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Our Church Council President's November News

Dear Members of St. Peter's,


As I write this month's President's message, we have recently celebrated the 500th anniversaryCross 2 of The Reformation, Martin Luther's now-recognized bold stance against the status quo. On October 1, nearly 250 worshippers from St. Peter's, St. Mary and several of our Lancaster Lutherans Together congregations gathered to kickoff this month-long observance with our Common Prayer, "Conflict To Communion" worship service; on October 22, we joined our St. Mary friends again at Rising Park for a Tree Planting Liturgy and picnic, joining believers around the world in this symbolic (and ecologically-sound) celebration - and finally many of us gathered in meaningful worship and in fellowship on Reformation Sunday with an authentic German dinner: what a month!


Talk about our own opportunities to "stand against the status quo!" As this Reformation anniversary drew near, it gave me - and I hope you too - a chance to really think about exactly what it meant those 500 years ago, what it means today and what it will mean for us into our future. As we've all learned over the years, when he posted his 95 Theses on that church door, Luther wasn't necessarily drawing the line in the sand his act is often seen by many to be today-- he was merely requesting debate, debate on points he had come to believe didn't match what he (and the Church) had long accepted as business as usual. St. Peter's today stands at the exciting cusp of changing what has long been business as usual as well.


And this leads me to the primary point of this month's message, as we prepare our hearts and minds for our personal commitments to the church, not only St. Peter's, but to our LLT future as well. Yes, I'm talking about stewardship- what we give to the church. Martin Luther taught the world that we do not give to the church to "buy" God's love and grace- that His love and grace are freely given to us from the beginning: instead, we give BECAUSE God has first given these things - His love and grace - to us! And yes, what we give includes money - there's a reason the Offering is a significant part of our liturgy, it IS an act of worship. But it is only a part of how we give back to God. Stewardship is much more - whether we call it "Time and Talent," volunteering, service or by any other name - stewardship also includes a conscious, deliberate giving of something of ourselves.


As we soon come to the end of this year and prepare to enter a new one, as we prepare to ever more fully engage with our Lancaster Lutherans Together partners, I ask each of you to seriously and prayerfully consider your commitments - commitments of your time, commitments of your unique talents and skills, and yes, commitments of your Offering - to our shared discipleship, because God has first given us, this church family of St. Peter's, so much!


In peace,


Jon Hale

Church Council President