Christian Olive Wood Project

Benefiting Christian Palestinian Families in Bethlehem.

Beautiful carved olive wood products are available at First Lutheran! Products are not on display, however, you may order items listed below by calling the church office at 719.632.8836 Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There is a limited supply, so order early! Sale ends December 11! Please call the church for item dimensions.

Click here to download the full brochure along with photos.

Covid-19 Update from the Pastor

As the coronavirus continues to spike in our country, I’m beginning to get word of members who are sick with the disease, and one is currently hospitalized. It’s been heartening to hear that relief is on the way in the form of at least three effective vaccines. But we know it will take time to receive that relief and in the meantime, people are getting sick some to the point of hospitalization and even death. Our hearts go out to all who are suffering from this pandemic, both those who suffer physically and economically.

Our county has moved the Covid-19 dial to Red or “Severe Risk.” Not many weeks ago this was the most severe category, but they have since added a Purple or “Extreme Risk” category that will basically be a shut down. What does this mean for the church? While we will continually review and update our policy, we have decided to take the following actions effective Friday, November 27.

· The church building is closed to small groups.

· The church building is closed to 12-step groups.

· The church building is closed except by appointment.

· Only essential church staff will work from the church building and only as necessary. All persons entering the building must be wearing a cloth mask, and that mask is to be worn whenever they are interacting with any other person or in a shared space.
-Receptionist and Sextons must wear a cloth/paper mask at all times since they work in shared spaces.
-Face shields may be used in addition but not as a replacement for a cloth or disposable paper mask.

· We will hold our 3:15 p.m. outdoor Sunday Advent services. The current restrictions limit us to 75 people. So, the grounds will be closed to everyone after the 75-person threshold. Everyone needs to make a reservation through the online sign-up form.

· Funerals, weddings, baptisms and other life rites will be held outdoors or postponed for now.

· We will no longer use volunteers for church activities. Staff will cover counting, folding, setting up etc.

· The only exemptions to these restrictions will be in the case of recording needs to provide online worship services for the congregation.

Please continue to pray for an end to the pandemic. And please continue to do your part as good Christian citizens, to serve your neighbor and take action to minimize the spread of this disease. We have tough months ahead of us, but the good news is that it is likely only a few months until this is all behind us.

-Pastor Travis

Peel House Progress – November 28, 2020

Last week we showed you the footings for the elevator. Here they are poured!
The asbestos filled boiler has been removed!
This is going up the stairs. A lot of electrical work has been done the last few weeks!
Each room has lots of these cut outs for the electricians to do their work.
All new heating and cooling duct work all throughout the Peel House!
Warm in the winter. Cool in the summer!
The soon to be entrance doors for the new men’s and women’s upstairs bathrooms!
The coffee bar/lounge is coming right along. I’m SO excited for this area!

The Saint John’s Bible: Letters and Revelation

It’s our last week exploring the beautiful art and scripture of The Saint John’s Bible from Collegeville, Minnesota. We have finally reached the letters of Paul that launched the Protestant Reformation and the last book of the bible, Revelation, that is filled with extravagant and imaginative images of the end of days. We will see illuminations on Armageddon, the Woman and the Dragon, and the New Jerusalem. We will also see beautiful text treatments of some of the most quoted verses of all of scripture. Join me this week for some heartfelt inspiration as we walk into the season of Advent.

All are welcome to join this Zoom gathering so invite your friends! No prior knowledge of the biblical stories or The Saint John’s Bible is necessary. If you enjoy art, please join us!

Join our Zoom Meeting, 10:30 a.m. Sunday Morning
Meeting ID: 843 6443 9242

The Saint John’s Bible: Gospels and Acts

We have finally gotten to the Gospels in our journey through The Saint John’s Bible. We will get to see beautiful illuminations of Christ’s Birth, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection as well as images that seek to depict Jesus’ parables, miracles, and eschatological musings. We will also explore Pentecost and Paul from the Book of Acts. If you have missed the rest of the series, now is the time to join us and experience the beauty and brilliance of this incredible work! Tune in this week the intertwining of theology and art in The Saint John’s Bible.

All are welcome to join this Zoom gathering so invite your friends! No prior knowledge of the biblical stories or The Saint John’s Bible is necessary. If you enjoy art, please join us!

Join our Zoom Meeting, 10:30 a.m. Sunday Morning
Meeting ID: 843 6443 9242

Peel House Progress – November 21, 2020

More forms were placed for the elevator footings.
They finished this mid week and poured more concrete at the end of this week! More photos of that to come.
This week was all about the stuff we can’t see in a completed building. Electric and plumbing. Not fun, but very needed!
Electricians hard at work!
Knocking down more walls upstairs.
Same in the kitchen. More demo work!
Meanwhile, in the basement, the contractors are working hard to save this beautiful wood wall. They need to fix the damage behind and will put it back together.

Children’s Christmas Program – ZOOM Style

Another opportunity for being creative! We are planning to put on our traditional Christmas program via Zoom – if kids are interested. Please ask your kids if they want to participate and explain that they will need to commit to doing it. They also have to be pretty good readers and good with doing it via Zoom.

