by Kisten Thompson on behalf of the Racial Justice Working Group
Did you know that on June 27, 2019, the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted a Declaration of the ELCA to the People of African Descent?
The first paragraph includes this statement, "The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) apologizes to people of African descent for its historical complicity in slavery and its enduring legacy of racism in the United States and globally. We lament the white church’s failure to work for the abolition of slavery and the perpetuation of racism in this church. We confess, repent and repudiate the times when this church has been silent in the face of racial injustice.
The Racial Justice Working Group here at Christ the KIng will be leading a 4 week study called "Now Is the Time" during the month of October on Wednesday evenings (October 5, 12, 19 and 26) that will read, discuss, and wrestle with this declaration in a safe and brave space. We hope that by addressing this declaration, we can have a better understanding of the history of slavery in this country, the role of racism in the foundations of our country and our denomination and how we might address the future of where do we go from here in becoming a more welcoming, inclusive community in an increasingly diverse world.
Registration for this series begins 9/18 with signups at worship or online. The schedule will look something like this:
Meal from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Discussion: 6:15-7:15 p.m.
Children's activities and confirmation will also be exploring the themes being discussed as appropriate for age and understanding.
We hope you can join us for these meaningful conversations.
The Racial Justice Working Group
by Jennifer Willprecht Walczak
As some of you may know, Community Partners with Youth (CPY) is celebrating 25 YEARS of Service in the New Brighton community. Since 1997, Christ the King has graciously opened their doors to CPY and allowed 500 youth per year to enter and grow. What you may not know is that I am one of those youth.
I come to the CPY celebration from many different angles, all of them grateful for what CPY and CtK do in the community. My family has been at Christ the King since it opened, with my grandparents being some of the first members, my dad being one of the first confirmation classes, and all of his siblings being baptized and confirmed here. Once I came along, my parents knew that Christ the King was the right place for my baptism and faith education.
As a middle schooler and only child, my parents weren’t comfortable with me being home alone every day after school, but we also couldn’t really afford any of the fancy (read: expensive) after school programs the school was offering. We were a solidly blue collar family, making enough for our lot rent at the mobile home park and some dance lessons at the local studio, but not enough to do much else. CPY was a huge blessing to our family, allowing me a space to safely be a kid before going home to make dinner (my mom will admit she isn’t the best cook), do homework, and help around the house.
When I had my first born in college and I was approved for work study funds, I knew I needed something off campus, as I was technically a single mother (we got married when our son was almost 2 years old) and being on campus twice a week was all I could afford with parking, time off of my full time job, and daycare costs. Luckily for me, CPY was a work study site, and even luckier, 3 blocks away from my parents’ house where my little family of 3 was living. I was thrilled when I got the job.
I have since graduated from the University of Minnesota, bought the house next door to my parents, and added 2 more kids to my family, all 3 of whom roam the halls of Christ the King 6 days a week between my work as a Program Director at CPY, and worship on Sundays.
My story is just one of many that list not only Community Partners with Youth, but also Christ the King as a huge blessing in their life. I am not only proud to be a CtK congregant, but also a CPY alumni and staff.
On behalf of all the CPY youth, staff, and alumni, I would personally like to invite everyone to the Community Partners with Youth 25th Birthday Bash next Saturday, September 10, 2022 to hear more stories like mine, enjoy some delicious food from great food trucks, learn more about the ways CPY has impacted the community, and just celebrate what YOU have made possible over the last 25 years.
by Megan Crosby
Make a joyful noise to the Lord,
Serve the Lord with gladness.
Come into his presence with singing.
Psalm 100: 1-2
I love hearing my daughter sing. She has watched many a church service on the TV at home and she can sing the hymn of praise “Glory to God” quite well. Also, the upbeat Sanctus, when we sing “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.” It’s hard to beat the enthusiasm of children!
We are all invited to sing, to make a joyful noise, regardless of our talent or musical training. When we sing together, we are one. All those individual voices: young or old, trained or amateur, smooth or cracking, we create one blended voice and it is beautiful. While you hear yourself sing (and the voices next to you), up front I hear that one voice and it is magnificent, even powerful.
