Peel House Perspectives – January 2020

As we continue moving forward with the Peel House renovation project this will be the space where you can find updates on the different pieces of the renovation. 

The renovation team for the Peel House will be meeting about once a month to track progress and finalize design decisions on the project.  When we gather, our meetings typically include a financial update, design and architect update, construction update, and comments from the group on specific details.  In addition to the full renovation committee we also have a design team and a group of “owners reps.”  The owner representatives will be a group that meets with the Nunn Construction team at least weekly throughout the pre-construction and construction phase of the project.  They are trusted to make real-time decisions, work with the Nunn Construction to ensure that plans are being followed and timelines adhered to, and that any changes can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.  This group will keep the full renovation committee informed of progress and bring any big changes or construction issues to the full group.  The design team is working on the interior design choices such as finishes, lighting, kitchen design, and flooring.  This group includes the architect firm and the design firm.  As selections are being made by this team they come back to the renovation committee for discussion and to move forward with selections.

In terms of finances we are closing in on making a choice for the loan that will support the project as pledges continue to be fulfilled through the three-year commitment time frame of the capital campaign.  We are so grateful for the pledges made and so pleased that many pledges have already been fulfilled which means we are able to apply for a lower loan number.  We continue to work with Nunn Construction on maintaining the scope of the project within the financial gifts of the congregation as pledged during the campaign.

It is really exciting to have reached a point where groundbreaking is not far off and we can even begin to visualize spaces and uses in the newly renovated facility.  It will be a gift to open this facility to the ministries of our congregation and expand our outreach opportunities to create new life at First Lutheran as we live into our mission “to equip members to be fully committed followers of Jesus Christ, who seek to glorify Almighty God in their lives and share with others the joy and salvation of the Christian faith.” 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:3

We call these the beatitudes because each teaching of Jesus starts with “blessed are.” They are the core of Jesus’ teaching. They are the start of a sermon that lasts for three chapters in Matthew’s gospel. If you want to know what Jesus really was about, this is a good place to start. The words still challenge us, because it’s very clear that Jesus has a special place in his heart for the underdogs in life. He focuses on the poor, the sad, the meek, the hungry and thirsty, the persecuted. In our culture of success and achievement it can be hard to admit that we fall into any of those categories. And I think maybe that’s the point. Each of the beatitudes is about someone who is incomplete, who is failing, who has weakness. If we want the blessings Jesus gives, we must start by admitting our need for them.

-Pastor Travis

The Power of Church

Chris Beyer gave a fantastic presentation to the OWLS (Older Wiser Lutherans) group on January 22nd. As part of her presentation she shared how important it is for adults to form caring relationships with younger people. She gave the group practical and simple skills to get started, like learning a name and what young people are interested. During the course of her presentation she shared an interview with one of First Lutheran’s own high school students and how a friendship developed over the course of the years between him an older member of the church. A good reminder of the opportunities we each have to make an impact on the lives of young people in our midst. Here’s that interview with Joey Heiny.

“Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.”
1 Corinthians 1:10

Paul had to deal with conflict in a congregation. From the very beginning of the church there have been arguments and disagreements within. People argue about theology, about politics, about carpet color. We are after all people. Sometimes we find ourselves surprised that this kind of thing happens in a church, of all places. But it does, because the church is full of people and people have opinions.

Paul “appeals” to the Corinthians to get along. Getting along, being united, working toward a common purpose all takes effort. It doesn’t come natural to us, we need to be constantly encouraged to put others ahead of ourselves and seek unity. May God help us to love one another enough, especially those we disagree with, to put in the effort to come to agreement.

-Pastor Travis

Christian Caregivers

People need people. We are hardwired for connection. There have been any number of studies from neuroscientists and researchers that show our need for human connection is as great as our basic needs for food, water, and warmth. Think of a newborn baby, totally dependent upon their mother for all their needs, from birth we are dependent on a human connection. As we move through different stages of life we are no less dependent on relationships and connections to keep us healthy and happy.

We have the opportunity here, at First Lutheran to make those connections. We are especially blessed to be able to connect people in different stations of life with others who want to create new and meaningful relationships, being church together when one can’t get to church. Our Christian Caregivers visit our homebound members, those who are hospitalized and those in rehab. They bring the gift of relationship and a piece of church when perhaps getting to church just isn’t a possibility. We have a dedicated group of caregivers that are excited and eager to bring their gifts and the blessing of the church to those who are open to receiving their calls and visits.

