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Hope Lutheran Church celebrated the installation of The Rev. Dr. Alexander Whitfield as senior pastor Sunday, Oct. 8.

The service, officiated by the Southeastern District President The Rev. Dr. John R. Denninger, also included a homily presented by The Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray, Jr, Director of Black & African Ministry, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) Office of National Mission.

“This installation marks the culmination of three years of searching, starting with the congregational profile, all while following the Lord’s guidance and staying steadfast in our faith,” said Steven Wacker, Hope’s council president. “While we might have to wait, we always felt that the Lord was going to direct us and find us the right pastor.”

To search and find a pastor, the call ultimately is made and accepted through the Holy Spirit, but there is a process that the congregation and the LCMS use to discern God’s will.

“The way that the district and synod are involved is that we in each of the 35 synod districts supervise the pastors in those districts and share a common database of all the pastors across the synod,” said Denninger. “When a congregation like Hope is calling a pastor, they write a profile about what is very important to them and what their priorities are; additionally, every pastor has written a similar parallel document called the self-evaluation tool. Then my job is to look at what a pastor’s gifts are, what the congregation is looking for, and then create a list. It’s really the Holy Spirit working through the people of Hope and through, in this case, Pastor Whitfield, to understand this is God’s design.”

The installation of pastor is a visible promise between the synod, fellow pastors, and the congregation to carry out God’s word and is a long-standing rite in the Lutheran Church and public profession of faith.

hope_whitfields (2)“The Office of the Holy Ministry has been instituted by Christ Himself as a gift to His Church (John 20:19–23; Ephesians 4:11–16). Through the Christian congregation, as the holder of all churchly authority, God calls qualified men to fill this divinely established office. Ordination is the solemn, public confirmation of that call (1 Timothy 4:14–16; Titus 1:5–9; Tractate 70; Apology XIII 11–13). The rites of ordination and installation are distinct. Ordination is the Church’s recognition that a man has been rightly called by God through the Church into the Office of the Holy Ministry, whereas Installation marks the beginning of a pastor’s work in a particular place.”

Pastor Whitfield was joined for the service by his family, which includes his wife Kristin, sons, Tristan and Sebastian, and daughter, Alexa. He said it didn’t take the family very long once receiving the call to know that this was God’s will for them and he is very grateful for the help and support from the congregation during the transition and move.

Following the service, Pastor Whitfield said:

“I’m very excited – this is a new chapter for Hope and for us. We’re excited about the ministry that we can do and all the things we can do to share God’s word and grow His church.”


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Watch the installation service:

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The 2017-2018 leadership for the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League has been installed.

Tara Johnson President

Tara Johnson
President

Lisa Rupe Vice President

Lisa Rupe
Vice President

Cindy Clark  Treasurer

Cindy Clark
Treasurer

Pat Fulgham Secretary

Pat Fulgham
Secretary

Desiree Davis Networker

Desiree Davis
Networker

All women aged 18+ are invited to participate in LWML.

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Facebook-PhotoOn Sunday, June 18th, at 12:30 pm Hope held its bi-annual Voter’s meeting in the church sanctuary. Two items were voted on and passed unanimously by the 51 voters present:

1. Council slate starting 1 July 2017

President Steve Wacker (new)
Vice-President Rex Bayman
Treasurer Steve Plummer (new)
Secretary Sue Cashman

At-Large:
Worship Ken Johnson (new)
Learn Pam Lagoc
Serve Jenny Erber
Seek Tami Alexander (new)
Administration George Schroeder

2. 2017 – 2018 Budget

Please keep Hope’s Council members, especially new members, in your prayers.

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The next voters’ meeting is coming up soon, so please join us April 2 at 12:15 pm.

The agenda includes:

Approval of the names of nominees to be forwarded to SED President

Approval of  the new Call Committee membership

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Hope Lutheran will have a Voter’s Meeting on Sunday, April 2, at 12:30pm to approve the names of nominees to be forwarded to SED President and to approve the new Call Committee membership.

 

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Hope Lutheran Church
Voters Meeting
December 6, 2015 12:30 PM

1. Call to Order and Welcome
Mike Davis called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone

2. Opening Prayer
Pastor Cofer opened the meeting in prayer

3. Recognition of New Voting Members
Mike Davis discussed the requirements as stated in the Constitution: a voting member must be a communicant member for the ast 60 days and over the age of 18. There were no congregants asking to be recognized as voting members at this time

4. State Meeting Agenda
Mike Davis went over the agenda for the meeting (see presentation)

5. Present Ministry Team Leaders
Mike Davis presented the proposed ministry team leaders (see presentation)
He asked for discussion (none)
He asked for volunteers for the open positions (none)
It was moved and seconded to approve the ministry team leaders. This was approved unanimously

6. Mid-year Financial Update
Tim Speckman presented our mid-year financial status (see presentation). There were no questions

7. Parking Lot Update
Mike Davis presented an update on parking lot improvements (see presentation)
We are currently under contract to begin Phase I (the front section of the lot). This includes repair, resurfacing, and restriping
There was a discussion about the rationale behind the restriping and it was explained that even though we lose four spaces due to the slanted striping, the traffic flow will be safer and easier, especially with the school drop-off and pick up
We are looking for other ways to fund Phase II of this project (see presentation)

8. New Business
There was a question about the status of our call for a new senior pastor
Mike reported that he had spoken with Bob Strait of the call committee, and they have not heard anything yet

9. Closing
Mike asked for and received a motion and second to adjourn the meeting. This was unanimously approved. Pastor Cofer then lead us in a closing prayer

There were 49 voting members present

Submitted by:
Sue Cashman
Secretary

Mike Davis
President

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President Mike Davis has called a Voters Meeting for Sunday, Dec. 6 after late service (approximately 12:15 pm).