You may feel that your voice isn’t good enough. I’m here to tell you that it is. My mom was not a fantastic singer. She matched pitch sometimes and at other times the notes in the hymn would go too high and she would try to sing down the octave, creating some other harmony notes. Still, she sang at church and she didn’t care what anybody else thought about her voice. Singing at worship is not just for those that are the best. Singing is for all of us. At worship, we can set aside our self-judgements and sing together to our creator, who lovingly made us and comes to us as we are.
This Sunday we are having a hymn sing. Some songs are already in the bulletin, chosen from suggestions provided by the congregation. Some songs will be chosen “out of a hat” that morning, so fill out a slip of paper with your favorite song when you arrive!
by Pr. Ana Becerra
...on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-25
Over 30 years ago my little brother and I received our First Communion. At that time it was very usual to learn the catechism in about a year—as a Roman Catholic you were required to memorize the confession, Lord's Prayer, 10 commandments, Hail Mary, and Creeds among many other prayers. I remember being so ready and having it all memorized because I couldn't wait to get my First Communion. On the other hand my brother who spent 99% of his time playing soccer did not have the same “urgency” to get his First Communion (despite my frustration my brother took not one or two, but THREE YEARS to get ready).
I remember receiving the blood and body of Christ in my neighborhood church just on the top of the hill in a “brand new” church with wood benches, no air conditioning, no windows or open doors. As we walked, I remember seeing my very pretty dress getting dirty and dusty; my Godmother braided my hair and started to get affected by sweat, yet this overjoyed little girl was so happy to finally be at God’s table.
This Sunday I will be ordained and in the last few weeks I have experienced joy similar to when I received my First Communion. This time my brother has nothing to do with the long process, yet since 2016, when I started to serve as a Mission Developer, I have felt the urgency to get ordained. This Sunday as it was when I was 10, I have so many of you walking with me through the journey that I can literally feel the exhaustion and excitement that I did when I first received the body of Christ.
May the Lord’s blood and body strengthen us to continue walking as the body of Christ.
by Pr. Sarah Anderson
“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Courage looks, feels, and sounds differently for everyone. Author Glennon Doyle might say courage is ‘doing the hard things’. In fact her popular podcast is named, “We Can Do Hard Things.” I envision the quoted scripture from the book of Joshua as the Israelites doing hard things. They followed Moses while wandering in the desert, awaiting their arrival into the land where they wouldn’t have to do so many hard things. I imagine they intended to follow Moses’ leadership in the new land, but Moses never set foot on it. It had to be hard for the people to lose Moses. Often when there is loss, we find strength and perseverance when we didn’t know we had it.
Joshua immediately became Moses’ successor, leading the people into the Promised Land, but first he received a pep talk from God. I encourage you to read the opening verses of the book of Joshua and God’s message to him. Notice the number of times God tells him to be courageous. Hear God’s words as words spoken directly to you, and then wonder: where can you continue to be courageous? Where can you be more courageous? What gifts are you withholding that can be shared with your neighbors and with CtK?
Last month we heard from CtK member Priscilla Berg how we can be courageous in our walking. In worship this Sunday, we will hear from another CtK member who is courageous in healing. Kristi Chace will share the courage she had to have while undergoing treatment for cancer and the subsequent healing. Like each of your stories, hers is powerful and courageous. Come to worship, be inspired, hear God’s words spoken to you, “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, because God is with you wherever you go.”
by Nate Crary
“[Noah] sent out the dove from the ark; 11and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.” Genesis 8:10-11
Tomorrow, our family will celebrate Noah’s 2-year baptism anniversary. It doesn’t seem possible that two years have passed since my family gathered in the lawn outside the columbarium at CtK to celebrate Noah’s new life in Christ. It’s hard to believe that was already two years ago because of all that’s happened (and is still happening) in our lives and in the world.
I wonder what it was like for Noah (from the Old Testament) to wait for the dove to return to the ark after the rain had stopped. Did time stand still? Did time fly by? Was Noah confident in God’s new covenant? Did he fear the rain would start up again? What if the dove got distracted or forget the way back?
When the dove returned that night, brining an olive leaf to the ark, Noah new something would be different from that point on. God made good on God’s promise to restore the earth and everything in it to fullness and life. A fresh start.
