by Deb Wolterstorff
“Lord, you are more powerful than the roar of the ocean. You are stronger than the waves of the sea.” Psalm 93:4
Vacation Bible School (VBS) is just around the corner!!! Ahhhhh….here we go….a time of excitement, singing, stories, games, crafts, science, friends, connections and so much fun. And VBS provides a wonderful space for all of this to happen. It’s a crazy, fast paced time together but most of all, it is Holy time together. This year’s VBS, we are doing “Make Waves.” The kids will be learning about how what they do today can change the world around them.
We will learn how God is our master creator…we were made in God’s image, to take care of the world and show others what God is like.
We will learn how to “Catch the Wave”…to make waves by showing Jesus’ love to others.
We will learn how to “stay afloat”…to learn how Jesus is our life Preserver, how God sent Jesus to make a way for us to be with God now and forever.
We will learn how to “make a splash”…to make a splash in someone else’s life by showing them the love of Jesus.
And finally, we will learn how God’s Spirit can help us make a ripple effect throughout the world around us.
We start in 2 weeks! Can’t wait!
Wednesday nights July 6-Aug 3 from 5:30-7pm with a light optional meal at 5:00 for those who would like one.
Register your kids NOW!
By Trish Blomquist
“I Come to the Garden Alone” always reminds me that when we are stressed, sad, mourning, or just having a bad day God is letting us know that there is a place of solitude for us. A garden can be a spiritual retreat from a noisy world and hurried people. For me, that’s the Community Garden here at Christ the King.
The Community Garden has many facets – developing friendships, planting and watching plants grow, harvesting the produce and then giving the “fruits of your labor” to the local Food Shelf. In this way, we become “Community”. We also find that the purpose of the Community Garden is to not only grow a sense of community within but also to build relationships, connect with neighbors and provide food. When working in the garden we see God’s gifts – those to be shared with others.
Author Alfred Austin stated that “the Glory of Gardening can be defined as hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed the body and the soul.” Nurturing a Garden is also about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. In working with soil, plants and water, we learn about God’s call to be co-creators of life, beauty and joy. Watching the blossoms grow and the fruit develop knowing that it will feed someone is a gift from God. Viewing a garden can fill you with peace and happiness. For me it brings joy when looking at the green vegetation and having the opportunity to “play” in the dirt. Those who organize, volunteer in and cultivate community gardens often see grace in each shoot, pod and bloom.
In summing up God’s purpose of a community garden, we find friendship, solitude, community, grace, peace, serenity, beauty and also food for the community.
Consider joining the Community Garden crew on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 – you will be blessed with God’s gifts.
Spirit of God, you bring forth order and beauty. Bless the gardens of the world that feed both bodies and souls. Amen
Trish Blomquist-Chair, Community Garden
By Pastor Sarah Anderson
This past Sunday we celebrated Pentecost, the day when God’s presence, in the form of a mighty wind, came to be among us forever. Ever since the rushing wind of the Spirit that first Pentecost day, God’s movement has been stirring in all of creation. In fact, the Spirit is moving in you as you read this, and because the Spirit moves within you, you are granted the confidence and courage to step into new experiences.
Maybe it feels like a new experience to once again engage in our faith community after a pandemic left us isolated for so long. We are created to be in community - to interact, to laugh, to debate, to support one another, to share hard truths and so much more! In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Life Together, he writes, “The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us.” To be in genuine community sometimes takes courage, but I know you have it in you.
One way to beCOURAGEous in community this week is to come out for Wednesday’s Pizza Night. You could even take your courage one step further and volunteer (click here to sign-up). You might even invite a friend or neighbor to join you for the evening. Yes, the night is centered around pizza, but it is so much more. It will be a Godspeed for Amity as we thank her for her service as the Director of Youth and Family Ministry before she and Alyssa prepare for their move to Michigan. It will be a time to be in God’s creation, enjoying the sunshine and the shade, the flowers blooming, and a cool breeze. It will be a time to share highs and lows of your week as you socialize with others. It will be a time to listen to each other. It will be a time for fun and fellowship, and it will be a time when God’s presence is among us.
