Epiphany greetings, friends!

Mark and Cynthia in Tanzania

We write, deep into the first semester of the 2020-2021 academic year. Our classes are humming along and other projects are progressing as well. We write here of two: an Intensive Student Reading Group on Race and Christian Theology, and an experiment in training for congregations in Mission Engagement.

RACE AND CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

In mid-2020 when we were still in the US and watching the news of protests and movement in race relations, we started discussing how university students were engaging—and sometimes initiating—national and international conversations about race. This led to dialogue with Cynthia’s brother R. Ward Holder, who teaches at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, and to two grant applications to develop a joint student learning initiative on Race and Christian Theology, bringing students from Saint Anselm’s and Makumira together in learning about key African and African American thought about race and theology—a combining of topics…

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BASIC Training Discipleship Path

Bible-Adoration-Salvation-Imitation-Call

In 2021 we are inviting the congregation to join us in a discipleship path to nurture people as they grow in their Christian faith. The first phase of this journey is all about the Bible. The options for participation include:

· Daily Bible reading plan beginning January 1, for exploring scripture on your own and with a Facebook Group for discussion, thoughts, and questions

· Wednesday morning zoom Bible study beginning January 13 10 a.m. led by Pastor Travis.

· Weekly 30-minute video class, with a link in First Weekly and available on YouTube, each Wednesday beginning January 13 that will give an overview of the Bible.

Each of these offerings are designed to reach those who may have years of reading and studying scripture and those who might be diving into the Word for the first time.

The daily reading plan will include a passage each day that you can read and contemplate on your own or you can join a new Facebook Group for First Lutheran that will be titled First Lutheran Daily Reading Group. In this group, the reading will be posted each day and we can share thoughts, questions, and ideas that relate to the scripture. This will be a safe space to explore what the scripture meant in the time and context that it was written, what it means for us now, and how we might apply it in our lives today.

We look forward to beginning this journey with each of you.

January Reading Plan

Week 1: God the Creator
1 Genesis 1: 1-3 God Creates the World
2 Genesis 1: 26-31 God Creates Humans
3 Genesis 2: 4-25 Creation Again
4 Genesis 6: 1-8 Wickedness of Humankind
5 Proverbs 3: 19-24 Creativity, Wisdom
6 John 1: 1-5 The Incarnate Word
7 Romans 11: 33-36 All Things from God

Week 2: God’s Chosen
8 Genesis 12: 1-3 God Calls Abraham
9 Genesis 17: 1-8 God’s Covenant
10 Genesis 21: 1-7 The Birth of Isaac
11 Genesis 22: 1-14 God Tests Abraham
12 Hebrews 11: 8-12 Examples of Faith
13 Exodus 3: 13-22 The Divine Name Revealed
14 Galatians 3: 6-9 Children of Abraham

Week 3: Challenge of Faith
16 Judges 4: 1-24 Deborah’s Victory
17 Judges 6: 33- 7: 22 Gideon’s Charge
18 Judges 16: 4-30 Samson’s Story
19 Joshua 1: 1-9 Joshua leads the way
19 Joshua 6: 1-20 Jericho’s Fall
20 1 Samuel 3: 1- 4: 1 Samuel’s Call
21 1 Samuel 7: 2-17 Samuel the Judge

Week 4: From Warrior to King
22 Psalm 89: 19-37 God’s Covenant
23 1 Samuel 20: 12-42 David and Jonathan
24 1 Samuel 24: 1-22 Hiding from Saul
25 1 Samuel 26: 1-25 David spares Saul
26 1 Samuel 31: 1-13 Saul’s death
27 2 Samuel 1: 17-2:7 David is King
28 2 Samuel 4: 4-12 The Avenger

Time for Pie!

Lessons & Carols will be online this year (this Sunday, 12/13 at 3:30 p.m. on YouTube), which means we will not be able to have our traditional pie-fest. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some pie! See the recipes below that have been sent in by First Lutheran members and staff!

