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:

October 2017

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

Autumn Greetings!

Did you happen to catch the PBS special Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World. I thoroughly enjoyed the program, and was glad to learn more about Martin Luther, our Lutheran faith, and the history behind the Reformation. The theologians who commented throughout the program made it quite clear that Luther's ideas would have quietly faded into the background (along with the man himself), had it not been for the Gutenberg Printing Press choosing to print his 95 Theses (a list of questions and propositions aimed at the Catholic Church and its leaders). Believe it or not, this was a 'new technology' back in the early 15-16th century, and the company was more than willing it print and sell the many books Luther wrote over the years.

Throughout the TV program, they kept referring to Luther's success being connected to his savvy use of this new technology. In today's terms we would say that 'Luther's message went viral!' Think about and I would NOT be sitting in this Lutheran Church, had the Gutenberg Press not chosen to print Luther's work...if the 'technology of the day' had not been used to promote the life-giving message of salvation through Jesus Christ. It gives me pause to consider how we are now in the 21st century, and yet as a congregation we haven't moved far from the printing press. We place the bulk of our time, energy and resources into promoting the Gospel the same way Luther did in the early 1500's...through printed documents: bulletins, newsletters, printed curriculum for faith education, Bibles, event flyers, annual reports and stewardship mailings.

REALITY CHECK: This is NOT the way individuals or entire generations are getting information, learning, or communicating with one another. It's time we make the leap forward into the 21st century.

Would you like to be part of a SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM? Do you use Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram? Could you teach some of us how to better use any of these social media tools? Do you know the best programs or platforms to provide online forms, meeting places or provide a place for online conversations or learning? Please contact Pastor Mary if you can help.

Here are a few facts to consider:
* 87% of American adults USE THE INTERNET
* 71% say they use it DAILY
* 68% access it via a MOBILE DEVICE
* 56% use Facebook

Improvised religious practices are happening online ALL THE TIME. People are connecting and share their prayer requests...sending out words of support for others enduring deaths, violence, natural disasters and cancer diagnosis...sharing in life's greatest joys and sorrows...and all of it online. The possibilities are endless, and a bit overwhelming at times, to be sure. But during this time of celebration for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, it seems particularly fitting that WE TOO should follow the example of our faith's founder...and become savvy users of the days technology to:

- Engage people in conversations about WHO we are and WHAT we believe
- To teach about the Bible and how these ancient texts have meaning for our lives today
- To share our individual, community and congregational lives highs and lows
- Promote the life-giving message of salvation through Jesus Christ

May the Spirit lead us to make the best use of our time, talents and treasures to use today's technology as we seek to be a congregation that is...Encouraging faith and proclaiming God's love by Gathering, Growing and Giving.

Grace and peace to you, Pastor Mary

Last updated: October 1st, 2017