Reformation Lutheran Church
ALL Are Welcome & Affirmed Here!
Worship Service Update
Columbia's Mayor Benjamin has just shared with the public that City Council has issued a
Stay Home, Stay Safe Ordinance.
The reality is, we simply cannot gather together at our church while ensuring the health and safety of our congregation. With that said, worship services, including Holy Week and Easter Day will remain Online Only. Please join us for worship online HERE.
Stay tuned for updates as we learn more.
A Message from Bishop Herman Yoos
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are very thankful for you, and for the loving, thoughtful decisions you all have been making in this time of dealing with the Coronavirus/Covid-19 experience. We know that there are many challenges and layers to the decisions that have to be made in light of the vast amounts of information that are coming out each day. We are thankful for your faithfulness and leadership and the ways you are navigating the challenges of ministering in this time.
Like you, we have been paying close attention to the recommendations of the Governor, our state DHEC offices and the Centers for Disease Control. On Sunday, March 15th the Governor closed schools for the State of SC through March 31, and last evening the CDC recommended that nationwide gatherings be limited to 50 people or less to help flatten the curve of this disease.
According to our Lutheran Polity the Office of the Bishop is not empowered to make decisions for you as individual congregations regarding cancellation of worship, but in light of the recommendations of the CDC and with the desire to care for all members of our communities it is our strong recommendation that you cancel all in person worship services and church activities through at least March 31.
We feel that by April 1st we will all have more information and be in a better position to make informed decisions for moving forward. We will continue to monitor and reevaluate this current situation to determine best practices and recommendations, including possible changes for Synod Assembly. While we hope to move forward with Assembly as planned we recognized that it is wise to have an alternative plan and we have one ready should it be needed. We will keep you all posted on any updates. Please encourage your congregation to sign up for e-news, and follow us on social media by using the links below.
The SC Synod Office will be closed beginning Wednesday, March 18 through Wednesday, April 1, and our support staff have been sent home. If you need to contact us you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com , or you may call our cell phones Herman # 803-397-2491 or Ginny # 803-727-8917. All in person meetings at the Synod office are cancelled. If you have already set up a Zoom meeting for this time period, you may still meet online from your home. If you have a scheduled meeting and would like to set up a zoom meeting to take its place you may contact Neal Fischer firstname.lastname@example.org to help you set that up.
Our office is working on various ways we can all intentionally connect and support one another during this time and we would like to begin by sharing a list of those congregations who are live streaming worship and other online ministries. Please use this form on our website (https://scsynod.com/news/coronavirus-information) to help us create this list. We will publish it on our website with links to this page on our social media.
We are in the process of creating a daily time each weekday to gather in prayer on our Synod Facebook page which we hope will be a source of encouragement and connection while we are following protocols for physical distancing. We hope you will join us for this new venture of connecting. Look for us at 10:00 AM beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020 for a brief devotion time together. We also look forward to opportunities during the next two weeks to talk with you over the phone; to check in on how you and your family are doing.
We encourage each of you to be mindful of what you need to care for yourself and your family members. As you are able, treat this time as Sabbath and pay attention to what you are feeling and experiencing. Dwell in God's word individually and with your family as much as possible. Think as creatively as possible about ways you can connect with your members and check on their well-being. Use your council leadership to assist you in caring for your members, particularly those who may be at risk and need assistance with groceries or a friendly phone call. Know that you are not alone! We are all in this together and God is in the midst of us!
Psalm 46: 1-3 & 7
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Please continue to follow all updates on the synod's website at https://scsynod.com/news/coronavirus-information/
Grace & Peace, on behalf of your SC Synod Staff,
Bishop Herman Yoos
Pastor Ginny Aebischer
Pastor Rick Carter
Prayers and Offerings - Gifts to Move us Forward
As this year unfolds, I believe we are at a crossroads at Reformation. I'm sure for a myriad of reasons, offerings have tumbled and consequently our budget deficit has grown. It has been noted by our Treasurer, Ken Custer:
Since January and the start of the 2020 calendar year, our monthly income has only averaged 65% of our monthly operating expenses. For example, last month the church had a combined income (envelope offering, online donations and grants) of $13,030.81, but our operating costs were $20,316.13. Since the start of 2020, the general fund deficit has grown by $12,362.42. Coupled with the leftover 2019 deficit of $28, 849.83, the overall general fund deficit at the end of February was $41,212.25.