If so, ask them to provide their first and second choice for a part (the part of Mary always goes to a 5th grade girl). We will edit the script to shorten and accommodate whoever is interested and mail a printed version. It is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m. and will be available for our members and your families to watch live. The point of doing it is for the kids to maintain this tradition of learning the story and being a part of the Sunday school community. As for costumes – the kids are charged with making one from whatever they can find at home! Let Shelly know by November 23 via email –

This is Grace: Isaiah 43: 1-7

Pastor Carrie Baylis
November 18, 2020
Wednesday Morning Service

Brothers and sisters in Christ grace, peace, and mercy to you from Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Today our reading comes from Isaiah, that might seem like an odd choice given that we are in the midst of sharing stories of grace, but grace can be found in Old Testament God and I like to think I came across it in Isaiah.
The books of the prophets are sometimes difficult to read, they warned of disastrous circumstances when people didn’t follow God and sometimes presented cold, hard pictures of God, but those harsh images are also balanced with sections of God’s mercy. They worked hard to get the attention of people and remind them of God’s truth. Isaiah is a long book that spans a time of over 200 years, speaking to different people in different times and places. The first 39 chapters are addressed to people who disobey God, chapters 40-55 are meant for people who have been taken or removed from their homes and the final 11 chapters are for people returning to their homes. Today’s reading comes from the 43rd chapter, just preceding this reading you have to understand that God “gave up Jacob” (42:24). God poured out on God’s chosen people the heat of divine judgment, burning them with the fire of war (42:25). Forsaken, brutalized, and conquered, God’s people became prisoners in foreign lands, where no one, not even God, would claim them. No one would speak for them and say, “They are mine, give them back to me, free my people” (42:22). The new divine word — “But now” — breaks the devastating silence that haunted God’s people through generations in exile. The new word announces an end to judgment and proclaims the promise of life from captivity and death. And so the 43rd chapter begins:

Isaiah 43: 1-7
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

This is the transcendent God whose word created all that is good (Genesis 1). This is also God the potter, intimately present with God’s creatures — who formed humankind from the clay of the earth and breathed God’s own spirit of life into the being (Genesis 2:7). This God will declare to Israel, “I shaped you for myself” (Isaiah 43:21). Like the book of Genesis, Isaiah moves from a panoramic view of God’s universal providence to focus on the radical particularity of God’s love for Israel.

And so in these verses God speaks to God’s people not like a king on a throne pronouncing an edict, but like a lover whose heart is bursting, who has waited an eternity just to say their name. The people of ancient Israel and Judah needed to hear divine judgment against injustice just as the church does today, but also need to hear reassurance of divine love, protection, and presence. This passage from the second series in Isaiah speaks tender, encouraging and empowering words to those who faced uncertainty. It provokes images of divine love and care, it brings grace into a time and place where hurt and separation had been, it brings the people home, not just to a physical space, but into God’s safe care, as God’s people.

In the 5th and 6th verses the extent of God’s call is described in the use of all four directions, showing the wide range that God casts upon his community, that the nature of his call is to come and join the community, sons and daughters from all ends of the earth and echoes back to creation, when all things were formed. And throughout this call to God’s people, we can’t suggest or promise that God will protect us from all danger, but that both the people of the time and place of the prophet and the contemporary church today are assured of God’s presence along our journey. God’s protection is his grace scattered upon us, within us, and shared. We should be so brave as to look at how God led the community back home in Isaiah, where he walked with them on their journey, assured them that “you are mine” and still today we can declare the same for ourselves and for each other. When God led the people Israel home it wasn’t without its’ dangers or fears, and they went on to perform God’s mission, thousands of years later we have the same assurance through the prophets and through the new covenant of Jesus Christ that God remains steadfast and present with us, and works through the church despite the dangers, despairs and disagreements we might face. The church can do its work because God is present and calls us by name.

Listen brothers and sisters, listen to hear him call you by name and awakening you to the grace of God? Awakening to the grace of God, I love that phrase. In the first verse of our reading the words “do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” That might be all the grace that we need to know from God so that we too can live out our calling as the church. It brings us to the baptismal promise that God forgives us, that salvation is ours and that no matter where I am in my own journey of faith, God is present and has called me by name. This passage reads like a love song that God is singing to each one of us, that God’s commitment to us is greater than anything else that the world might have or bring.

In a time in history when so many people are discouraged with work, home, life, and church, let this word from God be healing, enriching, and startlingly attractive. God is present, he is with you and for you, and he calls you by name.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?’ Matthew 25:37

Surprise! That’s my first thought reading the parable of the sheep and the goats. Everyone is surprised by how the King decides who will enter into eternal life and who will depart into eternal punishment. We might expect the wicked to be surprised, evil always deceives itself into thinking it’s good. But the righteous are surprised too. I love that about them. They weren’t doing good in order to gain some kind of leverage on God. They fed the hungry and gave drink to the thirsty because it was who they were inside and out. Now my question is, why did Jesus tell us this story? He ruined the surprise now that we know how He will judge us on the last day. Maybe the better question is, what will we do now that we know how this ends.

-Pastor Travis

Christmas Poinsettias

It is that time of year! If you would like to designate a poinsettia in memory of or in honor of a loved one, you may do so by clicking here:
Complete the form and follow the instructions to pay online. You may also mail your requests to the church along with your check. A dedication list will be published in the Ekklesia on December 23and also posted on our website. The cost is $9.00 per plant. Designations must be received no later than Thursday, December 17. Your poinsettia will be available for pick-up Monday, December 21 through Wednesday, December 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m..

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