Pastor's Periodic Pondering  
by Pastor Josh Nelson

Here at the outset of August, I want to get our congregation updated on four interesting notes:

1) The new playset has been finished, though we still may have some landscaping details to take care of with this project.  This new playset was purchased with money from our FoC Preschool, from funds they've raised this past year.  But since there were some additional costs involved, an anonymous donor helped pay for the extra expenses.  Around 25-30 volunteers helped build the playset over the course of two weekends, giving significant volunteer hours to accomplish the task.  Two council members, Robert Hoppe and Andy Olson, were our project managers, assisted by Kris Spangrud on our staff.  The result is a beautiful, lower-maintenance, solid, fun playset, and we are blessed as it will benefit our church children, the preschool children, and neighborhood children. 

2) Throughout August, our church kitchen will be undergoing a significant renovation including new flooring, new countertops, new cabinetry, better electrical outlets, and a garbage disposal.  An anonymous donor has given a significantly-sized gift specifically for the renovation of the kitchen.  It will truly update our space, putting in Cambria countertops in order to create a more food-safe environment, plus attractively increase our storage and cabinet space.  Staff-member Kim Schaeferle has been serving as project manager, and we have enlisted Modern Design from Cologne, plus other construction companies for the work.  The Schaeferle family has helped with demo of the existing kitchen, ensuring that our old cabinets can be donated to Habitat for Humanity.  Others in the congregation, such as Earl Gebauer and Greg Provo, have also provided assistance.  Do know that, due to this construction project, we'll be serving communion by intinction for the month of August, turning a lower level sink area into a temporary sacristy (which is the term for the place of preparation and clean-up of our communion vessels).  We do invite your patience through this renovation.

3)  Now I'll share a word about our Associate Pastor position.  Our Call Committee  worked over the summer to analyze surveys which we took last May, then created a Ministry Site Profile (MSP).  Next up is to have Bishop Ann Svennungsen, of our Mpls. Area Synod, come speak to us about the MSP and share the next steps we'll be taking.  
Bishop Ann Svennungsen
That Bishop's visit will happen this Sunday morning, August 5, at 11:15 AM, and all are welcome to that session.  Pastor Sue Engholm, who agreed to stay on for the summer as our interim, will be ending her time with us by giving us a final sermon on Sunday, Sept. 16, and on that day we'll be giving her our thanks for being such a great help to us since last fall.  There may be a month or more where we experience a vacancy in this position, but we're confident that the process of calling our next Associate Pastor will continue to move along in good order. 
4)  Lastly, a word about our Stewardship.  Our summer ministry has continued forward at full-steam and we've enjoyed many different experiences together as a congregation.  We have, however, had some extra building-related bills (HVAC, roof-top air conditioner, fire panel replacement, and industrial water heater) that has spiked some of our expenses.  In the meantime, we've erased any surplus with which we started 2018, and have now officially entered into the red (which can happen with churches in the summer).  Even as I thank everyone for their faithful gifts, do hear this call to stay current with your pledges, or even give above and beyond if you can, so that we can charge into our fall schedule filled with energy and good hope.  We are the kind of church that can truly be financially healthy if everybody does their share and gives joyfully and faithfully.
So that catches you up on a couple of key items in our church life together.  Let's be sure to use this last month of summer to replenish ourselves, reconnect with family, and also - see each other in worship! 

~ Pastor Josh

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