As 2018 gets into full swing, allow me to alert you to some transitions, milestones, and opportunities which are already beginning to shape our congregational life.
PASTORAL TRANSITION – Since his ordination in 2005, Pastor Jotham Johann’s Call has been to St. Andrew, from which he was deployed to the directorship of the Center for Asian Missions and Evangelism (CAME) and then to the Wellspring Center for Leadership and Wellness. Then, last December, Pastor Johann received and accepted a Call to become the full-time Associate Pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Herndon, Virginia, where I will serve as preacher at his installation service on January 28. Though we’ve seen Jotham only on occasion at our Sunday/Monday worship, he has been part of the adjunct team at St. Andrew, for which we give thanks as we pray for the Spirit’s blessing on his new ministry and explore his continuing role as the leader of Wellspring in the context of his new responsibilities.
FUTURES – At long last, our Futures Task Force is preparing its report and recommendations to our Board of Directors concerning a number of new initiatives in mission and ministry. You’ve been hearing about them at Member’s Meetings and reading about them in this newsletter and in other reports. My sense is that 2018 will be the year in which we will have a number of informed opportunities to move from vision to action. You can read more about the latest developments elsewhere in this newsletter.
LENT – Lent begins on February 14 this year, which means that it’s time to plan the ways in which you will re-commit your life to Christ through worship, prayer, service, and self-denial. In addition to our four “weekend” services, we will also gather at mid-week beginning on Ash Wednesday to worship the One who committed His life to us. I encourage you to use the coming days of Lent to draw closer to our Lord and intensify your struggle against everything that tempts to rob you of your walk with Him.
A HAPPY ANNIVERSARY – While you’re at it, put Sunday, April 22 on your calendar and get ready to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the dedication of The Lutheran Church of St. Andrew at New Hampshire Avenue and Norwood Road. It’s hard to believe that it’s been an entire decade since that glorious day in 2008 when we realized God’s dream for our relocation to a much larger site and a tremendous new beginning in the life of our community of faith. Now the time has come for this forward-looking congregation to briefly look back and trace the stream of blessings that led to that day and have most certainly followed it. Look for details about a very special time of thanksgiving as the planning gets underway.
Those are some of the transitions, milestones, and opportunities in the year that continues to unfold before us, and with them I close with the challenging and encouraging words of Peter Speckhard in a little book entitled Connected to Christ: A Christian is called to be a living, working part of the corporate body of Christ. The personal relationship (with Him) and the corporate membership (with each other) are two sides of the same coin, inextricably linked. And Christ’s Body, the Church, remains alive in the world as members receive Him faithfully and build one another up in love. It might not always look like much, but such ministry is the most important thing in the world.
May God help all of us and countless more to find our place in such a ministry here at St. Andrew!
The Lord be with you+
Love, in Christ,