Affirmation of Welcome
Reformation, a congregation of Christ's Church, welcomes everyone to join with us in a journey of faith. We are committed to providing worship, programs, ministries and pastoral care to all, regardless of religious background, age, color, ability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status, or national origin. Everyone is welcome in this place, where the love of God is the foundation of all that we say and do!
December 2020
The Reporter
Reformation Lutheran Church
ALL Are Welcome & Affirmed Here!
803.252.1507
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Worship Service Update
Every Sunday we offer two worship options.  We are worshipping IN PERSON FROM OUR CARS in our parking lot - with Communion!  - every Sunday at 11:30 AM.  In order to ensure the health and safety of our congregation, we will continue our on-line church service at 10:00 as well.   Please join us for worship online HERE. More information about online activities is described below. Stay tuned for updates as we learn more.
The Pastor's Perspective
In this time of COVID-19 I want to talk about the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Heaven. In this time of quarantine, and divisive politics and even divisive religion it's easy to focus on "pie in the sky" theology because we have lost all hope on the here and now. But... that is precisely why it's important to see the kingdom has drawn near, is at hand, is within us. Jesus was very clear that he was ushering in the kingdom, his words and actions were a preview of what flesh and blood can do to live that kingdom now.
 
In his parables, Jesus revealed how right relationships can lead to divine order within a community, whether family, business, or village, and how our own self-righteousness can be that which creates disorder in those very same communities. Divine order creates the opportunity for ministry.
 
In God's kingdom order becomes opportunity, stability melts into movement and change, status-quo government gives way to a revolution of community and neighborliness, policy bows to love, domination descends to service and sacrifice, control morphs into influence and inspiration, and vengeance and threats are transformed into forgiveness and blessing. -Brian McLaren
 
Those ministries become a manifestation of God's kingdom of restorative justice. Revolutionary neighborliness, love, service and sacrifice, inspiration, and forgiveness become the norms for guiding relationships in that kingdom. We must push by the myth that such a kingdom is impossible now. Jesus, and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd century Church proved that it could be a reality, even under the divisiveness of empire and religiosity.
 
When we care for the least of these brothers and sisters, amazing things happen to, and in the church. The book of Acts gives us a "snap shot".
 
So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
 
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved."-Acts 2:41-47
 
Sharing Jesus' selfless love with all, but especially the least of these brothers and sisters creates a church, a community of wholeness, a beloved community. That's why I'm so excited about our new ministry, Safe Space Dinners, our outreach to homeless LGBTQAI+ teens who are so vulnerable in the community. They are teens, who, when they come out and reveal their true identity to their parents or guardians, are asked or forced to leave their homes. For many they are left homeless with only the hope to "couch surf", which is moving from friend to friend's house, sleeping on couches, but leaving the next morning. We want to reach out to those teens and offer a monthly dinner where they can have a good meal, and experience welcome and acceptance for whom God created them to be. Our goal is to create relationships with them and form a trust that may offer them other options to their abandonment. "And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'" God calls us, as God's church to create a community, a kingdom of wholeness for all.
 
My prayer is that as this virus waxes and wanes, and continues to drag on, we may continue to strive together into the future that awaits us beyond this viral shadow. That we will seize the opportunity to support this new ministry. That we will be God's hands and feet in this world, so that together we will be God's kingdom drawing near, at hand, and it will be within us.
 
Peace,
Pastor Tim


Prayers of the Church
Sick and Homebound: Tracy Hamiter; Dot Perry; Christine White; Barbara Prosser; Connie Pool; Bobbie Black and Beth Mayer. Health: Emmy Reeves; Landon Derrick; James Dekle; Paul Swing; Freda Schoch (friend of the Bupp family); Carla Ray; Wanda Lloyd (sister of Pastor Tim); Marlene Thornton (aunt of Alan Nettles); Ron Houser (brother in law of Pastor Tim); Flo Bouknight (friend of Mark Rowland) and Jeff Harrell. 

Christian Sympathy: To the Earl family at the death of Franstena Earl.                                
Calendar Updates
Check the calendar on the church's web page (www.reformationcae.org) for the latest updates, changes, cancellations, and postponements in church activities and meetings.
Advent and Christmas Eve

  
This year we will continue our Sunday online and Drive In worship services at 10:00 and 11:30 AM respectively during Advent, and of course we will be lighting our Advent wreath each Sunday.