The Congregational Council voted on March 15 to utilize funds from the parsonage sale to cover the entire current deficit and bring the general fund back in balance. While it's great that we have the funds to make such a move, this is not a permanent solution. The only way we can continue to pay the bills is through support from the congregation. With the start of the new stewardship campaign, we ask that you please take this into consideration in determining how much you can support Reformation.
I know we are entering into even more trying times with the Covid-19 virus. All of us have been quarantined, some unable to work, and all fearful for of the health of the most vulnerable, which may include our family members, as well as ourselves, and our own financial future. So I'm asking you all to pray. Pray for the world, those who are standing at the front lines in serving others, those who have contracted the virus, and leaders who are trying to manage the resources of their countries to serve all in need.
I would also ask you to reach out to your neighbors, your family, and your church family. Phone them, text them, let them know you're thinking of them, and pray for them. Let them pray for you. It is in mutual love for each other we find a sense of community and wholeness.
Finally, I ask you to pray for your church, for Reformation. As Ken pointed out, we are in a time of uncertainty, and now with all that's happening in the world, that uncertainty has even grown. I cannot help but feel we will pull through this. I know God has not shaped us and given us this form of openness and affirming to leave us abandoned. There are more ministries awaiting us on the other side of this viral crisis. I'm asking you all to be God's hands and feet in helping us to get there. Together, I know we can make it.
In Christ's Love
Check the calendar on the church's web page (
) for the latest updates, changes, cancellations, and postponements in church activities and meetings.
Prayers of the Church
Sick and Homebound: Tracy Hamiter; Katie Westbrook; Dot Perry; Christine White; Barbara Prosser; Connie Pool; Bobbie Black, Beth Mayer, Emmy Reeves; Landon Derrick; James Dekle; Paul Swing; Tim Quinlan (father of Colleen Clark); H.B. Eleazer; Lee Amick and Barbara Burns.
From Council President
Are You In AWE?
That's an easy way to remember what Reformation is at heart. We are
ccepted in Christ,
Our unique identity as a congregation of Christ's church is based on a shared passion that everyone be truly welcomed into our midst, to be part of our worship, learning, fellowship, service, and outreach. We not only
all, but we
them in Christ,
them for ministry with us, and pray that they are
to share God's love in their communities. These are our
Flowing out of our Core Values, and defining why we exist, what we are about is our
Mission: Including all to experience and share God's lov
e. We don't try to be everything to everybody, but we work to be the best we can be at living out our Core Values by including all we meet so that they can experience and then share God's love.
By fulfilling our mission and living out our core values, we can become
a diverse community working together for God's justice.
of future hope is what motivates our ministry.
These core values, mission, and vision for our ministry are like the rudder and wheel on a ship. They help us set a direction and steer our work in our community and our relationships with each other. These are not who we will be forever, but they are true for us today. With a direction set, we can begin to align our plans and goals to support this mission and to help move us toward our vision. They are a map that we can use to define goals and make plans in the year to come.
Last month's Reporter Newsletter was full of plans for the coming months, which are now on hold or cancelled as we do our part to 'flatten the curve' and inhibit the spread of the Corona virus. We are impacted by this new reality in myriad ways, and it's hard to live with such uncertainty and threat for days on end. But, with faith in God, and trust in each other to 'be there' to help us weather through, we can look to a better future. By becoming more compassionate, more focused on bringing justice to all God's children, we can create a very positive outcome of this pandemic. We can all be God's hands in the world to make a tangible difference in the lives of the most vulnerable among us right here and now. Council is working to help us to stay in touch, especially to our
and elderly members. Pastor Tim is giving us daily devotions and prayer time on FaceBook. We are working on plans to reach out to particularly vulnerable LGBTQ+ youth experien
As many of our 'normal' ministry activities pause, we can seize this new opportunity to embrace new and exciting possibilities. I'm
about the opportunities and new ministries starting in our midst. Let's keep on doing God's work!
