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!
February 2018
The Reporter
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Pastor's Perspective
Well, we just wrapped up our Liturgical New Year with Advent, and are in the midst of the Christmas season - twelve days of Christmas and all that - but we also have the secular New Years Eve tucked in the midst of all this flurry of activity. How do we catch our collected breaths? For me, Epiphany!

Yes. In last few years, I have found - as I ponder my New Year's resolutions, my reboot, my reformat, if you will - Epiphany to be a time to catch my breath, reflect on the past year, and resolve the possibilities of the coming year. As we gather around the Epiphany cross in the dark, and the room begins to fill with the illumination of the candles being lit, I think about the light Jesus revealed by living out his selfless love. In that light I cannot help but think about the failures and successes of the previous year, how I might continue to build on those successes, and reboot, reformat those places I failed. Yes, this is where I catch my breath because in that glow of Jesus' love, I know God does not expect perfection, but in the righteousness of Jesus revealed I know that where I have failed, I can resolve to redeem it, and redo it for the good of all.

Yes, for all of us, individually and collectively, so many things can accumulate and seem so overwhelming. But I am convinced, that as we continue to gather together in the light of Jesus' love, in this place known as Reformation, we can reboot those things that seem so daunting - divisiveness, stewardship, ministry, mission focus, budget, etc. - and collectively turn them into this coming year's successes.

So, come join us! Let us embrace this new year together. Let us resolve to catch our collective breaths, and continue to be the inclusive gathering that aluminates in Jesus' mission of love. Let us not just celebrate the light of Epiphany, let us be the light of Epiphany.

Pastor Tim
Prayers of the Church
Our sick and homebound : Tetia Garren, Tracy Hamiter, Louise Meetze, Katie Westbrook, Dot  Perry, Christine White; Hank & Barbara Prosser, Bobbie Black,  Emmy Reeves; Landon Derrick; Dot Swing; James Dekle; Joyce Steele (aunt of Gloria Preslar); Darryl Thompson; Gary Smith (brother of Gloria Preslar); Paul Swing; Amy Preslar (daughter of Gloria Preslar) ; Jeff Harrell ; Carolyn Gulledge (mother of Wendell Gulledge) ; Tim Anderson (son of Kathy Watts Anderson) and Jim Gleaton (twin brother of Libbie Poole).
Stocking for the Columbia Family Shelter
We collected 75 empty stockings and filled  each of them with item items requested by the Columbia Family Shelter
Thanks to everyone who donated, to Levi and Mikita who fielded Amazon boxes, to Gloria Preslar for the Thrivent Grant that covered all the items we did not collect, to Ronn/Tim/Marshall/Lindsay/Harry for hours of sorting/counting/inventorying, and to Pam Wise for hauling everything over to the Family Shelter on Monday morning. 
It was a team effort. Until next year! 
-Submitted by Nell O rscheln
Sunday School in the New Year  
Continuing into January, we will take a look at a fresh perspective on the radical nature of Jesus' life and mission, and talk about how his politically and religiously revolutionary ministry still impacts our lives and work today. The classes will be based on the #1 New York Times Bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan (Random House, 2013), available at Amazon. If you are interested, read this fascinating look at how Jesus' revolutionary movement was so threatening to religious and political authorities that he was executed, and we still worship him today. Questions? Contact the church office 803.252.1507. Class meets each Sunday at 9:00 in the Parlor.  You don't need to read the book to participate in the class. We've had lively discussion, as we've looked at familiar Bible stories from a new perspective.   Our schedule is as follows.
  • 12/23/18 - Who was Jesus, really, and why was he killed? (Chapters 11 and 12).  This class will look at the complex picture of Jesus of Nazareth vs. Jesus the Messiah and exactly why Jesus was crucified
  • 12/30/18 - God made flesh . . . and what if Christ had not been risen (Prologue and Ch. 13).  We will learn why the stoning of Stephen marked the start of a new religion, and why we worship a criminal condemned to death.
  • 01/06/19 - Am I not an Apostle?  (Chapter 14). This week we will look at how St. Paul shapes our view of who Jesus was and is.
  • 01/13/19 - The Just One (Chapter 15).  James, the brother of Jesus, gives us a different perspective on Jesus - and as a result, a different view on what it means to be Christian.
  • 01/20/19 - True God from True God (Epilogue).  How is our understanding of Jesus shaped by the early Christian Church?  
  • 01/27/19 -  Now What?  (Summary)  How would we be different if we followed Jesus the Zealot?  Do we act as if we are part of the Kingdom of God every day?  Who is the Jesus we follow?
Watch for upcoming details on a February Sunday School series on "Scripture and Life" taught by Dot Jeffcoat. 
Voter Election Hospitality
Thanks to all of our very capable workers who welcomed our community to the poll to  vote. We kept the piping hot coffee and cookies coming, and greeted our neighbors coming in to vote.  Those assisting were Jim Prater, Sam Ruff, Daisy Ritchie, Jamie Masperger, and Ben Bullock.
-Submitted by Libby Poole
Sights & Sounds of the Nativity-Report
Thanks to the many people who helped make 2018 Sights and Sounds successful. Here are few quick notes submitted by Dot Jeffcoat.