What is your favorite pie?

Want to download these to save for later or print? Click here!

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.

Kids Kamp on the First Lutheran Lawn

Monday, July 20th and Monday, July 27th from 9-11am
Sign-In at the Columbarium

 
We are happy to welcome you to Kids Kamp this summer! It won’t look like years past. All children will need to wear masks and will stay in small socially-distanced groups but we will have crafts, games, and snacks! July 20th will be all about creation. We will have seven stations each with their own creative twist on the biblical story. Then on July 27th its WATER DAY! We will have the small pools, bounce houses, and bubbles out. We hope you will join us for some safe summer fun!
 
It is open to all kids Preschool through 5th grade (completed). Please sign up to let us know you are coming, by signing up here.

Come with sunscreen on and on water day wear your swimsuit and bring your own towel in a plastic shopping bag.

New Sunday Adult Seminar

July 12th to August 2nd – Online via Zoom Sundays at 10:30 am

It seems that every where we look right now there are conversations about race, policing, and protests. For the next four weeks, let’s explore together common topics about race, the current events of today, where our faith and the ELCA affect our views of race, and finally steps to move forward. You are encouraged to pick up a copy of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum, but it is not required. It is a great introduction to this topic and is a well-balanced book based on research rather than opinion. Let’s tackle this difficult topic together as people of faith and followers of Jesus Christ.

July 12 – “How did we get here?” A look at current events, important terms, and the ELCA’s “Freed in Christ, Race and Ethnicity” Social Statement

July 19 – “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” Understanding Identity Development in Kids, Teens, and Adults

July 26 – “What about Latinx and Other People of Color?” A Discussion on Race Relations in General in America

August 2 – “How does one even become ‘anti-racist’?” Signs of Hope and Steps to Move Forward

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84364439242
Meeting ID: 843 6443 9242

Something New

We tried something new last week with outdoor midweek communion on the front lawn. Over 217 attended 3 services on a beautiful Wednesday. Here are a few photos!

A Monday Gift For You

Happy Monday everyone. Our organist, Eric Wicks, has shared an organ recital for you as a gift. We know many are missing the beautiful organ music each Sunday, we hope this helps. 

Prayer Practice Fridays – 03-27-20

Fasting

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
-Joel 2: 11-12

One of the Lenten disciplines that is always encouraged is fasting. During this particular Lent we are most certainly fasting in ways that we had never intended. We find ourselves fasting from face-to-face interactions, from going about some of our daily routines, perhaps from picking up our regular items from the store and from experiencing Holy Communion together. None of this comes to us as an intentional fast to make room for prayer but, all of it allowing for time to reflect in prayer on so many different things. This forced fast has been pretty eye opening, allowing time to think about the things that we can’t currently have access to, or that no longer seem like a big deal, and it makes me wonder what things that we are currently fasting from that may not return.

When we talk about fasting as a prayer discipline we speak of filling the space of something we consume with time for prayer and reflection. This is a time of prayer and reflection can be spent giving thanks for what we have been blessed with and praying for those who lack the same. We might find that when we give up a comfort in our lives it readies our hearts for more urgent sacrifices that might be called upon us from time to time. Today it seems we are living in a vulnerable state of fasting. I know that it is one that creates anxiety and a sense of helplessness in not knowing how to help. I urge you to take this time of fasting and create space to pray, to reflect on the blessings that abound in our lives and trust that God is faithful.

Lastly, this week I’ve started reading (literally just started) a book titled “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro. It speaks to the ways that Common Prayer helps today’s diverse church pray together across traditions and denominations. It seems most appropriate to me now in light of our current pandemic situation. Early in the book, page 19 on my Kindle to be exact, they have this to say about prayer: “We never pray alone, even when praying by ourselves.” I take great comfort in that during this time and I hope you do too. Remember that we continue to hold you in prayer and long for the day that we gather to pray together.

-Pastor Carrie

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