By Pastor Peter Hanson
For nearly sixty years, Christ the King Lutheran Church has been actively involved in nurturing the faith of people both within our congregation and in the wider community around us. As our Value Statement suggests, this congregation prepares folks of all ages to “live out their evolving faith in everyday life.” Such nurturing includes discovering one another’s spiritual needs, supporting one another in our lives of discipleship, listening to each other with care, and praying for one another with intention.
For many of us, this nurturing faith that we share has come to us in large part through the example of those who have gone before us—our elders in the faith. Many of us can think of role models (whether here at CtK or elsewhere) who have faithfully taught us, patiently demonstrated for us, gently nudged us, and even lovingly corrected us in our own faith development. One such role model for me was CtK member Ted Kalkwarf.
Ted was an ELCA pastor who joined CtK after his retirement. He remained committed to both lifelong faith formation and lifelong service. He never stopped reading, never stopped taking notes whether in the margins of the books or on the edges of bulletins. Ted was a particularly supportive elder in ministry to me, encouraging me in my pastoral role without meddling at all, affirming some of the tougher decisions I’ve made, while also offering constructive criticism to my preaching and teaching, all in a manner that was so gently and appropriately offered that it was so very welcome. His faith nurtured mine. He did for me what so many the founding generation continue to do for others here at CtK: they offer hope and encouragement to our faith.
Of course, the methods for this have changed, evolved, and transformed over the years. This seemed particularly evident this past year or so, as many of our tried and true patterns of faith formation either moved outdoors, pivoted to online platforms, or required entirely new levels of creativity and innovation. To the casual observer, Sunday school, confirmation, and even adult ed don’t look anything like they used to pre-pandemic. Despite these changes big and small, though, the underlying value of nurturing faith has remained the same. Committed to Christ and his teachings, CtK claims as part of its tradition inspiring generation after generation to find faithful ways to put their Christian discipleship into practice.
Lutheran theologian Jarislav Pelikan famously observed that “tradition is the living faith of the dead,” while “traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” As we seek to nurture faith in one another, may we draw on best of the tradition of the elders, nurturing a faith that is living still, in spite of chaos, challenge, and change. And may we learn to let go of those things that, no matter how familiar they may feel, no longer truly support the underlying value of nurturing a deeply-rooted faith in a rapidly changing world.
Hear from Deb and Amity about where they noticed faith being nurtured this summer at Christ the King Lutheran Church.
Nurturing Faith // We value preparing all ages to live out their faith in daily life, offering hope and encouragement.
Read more about Christ the King's four core values, here.
By Pastor Peter Hanson
Thanks to everyone who completed our recent online survey regarding our initial plans for Sunday morning worship, beginning this fall.
With over 135 responses, we feel well equipped to move forward in this coming season, recognizing that while the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over, we can continue to make the adjustments we need to engage in worship, nurture faith, build community, and grow in compassion in the coming months. While far from being set in stone, what has emerged from this survey is a workable plan for the foreseeable future.
On Rally Sunday, September 12, we will begin living into this new Sunday schedule. Worship will begin at 9:30 am, as it has been since the earliest days of our move to online worship in March 2020. We will continue to livestream this service, as we continue to hear what a blessing this is to elder members, members with young children, members with particular health concerns, as well as those who wish to engage in worship even when they are not nearby on a given Sunday. As conditions allow, we will reintroduce Coffee Hour at around 10:30 am or so with various options for faith formation, community-building, service projects, and even committee work beginning within the following half-hour or so. At noon, Cristo Rey will offer weekly worship in Spanish, providing a more regular gathering time for the Latinx faith community growing among us.
It is great to have had such good participation, and your staff and other leaders appreciate the input and feedback you offered. Of course, a survey is more nuanced than any sort of “up or down” vote might be. It reflects a sort of “snapshot” in time, with some issues already resolved by the time feedback is shared, while other unforeseen concerns arise even after the survey is completed. There is always room for different interpretations of the results, and those called to serve and to lead are still charged with making and implementing decisions that go beyond what can be gleaned from a handful of multiple choice and open-ended questions.
Moreover, there remains a certain level of uncertainty woven into any planning process we undertake these days, no matter how participatory, no matter how conclusive. The Delta Variant is proving to be both persistent and fast-changing, meaning that we will certainly have to set aside some of the plans we have so carefully made. If we’ve learned anything over the course of the past eighteen months or so, we’ve learned to be flexible, understanding, and patient with regard to making any plans!
The link below gives a more thorough commentary on the results of the survey itself. As these also rely on context and can be open to a variety of interpretations, we’ve scheduled a time to discuss some this survey in-person: Sunday, August 29th after worship (about 10:45 or so). Please take a look at this commentary here, and bring your questions and further insights to CtK in two weeks’ time!
Together in God’s mission,
Click here to download complete survey responses
By Nate Crary
My mom is the best.
No matter the situation I encounter or difficulty I face, she has always been a constant source of encouragement. Frequently I will open my personal email inbox to find a forwarded message from my mom that offers me an inspirational quote for the day. I even posted one such quote from Niccolo Machiavelli on my office wall when I first started at Christ the King back in 2015. It read: “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”
In the month of August, we are focusing on our core value of nurturing faith. As a faith community, we value preparing all ages to live out their faith in daily life, offering hope and encouragement. How do you put this value into action in your daily walk with Jesus? When have you been encouraged by another to live fully into the promises of God’s abundant love and enduring grace? Where might we aspire to grow as a church that fosters a culture of nurture and care?
Speaking from experience, I haven’t found faith to be something that gets easier to live out as I get older. Because of this, I’ve learned that it’s really helpful to be a part of a faith community that not only has my back when I inevitably stumble and make mistakes, but one that nudges me forward when I’m feeling stuck. I am blessed by you, Christ the King, to have your support while we grow and learn and fail and journey together in faith.
If I could, I would share all of your email addresses with my mom so she could forward you the same encouraging notes she sends to me from time to time. It is incredible how a simple gesture like this helps me to process through the messiness that life throws my way. And, it is my prayer, that God provides you the encouragement you need today to live faith-fully into the hope that sustains you on your way.
I fear in the dark and the doubt of my journey;
but courage will come with the sound of your steps by my side.
-- from “Lord Jesus, You Shall Be My Song” ELW 808
By Diane Shallue
Nurturing Faith is the focus this month. It is one of the four core values of the congregation identified during the congregational listening sessions back in spring 2019. Nurturing faith is like gardening. We plant seeds of faith and prepare a good environment for faith to grow. Then we trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to sprout the seeds. When the process is so invisible, it is hard to know how to nurture faith.
Frequently, we think of faith formation as being for children and youth but faith grows and changes throughout our lives. Adults need to be nurtured in their faith more than children because the seeds of faith in children and youth are planted by adults. All adults in a congregation nurture the faith of all the young people. When a child is baptized, the members of the congregation promise to support and pray for the child. The parents need lots of help in nurturing that child’s faith. And all of us adults need lots of help in nurturing our faith too!
Classes and Bible studies and adult forums are formal ways of encouraging growth in adult faith. But there are informal yet effective practices to support faith which involve service projects, worship and conversations with other faithful adults. Another informal way of nurturing faith is demonstrating faithful living to others. I find the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22 helpful to me when I reflect on how my actions and speech prepare a good environment for faith to grow in me and in others. Am I producing the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Am I quick to listen and slow to anger? Can I forgive myself and others when not producing these fruits? Can I be confident that God loves me and trust in God’s gift of grace? How can I nurture the faith of my grandchildren? These types of questions keep me searching and growing as I continue to participate in the life of the Christian community that meets at CtK.