Welcome to Volume 3 Number 32 of this E-Newsletter.
Grace, Mercy and Peace from our Risen Savior.
It is hard to work this week without thoughts going to the Gulf Coast Region. The impact of Hurricane Harvey is going to be extensive and long lasting. We pray for those effected by the storm, those working on rescuing those still in harms way and for those working on the recovery process. We pray that we can find hope in the time of need and the peace that only God can provide.
If you are looking to help the recovery and rebuilding process you can check out organizations like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Team Rubicon. The Lutheran Disaster Response is another great organization working in and around Houston. You can find out more here.
On another note a letter came out from our Oregon Synod Bishop Rev. Dave Brauer-Rieke, it is a longer letter but I have included it below because I feel that they are important words.
From Bishop Dave:
Dear Friends and Members of the Oregon Synod,
Earlier this week President Trump issued a directive to the Pentagon that U.S. citizens, who are transgender, will no longer be allowed to serve in any branch of the U.S. military. It looks at present like those currently serving will be allowed to stay, but those wishing to serve in the future will be barred. It is still unclear.
Several days ago, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, I and – I assume – other bishops of the ELCA received a letter from many concerned leaders of the ELCA. They wondered why our church had not spoken out on this issue following President Trump’s July 25 tweet, in which he claimed he was going to take such an action. My immediate response to this letter, in all honesty, was that I am unable and unwilling to respond to President Trump’s tweets which are many, and often ill-advised and inappropriate. Please forgive my arrogance and frustration with this. I seek to be helpful and responsive on behalf of our church, but not reactionary.
Now that the president’s intent has become action please let me direct you to a recent statement by the ELCA on this issue. It will be found at https://www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7897. This letter offers resources and statements by our church that may be helpful to you should your congregation or acquaintances have questions. Without a doubt our church stands opposed to the removal of rights and privileges of individuals due to sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion or the like. The president’s decision is a sad reversal in our society’s fight to embrace and honor one another.
I have also not issued any sort of statement relating to the violence in Charlotteville, VA August 17th. You are the voice of our church, not me. I know there have been prayers among us in response to what U.S. senators, both Republican and Democrat, call an act of “domestic terrorism.” President Trumps reaction to the event has been roundly responded to as unresponsive and inappropriate. He did denounce white supremacist activities a day after the event, but then again at his recent rally in Phoenix minimized blame on the part of white supremacists and neo-nazis, defending his original comments and attacking the U.S. press.
You are the voice of the Church, not me, but I do recognize that I have a unique place from which to speak for ELCA Christians. So, let us be clear. Violence of any kind is wrong. In the case of Charlotteville violence was introduced into our country by white supremacists and neo-nazis. We grieve for those who were killed and injured. I worry about the discord becoming common place in our society. Our president’s unwillingness to clearly distance himself from this cancer in our country is unimaginable to me. I keep him in my prayers.
Debate now continues on the removal or respect for civil war statues - and, this debate has been going on for several years. I find it helpful to realize the “true” civil war memorials, those erected soon after the war, were modest monuments generally set up in cemeteries to remember the dead. This is as it should be after a war, both in its modesty and its purpose. Other civil war memorials, such as the statute of Robert E. Lee at issue in Charletteville, were meant to be public displays, often funded by private individuals, and erected during Jim Crow and civil rights eras. It seems as if they were meant to underscore racist values and honor the reasons for a civil war which attacked values of equality held by many in this country during that time and, I would like to think, all of us in this country in the modern era. Needless to say, our church stands firmly against racism, the use and misuse of people for financial or personal gain, and the dishonoring of any of God’s creation. In this case, of course, it is our African American sisters and brothers under attack. I give thanks for their work and witness among us.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and I as bishop of the Oregon Synod, seek to be a clear and honest voice in society for the Gospel, those for whom Jesus died, and the care of all. We speak from the Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, and from our Lutheran Social Statements which are more pointed and contextualize teachings. (http://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements) All of our current social statements pre-date the election of President Trump, and none of our social statements have been formed, or come from, particular political stances. Our teaching has not changed. What has changed in the last few years is societal division, polarization, intolerance and greed.