Our plans for Christmas Eve services are still being finalized, but for now we know that we will be prerecording various singers, some in their homes and some at the church, to capture the atmosphere. There will be candlelight, with readings and prayers. We will upload the edited recording to YouTube on Christmas Eve at 6:00 pm, with links on Facebook, and Reformation's website. You then have the ability to go to YouTube and watch the service at your leisure. I'm looking forward to this exciting opportunity to share this virtual effort with one and all.


Pastor Tim


Lots to Do in 2021 and A New Way of Working Together
 
After spending 2020 in isolation, we look forward to 2021 including a 'new normal' with expanded virtual and in person small group ministries.  At our Annual Meeting in November, we introducea new 'leaner' Committee structure for our work together in 2021.  We hope this change will encourage creative thinking about new ways to do things, increase leadership development, and better position us to carry out new ministries.  

To simplify terminology, we have 'Committees' instead of 'Ministry Teams,' and 'Committee Chairs' instead of 'Conveners.'  We hope that fewer Committees will enable more involvement in actually doing the work of the Church.  Each Committee will have a Council Liaison who will support the work of the Committee.   Council is working to ensure that each committee is staffed.  The new structure is made up of Administrative and Working Committees. 

Working Committees include:
  • Christian Education
  • Communications (Communications strategy and technical support)
  • Servants  (Outreach, Service, and Fellowship) 
  • Stewardship (Financial Affairs, Ecology, Property, Personal Stewardship)
  • Worship and Music (Worship planning, staffing, supplies, decorations, Nursery)

Administrative Committees include:
  • Audit ( Audits the church books) 
  • Endowment (Manages the assets of the Endowment Fund and provides annual grants)  
  • Executive (Leads the Council, supports the Pastor, performs annual staff evaluations)
  • Nominating (Identifies qualified Nominees for coming year's elected positions)
  • Personnel (Ensures job descriptions and personnel policies for all paid staff and volunteers)
  • Call (Selects and calls a new pastor when a rostered minister vacancy occurs)

How Do You Fit In?
We are looking for folks who want to make a difference in our congregation and our community.  Could you be part of a committee for this year -  by lending a hand, by planning or coordinating, by praying or doing hands on work?  How would you like to be more involved in our ministry?  Contact any Council member to see where your gifts can best be used - or to let us know about a ministry you'd like to see happen at Reformation.   

Ginny Eiwen, Council President


 Who Was Elected to be Our Leaders for 2021? Annual Meeting Update

As a result of our 11/08/20, Annual Meeting, we have new elected leaders for 2021.  Our Congregation Council includes the following members and will elect officers at its 12/20/20 meeting.  Note that Council size has been reduced to seven members plus Ex Officio members based on recommendations learned at Council's January 2020 Retreat.

Term Ending 2021 - Ginny Eiwen, Gary Parish
Term Ending 2022 - Jim Prater, Mike Watson, Julie Young
Term Ending 2023 - Liam Hein, Frosty Lohr
Ex Officio - Tim Bupp, Pastor; Ken Custer, Treasurer

The Endowment Committee manages Reformations Endowment Fund, and includes Colleen Clark, Lynn Black, Carrie Rachel Dean, Raymond Cook, Luis Guzman, and Wendell Gulledge, who will serve for three year terms.

At the 2021 Synod Assembly, tentatively scheduled for June 6 - 8 in Charleston, we will be represented by Voting Members Ginny Eiwen, Gary Parish, and Raelyn O'Briant.

The Nominating Committee will be chaired by the Vice President of the Council and includes Dot Jeffcoat, Gloria Preslar, Bryan Burgin, Julia Prater and two outgoing Council members:  Rhett Culclasure, and Jesse Inman.  This Committee identifies members to fill elected leadership positions and serves for a one year term.

Please thank these folks and include them in your prayers as they work to help Reformation execute our Mission of including all to experience and share God's love, to help us grow into our Vision of being a diverse community working together for God's justice.