Ginny Eiwen, Council President
Growing In God's Mission
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce to you that we have a new ministry! Over the past twelve or so years, we have built a great foundation as a Reconciling in Christ congregation. We have created partnerships, support, trust and a sense of belonging for and within the LGBTQIA+ community and, as a result, a truly meaningful growth opportunity has now presented itself. Our Congregational Council's Executive Committee sought proposals for new ministry and it is with their blessing, as well as that of the full Council, that I present to you the Safe Space Dinner program for homeless LGBTQIA+ youth. We were recently made aware of a grant, through the South Carolina synod, for exactly this purpose-the timing could not be any better
With hopes for future growth, this program will start as a monthly hot meal provided in a safe environment where youth can relax, connect, recharge and find specifically useful resources. We will also be providing for this target of approximately ten youths per month, backpacks or drawstring bags containing hygiene kits, socks, water bottles, bus passes, conveniently packaged consumables, and similar useful items. Each Safe Space Dinner evening will also include enjoyable entertainment and activities like movies, games, etc. Members of our congregation will volunteer their culinary skills, service and time to make each evening a resounding success.
Currently, we are communicating with many of our partners including The Harriet Hancock Center, Openings, and PLFAG, while establishing new connections with local agencies who already address homelessness in Columbia.
For now, we ask that you prayerfully consider enriching your life while helping vulnerable youth in one or more ways when we are able to schedule these dinners:
- Pray for the mission and its work.
- Consider purchasing supplies for the backpacks.
- Consider donating for the purchase of these supplies.
- Help in providing the meal each month for our guests.
Worship and Music
As Pastor Tim announced , due to the COVID 19 pandemic, Reformation is having online services only for the time being. The pastor and musicians will stream these services live on Sunday mornings at least through April 202.
Since we do not know what will happen as events continue to develop, I'm not releasing a worship participant schedule for April. I will assess the situation and reach out to volunteers when in-person services are set to resume.
Stay safe and well.
Congregation Council Meeting Highlights
Highlights from the 03/15/20 Congregation Council Meeting
Our Evolving Vision at Reformation
As part of our Strategic Plan, Congregation Council President Ginny Eiwen introduced our updated Core Values, our Mission and our Vision during Worship on March 15 and distributed information cards with the new tagline for our Core Values: "In AWE." We are INspired,
Accepted in Christ, Welcomed and Empowered! Along with the information cards, the inside front cover of the Sunday bulletin has been updated to remind and guide us in our Mission. We are called to share through Acceptance, Connection, Generosity, Truth and Leadership and Service.
In discussion of "Lament" from Where Goodness Still Grows, its lesson was revealed to be God working in our midst, evoking reflection on the shared experience of suffering, the holiness of grief, which inspires empathy and unity, challenges us to think more of how we can help others.
New LGBTQIA+ Homeless Youth Ministry
Michael Watson is sharing the spirit by leading the Congregation and the Council forward in this evolving Ministry. The application for the Synod's "Growing in God's Mission Community Engagement Grant" has been submitted. Reformation has been invited by Parity (formerly Presbyterian Welcome), "...a faith-based organization...that creates open and nurturing spaces where LGBTQIA people can reconcile their identities and faith" to participate in a grant and pilot program to prevent homelessness and sex trafficking among LGBTQIA+ youth. If accepted for the pilot program, Reformation would be the third faith community in the US to participate.
Guided by Christ's love for our community, and inspired to help our worshipers preserve their health, the Congregation Council in its March 15 meeting approved the suspension of the following: Lenten Mid-week services (Holden EveningPrayer), all preparation and serving of meals through Good Friday, the Easter egg hunt, the Teen Concert.
Pastor Tim, the Worship Ministry Team, and the Congregation Council will closely monitor health and safety guidelines and look to the counsel of the ELCA and the SC Synod, and to prayer and reflection, as we seek guidance through this uncertain time. There will be daily, even hourly, changes to our worship and gathering practices, as we seek creative ways to be connected as one body of Christ.
Save the Dates
July 27- August 2, 2020
New dates this year
Annual Beach Retreat
Isle of Palms, SC
Come and experience spiritual renewal, Bible studies, fun activities, great food. Come for the entire week or just a few days. Cost is $90 per room per night and $10 per day, per person, for food - (10 and under - free for food). More details coming soon!