The agenda for the meeting includes:

1. Approve the slate of Ministry Chairmen – VOTE
2, A mid-year financial update – discussion and
3. An update on the state of the parking lot – discussion

All congregant members are invited to attend and encouraged to participate.

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By Pastor Michael Cofer
Text: James 5

Until I married Alisha, I had never been part of a big family. Growing up, it was my mom and dad and my sister who was 6 years older than me… and that was it. I saw my two living grandparents probably once or twice a year. I met my cousins roughly once each. My concept of family was pretty small, pretty low key, and for the most part we kept to ourselves.

You can understand that becoming a part of Alisha’s family took a little getting used to. All of her family – and I mean ALL of her family – lives within a couple hours’ drive of each other. Most are in the same city.

So, pretty much every month they get together to celebrate someone’s birthday. You know when you go to a restaurant and they’ve rearranged the room to be one giant table full of laughing and animated people that pretty much guarantee you’ll never see your waiter? We were that table.

Now, imagine the first time I sat at that table. I had 5 or 6 conversations going on in earshot, and just sat in a daze – not sure which one I was supposed to be a part of. And as the new guy, everyone was trying to talk to me. Asking me stuff… stuff about my life. How school was going… wanting to be a pastor. That’s so cool. That’s so strange.

My head was spinning, and it took a bit of acclimating, but I felt loved and cared for – even if a bit overwhelmed. They wanted to be part of my life – that’s what family does.

You know, the church is supposed to be a family, too. Brothers and sisters, adopted by our loving Father – brought to the table together in the bonds of mutual love. But I didn’t really grow up understanding that either. And I don’t think I’m the only one.

I think that we’ve lost a lot of that sense of family in the church over the last couple of generations, and we really need to reclaim it. It is much more typical to look at the other people in service on a Sunday as “Fellow Worshippers,” or even “Fellow Members.” “I go here, you go here. We both go here… and then we go our separate ways.”

That sort of thinking makes it easy to keep our private lives… well… private. We aren’t really compelled to share anything with each other. We just share space and go through our Sundays in parallel. I mean, let’s face it, most of us are here for the Worship Service, right?

But in our Epistle today, James really raises the bar on what it means to be a church together. “Is anyone of you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them…” “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.” “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way saves them from death!”

These aren’t hypothetical examples to illustrate a point. They are concrete benchmarks for how the church should function. But how do we get there? We need to be in each other’s lives.

Now, before we get any farther into this idea, let’s talk about busybodies and gossips. Churches used to have a reputation for both (though I don’t know if that’s as common today as it once was), but both are unhealthy – and neither are what James is advocating.

You see, a busybody is someone who has no business knowing your business who insists on knowing your business. Usually they want to know your business so they can privately judge you, or pass it around to others. Also, they are much more likely to tell you someone else’s sins and struggles than disclose their own.

We don’t need busybodies. We need to be a family in our church. You need folks who do belong in your business – who will keep your confidence and who will disclose their struggles with you. People who will pray for and with you, and who will ask for your prayers. People who will be honest when it looks like you’re drifting away or living a life that contradicts the gospel – and who are willing to let you do the same for them.

It’s a big ask, I know. And the 15 minutes or so that we allot for “Fellowship” each Sunday probably isn’t enough to really develop those relationships. You may have to spend some time after Bible Study or after Worship. You may need to share a meal. And you may need to rearrange your routine to do it. But we need this, because the Christian life is incredibly easy and incredibly hard.

Christianity is easy in the sense that Jesus did all the hard work of saving us. Salvation is a gift that He offers freely, and it is the work of God even to make us willing to receive it. And it’s easy in the sense that no matter what happens between now and the end, we know how it all ends. We know that nothing can separate us from God’s love and the reward laid up for us in heaven.

But Christianity is hard, too. This world can be a discouraging place and we will wrestle with temptation from the world around us and even from inside our own hearts. We will go through trials, endure suffering, and have crises of faith. That’s why we aren’t meant to go it alone.

There is probably someone here today who needs you to pray for them. There is probably someone here today who wants to pray for you. There may even be someone who is here today who is wandering from the truth and in need of a brother or sister to have the difficult conversation about it in a loving way. Or maybe they aren’t here today, and you noticed that.

If you could save a life, wouldn’t you? If you could forgive sinner, shouldn’t you? If you could pray for the sick or troubled, if you could rejoice with the joyful, if you could be a Christian brother or sister to someone… what’s stopping you?

Recent past sermons:

Aug. 2: The Bread of Life
Aug. 9: The True Bread
Aug. 16: Rise and Shine!
Aug. 23: A Profound Mystery
Sept. 13: Just Outside Your Door

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By Sara Kopko-Morton

- Michael and Kari Ziegler were welcomed as the newest voting members.
- The FY2015 Budget was discussed and unanimously approved.
- The following new Council positions were unanimously elected. Thank you to Sue Cashman, secretary, Pam Lagoc, Learn at large, and George Schroeder, Admin at large, for serving Hope!
- Details and plans were discussed for the retirement of Pastor Nieting in June 2015 and the Call Process to follow.
- “The Story” will be our Ministry focus beginning in September 2014.

There were 50 voting members in attendance.

Detailed minutes are available in the Main Office.

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“There are far too many things in life that flood right over us….and we end up feeling like there’s a tidal wave washing right over us and we’re up to our necks and heading down fast.

“What we need IS an ark! We need shelter from the storm.”

(more…)

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