your call to ministry, to God’s kingdom work here and now. How has the Holy Spirit called you to serve in this community of faith? How has God equipped you to be a worker in the kingdom? 

Believing It Boldly Loving Everyday,

Pastor Connie Spitzack

August 2018

Greetings Holy People of God,

On July 22 at a special congregational meeting, we voted to be an internship site for Nicole Hanson-Lynn.  There was good discussion and great enthusiasm for our internship adventure. Intern Nicole will begin on August 13 and on Sunday, August 26 we will officially welcome Intern Nicole to this year of service and learning with a reception between services and a “Service of Beginning” during our worship service at both 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.  Learn more about Intern Nicole on page 8 of this newsletter. For Nicole, not only is this a requirement for her to complete her Masters of Divinity at Luther Seminary before she can be called as an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, it is also a real time classroom or laboratory where she will learn more of the practical side of being a pastor.  And I think you, the people of Christ the King will provide an excellent environment for learning. Thank you for your willingness to train this future pastor for service in the larger church.

An Internship Committee of 5-7 people will soon be formed and will meet monthly with Nicole.  They will support, encourage, affirm and challenge Intern Nicole through formal and informal experiences, listening and feedback.  They will assist her in reflecting on her learning goals, mid-point and final evaluations, project proposal and report. They will help to introduce Intern Nicole to our community.

I will be Intern Nicole’s supervising pastor and provide a supportive relationship on a daily basis, guiding, listening, challenging and offering feedback during the internship as well as being a resource for her.  We will meet weekly. And I too, will submit mid-point and final evaluations as we reflect on Nicole’s learning goals and project proposal and report. In August, I will go to Luther Seminary and receive new supervisor training and boundaries training.

Intern Nicole will have all the responsibilities of a pastor with the exception of presiding at Holy Communion and Holy Baptism, the two sacraments of the Lutheran church.  This is set apart until she is receives her first call by a church and then is ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament.  

We get this opportunity to be a part of the formation of this new leader in the church.  Intern Nicole will be with us for a year. Once that is completed she will continue in the candidacy process and be available for first call after her Candidacy Committee approves her and she is assigned to a synod.

Our responsibility as a community of faith is to encourage and nurture this new leader as she is being shaped for future service in the church.  We will provide financial support through a stipend, mileage and program expenses. Please keep Intern Nicole and our community of faith in prayer as we begin this journey.  Take time to introduce yourself. Wear your name tags. Introduce yourself again. Invite her to your home or out for coffee (I think she prefers tea) but you get the point.

Believing It Boldly Loving Everyday,

Pastor Connie Spitzack

June/July 2018

Greetings Pentecost People,

I want to personally invite you to attend the Story Telling Retreat on Monday, June 4 beginning with a simple meal at 5:30 and retreat from 6:00 – 9:00.  The retreat will be led by our LEAD Coach Jim Merhaut.  We need to learn to tell our story because if we don’t, who will?  We are witnesses of the things that God is doing among us.  A witness simply tells what they see and experience.  Our faith, our trust in Jesus, gives us a way to see the world that just must be shared.  It is good news.

Your Lead Team continues to listen to God and you.  At our last meeting we reflected on what we have heard God saying to us through the Bible studies and through our focus groups.  Through scripture and prayer we have heard that all are welcome as the early church struggled to figure out what they should do with the Gentiles.  We witnessed prayer and listening to God and practiced being together and bringing different things to the table.  And we kept listening to God.  We reason together and sometimes reasoning might even look like arguing.  We trust in the Lord and we are devoted to one another.

Through the focus groups we heard these themes repeated: a desire to be inclusive, fellowship, we see ourselves as disciples, we appreciate many options to fit the many needs and schedules, we love music, we are about feeding others in many and varied ways and tradition.

We invite you continue in conversation with us.  This summer we will be busy meeting our neighbors.  We have met with some of our gardeners and preschool teachers.  We will meet with people from area elementary schools, West HS, Johnson Co. Neighborhood Community Center and area businesses.  If there is someone in the neighborhood that you think we should have a conversation with, please let a Lead Team member know.  We welcome your conversation.  Please hold us in prayer as we seek to engage in God’s kingdom work.

Bible – believing it boldly loving everyday,

Pastor Connie Spitzack

May 2018

Greetings to the Holy People of God,

My son recommended a Youtube interview with Jordan Peterson and now I am hooked on his series, “The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories starting with Genesis, the creation and up to Joseph’s brilliant coat which adds up to fifteen 2 hour lectures with 30 minutes of Q & A.  Each month a new lecture is added.  Peterson continues to do this because he is interested in the topic and so is the audience with a huge Youtube following. It is also an experiment with making education more accessible to more people using technology.