New Membership Directory for Reformation Church is now available. If your family needs additional copies, check with the church office. If you would like a color copy, make your request with a $10 donation to the church and contact Dot Jeffcoat or the church office.
Palm Sunday to Easter-Online
Join us online for Holy Week and Easter services at
- Maundy Thursday, April 9, 7:00 p.m.
- Good Friday Worship, April 10, 7:00 p.m.
- Easter Vigil, Saturday, April 11, 7:00 p.m
- Easter Day, April 12, 10:00 a.m.
|Contributions needed to cover actual expenses in February:
|Contributions actually received in February:
|Operating deficit for February, 2019
|Contributions needed to cover actual expenses year to date as of February 29, 2020:
|Contributions actually received year to date:
|Year to date operating deficit:
Esther Richey, April 3
Rev. Bill Eiwen, April 7
Kelly Reed-Huff, April 8
Chelsea Casey, April 9
Casey Williams, April 13
Jeff Harrell, April 13
Sarah Trani, April 16
Michael Watson, April 17
Josue Rodriguez-Laureano, April 17
Alexandria Leon, April 19
Dorothy Ellen Perry, April 20
Kathy Bupp, April 28
Richard Hernandez, April 30
Anthony and Patrick Miles, April 17
Lee Amick and Rober Ruesga, April 25
Jim and Julia Prater, April 24
Casey and Jennifer Williams, April 30
Rarely before has there been a reminder of just how quickly life can change. For those among us who may remember Pearl Harbor or perhaps the Kennedy assassination or more recently 9-11, it
s been a while since we
ve faced such uncertainty and now with the COVID-19 pandemic we are certainly negotiating uncharted waters. As a congregation we are, as most congregations, figuring out how to do ministry and to stay in touch with one another while also not touching one another. It
s a combination of challenges which will undoubtedly test our resolve even as each of us is trying to figure out what further obstacles will present themselves as we face daily life in the weeks to come.
Like each of us as individuals, congregations will continue to face normal demands associated with life in the real world. Many of the costs associated with doing ministry will not change even as the opportunities to receive your offerings in support of our shared ministry are changing. Success will depend upon good stewardship. Good stewardship as in taking responsible care of what resources we do have in order to accomplish our various purposes; at home that means the care for all our family members and in our congregation the continuation of our ministry of loving inclusiveness. With this in mind you are asked to continue to support Reformation
s ministry through regular giving as you are able. Since we are not meeting in person, this will include mailed offerings (1118 Union St., Columbia, SC 29201) or the use of the donation button on our website (reformationcae.org). As we figure out this new set of life challenges, may we continue to journey together in a ministry of hope and love for all of God
Understanding the Blessings and Joy of Being a Reconciling in Christ Congregation
Reformation will serve as a site location for the South Carolina Synod Assembly's Discipleship Session on Friday, May 15. The group will gather from 3:45 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. and participate in small groups and bible study activities and discuss what it means to be a Reconciling in Christ Congregation.
Trinity Lutheran Church of Greenville, SC and Shephard of the Sea Lutheran Church of Garden City, SC will co-host the event with Reformation. The study and fellowship will be held in the Reformation's parlor, conference room and fellowship hall. Reformation volunteers awill have the chance to greet Assembly participants and provide light refreshments. See Pastor Tim for details or contact the church office with questions.
Family Shelter Update
The Corona virus has impacted our support of the Family Shelter.
Based upon the recommendations of DHEC, their volunteer meal program is suspended until further notice. The Family Shelter continues doing the work of helping homeless families and children, operating as normal and plans to continue to do so, which means they still need us. They need our in-kind donations of items such as granola bars and applesauce as they extend their children's program to full-time until school resumes. They need cleaning supplies and antibacterial soap to make sure families and staff are kept virus-free. They need diapers, toilet paper, paper towels and other paper goods as families lose part-time employment and need more support from the Shelter supply closet. And (most importantly) they need our cash donations as they attempt to do more with less during this time. To protect families, children and staff at the Family Shelter, they ask that all in-kind donations be dropped off at their Middleburg office location (2711 Middleburg Drive, Suite 213) or sent to their office via their Amazon
. All donated items will be disinfected before they are taken to Shelter families.
