Tidings 07/07/22

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A Message from Pastor Amy

Pastor Amy WaelchliIn our nation this week, we observed the 4th of July, which honors our country’s founding. I’ve been thinking a lot about foundations these past several weeks as Supreme Court rulings were announced. I wonder what you, dear reader, may know about the founding of the ELCA?

Our denomination is a merger of three separate Lutheran denominations: the ALC, LCA, and AELC. The history of each body matters; but, for the purpose of this letter you need to know that they came together to forge a new Lutheran Church. The ELCA formed around Jesus Christ and what His love means for us in the world as it is now. The founding bodies didn’t allow arguments over practice and teaching prevent them from living out the Good News together. They didn’t agree on everything. But they did agree on the main thing: Jesus Christ and His love for the world.

People cannot be argued into agreement. But that doesn’t stop some Christians from trying. When Christians are hyper invested in arguments on practice and teaching in the church or the world, it is an excuse to put off the work of the Gospel. Arguments arise over moral issues, too. Creating a moral panic is another way to get out of the work of the Gospel, that is, loving others.
“Those who say, ‘I love God,’ but turn around and hate others are liars. How can they love God, whom they’ve never seen, when they hate the image of God in others?” (1 John 4:20).

This is the paradox of our call to love. While we love those who we do not agree with, not everything done in the name of Jesus is loving. The ELCA has spoken out on legislation and culture that seeks to control people by division in race, gender, religion, ability, and identity. The ELCA speaks out on attempts to control people through intimidation, especially when these things are done in the name of Jesus.

You can find this information online in the Social Statements of the ELCA. These statements are ‘teaching and policy documents to help us think about social issues in the context of faith and life.’ They come from the work of congregations, Pastors, synod, and national assemblies. This means they aren’t top-down declarations. They are the work of the people of the ELCA, voted on and ratified by assemblies.

This work wasn’t easy. There were arguments involved! But, like the founding bodies of the ELCA, each Statement is centered on the primary, mutual agreement: Jesus and His love. The Social Statements acknowledge that the world, people, situations change rapidly and that there is always an exception to the rule that needs to be considered. They hold room for dissent. All of us who read the Social Statements come away feeling both challenged and assured. But never, in any Statement, is there permission to condemn lives different from our own.

The foundation of the ELCA is Jesus Christ and His love for all people, without exception or qualification or excuses to refrain from loving others.

Pastor Amy

Bishop Eaton issues pastoral message on SCOTUS ruling regarding Roe v. Wade

Dear Church,
Whatever personal perspective one might take on the June 24 abortion ruling from the Supreme Court, it is the legal framework in which we now minister, and I wish to speak a pastoral word at this time.

The Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, removing federal constitutional protection for safe and legal abortion and leaving decisions about abortion law largely to the states.

As a result, safe and legal abortion will likely not be accessible in every state. This church’s 1991 social statement Abortion argues that “the number of induced abortions is a source of deep concern” but teaches that the practice should be legal (pp. 3, 9-10). In other words, “Laws should be enacted and enforced justly for the preservation and enhancement of life, and should avoid unduly encumbering or endangering the lives of women” (p. 9). Overturning Roe v. Wade and placing decisions about abortion regulation at the state level encumbers and endangers the lives of all persons who need to make decisions about unexpected pregnancies.

First, as a pastor of this church, I want to acknowledge that this decision affects many people, especially those whose pregnancies unfold in complex situations and the people who love them. Many now find their moral agency restricted because federal law no longer guarantees access to legal and safe abortion. They already face difficult moral questions, and the Supreme Court decision only adds to their anguish. As our social statement reminds us, we have both the freedom and the obligation to serve neighbors in complex situations. As a church, we are called at this moment to recognize and spiritually support people who are struggling with decisions around pregnancy.

Second, as presiding bishop, I want to remind this church that, despite this new legal landscape, we continue to depend on our social teaching for guidance. Our social statement provides the moral framework for our church’s communal discernment and ministry, holding in tension both the strong Christian presumption to preserve and protect all life as well as the complex moral situations in which pregnancy sometimes occurs. Our social teaching is complex and does not hew to clear categories or labels such as “pro-abortion” or “anti-abortion.”

That complexity is reflected in several points. The statement recognizes that pregnant persons have moral agency; they are the ones to make decisions about a pregnancy (see pp. 5-6). This church and its ministers trust them to decide but expect them to make such decisions in relationship—with God, self, partner, family, ministers and others.

I also want to underscore for the whole body of Christ the statement’s exhortation “that those who counsel persons faced with unintended pregnancies respect how deeply the woman’s pregnancy involves her whole person—body, mind and spirit—in relation to all the commitments that comprise her stewardship of life” (p. 5).

Further, our church teaching holds that there are no exclusive rights in pregnancy. A pregnant person does not have an exclusive right to abort a fetus at all points during the pregnancy. A developing life does not have an exclusive right to be born (p. 2). This church does not support
abortion as a normative form of birth control but rather understands it as necessary in some morally responsible circumstances. This church does not condone late-term abortions except in extreme circumstances, which must be determined by the individual with their medical caregivers (p. 7).

