Reflections From Elders in Action
Written by Vern Rice and EiA Members
How is the pandemic affecting elders?
We really miss CtK, the people and activities. Most of us are resilient and already used to more limited activity as we get older. We have learned to adjust to a quieter schedule, and in many cases, are quite content that we do not have to go out. Of course, there is loneliness and virus-fear that burdens us. Some of us are bored, depressed and challenged with physical limitations. Those who have computers are deeply grateful for CtK's online worship services. We miss the choir and singing in groups. Zoom is good but without physical contact, the quality of our life together is surely diminished. In the calling of all our members, many expressed gratitude that their congregation still remembers them and cares enough to reach out to them.
What plans does Elders in Action have for the fall?
Normally, we are an active group. For example, we regularly visit Feed My Starving Children and, using Thrivent Action Team money, we support several educational, fundraising, and community service events. We have for several years been major co-sponsors of the Christmas Luncheon. We've gone on several educational trips to religious, theatrical, baseball, nature and athletic events. All of those things have been called off now because of the pandemic. We have recently reached out to Community Partners with Youth (CPY) and are hoping to expand our giving. We have been in service to CPY’s crucial ministry that delivers food and activity supplies to students of families who usually use CtK’s building. During the summer, we have continued our twice a month planning sessions while socially distancing outdoors. We will continue this through the fall and hope to responsibly meet indoors as the weather gets colder.
What have you been doing to keep going through this difficult time?
We have been working on plenty of projects around the home, farm, and cabin. Finally cleaning out closets, shelves and drawers. We watch a lot of television; news, educational shows, or old movies. We read; we're learning a lot about racism and the virus. We mostly stay home, but if we go out, we are learning to wear our masks.
What in your life has prepared you for this pandemic?
Our faith, our church, and our religion has helped to prepare us. You might say it has been a lifelong preparation. We have gotten used to facing difficult challenges. Many of us remember World War II, polio and other health crises, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, depressions and a lot of world-wide turmoil. With God's help and a lot of human persistence and creativity, we have survived many challenges and we are resilient in facing this one, too. We want to be part of the solution. So, we enter into the debate of issues, vote faithfully and intelligently, and do all we can to support our church, our community, our state, our country and our world!
The Shepherding Voice of Jesus
Written by Katie Ahern, Office and Communications Administrator
One of my favorite depictions of Jesus is Jesus as the Good Shepherd. I love how Jesus uses the familiar role of the shepherd to demonstrate our relationship with him and who he is to us. He is a caretaker and watches over us, making sure our environment is safe and free from predators. He is both gentle and caring, yet calls us loudly and powerfully to him. He tends to us and our needs.
Although we humans are not actually sheep, Jesus did know a thing or two about our human nature when he compared us to them. He knew that as our Shepherd, we would need to know his voice. Sheep only follow the voice of their trusted shepherd. The shepherd’s voice is familiar and brings them comfort.
I have been thinking about how we all need the Good Shepherd in our daily lives right now. I’ve had to ask myself continuously, “Am I still recognizing Jesus’s voice in my life with everything going on? Or, have I been paying too much attention to a voice that is not of the Shepherd? Am I leaning into the comfort of knowing he is watching over me and the unfolding of all circumstances, keeping me safe? Or, have I been distracted and held in fear, allowing the consuming nature of social media, statistics, and politics to impair my discernment?”
I’m not certain there’s a right or wrong way to navigate life right now, but I know that for me, I’ve needed to rely on the peace and comfort of my Shepherd. In today’s world, recognizing the voice of Jesus may not be as simple as it is for a sheep in a pasture, but he is always there guiding us. We know God will never leave us. This is a promise. So, I’ve decided to lean in closer to his message and get quiet enough to feel its truth. I’ve decided to be softer with myself and others, and to be more intentional on filling myself up with healthy activities, thoughts, foods, and conversations. In a climate filled with the voice of many unfamiliar shepherds calling our name, let’s decide to listen to the trusted voice of our Good Shepherd, Jesus.
Sound During Covid
Written by Caleb Anderson, Sound Technician
I am glad to be writing to you, and excited to see some of you at this Sunday’s drive-in service, especially since I have been even less visible than usual! As Christ the King’s Sound Technician, I’m usually hidden up in the sanctuary loft… but for the past few months, instead of mixing sound as it happens in worship, I’ve been mixing the sound for services after they’ve already been recorded.
Needless to say, the pandemic has led to some big changes in how I serve Christ the King. Working with the rest of the Worship Team to figure out how to record and assemble services has been a formidable challenge. The first few months of streamed services consisted of many different videos, made in several different homes, with everyone using different audio recording devices and formats. As a Sound Technician, I’ve had to deal with a host of new problems: noisy rooms, harsh-sounding cell phone recordings, and syncing the performances of musicians playing the same song in different places at different times.
With all of this came some silver linings. I have gained hours of experience editing and mixing remote recordings, and I’ve learned more about the limitations and strengths of my personal equipment. And, I have to admit, sleeping in on Sundays hasn’t been so bad either! The pandemic has also given us time to go about the work of updating the church’s equipment. Thanks to a generous grant from the Christ the King Foundation, we have been able to acquire new sound and video equipment. This new gear will help improve everyone’s worship experience when we return to in-person worship, but it will also give us ways to livestream from the sanctuary. This new capability will help bridge the gap between now and a return to in-person worship, and it will allow us to continue livestreaming services in the future for the benefit of our members who aren’t able to attend worship on a regular basis.