When I started watching, I looked at the comments to get a quick review before I invested my time.  I was surprised by the overwhelming positive comments as well as people saying that their lives had been changed for the better. I continued to watch because I was curious about his take on the bible. It’s been fun to listen to and has brought new life to familiar stories.  He offers a fresh and hopeful perspective.  I enjoy watching his own witness as it unfolds as he weaves together his own discipline of Psychology with the Biblical stories.

I am reminded of the power of God’s word again from a person I would never have expected. I am reminded that God is relentless in his attachment to the world and will work with whoever is willing.  I want to be a part of that work. What experiments are we willing to try as we tell our story of Jesus’ love for us and how we have interwoven these stories into the very fabric of our lives?  Sometimes I find that knowing the story so well can become a stumbling block to being open to what God is wanting to do in partnership with us.  How do we explain something that we know by heart, that we have lived with so long to someone who doesn’t know or has struggled with God?  We keep telling our story and how we walk with God on this wonderful, complicated and complex journey through life and we trust God.

Our mission, our vision is to be engaged in the kingdom work God is calling us to do.  We are disciples.  We keep learning from God’s word as it unfolds before us and becomes the very fabric of our lives.  And we trust God and the mysterious ways in which God calls us to use our own talents and gifts to witness in this world that God loves us and we love God.

We have our work cut out for us.  And I give thanks to God that I get to do this work with you.  You are a faithful flock that trusts the Good Shepherd.

Believing It Boldly Loving Everyday,

Pastor Connie Spitzack

April 2018

Greetings to the Holy People of God, 

Before Easter, we take 40 days, the season of Lent to prepare ourselves for Jesus’ passion – his suffering, death and resurrection.  Now we enter the season of Easter and that another 40 days before Jesus’ ascension to wrap our hearts and minds around the resurrection and what it means for us.  It is a time of readjustment to the new and a time for grieving the old. 

Imagine how the disciples worked through this process of letting go of the Jesus they knew so that they could receive the risen Jesus and the new reality of life with this risen Jesus.   

Listen to the stories of the resurrection.  Try “The Bible Project” web site.  Run through each of the gospels or at least how each one records the resurrection.  You will find that each gospel tells the story a bit differently but all with an empty tomb.  Pay attention to the resurrection appearances of Jesus but don’t stop there.  Keep exploring the book of Acts, the letters of the New Testament and the book of Revelation.  These too are stories of what the resurrection looked like in the life of the early Christian community. 

Look at the history of the church.  Can you see the power of the resurrection in Martin Luther’s story or any of the saints that have gone before us? I see the power of the resurrection in many of your lives.  And I give thanks to God for you and your witness. 

For example, I see Jesus’ resurrection power in Christ the King Christian Preschool.  When legislation was passed to provide free preschool at our public school, we were afraid that would be the end of us.  Even our most dedicated families couldn’t justify paying for preschool when there was an opportunity for free preschool. We hit enrollment lows of 9 preschoolers.  We need 20 to break even.  It was a hard year and we wondered if things would turn around.  The next year was better, there was new life and another transition because at the end of the year, our lead teacher moved from the area.  This year, our resurrection year, we have a wonderful new teacher to add to our fabulous and dedicated staff and our enrollment is holding right at 20. Our students are younger but we offer a wonderful play learning

environment for them to explore and play with one another.  I saw God’s faithfulness as we continued to move forward, not knowing what the future would hold. I saw God’s faithfulness in the leadership of our preschool, their love for God and their love for children.   

What is your resurrection story?  How have you experienced the power of the resurrection in your life?  We need to hear each other’s stories, for it helps us to sort through our own experiences of resurrection.  We cannot leave these important stories untold. 

Here are some prompts that might help you to tell the story of how God is working in your life.   

 Tell about a time when your faith has grown. 

What does resurrection look like in your life?

How has God transformed your life or faith? 

Share this story with us.  Write it down and send it to me or record it on your phone or we will find someone to record it so that we can share with one another. Tell your story of resurrection and new life taking place today!  

This Easter season, let’s all tell the continuing story of God’s powerful work in our ministry and in our lives.  We love to tell the story, this story of God’s great love for us and how God brings new life. 

Believing It Boldly Loving Everyday,

Pastor Connie Spitzack