Highlights from Congregation Council Meeting

Devotional was provided for us by the Synod office and was based on Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

This is not a one-time, occasional act; "but an urgent and ongoing daily spiritual practice that undergirds all of our lives." We viewed an inspirational video prepared by the Synod on this theme of seeking God's calling, featuring personal stories of calls to ministry made possible through faithful service and giving. We were introduced through the video to our new Bishop, Rev. Virginia Aebischer, who delivered a message of hope, encouragement and anticipation of seeking and hearing each other and together shining God's light upon our congregations, our community, and the world. 

Stewardship for All Seasons
Bill Eiwen gave an update on the Appeal. He reflected on the history of Reformation which had its rebirth eleven years ago and changed the culture of a community and a city through its outreach while becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation. The congregation leadership will lead with our commitments and the congregation will be asked for commitments on Commitment Sunday, November 22. 

Worship
Mourning Into Unity was observed with two Vigils in October, with prayers led by the faithful from Christian, Islam and Jewish communities, which offered solace in grieving together our loss through the pandemic-loss of lives, loss of livelihood, threats to democracy, economic and racial injustice. Reformation was one of several congregations across the United States, from the Northwest to the Southeast to participate in this public, virtual month-long observance. 

Following a well-attended initial Parking Lot Worship and Eucharist Service on October 25th, it will be a regularly scheduled service every Sunday at 11:30 AM following the 10:00 livestreamed Sanctuary Service. First service will be November 22nd. It is a joy to come together and see each other, even though we remain in our cars and respect safe physical distance, we are together in God's presence. 

Adult Sunday School
We continue our faith development on Zoom every Sunday at 9:00 AM just before the streamed Worship from the Sanctuary, the same schedule we had when we gathered in-person. You can access the Zoom link through the church website Calendar reformationcae.org

ANGELS Ministry
Reformation has been called to join in a hopeful cooperative ministry with Washington Street United Methodist Church that will support LGBTQ+ Seniors (55 and over) in our community. The ministry is in its formative stage, but offers great opportunity to provide outreach, form ecumenical alliances, and help a community that faces many challenges and needs support and advocacy. As the ministry mission unfolds, volunteers will be needed to help plan and serve in the ministry. If you are interested in being a Servant or in participating in the planning team, or if you have any questions, or are a member of the community and seek social engagement right now, you are urged to call or email Gary Parish (803) 828-3984  gparish57@gmail.com or through the church Google Group.   

Fellowship
Sunday morning coffee break continues on Zoom, at 11:00 following the Sanctuary Worship Service.
Happy Hour continues on Zoom every 3rd Friday at 6:00 PM.
Links to both recurring events are found at the website, under CALENDAR.

Every Member Contact
Congregation Council continues to reach out to every member of the congregation. Each Council member has a contact list and will be connecting with you either by phone, text, email, social media or US mail to check on your welfare, to seek your input on ministries, and to gather member contact information to update church records.   

Ministry Teams
Beginning now and through 2021, Congregation Council will prioritize staffing and promoting vitality in all our Ministries. Your faith, your love, your passion, your experience, your expertise and your commitment are needed in all Congregation Ministries. Let us listen for God's calling. 

Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Gary Parish, Council Secretary


Do You Need Help to Watch Our Sunday Service On-LineTo join a Zoom Meeting?

We want to make sure our congregation and our friends can meet with us for our Service and various Zoom meetings.  The Transition Team and Council are looking for a few volunteers to:  help folks connect their PCs to get the service or to possibly create a DVD of the service and/or deliver it to someone -- or just for suggestions on how to be more effective in outreach.

Do you need help?  have any ideas?  Time to help? Equipment to share?  Please call the Church Office (803.252.1507) or Ginny Eiwen (803.331.5465) if you can help or if you need help!


Do You Need a Mask?
Sarah Trani has offered to supply those who needs cloth masks. You may contact her directly at sarah.trani@gmail.com.  
 Virtual Adult Sunday School & Upcoming Discussions

Adults are invited to join our virtual adult Sunday School discussions each Sunday at 9:00 am via Zoom.  We  are exploring various faiths and denominations using Honoring Our Neighbors' Faith materials, but you don't have to have the book to participate.  There are several easy ways to use Zoom from your phone or computer:  
1.  Click this link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89090459442
2.  Go to Zoom.us and look for Join A Meeting at the top right, then enter the meeting ID:  890 9045 9442.
3.  If you have a Zoom account, you can sign in and use this meeting ID: 890 9045 9442