As we move further into uncharted territory together, I feel very blessed to have my role as Sound Technician at Christ the King. I am grateful for the support of my fellow staff members, especially the Worship Team. Without our many talented musicians, our pastors who are so willing to adapt, and Worship Director Nate Crary’s leadership and video editing skills, we would not have been able to pull off services every Sunday since the original stay-at-home order went into effect. I look forward to what lies ahead: figuring out new ways to improve virtual worship, this Sunday’s drive-in service, and most of all, the day when we can finally gather together in the sanctuary once again. In the meantime, keep watching our services… and let me know how things are sounding!
Written by Isaac Warner, Council President
Brothers and Sisters,
It’s hard to believe August is already upon us! Perhaps more than anything, these last few months have shown me that time is but a construct and who really knows what day it is anyway? In all seriousness, I hope you and your families are doing well mentally, physically, and spiritually. This year has been out of the ordinary for all of us, some profoundly so, and my family and I continue to pray for each of you as we journey onward. As we move into late summer, I wanted to take a moment to catch up and fill you in on what staff and your council have been up to as well as look at the months to come.
First, a big THANK YOU to those who have given their time calling members. I have heard from so many in our community who have so appreciated the personal connection, myself included. It has been a joy to hear how we continue to care for each other, even when we aren’t able to gather in-person on Sunday morning. With the recent extension of our in-person suspension through 2020, we must continue to seek out ways to be together until we can safely do so in person.
Since the onset of COVID-19, your council has been focused on ensuring that we continue to be able to meet the needs of our community and the responsibility we have to each other and to our staff. We are incredibly blessed to have the staff and council that we do and for their tireless work adapting to continually changing circumstances. Thanks to KC Gubrud and her efforts, we were able to secure a forgivable Payroll Protection Program grant from the federal government which allowed us to uphold commitments to our staff through the end of June and prevent any income-related staff reductions. And, thanks to your continued generosity, we remain in a position to care for those in our faith community and our community at large who have been affected by this pandemic in ways that so many of us are privileged to not know. One manifestation of this care is through our COVID-19 Relief Fund which will support members of our community directly impacted by this pandemic. I ask that you join me in increasing your giving, if you are able, to support this effort.
On the staff side, a huge shout out to our entire team who have poured heart and soul (and a little time and effort too) into creating unique worship experiences for us each week and allowing us to continue to join together in Jesus Christ and proclaim the good news. Amid uncertainty, these opportunities to connect are very much appreciated and valued. I’m looking forward to the new and creative ways that we will worship and share in fellowship together in the coming month. If you haven’t been able to join us, please visit our website for more info about how you can be a part of our virtual worship. Don’t miss our drive-up service coming up this Sunday, 8/9, at 9:30am. See you in the parking lot!
Isaac Warner, President
Written by Pastor Peter, Lead Pastor
This past week, several dedicated volunteers (with a little help from a few staff members) completed a second round of calling everyone in our membership directory. They noted a few numbers that needed updating, left quite a few voice mails, and had a number of good and wide-ranging conversations with folks from Christ the King—maybe some of you! In most instances, both the callers and the called appreciate the connection that was made between them as fellow members of CtK.
More than on the first go-round, however, they also discovered that there are folks right here at CtK whose lives have been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus, and more specifically by the economic crisis which this global pandemic has brought on. Fellow members among us have lost jobs and income, have faced mounting bills and threats of eviction, or have not been able to secure childcare in order to continue their “essential” jobs. These neighbors of ours are in great need because of the situation our world is currently in.
At the same time, callers also discovered a whole group of CtK folks who find themselves moved by the stories of hardship they have heard and have offered to “give a little extra,” were CtK to set up some sort of emergency fund. At least a few of them even offered up all or part of the stimulus check they received from the federal government, noting that there must be others who need the help more than they do. They were both moved by the immediacy of the need and the depth of connection felt between members of the same congregation.
For that reason, we are setting up a “CtK Covid Relief Fund,” to be used exclusively for members of our faith community who are experiencing difficulties in this time of pandemic and shut-down. While we would continue to work with community partners and make use of existing benevolences such as the “Good Samaritan Fund” for responding to needs in the larger community, this fund would be exclusively funded by special gifts by members over and above their regular pledged offerings and would be available for those within CtK who are experiencing financial difficulties.
Many of us might be tempted to think that our resources are too meager, our gifts too few, or our ability to meet these neighbor’s need too limited. But Jesus shows us in today’s gospel (the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish) how he can multiply what we have to offer. He shows us how what we have is not only enough, it is more than enough. That with Christ’s help we, too, can take next-to-nothing and make it into something that feeds and heals and protects and provides—for a multitude, with a whole lot leftover as well.
Let us put our compassion into action, church!
To donate to the CtK COVID Relief Fund, please indicate “Covid Relief” in the memo portion of your check or electronic gift.
Christ the King Lutheran Church
1900 7th Street NW
New Brighton, MN 55112
Office Hours: 9 am - 2 pm Mon - Thurs or by appointment
Sunday Morning Worship at 9:30 am
12 pm Cristo Rey Servicio en Español