Siblings in Christ,
It has been great seeing some new faces in worship this past month. It seems as the longer we live in this new Covid world, the more comfortable we are becoming in some situations. I hope church can be one of those places for you to feel comfortable. The precautions we have in place are: we keep windows open when the weather is nice, masks are required when there are mandates and suggested when there are not mandates (currently, we are under a mandate), communion is taken with “to go” cups, sharing of the peace is done from our seats, and we sit in household groups or six feet apart. If you would like to see worship in action, check out the live stream. Each Sunday morning you receive an email with a link to our Facebook live stream. You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch.
I keep saying that Covid has taught me how to be flexible. It has kind of been my mantra these past few months. And, a way in which a transition will happen this month with me and with Acacia Park is that I will begin preaching and presiding at St. James Lutheran at 11:00 on Sundays, after our worship service. A few weeks ago I started to have conversations with Bishop Curry and leadership at St. James about what their future will look like.
Here is an excerpt from the sermon on Sept 12 in which I introduced the update about St. James, “The past few weeks I’ve been in conversations with the synod about plans for St. James Lutheran. St. James is no longer St. James, though. They sold their building, and we all knew that. But, what we were not clear about what they have been up to recently. They had quite the journey recently, and I want to share some of the story with you. About a year ago the members of St. James decided to end the ministry of St. James and begin a new ministry called Shepherd's Heart which worships in a new location on Gunnison and Nagel across from the Butera. They began working on forming a ministry around a campus ministry at Wright College. New ministries are usually under the care of the synod, and Shepherd's Heart is no different. The synod is working with the new ministry on flushing out a vision and ministry focus and they need to have a pastoral presence while the discernment process is happening.
I was asked to be that pastoral presence for the remaining members of St. James. This means that on Sunday I will drive over to Shepherd’s Heart to preach and preside at their 11:00 am worship service. Pastor Carla Powell at United in Faith will be available for pastoral emergencies and funerals. The idea is to give the members of former St. James a time of transition and a time for them to pause and reconnect with the Holy Spirit and pray where God is leading them. In reality, the answer will be different for each of them. Some may choose to work with the synod and stay part of Shepherd’s Heart and the ministry it will become, some may decide to connect with Acacia Park and begin worshiping here for another reason.
Shepherd’s Heart is going through a process in which they have to place trust in God, lift up the cross, and ask what it means to be a disciple.”
Acacia has been connected with St.James/Shepherd's Heart for some time. We are comfortable with each other and this partnership between Acacia Park and Shepherd’s Heart just seems to be natural. My hope is that over the next few months we will be able to do a few joint events, while remaining separate congregations. But, really, this partnership will effect very little in the way Acacia Park operates. It will change my schedule, however.
In order to remember what my family looks like, I had to let go of one of my jobs. I resigned from my hospice position today and I will pick up a few more clients in my therapy job. This means the office hours are changing. Beginning October 21, office hours will change from Wednesdays to Thursdays 11-4. Emails and other announcements will be made to announce the update.
Please keep Shepherd’s Heart in your prayers as they begin a new journey, and pray for Acacia Park as we enter into this partnership.
Pastor Meagan Sherman-Sporrong