From the Pastor :: February 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When trying to decide what to share with you this month, I couldn’t settle on a single issue or topic, so here are some random thoughts.

Random Thought  #1:

It has been six months since some major changes in the leadership at St. James. 

Scott Alpha began serving as President, Bill Foerg is our new Head Elder, Barbara Wagner is now paying the bills as Treasurer, Angie Alpha joined Mary Lou Foerg as co-chair of Missions & Evangelism. Continuing in leadership positions is Judy Knohl (Secretary), Mary Lou Foerg (Missions & Evangelism), Jim McDonald & Darwin Burkhart (Trustees co-chair), Carol Eldridge (Education), Michelle Collins (Parish Fellowship), and Carol Hallam (Financial Secretary). Additionally, Mark Josephson and Mike Mihalik joined Bill Foerg, Dale DeWitt, David Gray, and Scott Alpha as Elders.

It has been a pleasure to work with these dedicated and faithful leaders.  Early on they faced some daunting challenges, but their love of the Lord and faith in Him, along with their love of the St. James congregation, allowed them to work together and find solutions.

Random Thought #2:

Last month, the Rev. Dr. David Stechholz filled in for me while I was on vacation. What a joy it was to read an email from him following his time at St. James.  His email echoed what I already know, but let me share it with you anyway:

“… everyone was so kind and helpful.  The Divine Service was beautiful, and the Lord God was rightly worshipped … morale seems to be very good.  I was pleasantly amazed to see a number of young families, even with some missing, according to the Elders. … 

Before driving home, I went into town one more time to see both the Eel and Wabash Rivers, walk across a foot bridge over the Eel in the park by the carousel (it was bone-chilling cold!), and pray to the Lord again for you and St. James parish. … St. James appears to me to be a very good liturgical, doctrinally-solid, warm and inviting, mission-hearted congregation …”

Random Thought #3:

For the past 15 years, my wife, Terri, has been suffering with a neurological condition which causes chronic pain. This condition affects her small motor skills, making hand writing difficult. It affects her large motor skills, making walking difficult, especially when her back is in pain. She has pain in the nerves of her upper arms and legs. Her sense of balance is really bad, and she often stumbles and falls, causing many minor injuries, most recently a dislocated or broken finger. When the neurologist that had been treating her left the practice, Terri decided to apply for an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  Her application was accepted and we will travel to the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday, February 2 for an appointment first thing (7:30 am) on Wednesday. They have her scheduled for appointments through February 11, but if they are able to determine a diagnosis and begin a treatment plan earlier, we will be able to leave earlier.

We hope and pray that a diagnosis is found early and that we may be back in Logansport by Sunday (2/7).  Pastor Nabinger has agreed to be in the pastoral “bullpen”, ready to fill in for me, if called upon, at a moments notice. Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement, especially to Terri.  Please continue to pray that our Lord Jesus, who healed many with frail and diseased bodies, will grant wisdom and guidance to the doctors and medical team assigned to Terri that they are able to determine the cause of this condition and prescribe the proper treatment.

Random Thought #4:

Last month’s Scroll included an article informing the congregation that the Board of Elders had decided that we will begin using Lutheran Service Book in our Sunday Morning and Midweek worship services when 100 hymnals were available to be used.  I am pleased to announce that the next order for hymnals submitted to Concordia Publishing House will take us over the 100 hymnal target. When the hymnals have arrived, dedication nameplates placed in the hymnals, and I have returned from the Mayo Clinic, all of the hymnals will be dedicated and we will begin using them.

I am pleased that there is such a high level of interest in using these hymnals (approved by our Synod and in use by approximately 90% of our sister congregations in the LCMS) and that many have gifted these hymnals to the congregation above and beyond their regular Sunday morning contributions.

More hymnals may still be ordered.  100 hymnals is not the limit; it is the number of hymnals needed with our current level of worshipping individuals.  The cost per hymnal (including shipping) is $28.00.  Any individual ordering 1 or more hymnals for the church may include a name plate dedicating the hymnal(s) “in memory of”  or  “in honor of” a particular person, or simply “given by…”

Random Thought #5:

The Season of Lent begins this month with Ash Wednesday (February 10). This is a time in the Church Year dedicated to prayerful and penitential reflection.  Since we are placing a special emphasis on learning the Catechism and its meanings here at St. James as we move forward to the 500th Anniversary of the start of the Reformation, my Lenten theme will be The Six Chief Parts of Luther’s Small Catechism. Beginning with the first Midweek Service following Ash Wednesday, and each Midweek Service through Maundy Thursday we will turn our attention to one of the Six Chief Parts (Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed, Lord’s Prayer/Our Father, Holy Baptism, Confession/Holy Absolution, Holy Communion) and explore each part as a whole, instead of breaking it down to its individual parts as we usually do when memorizing. Speaking of memorizing, how are you doing with my challenge to renew or refresh your memorization of The Small Catechism.  Lent is an excellent time to do this. Printed elsewhere on this site is a memorization schedule you could use for doing this.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Dehning