This May 25 marks the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. His murder triggered a series of protests across the nation and around the world and spurred a widespread grappling with systemic racism, white privilege and white supremacy. Within an extraordinarily short space of time, we saw symbols of the confederacy and slavery being removed from the public sphere and white people reading, studying and acting to better understand the systems that had been built into the fabric of this country to maintain white privilege and make it harder for people of color to live with full privilege and equality.
As a result of George Floyd’s murder Christ the King led a series of book discussions focusing on race in
America and formed the Racial Justice Working Group. To that end, the group continues to seek ways to
lift up learning, building relationship and acting to ensure racial equality and justice not only within our
congregation and among each other but also to reach out into our community of New Brighton.
While we seek to become more aware and active, we also realize that there is more discord and division in our country with regard to racial diversity, inclusion and equity. Accusations swirl around the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory, while there is increased scrutiny and hostility toward school boards and the teaching of history including the history of the genocide of indigenous peoples and the ramifications of slavery in the building of this country.
And with the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY on May 14, we began to learn a new conspiracy theory, the Great Replacement Theory which says “that nonwhite individuals are being brought into the United Sates and other Western countries to “replace” white voters to achieve a political agenda” (www.NPR.org, “What is the “great replacement” and how is it tied to the Buffalo shooting suspect?
May 16, 2022).
As we mark the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, as we mourn the loss of these 10 Black people (Roberta A. Drury of Buffalo, N.Y. – age 32; Margus D. Morrison of Buffalo, N.Y. – age 52; Andre Mackneil of Auburn, N.Y. – age 53; Aaron Salter of Lockport, N.Y. – age 55; Geraldine Talley of Buffalo, N.Y. – age 62; Celestine Chaney of Buffalo, N.Y. – age 65; Heyward Patterson of Buffalo, N.Y. – age 67; Katherine Massey of Buffalo, N.Y. – age 72; Pearl Young of Buffalo, N.Y. – age 77; Ruth Whitfield of Buffalo, N.Y. – age 86), we invite you to three reflection and learning opportunities.
The Racial Justice Working Group (RJWG) is grateful to be a part of Christ the King and we look forward
to more conversations and actions in 2022.
Your Sibling in Christ, Kisten Thompson, on behalf of RJWG
By Nate Crary
When I was 12 years old, my family moved from Blue Earth to Hutchinson. I vividly remember how overwhelming it was to say goodbye to so many things I had only known up to that point in order to make a way for new replacements. I had to say goodbye to our green house on main street, and to my fifth grade teachers, Mrs. Zabel and Mr. Bly, and to my best friend, Adam, and to Pastor Clark and Pastor Steve at Trinity Lutheran.
And that was just the beginning! Once we got settled in Hutchinson, I had to find a new violin teacher, and a new place to get my haircut. I had to figure out where the school bus was going to pick me up in the mornings. Should I still go by “Nathan” or make a permanent shift to be known as a less-formal, “Nate”?
This Sunday at church, we continue to be surprised by what God is up to in the midst of transitions. We will take time to bless members of Christ the King / Cristo Rey who are committing themselves to shepherding us in their service on the Transition Task Force. We will walk alongside our young ones who are stepping out in their faith in a new way by taking communion for the first time, while lifting up the incredible gifts for music ministry in this place.
And this is just the beginning! In the coming weeks we will give thanks for the abundant blessings we’ve received from KC and Amity while they served so faithfully by our side as they now prepare to leave us and lean into a new calling in their vocational lives.
There’s no question that transitions can bring setbacks and hiccups and be filled with new discoveries and a sense of deep relief. Transitions can be jarring and life-giving all at once. And, in the thick of it, please remember that you are allowed to feel exactly how you feel. It’s okay to feel sad and impatient and confused. It’s okay to feel excited and hopeful and confident. Through it all, God is making good on a promise to be with us always, leading the way to where exactly God is asking us to go.
Is this just the beginning? Maybe.
Thanks be to God.
