New Year Blessings

We had a wonderful Advent and Christmas at All Saints. I want to thank everyone who was part of the Christmas Program, Lessons and Carols and Christmas Eve services. So many staff, musicians, volunteers, worship participants, children and youth helped make these worshipful and inspiring services. For me, it’s always hard to top singing Silent Night in candlelight!

We also had a wonderful Christmas caroling event at The Glenn earlier in December and sang to groups gathered in the main coffee area, the care suites and memory care unit. Our presence was appreciated and one of our members described seeing folks singing carols with us in the memory care unit as “magical.” This is a new tradition we look forward to continuing.

As mentioned last month, I will be taking a sabbatical beginning January 2 through February 5. Three pastors are lined up to preach over those five weeks including Jan Mehlhoff, Matt Johnson and Susan Engholm. I hope you enjoy their leadership in my absence. Pastor Jan Mehlhoff will be leading worship the first two weeks and will be available for any pastoral needs during my absence, including funerals if needed. Chris Heiberg, in the office, will be the primary contact if there are unique circumstances that Pastor Jan or I should be made aware of. Call Chris during the week or leave a message on the main voicemail as needed.

Overall, the vast majority of typical questions and needs can be handled easily by church staff, and lay leaders if needed. If you have a question or need during my sabbatical, start with the church office or the appropriate staff member. The staff and our council leaders have information on how to proceed with various situations. We have a great group!

As we start the new year, I invite you to consider ways that you can serve and actively participate at All Saints. We are still seeking regular coffee hosts for Sundays. We are also planning on making donuts available once a month. We’ve noticed that many of you enjoy staying and chatting more when we have coffee and treats available and your help in making this possible would be appreciated. You can sign up for a Sunday at the welcome center and someone will help you get trained in if you’re new. It’s easy!

We’re also pleased to be launching a new Inspired Life Speaker Series. Member Jeff Olson has been instrumental in scheduling an incredible slate of speakers over the next several months around the topic of Environment and Wellness. This is connected to our vision to make a relevant impact, help nurture healthy souls and overall wellness, and care for creation. Jeff, members of our Spiritual Formation team, and our staff have been working together to make this series a reality. Over the course of the series, we’ll be focused on “Renewing Purpose, Place and Peace.” One of the original purposes given to humanity by God was to freely eat and enjoy the garden they had been placed in, but also to cultivate and care for it.

We’re honored that the first speaker is Katrina Kessler, Commissioner of the MN Pollution Control Agency. She will be speaking Tuesday, January 17 about the state of the environment in Minnesota. If we’re called as Christians to both live in this abundant garden and care for it, it will be good to get an update on how that’s going. Some of our purpose as Christians can be easily carried out individually, but in other areas we need to cooperate and work together. This is certainly one of those areas. These events are geared as an outreach to our community so spread the word to those you know, even if they’re not normally churchgoers. Watch our e-news for more details about another event in late January.

As you can see, we’re starting off the New Year with renewed purpose and energy. I invite you to be part of it all by participating in worship regularly, attending our new speaker series, and helping us invest in our spirit-led vision to care for the wellbeing of our neighbors and the vitality of our local community, so that all people may experience abundant life and shalom.

Be well,
Pastor Jon
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