Tomorrow, Michael and Olive will be baptized during the outdoor worship service at Christ the King. They will be washed clean and forever claimed as God’s beloved. And when the waters subside, the baptism is not over. They need each of you to support them and pray for them in their new life in Christ. Their lives will be changed forever as will the life of our church as we remind each other of God making good on God’s promise to love us through death and into new life. A fresh start.
May it be so. Thanks be to God
by Pastor Nuru Makweta
Our blog this week is a message from Christ the King’s companion congregation, the Nduli Parish, in the Iringa area of Tanzania. The Global Mission Team early this spring approved a toilet project for this parish for the amount of $5500, which translates to approximately Tsh 12,675,000. The funding comes from our Alternative Christmas sale and is sent through the SPAS Bega Kwa Bega Office in St. Paul to the Bega Kwa Bega Office in the Iringa Diocese. They help get the funding to our Parish as approved for various projects. Completing a public toilet is the current project. We have helped build the pastor’s house, plant trees and other agricultural products that support the church, provide scholarships for secondary youth (an annual payment), etc.
We hope you are doing well, and the work of God, and we are doing well. First of all we [are grateful] for praying, greetings, and saving project[. W]e Received an amount of Tsh 12,675,000 [approximately $5500] for toilet project [. W]e are very happy[;] thank you very much for your sacrifice[. W]e are very blessed and God blessing your construction continues as you can see in the picture.
"The members are very happy for your sacrifices and they continue to pray for you and they have been responsive to continue doing God's work."
It is now the harvest season[;] many believer's are reaping, but this year the harvest has not been good[;] we ask you to pray for us[. O]n Sunday we will have an election of church leaders[.]
We wish you good service,
Mungu awabariki sana, karibuni sana usharikani kwetu tumewakumbuka.
by Priscilla Berg and Karen Meyer
(recorded during worship 7/10/22)As we prepare to participate in the Community Support Center's Walk 1000 Miles For Our Neighbors event on July 31, Karen Meyer joined us in worship on July 10 to share a bit about CSC and the walk.
By Pastor Sarah Anderson
As summer continues, so does CtK’s theme of beCOURAGEous. Last Sunday’s gospel of Luke 10:1-11 reminds us of the courage sometimes required when we give witness to our life of faith. In fact, during last week’s sermon, I issued a challenge for each of us. The challenge is to verbally share - to use our words to give witness to the good news. Before you think, “I can’t do that” or “what would I say,” remember that no one is better equipped than you to share your own experiences of God.
Two questions were posed last Sunday to get us thinking about how we can be witnesses of the good news. I invite you to continue to ponder, pray, and wonder how your responses to these questions can bolster your courage to share your faith with someone in the coming weeks.
St. Teresa of Avila, a 16th century mystic writes:
Christ has no body on earth but yours; no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ looks out to the world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless others now.
Go forth, dear CtK, and beCOURAGEous!
As you may be preparing to celebrate Independence Day, we offer two blog pieces from different ELCA contributors today. The first is a reflection on this week's gospel in light of the need for peace in our world. The second is a response to the recent Supreme Court ruling, offered by ELCA bishop Elizabeth Eaton.
We remember that celebration does not occur in isolation; we hold in tension the importance of celebrating and coming together on days of great importance with the knowledge that we remain a nation and a world in great need of healing, peace, and love.
Cities of peace
by Cory Driver, ELCA misisonary serving as the director of graduate studies at the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Cairo"I don’t know about the rest of you, but these last couple of months have left me feeling burdened. Far too many of our streets, stores, schools and places of worship are dangerous or even deadly. I want to feel, and I want all our neighbors to feel, peace and safety in our lives. I believe this longing for peace in our cities is intimately tied to God’s reign. . . ." [Continue reading]
Bishop Eaton issues pastoral message on SCOTUS ruling regarding Roe v. Wade
by Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
"Whatever personal perspective one might take on the June 24 abortion ruling from the Supreme Court, it is the legal framework in which we now minister, and I wish to speak a pastoral word at this time. . . .
I wish to remind everyone that this church supports peaceful means of expression within a diverse society. Peaceful protest is a crucial element of civic engagement; violent protest is not, and this church reproves it. Likewise, this church is on record against hate speech. Let us be instruments for peace where there is none. Let us listen to one another. Let us serve the needs of neighbors in all the complexities life presents. God calls us to be for others, just as God in Christ is for us. . . ." [Continue reading]