This church acknowledges that individuals and religious traditions hold divergent viewpoints over when life begins. These divergent views are not only scientific but also biblical and cultural. The ELCA social statement acknowledges these ethical ambiguities and states that “the closer the life in the womb comes to full term the more serious such [moral] issues become.” (p. 7).

As we live into this new legal framework, we can respond to and minister in the current situation, for instance, by ministering to individuals who seek abortions; advocating for laws that provide free or affordable health care, child care and education; providing and promoting sex education; continuing to be a community of discernment where thoughtful and diverse perspectives can be shared and heard; and advocating for state laws that provide legal, safe and affordable abortions, and against legislation that would outlaw abortion in all circumstances (p. 9).

Finally, I wish to remind everyone that this church supports peaceful means of expression within a diverse society. Peaceful protest is a crucial element of civic engagement; violent protest is not, and this church reproves it. Likewise, this church is on record against hate speech. Let us be instruments for peace where there is none. Let us listen to one another. Let us serve the needs of neighbors in all the complexities life presents. God calls us to be for others, just as God in Christ is for us.

In Christ,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Trinity Hiring Music Director

We hope to hire a Director of Music here at Trinity. Here is the position listing:
Trinity seeks a part-time Director of Music of 15 hours/week. Trinity is a member congregation of the ELCA in Fort Atkinson, WI. Our central, unifying activity is worshiping God together. We value variety between new things and old favorites. We look forward to engaging music, singing in harmony, and special music offerings. We have excellent Choir Directors and Praise Band members, along with experienced Organists/Pianists. These last are looking to step back from regular duties and the Pastors and Council believe this is an opportunity to hire a Director of Music with a heart for Jesus who will:

  • Serve as Primary Worship Musician 2-3 times/month
  • Coordinate, schedule, and communicate with existing Music Staff, Pastor, Office Administrator, and Congregation
  • Work in conjunction with the Pastor(s) in worship planning and preparation
  • Recruit students and adults for special music, choir, bell choir
  • Help lead song time for Sunday School and VBS
  • Lead Praise Band (monthly)

Submit resumes to pastoramy@trinityfort.org.

Big Faith Bible Camp

Installation of Pastor Madeline

August 21 at 9 a.m.

Join us at worship on Aug. 21 for the installation of Pastor Madeline. Bishop Joy
will be visiting for the installation. There will be a reception following the worship service to celebrate with Pastor Madeline, Pastor Amy, and Bishop Joy. No RSVP needed!

New Member Class

July 24 starting at 10:30 (approximately 60 minutes)
New Member Sunday will take place on July 31. This is a welcome of people who seek to join Trinity.

STAR Group July Update

STAR is taking the month of July off. Please plan on coming to our next meeting on Aug. 8. We welcome all those that enjoy working together, talking together, and helping our Church community and Local community with our hands and hearts. Please join us, no craft talent needed.

Little Free Pantry

The Little Free Pantry is in need of a volunteer to fill the pantry on the 2nd and 4th Mondays and Wednesdays of the month. If interested, please contact Becky Tuttle at bjtuttle@charter.net or Polly Schull at pollya@charter.net.


Food Needs Ongoing

If anyone would like to donate food for the Little Pantry, please note they can be dropped off inside Room 205 (right inside east parking lot door).

Popular items:
Tuna/chicken in can or foil envelope
Peanut butter
Cereal (regular size as super sized doesn’t fit well in box)
Fruit (cans or individual packages)
Oatmeal packets
4 pack toilet paper
Kleenex tissues (small to medium)
Toothbrushes (individual package)
Dish soap (small)
Vegetables, canned
Canned pasta/ chili/stew

Becky and Polly

Shows to watch for

Roofing Update

Barry Satterlee and his crew of 19 men will be at church starting July 25 to replace the roof. All doors will be closed to access except for the awning door on the east side of the church (door #7).

There will be gutter stored in the back of the church by the parking lot. Please use caution when entering and exiting the church.

Scholarship Fund Update

The quarter container for the UPAVIM scholarship donations has collected $180 as of June 15. Our goal is to meet last year’s total of just over $2,000. So, we need every quarter and dollar you can contribute to reach the goal by the end of September. Look for the container on the table in the Narthex as you enter the sanctuary. (If you don’t see it, ask an usher to find it in the office.)
Remember that all you give goes directly to the organization run by the women in the cooperative – no overhead at all! And you can give through your envelopes and on Tithe.ly.

Please donate generously each time you come to worship. Even your loose change can make a big impact on young lives and help end the cycle of poverty they are born into.

Prayers Requested For . . .

Ron Capek, Erin (granddaughter of Diane Rhuel’s friend), Joanne Nordeen, Nancy Hall (friend of Pearl Luebke).

*Do you have a prayer concern? Email the prayer force at prayerforcetlc@gmail.com. People will gladly pray for you or your loved one with their whole hearts! Please indicate if you would like to be put on the all-church prayer list.*

**Tidings are sent out every two weeks. Any submissions for the Tidings need to be sent to the office by the Wednesday of Tidings weeks.**