By Amity Lantz-Trier and 2022 confirmation students
Our confirmation students recently gathered for an end of the year retreat filled with too much soda, the right amount of pizza, 6 dozen cupcakes, and a faith focus on the Lord’s prayer. We wrestled with the questions; what even is the Lord’s Prayer? What does it teach us about ourselves and how we pray, and how did Jesus use it to teach us about God?
After reading Martin Luther’s explanations and understanding of the Lord' Prayer, we came to the conclusion that sometimes using such formal language makes the prayer feel unrelatable and maybe even confusing. Together as a group we looked at this very familiar prayer and line by line and explored what it means to us, and how we can put it into language that is more comfortable and gives a closer connection to God.
Our Father who art in heaven.
Big Pal, chillin' in Big Pal place.
Often we get caught up in God the Father being conformed into our human understanding of gender but we know God is so much bigger than that. This God is a creator, a father, a mother, a caregiver, a forgiver, and so much more. This God is our pal, the biggest pal we have. We know that where God is, we are not, but we know that place is amazing and wonderful and better than where we are now.
Hallowed be thy name,
You are holy, please share some holiness with us,
When coming up with adjectives to describe God we found that something that we can’t achieve on our own is being holy. That is very much a God thing, and can only be shared with us. We cannot achieve holiness on our own.
Thy kingdom come,
Share some of the energy from Big Pal place with us here on earth.
We know where God is, it is free of so many of the things that make Earth a hard place to be. We ask that some of that is shared with us, both to give us a glimpse of what is to come and to make being here a little easier sometimes.
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven
We will try to be your hands and feet to share your holiness with everyone
We are called to do God’s will in the world. To be our best selves through the holiness God shares, and we want to share that with every person we encounter.
Give us today our daily bread.
Please remind us that you give us everything we need to survive.
Everything we need. Every day. Both physically and spiritually. We need to be reminded daily of the amazing gift of love we received from Jesus and also that our daily needs are being met.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
Forgive us when we do wrong, and help us be as forgiving as you to others
Forgiveness is one of God’s most amazing gifts for us, and we ask that we can share that forgiveness with those around us even when it's very hard and we definitely don't want to.
Save us from the time of trial
Be with us when the world is chaotic, hard and messy
Life is hard, and we ask God to be with us through the ups and downs.
And deliver us from evil.
And when we get caught in a sticky situation, step in and save us.
We know that there will be hard times but we also know that sometimes only God can be with us through the hardest, toughest times.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, Forever and ever. Amen
You are everywhere and everything, be with us always.
Amen and Amen.
Amity Lantz-Trier and the 2022 confirmation students
By Priscilla Berg
In Luke 10 a lawyer asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan. The point of the parable? In Bread for the Journey, Henri Nouwen explains, “We become neighbors when we are willing to cross the road for one another (…). There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are very busy with our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the road once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might indeed become neighbors.”
This Sunday we have the opportunity to learn more about our neighbors. Mark Suggs, New Brighton’s Commissioner of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will lead our SALT session. He will present information about the increasing diversity in New Brighton and surrounding communities, and discuss what New Brighton is doing to respond.
As we at Christ the King explore our mission during this time of transition, let’s look at opportunities to interact with our community, to do more “road crossing”. Mr. Suggs can provide a window for those opportunities.
As Eric Overby has said, “The only way we will love our neighbors as ourselves is by getting to know our neighbors, even in the midst of our differences.” In Legacy.
By Pastor Sonja Hagander
Recently, I have been drawn to the word COURAGE. More on that in a moment.
When I was a very young child, my Dad had a 3-sided mirrored paperweight. I recall putting that heavy paperweight up to my forehead and somehow, because of the mirrors, I could see the ceiling of our hallways and rooms. I would hold the paperweight up to my forehead, walk around, and pretend to stumble over, or step over, the doorway mantels of our home. Ok, you may be wondering why; we had access to plenty of other games:). Silly kid.
I also recall visiting Norway with my grandparents; the older homes in Setesdal had significant 6-inch thresholds. I would stand on the threshold and rock: back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes I would almost fall on my back; other times I would almost fall forward onto my face. It was a risky game. I had to have COURAGE.
