This Sunday, January 20th, is the 4th Sunday of Epiphany and Lutheran Loose Change Sunday. So, how is Jesus revealed this week? He gets up in the synagogue and reads from Isaiah (see, even Jesus was a worship helper!), then he says “That prophet? He’s talkin’ ‘bout me!” (though maybe not in those words). I know it’s not as flashy as a bright star, a voice from heaven, or changing water into wine, but it’s still a revelation and, well, Epiphany is awfully long this year… Be sure to rummage through your closets for coats to bring this Sunday for the One Warm Coat drive!
This Sunday is also the last Sunday in January, which means it’s RIC Sunday – when we join many other churches in celebrating being a Reconciling in Christ congregation (though not as many as you would think – only 9% of the ELCA is RIC!). This means that not only are we welcoming to all, but we’re willing to tell people we specifically welcome LGBTQIA folks (boy, that list of letters is becoming cumbersome – we may eventually need a larger alphabet!). Why is it important to specify? Because believe me, “All are welcome” all too often means “All are welcome, but of course we don’t mean those people.” If Richard and I took a trip to Alaska or West Virginia, where there are no RIC congregations, how would we know where we could worship and not be glared at (or worse)? We should be proud to be welcoming! We’ll be celebrating with special readings during the service and special treats between the services (some of which I suspect will be way too colorful!).
The Stewardship 2019 drive is up and running. We’ve received a few stewardship forms already, so the Giving Tree in the Narthex should be showing signs of life this Sunday. Of course, we want to have that tree covered with leaves, so be sure to pick up a form from the table next to the tree in the narthex. List all the ways you help out or are willing to help out in the community and at HTLC. There’s a place on the form to list ideas of how our church can be more involved. There’s also a line for comments “for the good of the church” (you know, like “Those weekly emails are too long, silly, and opinion-y!”). Turn your forms into the offering plate, Erik Holland’s box near the office, or to Erik himself. Let’s get that sap flowing! (I’m talking about the Giving Tree, not Erik!)
Next Sunday, February 3rd, is the Souper Bowl of Caring! This is a nation-wide youth event to collect money and food for local charities during the weekend of the Super Bowl. We’ve been doing this since 2006, and over the last 13 years have raised $9,100 and collected 855 food items for local food pantries and kitchens. You are encouraged to bring money, cans of soup, or other non-perishables. Your tax-deductible donation will directly benefit LOV (League of Volunteers) in Newark. We will also have our usual Soup Potluck between services to celebrate. Sign-ups to bring soup are on the Media Table. Let’s tackle hunger together!
Don’t forget that the Annual Congregational Meeting is coming up the following week on February 10th after a single service at 10 am. Important stuff, people – please come!
(By the way, if anyone would like to fund an all-expenses-paid fact-finding mission to Alaska or West Virginia, Richard and I would be willing to test the being-glared-at theory!)
See you in church!