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 carrie@flccs.net.

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 carrie@flccs.net.

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

Acts 10: 34-43

The second reading for this week comes from Acts and begins with Peter saying, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality… All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” I love this! God shows no partiality, that means whether we are at our worst or at our best, God comes to us. It might be a good lesson for us to remember as we lean into the new year. Where are the places that we could show less partiality? How can we reach out to love those who are maybe a little extra work for us or who don’t make loving them so easy? Things aren’t always as they seem or appear for so many, perhaps we should be able to offer a little more mercy and grace and a little less judgement, because God shows no partiality. Peter finishes by reminding us of the forgiveness that we receive in the name of Jesus. I encourage you to take a minute and read these verses from Acts, they offer us Peter’s succinct description and the gift we receive in Jesus Christ by his birth, death, and resurrection through the impartiality of God. God whose impartiality gave us his only Son yesterday, today and tomorrow so our sins maybe forgiven. Impartiality because God always comes to us.

-Pastor Carrie

Blue Christmas

Longest Night: Blue Christmas Evening Prayer
Saturday, December 21 at 7pm
Worship Center

While Advent is a season of hope and Christmas is a season of joy, not everyone feels hopeful or like celebrating. Grief, illness, aging, depression, loneliness, unemployment, and loss are magnified. Even those who are not struggling with losses may feel the stress of preparations and expectations around Christmas time. A Longest Night/Blue Christmas service may provide a time and place of solace during the often frenetic days surrounding the celebration of Christmas. We come together seeking healing and room to share grief, sadness, loneliness, or confusion when these emotions often feel out of place during the holidays.

In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21 is the longest night, the winter solstice. It marks the shortest day of the year, the official start of winter. Tradition says that nature and all her creatures stop and hold their breath to see if the sun will turn back from its wanderings, if the days will lengthen and the earth will once again feel the sun’s warmth. On this darkest day of the year, we come with our honest yearnings seeking the return of light and hope.

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