This Week's Ministry Blog
Come and See
 
A lawyer friend of mine says that when she's trying to get someone to come along with her on an issue of justice for others, she does not point to a higher moral calling, she does not bank on another's virtue, she does not try to sway with sympathy-she appeals to their self-interest.
 
"What's in it for me?"
 
And in our lesson this week, as John the Baptist points out Jesus to his disciples, as Jesus turns and invites a couple of them to "come and see," as Andrew found his brother Simon and brought him along, this question is there. It's on their hearts, even if it is not on their lips.
 
What's in it for me to follow you instead of going home for dinner?
What's in it for me to follow without you telling me where or why or when it will end?
What's in it for me to follow you, Jesus, who haven't proved yourself yet, in any way?
 
As a pastor, it seems like my entire job description is to get people to go places and do things that they might not have otherwise planned. I have learned from experience that the self-interest angle is often quite useful, for "because Jesus said so" only gets you so far. But it's not always possible to figure out how to speak to self-interest in every case.
 
So here we were on Thursday night, standing outside of the Iowa Correctional Facility for Women. We were about to attend a worship service at Women at the Well, a congregation made up entirely of inmates. Since I had never been in a prison before, I had no answer for "what's in it for me?" Instead, a number of our group might tell you they ended up there because of the patented Pastor Sarah Ask-"I'm going, will you come with me?"
 
"Come and See." Curiosity was enough to get us in the door.
 
But now that we've been, we do have some answers to "what's in it for me?"
 
As we sat down next to the women, we were instructed not to ask about their crimes or sentences, not to get too personal. However, many offered without prompt. Our imaginations were captured with thoughts of the family who came to visit or didn't, the hurt left behind back home, what it was like to have a release date far off on the horizon or never.
 
We left that night with their stories on our minds.
 
As we worshiped, the service was very much like our usual Sunday experience. And yet, everything sounded and felt so different on the inside. The hymns had a different tenor, the scripture a different gravity, the communion more present, the prayers more immediate, the confession and reconciliation of greater importance.
 
We received a fresh experience of something so familiar.
 
As we looked around the room we saw that, aside from the clothing and name tags, the people really didn't look any different than we'd encounter on the outside. As we visited with the pastor and volunteers following the service, we learned about some of the circumstances beyond their own control that contributed to their present situation-abuse, learning disabilities, mental health issues.
 
We walked away with awareness that it was little more than accidents of fate and a wall separating us.
 
And when it was time to leave, a volunteer handed us a small but thick stack of papers. In different handwriting: names, worries, hopes, thanksgiving.
 
We headed out into the cold night carrying the prayers of others in our pockets.
 
Pastor Sarah


2016 Contribution Statements
 
The Finance Board will be distributing the 201 6 contribution statements in the Commons on Saturday, January 2 1 and 28, from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m. and Sunday, January 2 2 and 29, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. Please look for us in front of the coat rack.  
 
Statements are also available for pick up in the church office Monday - Thursday, 8:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.  until Thursday, January 26. 


Adult Sunday School

The topic for Adult Sunday School on January 15, 2017, will be: "What Do Our Neighbors Believe? More Questions and Answers about Islam." The following Sunday, January 22, we will continue with our comparative religion focus with "What Do Our Neighbors Believe? The Evangelical Christian Movement." Faith Journeys meets from 9:30-10:15 a.m. in Messiah Hall, rooms 203 and 204, and is facilitated by Dee Paddock. Please join us!


MLK Day Camp Fundraiser

Children and Family Ministry is hosting a day camp on Monday, January 16. The camp is open to all kids age 4 (PreK) through 6 th grade. Counselors from Lutheran Lakeside Camp in Okoboji will be here to lead us in songs, crafts, games, and more! This will be a sneak peek for those interested in attending Lutheran Lakeside during the summer. The day camp at Faith is a fundraiser for CFM and the cost is $35 per camper and runs from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Each camper should bring their own sack lunch. We need at least 4 adults to volunteer for a portion of the day - if you volunteer for a shift, your child can attend camp for free! Contact Andrea or Erika for the link to register at cfm@faithlc.org.
  

 Thank You Card from Mosaic

Mosaic We received a card from Mosaic to share with you.

To our friends at Faith Lutheran Church,
THANK YOU for adopting some for the wish lists of the people served by Mosaic and ensuring they had a wonderful Christmas. Your congregation is always so generous, and we are grateful for the numerous way you partner in our mission. Thank you for your giving heart, and we wish you all a blessed 2017. - Your friends at Mosaic in Central Iowa.
 

Mother & Son Dance

Want to have some fun and raise money for summer camp scholarships? Buy your tickets now for the 4th Annual Mother & Son Dance taking place on Friday, February 17, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This event is open to the public and all mother and son couples are invited. Couples can be grandmas and grandsons, special neighbors, aunts and nephews...you name it! Enjoy the glamour of a red carpet Hollywood party complete with DJ, games, photo booth and dessert bar. The cost is $25 per couple, $5 for each additional child. (The cost will go up to $30 on Wednesday, February 15).

Tickets are available online, in the church office, and before each of the musical performances on February 11 and 12. Want to help with this event? Contact Andrea or Erika at
cfm@faithlc.org .


Christian Unity in the New Year

Join us for a time of prayer and conversation as we discern how we will be the church, together. We hope that this event will spark some new ideas and new relationships. Wednesday, January 18, 2017 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., Parent Hall North, Olmstead Center, Drake University. This event is a joint effort of the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and many others. Contact Pastor Sarah for more information.
 

Faith Book Club

Is reading more books one of your new year's resolutions? Faith Book Club can help. We will meet Tuesday, January 17, at the home of Heidi York. Our book is
A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman. For the February 21st meeting, we will read America's First Daughter by Laura Kamoie and Stephanie Dray. Faith Book Club meets the third Tuesday of the month. All are welcome!
 

Please contact Sara Broadrick at sbroadrick75@gmail.com or 515-528-6881 for more information or to be added to the e-mail distribution list.
 

Wednesday Night Adult Education

Join us at 6:00 p.m. in the Faith Lights Room for a time of discussion, listening, and learning from one another. We view dvd series, do studies on various books of the Bible, and view videos that stretch our thinking. All in all, it's a great way to spend an hour.
 
 
Did you miss last week's Faith E-news? You can find archived E-news on Faith's website under Archived E-news button on the homepage.
  
Do you have questions or comments regarding this publication?  Please contact Miranda at mirandakurtt@faithlc.org or 225-8334.  We welcome your feedback.