Thank You! Let's Celebrate!

The Stewardship Committee launched a bold goal in October - to forgo a planned third capital appeal to support our newly expanded space (and the related mortgage) and focus instead on increasing our annual giving. After Pastor Stephanie’s passing in September, the team determined it was not the right time for a capital campaign. To meet the financial obligations of our expanding ministry and a larger mortgage, we would need to increase our annual commitment by 25%. That’s no small ambition. In fact, because it was so big, the team began the process early in case they needed to move to “Plan B” or “Plan C”.

But thanks to God working through all of us, we not only met our target, we exceeded it. No Plan B or C necessary! Our 2019 commitments are 30% greater than 2018 and even more importantly, we have 15 new households who made 2019 commitments. This is a truly remarkable response!

Now it’s time for a party!

We are all invited to celebrate on Sunday, February 3. In worship, we'll thank God for our community’s generosity and the ministry it makes possible. At the party in between worship services, we turn to each other and offer thanks for the support and service we are committing to in 2019. Our brunch extravaganza will include a beautifully decorated fellowship space, yummy food, brief comments from council leaders and pastors and activity stations for all ages celebrating the mission and ministry that you make possible.

Please plan to attend as we celebrate the gifts God has given us and how we’re using them to be God’s good news for the world.

Our deep thanks to the amazing team that guided this work.

Health Kits for Lutheran World Relief

Both Christmas and Epiphany are seasons of hard travel: first of Mary & Joseph frantically seeking shelter to bring Jesus into the world. Then, of the Magi traveling far with an evil mission from King Herod heavy on their hearts, a mission they ultimately thwart.

Hard travel is a reality of our world today, too. Scores of refugees are fleeing their homes; others are displaced by natural disaster and seeking shelter.

Thank you, ECLC for packing 86 health kits of soap, toothbrushes, towels, combs, and nail clippers that Lutheran World Relief distributes through its worldwide partners. A special thank you to ECLC’s LWR Mission Partner Liaison, Dana Easley, and her family for organizing our Health Kits service project.

This Sunday, our sanctuary will be adorned by quilts our quilters have created throughout 2018 which will be sent to Lutheran World Relief and also to refugees arriving in Minnesota with Minnesota Council of Churches. This year we will feature an Adopt-a-Quilt program. Envelopes will be attached to each quilt for donations to help pay for their shipping costs to destinations around the world. Just $3 will help a quilt travel to someone who really needs it.

A Beautiful Christmas Celebration

All Are Welcome, Without Exception

It was a glorious Christmas Eve at ECLC! Thank you to all the musicians, readers, acolytes, ushers, greeters, servers, bakers, and worshipers who helped to make the four services so meaningful and inspiring. God has come into our world and is truly with us in our worship.

ECLC was one of several churches visited on Christmas Eve by a protester holding signs opposing an inclusive Christian welcome. One man stood on the front sidewalk with his anti-LGBTQ message before the 7:30 service, and two people returned near the end of the 9:30 service. While we are not aware of this happening at ECLC in the past, similar demonstrations have taken place at other places of worship for decades. These individuals typically seek as much attention as possible and try to trigger the emotions of people passing by. As a congregation that values God’s love and blessing for all people, without exception, our response was to offer an even stronger and more gracious welcome for everyone who came to worship.

Many of us feel sad and angry about what occurred outside on the sidewalk Christmas Eve, and the pastors are available to talk with you about the emotions it brought up for you. At the same time, one thing it may remind us of is the continued importance of being a welcoming and affirming church. With this in mind, you are invited to an adult forum on January 13 for a discussion about the work three of our mission partners (Reconciling Works, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, and the LGBT Lutheran Scholarship Fund) are doing to work for LGBTQ equality and what each of us can do to be part of it. There will also be an opportunity to discuss our experience with the protester and how best to respond if something similar ever happens again.

Each of you is a beloved child of God. Thank you for the many powerful, gracious ways that you serve as the body of Christ every day.

- Jay Carlson