Pastor’s Report 2018

2018 was indeed a year that we can give thanks to God for His blessings and work in our midst. Vicar Matthew Fenn offered much to our worship, Bible studies, and life of the church, remaining with us through the summer till the end of August. I am thankful that we as a parish had the opportunity to be part of the vicarage program, often receiving more from the vicar than we gave him. Matthew brought new ideas and a passion for the Gospel to our Youth Retreat, a VBS in both churches, and Sports Camp. I also very much appreciated Liz Gardner, without whose energy and resolve many of these children and youth events would not have taken place. There were some great fellowship events, a spaghetti fundraiser dinner, a spring parish picnic, complete with a horse wagon ride out at the Waldhof hall, and an evening of country Gospel music this fall. All of this was woven into the fabric of our parish’s annual rhythm of worship throughout the church year. Special Lenten and Advent services complimented our regular Sunday services. Bible studies in both St. Mark and Our Saviour were offered so that more of our members could take up the challenge to know, show, and grow in the love of Christ. There was the joy of both adult and children Baptisms, a few weddings to bring memorable moments to the summer, and the sadness of bidding farewell to members we love as we take comfort and assurance in God’s promises to us all.
Our call to Kai Buck as a candidate from Concordia Lutheran Seminary was denied in the spring causing some disappointment, yet we know our God is still in charge and will care for the future needs of this parish. With my retirement still ahead in the fall of 2019, our parish put forth a general call for a candidate from the seminaries at our annual voters’ meeting in November. This action remains in our prayers as we wait for due process and God’s answer this coming spring.
As your pastor I am always concerned with the well being of every member. In fact my promise to each of you is to not only pray for you, but to visit you when you are shut in, and search you out if you should fall away from fellowship. And this I will continue to do so long as I remain your pastor and God gives me the strength. We do have an aging church membership; some are simply no longer able to attend worship and require efforts from your pastor, elders, and other members to visit them in their homes or Princess Court. Other members have been called home to be with the Lord, and while we miss them we also rejoice in the joy they now have in the fulfillment of God’s promises to them. However there are also those who simply fall away, and for reasons we may never know have grown cold toward their church family and the gifts God shares with us as His gathered people. If I might be so bold as to suggest that we need to focus less on our age and what we don’t think we can do, and put our energies into prayer and care for the family of faith God has given us. Take the time to reach out and visit those who can no longer worship with us or stop by and spend time with someone you haven’t seen in worship for a while. If you take a moment to consider all that our parish has been through and all that we’ve done together, you can see how God has richly nourished us with Word and Sacrament, and blessed us with each other as the Body of Christ. (Philippians 1:3-5)

In Christ,

Pastor James Wood