Pastors and Staff
“OK Then, Let’s Get Going. We have things to Do!”
Pastor Ken Gibson
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 10:35-38
In the verse above notice that Jesus was about the work that God called him to do, in all the cities and villages and then he speaks of the need for laborers to continue in this good work. In the midst of teaching and healing and proclaiming the good news, there is a plea for laborers.
And here we are again on the doorstep of fall activities and all the things God is calling us to do here at Grace. And yes, it comes in the midst of all the other things we are called to do always in this place and in this community. We are a busy place year round here at Grace, but in the fall we really kick it up and I for one get excited every year at this time.
I think of how blessed we are here in this place and I wonder and marvel at our ability to get this work done. I actually do think to myself and say; “OK then, Let’s Get Going! We have things to do!” Please notice the “We” in my statement. This ministry, this life together shared here at Grace as a disciple is a “WE” thing. Christ calls us all, at all levels to be with each other and with Him as we serve.
So then, as you peruse this month’s GFT take a look at all the activities planned or in process and become a laborer for the Lord! From a habitat build to God’s Work our Hands Sunday activities, to teaching Sunday School, attending a Bible Study, and other ministry opportunities. I can assure you your life will be rewarded when you do such, for there is great joy in serving Christ in all things. As Luther might say; “Of this I am most certainly sure!”
OK then Let’s Get Going Laborers! See you in the vineyard, there is ministry to be done. Thanks be to God.
Pastor Ken Gibson
We Need to Talk
by Pastor Amanda Bergstrom
In mid-August, I traveled to Atlanta for a great continuing education event, the ELCA Rostered Ministers Gathering. It was a first time event with 900 pastors and deacons engaged in Bible study, worship, learning, and serving; and I am so grateful for the breadth and depth and beauty of this church.
My family traveled with me to Atlanta to reconnect with our seminary friends also attending the conference and their families, so we had the opportunity to visit Martin Luther King, Jr. historic sites together as a family. After walking around the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church building imagining MLK, Jr.’s time in worship upstairs and in meetings downstairs, we walked along Auburn Avenue. While standing beside the Eternal Flame at the site of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King’s tombs, we tried to talk with our 3-year old daughter about race.
Johanna had heard the tour guide at the church tell a group ahead of us to be sure to enter King’s childhood home through the backyard because that’s where he spent his afternoons playing before dinnertime. So Jon started talking with Johanna about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s childhood, and the time where his close friends could no longer play with him, because he was black and they were white. “But why?,” asked our 3-year old; and together our small group of pastor friends tried to find words for this to make sense. It’s not easy to talk about racism. But we need to talk about racism because these stories are not just stories of our past. Two days after our visit, we returned home to watch news of white supremacy, neo-Nazism, violence, bigotry, hatred, and racism on display in Charlottesville, Va.
It’s not easy, but we need to talk about the sin of racism, because this is still our story today. I feel compelled to talk because many of the protesters gathered in Charlottesville look like me: white and cross wearing (wielding?) Christians. And so, dear friends in Christ, we need to talk about the sin of racism and give voice to the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s love for all of God’s beloved children. I need to talk, and I think you need to as well. And I know it’s not easy, because I’m having a hard time explaining both history and current events to my three year old. And on a radio interview this past week, I heard that by 3 months of age, babies can identify racial differences, noted by how long children stare at faces. So that means I need to talk about race for our three year old and our ten month old, for myself and for my neighbors. We need to talk because both our words and our silence make a difference. So will you join me in talking about racism?
I know it won’t be easy, but I believe it’s necessary. Bishop Clements of our Northern Illinois Synod has written a pastoral letter, “The Church Cannot Stay Silent,” and our denomination the ELCA has expressed a commitment to confronting racism and anti-Semitism, and I invite you to read these letters and statements. Then, I invite you to talk about race. Speak up when you hear a racist joke or comment. Find courage in Christ to engage in difficult conversations. Name the sin of racism and renounce the evils of white supremacy. Share your experiences or your struggle to not stay silent. And, consider joining me for conversation. Let’s meet on Tuesday, September 12th, at 7 P.M. to talk about our ELCA Social Statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture” and see how we might continue the conversation from there. Please read this social statement and have courage in Christ to share in important, difficult, respectful, and necessary conversation. You can find copies of this ELCA Social Statement online at https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and -Culture, or you can pick up a printed copy at the Information Desk. May the love of God and peace of Christ be with you always, blessings on these greatly needed conversations and faithful witness to the gospel.
Pastor Amanda Bergstrom
Director of Communications
Director of Music Ministry
Director of Education Ministries
Senior Activities Coordinator
Shirley can be contacted through the church office
Ken can be contacted through the church office
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Youthful Spirit and High School Choir Director
Carrie can be contacted through the church office
Dale can be contacted through the church office
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