We reached at least 250 people. People contributed about $325 for PAALS and training of service dogs for veterans. At least 200 people attending were non-members. We added streaming capability to church resources. At least 50 members from RLC helped in some way with the event with 20 or more doing volunteer tasks each day and or in advance. WIS-TV helped promote the event on palmetto and on news broadcasts. People from seven other Lutheran churches in the area and the SC Synod Bishop and staff shared nativities. Members requested and received Thrivent Financial Action Team funds to help support the event. Three people, non-members, at the event expressed interest in including sets for display in 2019. Music, displays and ambiance, refreshments and goodies were all wonderful. Although it was a free event, several attendees made generous contributions to Reformation Church. Thanks again to everyone.

Special thanks to:
Event Volunteers, Lynn Black
Church (and outside) Decorations, Michael Reames with Gee Gamache
Nativities gathered, Dot Jeffcoat
Display set up, Charles Joye
Music, Colleen Clark and Josh Greer
Children's activity room, Jill Allawos
Promotion, Bryan Burgin and John Tomat
Internal communication, Mikita Showers
Hospitality, Gloria Preslar
Stations of Creche, Karin Culp
Program/Guide, Dot Jeffcoat and Mikita Showers
Streaming set up, Ian O'Briant and Pastor Bill
Building and grounds, Levi Boyd
Others on planning team, Clay Carlisle, Marie Pearson, Gary Parish, Kathy Bupp
Event Coordinator, Dot Jeffcoat
Youth Group
I'm sending out this message to see if we can have a youth meeting Sunday, January 13th after church @ 11:30. I know the youth ministry has been fallow this past fall, but I want to reestablish it and plan out the year. No, I'm not expecting to fill every detail, but I'm hoping to put down major events and monthly activities. We will start with a once a month meetings & activities such as bowling, movies (in church and at theaters), games, dinners, camping, service projects, etc... 
Pastor Eric will be with us, as a member of Reformation, but also as a representative of Lutheran Youth of South Carolina. They are our Synodical youth group, and I believe it will strengthen our activities statewide. This will also help us with service projects, and connect us to other youth groups to see what they're up to. Nothing spurs growth like broadening our horizons.
On the 13th we will meet right after worship. Luke Young and I will cook a meal, and then our discussions will begin. Bring your ideas, visions, and hopes. I'm excited about what we can create and accomplish. I'm hopping we will be able to complete our planning out the year by 3:30. If we finish earlier that would be great, but I want everyone to be heard.
Pastor Tim
Financial Goals for 2019
By the time you read this, we will almost be into 2019. Since the totals for 2018 are not available yet, I will report them in the February newsletter.

