RENEWING GOD’S HOUSE THROUGH LEARNING AND GROWING: Philippians 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.
As a Lutheran Christian, I have been blessed to find a Lutheran church in each community where I have lived. Faith communities where I could worship and continue to grow in my relationship with God. However, in one community, that may not have been the case if it had not been for the efforts of some dedicated individuals who faithfully brought the dream of a church into fruition.
In the middle of my eighth-grade year I moved to a small, rural town in the mountains of northern California. There my family found Christ Lutheran, a new mission congregation that had begun a few years before. When I arrived, they were just finishing up the last few months of work on their brand-new church building. It was a group excited to leave behind the shabby, rented building heated mostly by a wood stove and move into a small but fresh new facility. I was not there with these individuals in the beginning stages of this congregation – the stressful times of navigating the bureaucracy, dealing with the synod, working with a mission pastor, making plans for a facility, etc. Instead, I was the recipient of all they had done to make Christ Lutheran a reality. Two months after our new building’s dedication, I celebrated my affirmation of baptism and began a new chapter of growth in my faith life.
In this small church of about 50 members I was nurtured into an active faith life through the encouragement of participation and leadership. So much learning took place at Christ Lutheran! This is where I taught my first VBS class, where I sang my first solo, served on my first committee, shared in service work with others, and perfected my seven-layer Jell-O creation for our monthly potluck dinners. This church is where I learned to delight in God’s creation through mountain hikes and the singing of old hymns I had never heard before. In this place, I learned how to serve as well as be served. A foundation to my faith was laid there, and I am grateful for God’s work through those missionaries in the church and their hope and perseverance to bring this faith community into existence.
Gracious God, We thank you for all the people who have helped us grow in our faith and shared Your love. Amen.
Salem Lutheran Church affiliated with the E.L.C.A. Salem is a vibrant welcoming Lutheran community that, through the grace of Jesus Christ, is connected within by love and reaching out in hope to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with one another, the community and the world.
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