We are entering a significant phase of our transition time. It is a liminal time: that time of crossing and transitioning across borders and boundaries. Did you know that the word “limen” comes from the Latin word for threshold. This faith community is standing on a threshold; in the midst of this good transition work, we will be rocking back and forth. Sometimes rocking back, exploring and celebrating important moments in the life of the congregation. Other times rocking forward, drawn into the future by the Holy Spirit. It takes COURAGE!
I forgot to mention one important detail from my rocking on those Setesdal thresholds: there were always people around ready to catch me. And this faith community, too, is full of people ready to pray, hold, release, catch, call, care, listen, worship, sing, speak, give, lead, confess, forgive, wonder, pause, nudge, notice, pray some more, as we rock on this threshold call transition. It is holy work, grounded in the promise that Christ is risen and makes all things new.
Christ the King Lutheran Church/Cristo Rey Transition Task Force launches on Sunday, May 1 with 31 members on 5 teams. We will spend time Dwelling in the Word with our scripture texts; I will overview the Transition Task Force process; Cindy Halvorson, consultant with LeaderWise will lead the Task Force into the 8 Pillars of Trust. And, during the month of May I will orient each team: Mission & Vision, Self-Study, Staffing, Ctk/Cristo Rey and Prayer Group into the detail and fabric of their work. The arc of this Transition Task Force is typically 4-7 months. Each of you will have the opportunity to engage in this intentional Task Force process. Watch and listen for the particular ways in the coming weeks and months. And please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns or joys.
And, on Sunday, May 22, the 31 member Transition Task Force will be commissioned during worship at both 9:30 a.m. and 12 noon. Please hold them in your prayers.
By Zach Johnson
Friday, April 22 is Earth Day, a global celebration of our common home held since 1970. People take the time this week to reflect on the beauty of the Earth and to think of ways they can better serve it. At Christ the King we gather together to serve the Lord and our environment in many ways. As you know, we’re currently raising money to help install solar panels at the church, which will provide clean, renewable energy for decades, helping our church and community together. We also have a dedicated group of community gardeners who work hard all summer to grow local produce for our community food shelf, providing fresh, delicious food for those in need. As a congregation, these are positive forward steps that we are taking to better care for the Earth. One thing I would like us to think about is what other steps might we take?
This week, for our SALT presentation following worship, the Care for Creation team is hosting a discussion about changes we can make at our church property to better care for the Earth. One proposal we have is to convert some areas of our property covered in turf grass into native rain gardens. This can help reduce costs, lower our collective carbon footprints, and provide food and habitat for threatened and endangered species. I hope you’ll join us in our discussion as we imagine new ways to help care for creation here at Christ the King Lutheran Church.
By Nate Crary
Waiting can be the worst.
We waited exactly 40 days after our daughter, Olive, was born before we could bring her home from the hospital. Each day had its ups and downs, while the tiny organs in her tiny body slowly began to fire up and learn their function. Some days felt like forever. Not knowing exactly when the waiting would stop did not help. And then, all of the sudden, the doctor told us, “We think Olive can go home tomorrow.” Relief washed over us and, in an instant, the waiting came to an end.
What was it like for all those who loved Jesus to watch him suffer and die on the cross and then wait for his resurrection? The passion story unfolds so quickly, turning from celebration with palms to Jesus’ last breath in what feels like a matter of moments. And, I wonder if that same amount of time felt like an eternity to all those who witnessed it in person. In an instant, we find ourselves with the women at the empty tomb. Jesus is risen, the waiting is over.
This, of course, is not the only story of waiting we find in the Bible. God’s people have found themselves waiting in boats, in the belly of big fish, in the desert, and in quiet rooms behind locked doors. While this Easter day might bring waiting to an end for some, still we wait for God’s whole creation to be restored in the midst of global disease and climate disaster, still we wait for God’s justice and healing to be delivered for all who suffer from police brutality and domestic violence, and still we wait for God’s peace to bring an end to senseless war.
The good news is this: whether or not we’re ready, Jesus is risen, indeed. The waiting is over. Alleluia.