Love your neighbor as yourself
Servant to Servant                                   12-23-16

Message from the bishop
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, co-workers in the harvest field,
I wish you a blessed Christmastide and a wonderful New Year in service to our Lord Jesus Christ, the very Son of God who became flesh and dwelt among us.
What a privilege we have as the children of God to receive His gifts and to share His love with all those we encounter in our lives. At this magical time of year, many people refer to the Christmastide as a season of giving. For me as a pastor, I have taught and fully believe that the Christmastide is a season of receiving. Yes, I realize that many of you are going to hear that phrase and think that I have slipped on an ice patch, fallen down and hit my head. However, there is strong theological evidence to support this claim. The Father promised us a Savior. He has given us His one and only Son, Jesus. The Son has brought us salvation and forgiveness. We, His children, celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world, the very Son of God. This is a gift that we receive freely; without a price or strings attached. It is not something that we participate in or contribute to in anyway whatsoever. Thus, we are celebrating the season of receiving the greatest gift that could be received and the greatest gift that could be given. We are participants in the great gift exchange of God. He has given us the ability and privilege to share that gift with the world.
May this season of Christmas reinvigorate you in your dedication and passion for serving and loving the Lord and for loving your neighbor as yourself. Together as co-workers in the harvest field, we stand ready to "Love our Neighbors" with the Christmas Jesus, the one who became flesh and dwelt among us.
Blessed Christmas!
Rev. Dr. Jamison J. Hardy
Bishop and President English District LCMS

Divine Call
Call Received
The Rev. Michael Merker of Jordan, Apex, NC received a call to serve as the Associate Pastor of St. Michael, Ft. Wayne, IN.

Call Returned
The Rev. Michael Merker of Jordan, Apex, NC returned the call to serve as the Associate Pastor of St. Michael, Ft. Wayne, IN.

Church and school activities
In our schools

Christmas fun
Special visitors stopped in at Faith Preschool of Jacob's Well, Ft. Wayne, IN!
Sharing the Good News
The children of Concordia Lutheran Church and Concordia Little Lambs Preschool, Berwyn, IL, presented the Christmas story.
Festive concerts
The Christmas Cafeteria Piano Concerts were in full swing at Hales Corners Lutheran School this past week. Thank you to Mrs. Propp, Mrs. Gallo, Mrs. Samorajski and the many piano students sharing their God-given talents!
Christmas message
This was a very special year for Faith Lutheran School, Tucson, AZ, as the toddlers were welcomed to the stage! All of the students spent countless hours studying and rehearsing to present their best show yet. Thank you to everyone who helped make this a magical evening.
Pizza party
A well-earned pizza party was held at Grace English School, Chicago, IL. Students donated money in order to "dress down," and were rewarded with their favorite snack.
Robotics competition
The Middle School Robotics Team from Redeemer Lutheran School, Oakmont, PA, participated in VEX IQ Crossover Robotics Competition.

Christmas Program
Students from Martin Luther Christian School (MLCS), Pennsauken, NJ, share the Good News during their Christmas program.

In our churches

On Sunday, December 18, 2016, Trinity, New Lenox, IL welcomed five new members in the Rite of Adult Confirmation. Welcome!

Baptized into the family of God in Christ Jesus is Jacqueline Kwok. She is pictured here with her husband, David Kwok, and Pastor Todd Arnold of West Portal Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA.
Despite record low temps outside that dipped to -25 degrees, the love of Jesus warmed the heart of Emmytt as he was baptized into God's family at Hope, Hastings, MN.
Christmas pageant
Mary and Joseph, all the animals, shepherds, angels and magi tell the Good News of our Savior's birth! What a merry Christmas! God bless all the parents and their wonderful children of Faith, Naples, FL.
Singing the story
Epic Explorers brought Christmas joy to everyone as they sang Away in a Manger at Epic Church, Shelby Twp., MI.

Children's pageant
The children of Redeemer, Ft. Wayne, IN, share the story of Christ's birth during their Children's Christmas Pageant.


Feeding strangers
If you've got the green eggs...we've got the ham! Members of Epic Church, Shelby Twp., MI, purchased items for ServeLocal Christmas meals that were delivered last Sunday.

Called to glory

The Rev. Jonathan P. Stein, former pastor of Chapel of the Cross, St. Louis, MO died in the Lord on Wednesday, December 21, 2016. 


A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cary, N.C. Visitation is at 9:00 AM followed by worship and interment beginning at 10:00 AM. 

Stein is survived by his wife, Sandra; four children; Susan, Sharon, Jeffrey and Mark; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

The family is requesting memorials to Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105. 

Ministerial Health Commission
Grace Place - A retreat filled with...well...GRACE!
Rev. Jon Gruen, Nicole Gruen, and
Dr. John Eckrich
By Pastor Jon Gruen

Nicole and I didn't know what to expect from the retreat. We knew the location was gorgeous, especially in October. We had heard the accommodations were fantastic. And as much as we love our children, we knew a week away for just the two of us was going to be wonderful! But concerning the retreat itself, we weren't sure what to expect.

We had seen the itinerary: sessions, worship, group discussion, free time (yes!), stretching (what?), fasting (uh oh), getting up early, but ending at a reasonable time. Yeah, might be worth a shot. Let's try it.

It was worth it. And more than that, it was a blessing! Even without the scenery and accommodations (not every retreat can be in beautiful Branson!), it was worth it.

If you are in the process of planting a church, then Epic Lutheran Church in Shelby, Township would like to help. They have equipment that they'd like to donate to a new church plant. The items include a 2006 Pace American Cargo Sport 7' x 24'-Black-GVWR 10,000# (customized by Portable Church Industries) and 13 carpeted PCI cases for worship, kids, hospitality, or other areas of worship. The cases are empty. The equipment has been well maintained and is in great working condition. Epic's only request is that they would like to become a prayer partner with the portable church. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Rev. Tim Kade at 248-606-4348 or

The English District office will be closed for the holidays from December 24, 2016 to January 1, 2017. The office will reopen on Monday, January 2, 2017.

The next Servant to Servant eNewsletter will be published on Friday, January 6, 2017.

Have a blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year!
Support our mission
The English District Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod supports and funds missions, from our churches' local communities to people across the globe. Your gifts provide
  • Grants to plant and support new mission churches.
  • Continued support of campus ministries across the District, which provide worship, Bible study, and the resources needed to care for and plant seeds of faith among students on college campuses.
  • Scholarships to students studying at the seminaries and Concordia universities.
  • Support to our partnership with the Dominican Republic Lutheran Mission (DRLM), touching the lives of others by training leaders, planting mission churches, caring for children with disabilities, and building schools.
  • Grants to encourage growth and ministry within English District schools.
  • And much, much more.
Whether it is a scholarship or basic humanitarian need, we seek to "love our neighbors as ourselves" in all we do. Your financial support can assist us in doing more in Christ's name. To support English District ministries click here . Please prayerfully consider making a donation today.

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