On a recent Sunday, the Adult Sunday School class learned that the early Mormons were driven out of Missouri in 1839 because of their stance against Slavery and they traveled eleven hundred miles across plain and desert to settle near what is now Salt Lake City.  Their passionate emphasis on restoring the Church of Jesus Christ, established by Jesus of Nazareth when he lived on earth is still the driving force in the church today.   In the following weeks we will discuss the Church of the Brethren (12/6) and the Church of the Nazarene (12/13).  There will be no Sunday School on 12/20 or 12/27.  Class will resume on January 3 with a discussion of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Wired Word discussions in November have been timely, thought provoking, and meaningful.  Sessions ran for four weeks in November, and will resume in January.  Watch for more info later in December!

The Education Committee will meet again Monday 01/04/21.  Contact Sarah Trani at  sarah.trani@gmail.com for meeting information or for details about upcoming classes. 


Keep in Touch with Your Church Family
Woman writing recipient address on mailing envelope_ female hands from above on office desk sending letter_ top view_ retro toned.
Do you need a Membership Directory for Reformation Church? Contact Mikita at the Church Office (803.252.1507) for a copy. 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.
Treasurer's Report for October 2020

  
Total Income (offering, grants, etc): $9,416.96
 
Total Operating Expenses: $(15,211.11)
 
Monthly Operating Deficit: $(5,695.15)
 
General Fund Deficit: $(105.00) - $41,212.25 from the Designated Council Reserve Fund was applied to deficit in March 2020
 
The church's income for October was significantly below our monthly average.  Monthly contributions are normally around $15,000, but October's total income was approximately $10,000.  Unfortunately, this has been a trend for a number of years with monthly income rarely meeting or exceeding expenses.  The situation each month of having less income than expenses results in a growing overall church deficit, despite actions taken in the past to curtail it.
 
It seems like we're always asking for money and I get that.  However, we can't keep operating like this.  I'm asking everyone to see if they can contribute a little extra each month to help cover the difference and reduce our deficit. 
 
As always, I appreciate your willingness to support Reformation and its mission.  Thank you.

Ken Custer, Treasurer


December Celebrations

Birthdays
Brandy Layne, December 1 
Mary Alice Winston, December 2 
Constance Pool, December 5 
Brian Lorimer, December
Patrick George, December 7 
Jennie Maratea, December 7 
Harry Hawkins, December 8 
Caroline Ward, December 10 
Craig Mayer, December 15 
Ada Collette Clark, December 18 
Danyell Ritchie, December 19 
Anthony Porter, December 22
Anniversaries
Ashley Byrd & Rebecca McCorkle
December 31

Inspired
email_laptop.jpg
and encouraged to share
Each month a heartwarming story, card or letter from a member, friend or fan of Reformation Lutheran Church will be featured in the newsletter.   

The church office receives many cards in the mail, online notes, phone calls and comments throughout the month. 

We feel inspired and encouraged to share the powerful, positive impact Reformation offers to so many from all over the country.

If you have something to share, please send your notes or heartfelt comments to the church office by mail or send an email to - officeofreform@gmail.com.  We may feature your comments in an upcoming newsletter.  Yes, you may remain anonymous.

Donna, Facebook fan
Wow! If all preacher's would give a message like this and we all would get into good trouble what a wonderful world this would be! Use our hands, feet, minds, voices, our whole body to proclaim Jesus and his LOVE for all! Thanks be to God and thanks Pastor Tim for reminding us to be more like Jesus wants us to live!
Stewardship Update
 
As this newsletter goes to print, we are nearing the end of our New Ministry Stewardship Appeal.  You have heard several Temple Talks, received several mailings and have been encouraged to respond generously to the ministry of Reformation, a ministry focusing on God's love and acceptance for all his people. It is now response time, your opportunity to make a commitment to that on-going ministry of radical hospitality and welcome in the name of Jesus Christ. It is a ministry that is dependent upon your response. Please prayerfully consider what that response will be for 2021 and give thankfully and generously.
 