- We have, and will continue, to speak to the civil rights of all people.
- We have, and will continue, to advocate for health care for all, just wages, compensation, and equality in hiring practices and remuneration.
- We are a voice for peace, proclaimers of the Kingdom, and the arms and hearts of Christ’s love among us.
- In Christ, we will name and resist racism wherever we see it. We advocate for the honoring, acceptance and safety of those who are gay, lesbian or transgender. We fight so that the voices and gifts of women might be heard. In gladly partner with Muslims, Jews and those who may voice no religious sentiment for the common good, even as we proclaim our faith and the love of God as we have experienced it in Christ Jesus.
- We work for justice for Native American people. We seek understanding and welcome for immigrants and asylum seekers. We steward the earth in days for greed and ecological destruction. We do not do this as Republicans or Democrats. We do not do this in reaction to or contrary to our political leaders. We do this work because it is – and always has been – what the Spirit calls us to.
That said, I must acknowledge that the current tide of U.S. politics flows distressingly contrary to what we believe and work towards in many ways. These are difficult days. My goal is to be clear, bold and faithful in all I say or write. I know you seek the same.
So again, you are the voice of the Church, not just me. I hold you in my prayers as I know you do me. Let us do our work with grace, humility, trust and confidence. As the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:
See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will do this.
Bp. Dave Brauer-Rieke
Oregon Synod - ELCA
Prayer Requests: Shirley P., Andrea, David, Daniel, Dorothy F, Noel, Christopher and Jill, Tom S., Ben I., Rev. Maggie, Jane, Don, Rheasa (Re-A-Sa) and Caleb, Patty and Berry, help us to remember and keep the promises we made to Oscar, Otto, Leah, Nichole, Sophia, Danielle, Grayson, Elijah in their baptism, St. Mark's Lutheran, St. Paul Lutheran, Puddletown School, we pray for students and teachers everywhere, help us to remain troubled by everything that is troubling in the world, we pray for the church, the world, and all those in need.
What's Going On- We have wrapped up our summer project so look for more information about our Wednesday gatherings in the future and where we are going next.
Summer Hymns and Preaching- Last summer we experimented with a total request hymn sing and it will be back again this summer. We posted a sheet of paper outside of the sanctuary where people wrote down their favorite hymns and we sang them throughout the summer, so start thinking of your favorite hymns. Also this Summer Pastor Andrew would love input on preaching topics, so there will also be a sheet where you could put down topics, pieces of scripture, or anything else you would like to have preached about this summer.
Lutheran Community Services NW Luncheon- Lutheran Community Services is a Lutheran service serving communities here in Portland and surround areas. Each year they host a Luncheon to update the community on the work they are doing and to seek contributions and support for the coming year. If you have interest in attending and did not receive an invitation please contact Pastor Andrew. The event will be on October 15th at 12:30pm.
Church Picnic and Outdoor Worship- September 10th will be the date for our annual picnic and outdoor worship. We have shifted the date to the fall in hopes of nicer weather. We will be gathering for worship in the parking lot with a picnic lunch to follow. Also that Sunday we will be commissioning our new cross on the building and decommissioning our old one. So come and be a part of the history of Holy Trinity.
Holy Trinity Vitality Survey- The Oregon Synod is beginning the process of planning for the future of the church and Synod. Part of that process is a survey that congregations are being asked to participate in. This is a tool for us as a congregation to hear about our strengths and weaknesses so that we are better able to meet the needs of our members and communities. April is heading up the survey process so see her for a survey and for updates on the process.
New Cross-Cultural Temple Tour- Faith communities like ours have been invited to a tour on September 16th to visit other faith communities Houses of Worship.
This bridge-building experience has been described as a fascinating and unsettling experience. We recommend this multicultural tour as an opportunity to get to know our neighbours in the Portland area. The day includes a guided visit to a Muslim mosque, Sikh temple, Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple. Registration is $69 and includes a delicious ethnic lunch! See Pastor Andrew for more details.
