Does your congregation have mid-week services in Lent to give you an extra opportunity to deepen your faith? In some communities the churches do pulpit exchanges, so that parishioners from one congregation can hear from the pastor in another.
Bethel Lutheran in Great Falls features lay speakers at their Thursday Lenten soup suppers. Members of the congregation are invited to share their faith stories. Have you ever done that? It is surprising how few of us have done that. Is it intimidating? Yes. But it is also rewarding. Sharing your faith story in a safe setting like a congregational soup supper can be a way to learn about how to talk about your faith more publicly. Bethel’s soup supper presentations are deepening faith and witness.
Freedom in Christ is a ministry in the Montana State Prison. Pastor Rob Nedbalek is able to provide a ministry of word and sacrament in the prison. And he is able to provide a ministry of presence, working with people at different stages of their faith journey. One of the things he is able to do, thanks to volunteers and supporters, is to provide Bibles to inmates who want them. A Montana Synod Christmas Giving Tree program gave participating congregations an opportunity to donate to give Bibles to the ministry. Freedom in Christ is deepening faith and witness.
The Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church has several schools—one in El Alto, and one in Santa Cruz. The schools were founded when free public education was not accessible to all children. The Lutheran schools are open to all children, and depend on scholarships to help pay expenses. Many congregations in the Montana Synod have made donations to the scholarship fund, so that Bolivian children could receive an education in a faith-based environment. In response to the Bolivian government’s requirement that schools provide English instruction, the IELB is applying for a short-term ELCA missionary to teach English in El Alto. The schools of the IELB are deepening faith and witness.
This coming weekend there will be 2 classes of LPAs learning new ways to serve. The basic LPA class will be working with Pr. Julie Long on how to lead worship. And the LPA 2.0 class will be meeting with Pr. Greg Holler-Dinsmore to learn about preaching for funerals and other out-of-the-ordinary occasions. And the following weekend, the folks in the LPA East class will be learning about pastoral care. There are so many ways that LPAs serve God and neighbor. The trainings that we provide not only deepen their faith, but they help them deepen the faith of others by their witness. LPAs and LPA trainings deepen faith and witness.
Each year Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Rocky Boy, in cooperation with a variety of funding sources, makes it possible for children from the reservation to attend camp at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp. Our Saviour’s and FLBC and deepening faith and witness with kids who might not have another chance.
In response to last week’s request on how you are serving the world, Pastor Patty Callaghan, Interim Pastor at Gloria Dei in Butte writes:
“Butte lost their homeless shelter over a year ago, so the community had to step up to provide winter shelter. Since December 2018, the community, through the local community action agency, raised $98,000; of that amount, $27,000 was donated by local congregations. Gloria Dei Lutheran donated $2720 of that amount. I thought you might like to know this. People would likely have died on the cold streets this winter without this effort.” Pr. Patty Callaghan.
Let me know how your congregation or ministry is deepening faith and witness.
Jessica Crist, Bishop
Bishop Jessica Crist
Bishop of the Montana Synod of the ELCA