I have enjoyed getting to know you in my role as pastoral support staff. The Quilters have offered coffee, food, fellowship and laughter at the beginning of my work week. The Men’s Breakfast has been a wonderful time to fellowship together and learn from the text study on Wednesday mornings. It has been great to be with the Wednesday night supper crew that included young and old, Confirmation students and music people. Teaching the Healing Class was very rewarding for both Renee and me. Coming into the homes of those who needed in-home visits has been enjoyable. Thank you for your hospitality. And, of course, it has been wonderful to worship with the many who gather as the Body of Christ, the Church, on Sunday morning. Thank you to the staff who care so deeply for this congregation. I have fellowshipped, worshipped and worked with a wonderful group of people who love the Lord and share His love.
St. James is moving forward with the Transition Team and the Call Committee. May God bless them in their work so that St. James can continue to be strengthened in worship, Bible Study, prayer and the Holy Sacraments. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a plan for good for those who trust Him: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV). May you keep moving forward in God’s plan and hope!
Farewell! I pray that you will fare well in your continued work as the Body of Christ – the Church and in your time of meeting with each other and God in worship, Bible studies and fellowship. Fare well in your transition period in calling a Senior pastor. Fare well in your openness to new ideas and seeing God active in your lives, and in welcoming others. I celebrate that we have “fared well” in our walk of faith these last five months. My prayer is that you may continue to “fare well” in the years to come.
For me as support staff, it is time to say “good bye”. In England during the middle ages, people parted with a blessing, “May God be with you”. That was shortened to “God by you”. Today it has become “good bye”. Every time we part from one another and say good bye, we are wishing God’s blessings upon one another. So I say to you, St. James Lutheran congregation, good bye – “May God be with you”!
I will end with your Vision Statement: Living out our mission, our vision is to be a vibrant Christian community gathered in God’s Name where all are welcomed, fed, and nurtured. We envision our entire St. James family enthusiastically united in spirit-filled prayer, worship, music, Bible study, and fellowship. We see our congregation devoted to Christ-like service in our community and the world.
May this be your guide for calling a pastor and being a Christian influence in the community.
Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of St. James. May you continue to grow by proclaiming Christ’s love to the world.
Pastor Joel and Renee Dahlen
“We envision our entire St. James family enthusiastically united in spirit-filled prayer, worship, music, Bible study, and fellowship…”
Last month, I talked about the beginning of our Vision Statement, and how we at St. James are living out our vision to be a “Vibrant Christian Community.” This month, I want to talk about another part of our Vision Statement—what it means for our community to be “enthusiastically united in spirit-filled…worship.”
We certainly have a lot of that going on here. Our Holy Week worship services were filled with spirit-filled worship. From the soloists and choir…to the readers…to the children singing and waving palms on Palm Sunday…to the gathered crowds singing, worshipping, and praising God.
We have that at other times as well. This year, we have welcomed children back into the 9:15 worship service, and their enthusiasm is contagious! The instruments that they play at the beginning and end of the service have added a fun new dimension to worship. Also, at that service, we have tried some new music, have a dedicated band leading us each week, and have tried some different styles of worship with Bob Follmuth leading us some weeks with a cd service.
Our traditional services also bring enthusiastic worship—a faithful group gathering each week, meaningful liturgy, and favorite hymns played on the beautiful organ bring a peaceful, spirit-filled worship environment.
And our spirit-filled worship continues as we move into spring and summer months! Though we know travel increases as the weather warms up, we hope you will take advantage of the special services we have offered in May, including kids singing on May 4 and our graduate recognition service on May 18 (both at 9:15), and our continuation of the celebration of Easter at all services each and every Sunday.
And we especially hope you will join us for our always spirit-filled, fun outdoor services beginning June 1 at 8 and 9:15 (our late service will be indoors with a special summer time of 10:30). These outdoor services are always a favorite. So invite a friend, grab your lawn chairs (or there will be chairs provided!), bring your coffee and join us!
And, as always, if there is any way you would like to help with our worship services (with music, reading, ushering, or greeting!), please talk to me!
St. James Blog
Periodic notes and updates from the staff of St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mason City, Iowa