Holy Trinity Supper Club- Thank you to everyone who came to our supper club last Sunday. Despite the heat it was a wonderful evening of fellowship and worship. We will be having another Supper Club soon.
Children's Clothing Closet- The 4th Saturday of each month the Bethlehem Children's Clothing Closet is open at St. Mark's Lutheran Church from 12-2pm. Please pass the word along, there is also always a need for donations and volunteers. Contact Pastor Andrew if you have any questions.
New Holy Lands Trip- Pastor Curtis Zieske, currently the interim pastor at Our Savior's in Seaside, is organizing a trip to the Holy Lands this fall and is inviting members of Oregon Synod congregations to come along. The trip is from October 31st till November 13th. Pastor Andrew has more information if you are interested.
Vigils at Immigration and Customs Enforcement- The Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice is hosting two events monthly to stand in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters at the Portland Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (4310 SW Macadam Ave.). On the 2nd Thursday of each month at 12 pm a group will gather for walking, prayer and meditation and on the last Thursday of each month at 10 am there will be a prayer vigil held. Pastor Andrew will be attending as many as his schedule allows if you would like to come along.
Clothes Needed- Clothes for the summer months, especially shoes are needed for people who are part of the Re-entry program at the Clark County Jail. You can help show Gods merciful love to hurting people who are being released from jail often to the streets to be homeless. Be part of a success story. Your donation will give a person warmth, safety, hope, and dignity as they try and rebuild their lives. Donations can be brought to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Let's help people start their journey with a gift from the Lord.
Bible Study on Matthew- Our Gospel readings this year comes from the Gospel of Matthew, so why not take a deeper dive into the book. Join us Tuesday mornings at 10 here at Holy Trinity for a study on Matthews Gospel. We will join together in prayer, conversation, scripture and fellowship during our time together. This will be an 8 session course, which you can attend as you are able our next gathering will be on Sept. 5, 19, Oct. 3rd, 17, 31.
Thank You! Photography Open House- Thank you to everyone who came out to support local artist Taran Nadler and his first photography exhibit. It was a great success and we are blessed to have his work still hanging on our walls for a few more weeks. If you have not gotten a chance to take a look make time for it because it is well worth it.
Camp Lutherwood Harvest Festival- October 1st will be Camp Lutherwoods Harvest Festival. It will be an afternoon of fellowship, fun, food and fundraising. Contact the church office for more details.
If you would like a printed version of our weekend newsletter they can be found on the bulletin board by the bathrooms at church.
There are some Lutheran community organizers looking to get to know SE Portland and do some work around concerns in the community. If you are interested in the future of our corner of Portland and want to chat with them they would love to hear about your passions and desires for Portland. Let Andrew know if you are interested in chatting with them.
We have been invited on the second Friday of every month to join for worship with the saints at Our Lady of Sorrows Church here in Woodstock. At 7pm on those Fridays they gather for a Taize Service. Taize is an ecumenical community in France that has developed a method of prayer that combines music, prayer and silence. It is a beautiful service and something that cannot be related in words but needs to be experienced. If you are looking for a new worship opportunity you should check it out.
Holy Trinity's Little Library- Thanks to Keith our Little Library is now complete and up on the fence! It is located on Ogden Street right off of 39th. So if you need a book or have a few to donate swing on by.
-There are many ways to connect and engage with Holy Trinity Lutheran.
Find us on Facebook: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Portland
Spread the word on Yelp
Join us for devotions on Instagram: HTLCPDX
Follow us on Twitter @HTLCPDX
If you are interested in my occasional musing on my blog you can find it here http://spoileralertimnotagoodwriter.blogspot.com
Pastor Andrew's schedule for 9/4-8
Monday- Office closed for Labor Day
Tuesday- Matthew Bible Study in a.m., Pastors group at noon.
Wednesday- around church in a.m., lunch meeting then around church
Thursday- Coffee appt. in am then around church or SE PDX
Friday- Sermon prep and on call if needed.