Written by Pastor Peter Hanson
Nearly two weeks ago, I quietly observed a milestone in my ministry here at Christ the King: Wednesday, January 15th was the sixth anniversary of my arrival as lead pastor at CtK! There has been so much worth celebrating in our six years together, as well as many things that have raised questions, caused concern, or elicited responses of sadness, confusion, and disappointment. That is the beauty of being in ministry together, that we get to experience both the highs and the lows together, within a faith community created and sustained by God’s grace.
As I now enter my seventh year of ministry as your pastor, I am grateful to Christ the King for the opportunity for a three-month sabbatical, which was generously included in my Letter of Call. Coming from the same root word as “sabbath,” a sabbatical offers pastors (and others) the opportunity to step away from the daily obligations of parish life and to engage in a period of intentional exploration and reflection, with a goal of renewing the enthusiasm, vision, and creativity needed to sustain ministry into the future. The dates and overall scope of my proposal were approved by the Executive Committee and Council last spring, and were shared with the CtK community last summer in the Herald.
I will begin my sabbatical on Wednesday, February 26, and will return to CtK on Tuesday, May 26.
My sabbatical program, as it has been further refined, includes the following:
CtK has budgeted for pastoral coverage during my absence. In addition to the ministry provided by the awesome CtK pastoral, program and administrative staff, we will have an additional full-time pastor joining the ministry team during this time. This pastor will be sharing preaching and worship leadership duties with Pr John, supervising the work of Intern Pepe Demarest and Mission Developer Ana Becerra, and providing pastoral care and some faith formation opportunities in collaboration with others on staff.
Look for an announcement with more details about this interim pastor later this week.
Once again, I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and for the care and generosity this congregation is providing me in making this sabbatical available. I invite your continued prayers for me, for others on staff, for the interim pastor, and for Christ the King as a whole as we enter this time of new, and somewhat unknown possibilities. I promise to hold you all in prayer during this time apart, asking God to bless the current ministries of CtK and to provide insight and discernment for our future ministry as well.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Peter Hanson
Monday, January 13th at 6:30 in the Fireside Room.
Bret is a songwriter and a songleader based in Minnesota. He writes songs and hymns for groups of ordinary folks to sing together, with lyrics that reflect a commitment to community, peace, care of the earth, social justice. Bret leads singing for community sings, church groups, school groups, and social change movements. He also leads workshops on community singing, songwriting, and songleading. Bret led worship music at Christ the King during the summer a few years back.
He has recently written some new songs that he’s interested in sharing with us at CtK. In what we’re envisioning as a “participatory repertoire-sharing event”, Bret will be on hand with song sheets of some of this new music—reflecting themes of peace, justice, ecology, inclusion, and shared abundance. Many are pieces that we might consider using in worship; others are just plain fun to sing (he recently wrote a “rouser,” based on the new mission statement of his home congregation, Our Saviour’s in Minneapolis).
A founding member of the nationally acclaimed music group Bread for the Journey, a Minneapolis-based ensemble that travels nationally to teach and lead songs of faith, hope, justice and inclusion from around the world. Bret’s songs are featured on Bread for the Journey’s recordings, including the three-volume “Global Songs, Local Voices” series, which helped broaden the awareness of hymns and songs from around the world, particularly among ELCA congregations.
Come learn some new songs to sing in community! No particular experience or expertise necessary!
Epiphany (sometimes referred to as “Three Kings Day”) is a Christian festival which celebrates God’s self-revelation to the world in Jesus Christ. The actual feast day itself is today, January 6th, and recalls the Wise Men’s visit to the infant Jesus, bringing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The liturgical season celebrated throughout the next six weeks builds on this same theme. From the Maji to Jesus’ baptism to the beginning of his public ministry, this season reveals to the whole world that Jesus is God’s only and beloved child.
In this season of Epiphany I am excited to reveal a new liturgy to the congregation—the Misneach Mass.
Pronounced MISH-nock, Misneach is a Gaelic word for courage, hopefulness, and a sense of pushing forward through uncertainty. Composer Kathleen Durbin (pictured below) writes: “Misneach Mass is a meditation on the beauty of Christ’s love and mercy for us, today. Together, let us celebrate the joy we have in Christ living in both the uncertainties of this life and the hope of life to come.”
This mass is an original setting of the liturgy and contains a new Kyrie, Gloria, Alleluia, Sanctus, Lord’s Prayer and Lamb of God. Though the melodies may be unfamiliar now, the text ought to be very familiar to us. The ELW has ten different settings of the liturgy, but here at CtK we are always looking for new, exciting, quality, singable settings, and I think Kathleen has done an absolutely beautiful job constructing this with these elements in mind. This setting is for piano, guitar, tin whistle, and of course the voice, with optional mandolin and violin to help enhance the Gaelic nature of this setting.
As we watch our daylight hours grow longer in this new year, we also focus on bringing the light of Christ into a dark world. I hope that you look forward to learning this beautiful new liturgy and worshiping with us during this season!
Fun Fact: In Ireland, Epiphany is also sometimes called ‘Nollaig na mBean’ or Women’s Christmas. Traditionally the women get the day off and men do the housework and cooking! It is becoming more popular and many Irish women now get together on the Sunday nearest Epiphany and have tea and cakes.