If you are interested in training to be a caregiver, bringing communion to hospitals and our homebound members, visiting with those who are no longer able to get out, or making calls to check-in on those recovering from hospitalizations or illness please call the church or send an email to Pastor Carrie at

If you are in need of a one-time visit or would like to receive ongoing care and connection in your home call the church office or email Pastor Carrie at

Souper Bowl of Caring

Help our youth collect money for the Marion House Soup Kitchen! Donations will be taken on February 2 between services in the Gathering Place. Super Bowl Sunday is a day when many of us gather together to enjoy food and fellowship while we watch football teams battle it out for the sport’s greatest title. Help us use Super Bowl Sunday to support those in need!

“When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi, …“Where are you staying?” He said to them “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying and they remained with him that day. it was about four o’clock in the afternoon.”

How would you answer that question from Jesus, “What are you looking for?” How many of us go through life and are too busy and distracted to ever settle on an answer. What are we looking for? I know it’s crass, but I can’t help think of that phrase scratched into bathroom stalls ‘looking for a good time, call…’ Some never explore what they really want in life and just bounce from one good time to another-forever distracted. Others of us are more like that song lyric “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” We know we’re looking for love, but we either haven’t found it or have resorted to unhealthy habits to fill the void. Our faith proposes an answer. We are all looking not just for love in the abstract, but for a loving relationship with the Divine. We are looking for the source of life who can provide us with meaning and acceptance, purpose and security. Our faith proclaims to the world the good news that the person we are looking for, who can provide all that we long for, has come. We are looking for Jesus. Whether we know it or not. And Jesus has come. Our answer to Jesus’ question is modeled by the first disciples. “Jesus where are you staying, you are what we are looking for, let us remain with you.”

-Pastor Travis

Welcome Michaela Eskew – Minister of Faith Formation

On March 1st we will welcome a new staff member to our team, Michaela Eskew. Michaela will fill a new role called Minister of Faith Formation. She will be our lead minister over all the teaching ministries of First Lutheran from birth to adults. This newly created position replaces the associate pastor role that Pastor Bob had filled as interim.

Michaela will be installed on March 1st at all services followed by receptions where members are encouraged to greet her and get to know her. She will then begin teaching the Adult Seminar on March 8th. Michaela will be part time this spring and move to full time in the fall with a new program year. She and her family have already joined us in worship and are getting acclimated to First Lutheran.

Michaela is married to Will and they have one son, Lincoln, who is 2 years old. The Eskews recently moved to Colorado Springs to be closer to family. Will is a hospice chaplain who just started a new position in the Springs. They are expecting their second child, a girl, in May.

Michaela has two master’s degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. She has a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Christian Education. She is currently finishing up her PHD from Graduate Theological Union with a concentration in Religion and Arts. She plans to defend her dissertation on Van Gogh and Christianity this summer. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from St. Olaf College.

She has served two churches as Children and youth minister, most recently serving Christ Episcopal Church in Alameda, California for four years. She has a reputation for being a fantastic teacher, very organized and excels at equipping volunteers for ministry. One of her references shared that even though she was moving to Colorado Springs she had left behind detailed instructions and plans for the church she was leaving through June of 2020.

Michaela initially applied for our bulletin printing position. Knowing she was moving to Colorado Springs, she was just looking for something while she prepared to have a child and finish her PHD. When I(Pastor Travis) saw her credentials I had to ask about the possibility of her serving in the role that would come available when Pastor Bob finished his interim. I actually conducted my initial interview of her while I was in the hospital with my son back in October. From that interview it felt like the Holy spirit was up to something. Here was someone who almost perfectly fit the job description we had developed last summer.

I approached council with her name and they agreed that God might just be answering our prayers in a way that we couldn’t have predicted. We gathered the call committee to interview her and check her references. As a reminder the call committee consists of Dennis Burklund, Chris Beyer, Molly Ketchell, Allison Kennedy, Walt Aufderheide and Jason Fox. The call committee came away from the interview enthusiastically recommending that we hire her. From there we had Michaela come and interview with some of our staff members; Pastor Carrie, Pastor Bob, Deacon Joan, Eric, Marcia and Shelly. They also were very impressed and recommended that we hire her. So we did.

We are grateful to God for hearing our prayers and answering. I’m excited for Michaela to join our team. God is good!

-Pastor Travis

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