Pastor Mary's office hours are: Monday 10-2pm Tuesday 9-12 and Wednesday 12-3 If you'd like to meet outside these hours, please call ahead to be sure she is in the office. Contact by church phone (715-879-5115), home phone (715-309-4065) or by email at:

September 2017

"Encouraging faith and proclaiming God's love by Gathering, Growing and Giving."

Greetings to one and all!

Thank you for taking time to read our church newsletter; whether you are doing so in paper form or online. This is the time of year when the church calendar starts to fill up with activities, just like the calendar you have at home. I'm very excited about what this new school year holds for Elk Mound and this congregation! As we continue to be a congregation that is encouraging faith and proclaiming God's love by Gathering, Growing and Giving...there are limitless ways we can positively impact the lives of our neighbors...and our own lives. Please read through the newsletter to find out what exciting things will be going on in the months to come: fun communitywide events, faith formation, Youth Group, activities for people of all ages!

Before I sat down to write this letter, one message kept coming to the forefront of my thoughts...WORDS MATTER. This is a great message when you consider the beginning of a new school year, where new friendship and new opportunities arise in our children's lives. My thoughts also go to the events within our country over this past couple of weeks, and how WORDS have stirred up a lot of emotions. And this isn't an entirely bad thing, because what I'm seeing and hearing are just that...conversations. Granted, some of these face-to-face, in print, and online conversations have been laced with anger, hate, outrage, and frustration. But what I see GOOD about all this is that people are addressing deep and important issues that face our country...topics that have been taboo or considered something not impacting an individual's life..

In a recent sermon on the Gospel of Matthew 15:21-28, I repeated the words of a mother who was desperately seeking help and healing for her daughter. She said, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon." The words of this Canaanite mother, to a Jewish man went against the cultural norms...and straight to the heart of the matter. She understood WHO Jesus was and WHAT he was capable of doing. Not willing to allow generations of hate between their races/religions keep her from her cause, she knelt before Jesus, saying, "Lord, help me." How did the Son of God respond? Jesus said, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish. And her daughter was healed instantly."

Yes, WORDS MATTER...those spoken and those unspoken. We are in a time of heightened awareness of tensions between people of different race, religion and ethnicity within our country and around the world. So it feels like the right time to begin having discussions about how our Christian faith informs how what we say TO and ABOUT one another matters. In fact, our absent voices regarding these issues can speak volumes, as well. In the Matthew text we are reminded that the love and mercy of God is for ALL God's creation...and that God values ALL PEOPLE. Please join us in upcoming conversations about how we, as followers of Jesus, can be imitators of such love. Let's push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, into a 'loving our neighbors' zone, to better understand one another's life stories.

God's peace be in you and experienced through you, Pastor Mary

Last updated: July 31, 2017