Bill Eiwen

Stewardship Thoughts
 

There is a love that's deeper than any ocean, or higher than any mountain, and that love is agape. For the Greeks, it was a love that was in honor of others, driven by a willingness to serve others. I have to say, I have found that love here at Reformation. I have found a congregation that accepts individuals for who they are, no matter gay or straight, trans or bi, queer or questioning, intersexual or asexual. For me that is the Book of Acts' Biblical view; from women in the upper room and being arrested, to Ethiopian Eunuchs and uncircumcised Gentiles being baptized into the church. Even that crusty old Pharisee, Paul admits, "
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." Baptism takes away all the stigmas of separation, including gender identity. Agape, as defined by Jesus' life should drive us to live that type of boundless love! That's what I see happening here at Reformation. But... I worry about how we will continue to support such loving ministry.
 
That leads me to the crux of this letter, and my uncomfortableness with it. My hope is the love we have, as a congregation, for the openness and acceptation of Reformation will drive us to support the ministries that identify us in this way. I know, with this pandemic, we are all struggling, emotionally, physically, and financially. Loss of work and separation from each other has taken its toll. Corporately, the church is experiencing the same. This is why I worry, and why I believe I must write this letter, but also why I'm uncomfortable doing so. I know the struggle we all face, but I also know what this church's welcome and accepting love has meant to the community of Columbia and beyond, with ministries many may not know of, but happened because y'all have called your pastor to share this radical and inclusive love of Christ with all.
 
I have been entrusted by the ELCA to minister to those I have been called to serve as pastor, and the full ministering of such a call here at Reformation consists of officiating weddings for all, including LGBTQIA+ individuals. As pastor, I have been blessed to have officiated over 45 same-gender weddings. These have been deep and meaningful events that have touched me, and are appreciated throughout the Columbia area. Your call has enabled me to share such inclusive love in that way.
 
I have also had the honor to counsel various people who have faced struggles because they are LGBTQAI+ individuals. I have gotten to know some awesome and courageous individuals, who face so much turmoil because of their identity, but they persist to live life to its fullest, even under such pressure. These counseling sessions are possible because of your support of such ministries, and I'm concerned about the possibility of Columbia losing such ministries.
 
I am excited about new ministries that await us on the other side of this pandemic, such as the Safe Space Dinners. This ministry will reach out to LGBTQAI+ teens that have been asked or forced to leave their homes because they "came out" and shared their true identity with their parents or guardians, and are homeless and out on the street or sleeping on couches at friends house. This leaves them very vulnerable, and in danger. This is a wonderful ministry of welcoming, sharing food, and an accepting fellowship. I have a great hope we will be able to support this new ministry when we emerge from this virus.
 
One of the possibilities of raising our support is very simple. We just need to be more consistent with our giving, whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly. We just need to make sure our regular giving gets to Reformation. The second is to increase whatever our financial situation can support, and we may be surprised to see what we can increase. I know that one of the suggestions was, if you did not give last year, consider a dollar a day, or $7 a week. If you think that might be a stretch for your budget, think of it this way; if you give up a Quarter Pounder meal at McDonalds once a week, you've found your offering. Yes it is that simple. I know for Kathy and I, giving up one for each of us has helped us reach our increase goal.
 
I truly believe that if we are more consistent, and we find practical ways to increase, even just a little as a McDonalds meal, I know we can support the ministries here at Reformation, those that are tried and true, as well as those we will grow after this pandemic.
 
Peace,
Pastor Tim


Thank You!
Lutheran Campus Ministry would like to thank Reformation Lutheran Church, Gary Parish, Kenneth Custer, Ginny Eiwen and Maria Ashburn for being a donor and sponsor for students on campus at the University of South Carolina.  Even in the middle of  a pandemic, your support continues to allow students to continue to meet at 6pm on Sunday evenings.   We cannot do ministry without you.

Seminarian & Associate Minister,
Natalie Cook


Dear Pastor Bupp & Members of Reformation,
During this time to be thankful, I am thankful for the partnership between Reformation Lutheran Church and Lutheran Services Carolinas!  The ministry space that you provide allows all of us together as LSC to provide much needed community safety net services.  

Reformation's space allows LSC to serve refugees and immigrants in the greater Columbia region.  With your help, we can not only continue to make a difference, but help them live abundant lives.

Thanks again for your partnership!

Yours in Christ,

Ted W. Goins, Jr.
President and CEO
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