Information on our 'normal' meal schedule is available on our website at: CLICK HERE
The Family Shelter provides emergency shelter for up to 90 days for up to 17 families at a time. While at the Shelter, families:
- Participate in weekly Case Management meetings and Parent Education classes
- Agree to adhere to shelter rules and guidelines which include weekly chore assignments
- All children living at Family Shelter attend school or are enrolled in daycare if they are not school age.
The Family Shelter is part of the continuum of care provided by Homeless No More. Homeless No More also offers Transitional Housing at St. Lawrence Place, a 30-home community offering support services, life skills training and up to two years of housing for families experiencing homelessness, and Live Oak Place provides affordable housing to at-risk families, helping them bridge the gap from transitional housing to independent living.
To volunteer for a meal, or for more information, please contact Ginny Eiwen.
2020 SC Synod - ELCA Assembly
Registration is now open for the 2020 South Carolina Synod Assembly.
Thursday, May 14 -16, 2020
2020 is the Thirty-Third Assembly of the South Carolina Synod - ELCA and the 195th meeting of the Lutheran Church in South Carolina. The 2020 Assembly will include several items of business for our consideration, including the election of a Bishop using the Ecclesiastical Ballot and the presentation of Nominations for other various offices and committees.
This Assembly will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women with several Teaching Moments and the ministry of Bishop Herman Yoos with a Retirement Dinner and Celebration.
Experience the Joy of Children's Worship
We have successfully maintained Children's Worship since launching it in the summer and can offer the opportunity to at least three new volunteers to help our children learn and grow each Sunday. Please consider lending your talents and time on an occasional Sunday. A lesson plan and activity will be provided - all you need to do is have fun interacting with the children on your assigned Sunday. Our goal is to have two volunteers per Sunday. Email Sabra Custer at
or text/call at 803-315-6519 if you have questions or to ask about available Sundays.
Mustard Seed Thoughts
Divine Flux & Lamenting as Holy Practices
During this time of Covid-19 virus crisis, we are facing a paradigm shift for the church. What is a paradigm and what is the shift? A paradigm is an example or pattern of something; a model. The shift is from the model of what the church has been for thousands of years.
The first thing most people think of when they think of church is the building, the steeple, the sanctuary, the stained glass and so on. The building has been the centerpiece of the church since the time of emperor Constantine when the church came out of the house-church era and moved to basilicas. But for 300 years before that, it was the people, gathered in those house-churches or fields or catacombs. Now, once again, we are not gathering in those sanctuaries, but now we are "hunkered-down" in our homes, quarantined because of a virus. So now, how does the church redefine itself in the midst of this new paradigm? How do our patterns change? What does the new model look like?
These are times of "divine flux", when the Holy Spirit moves through the church, the people, and practices change as old examples no longer work. New models emerge as the church is reshaped in ways it did not expect, by forces it cannot control. This reminds me of the evening when a religious leader approached Jesus, after Jesus had just cleaned out the Temple of its religious trappings. We won't get into their long conversation in John's gospel, but Nicodemus wanted to know what the cleansing of the Temple meant. Jesus explained that it meant the religious practices were not meant to be ways that we can control God, no more than we can control birth or the wind. If we are truly people of God, we accept God's timing like an unborn child accepts birth, and become people who are willing to be guided by God's prevailing winds, breath, spirit. So, maybe the questions should be, "What are we being birthed into, and where is God's prevailing Wind taking us?"
We may want to lament those changes as they unfold, but it is okay to lament, and for our spiritual and mental health, we should. In fact, lamenting is a time honored practice of the Children of Israel. The Jewish Bible, our Old Testament has a book called Lamentations. Lament is laid out in poetic structure for liturgical use during worship. In these beautiful poems/hymns Israel laments changes they experience in a worshipful way, but as you read them, you realize they also looked forward to what lies ahead.
What lies ahead for our church, today and tomorrow?
Together, albeit at a safe distance at this time, let us face the future united, and see where God's prevailing Breath, Wind, Spirit is leading us.
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