First, I want to thank all of you that have responded so generously to the "Deficit Reduction Campaign." This campaign will continue until Jan 10. We hold our books open for all 2018 contributions until January 10, 2019, so that you will have time to get in any contribution you would like included on your 2018 giving statement for tax purposes.

I would like to highlight a few things that we have already talked about in congregational meetings, council meetings, or communicated to you through the many social media campaigns. These are mostly things we need to do THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE YEAR starting in 2019.  
  • While some of the proceeds from the (future) sale of the parsonage will be used to catch up with past year deficits, we cannot use these funds to cover ongoing deficits. We must operate with income from the current year.
  • We understand that not resolving the deficit now will eventually require cutbacks in (already limited) personnel in a way that will adversely affect the mission of the church.
  • We are encouraging those who are currently giving regularly to consider increasing their current level of giving by 10%-15%.
  • We are encouraging those who do not contribute regularly now to begin doing so with a small but regular amount.
  • Council (and treasurer) will keep the congregation informed about our financial health throughout the year and not just at budget time.
  • Stewardship efforts in 2019 will be directed towards encouraging the development of regular sustainable giving habits of RLC members and friends with input from you about how to best accomplish that.
  The year 2019 is a new start for RLC in many ways. Our worship time is all together as one now, we have many new members to include in all the things we do, and we welcome many visitors almost every Sunday. Let's add to that by learning to be financially aware within our church family and look at how we can as individuals financially support RLC.
-Submitted by Sam Ruff
Deficit Reduction Campaign Continues
  • $31,035.10 is the 2018 operating deficit as of November 30, 2018.
  • $5,370.00 has been contributed to the deficit reduction campaign in the last 3 weeks.
  • There are still "matching dollars" available to double the effect of your special contribution.
  • We will hold our books open for all 2018 contributions until January 10, 2019.
New Church Council and Officers
Term ends 2019
Colleen Clark, President
Dot Jeffcoat
Ian O'Briant
Paula Prosser
Term ends 2020
Rhett Culclasure
Lindsay Hawkins, Vice President
Jesse Inman
Jack Reeves
Term ends 2021
Ben Bullock
Bradley Crain
Ginny Eiwen, Secretary
Gary Parish

January 1, Thout Ksor
January 1, Edward Shealy
January 1, Christa Willoughby
January 2, Floyd Dinkins
January 2, Taunya Cribb
January 3, Jayden Westbrook
January 6, Eric Wolf
January 6, Sebastian Cuadra
January 9, Dorothy Jeffcoat
January 10, Bonnie Nelson
January 11, Brian Derriso
January 12, Aiden Miles
January 16, Sabra Custer
January 17, Avery Bartlett
January 18, John Palmer
January 18, Kathy Anderson
January 25, Ginny Eiwen
January 26, Rachel Dean
January 26, Michael Reames
January 31, William Marcella
January 31, Clay Carlisle

January 1, Jill & Vincent Allawos 
January 1, Thout & H'brang Nay Ksor
January 14, Bryan Burgin & Michael Watson

Congratulations to RLC member Luis Guzman on receiving American Citizenship!
How Can I Help?
Volunteers Needed!  Immediately following the Epiphany service on January 6th, volunteers are needed to take down the decorations inside and outside the church, pack them, and store them away until next year.  Many hands make easy work!

Openings Monthly Meeting
Topic: 2019 SC Legislative Update regarding LGBTQ issues
Speaker: Jeff Ayers, Executive Director of SC Equality
Location: Reformation Lutheran Church
Time and Date: January 22, 6:00 p.m., Dinner. 6:30 p.m., Program.
In My Opinion

Nativities On the Border:
While preparing to celebrate the birth of the Christ child, I cannot help but think of those children at the southern border of this so called "Christian" nation, and how certain church branches can support or be so silent as children are separated from their parents, tear gassed, and recently one child died while in the custody of our boarder agency. As I prepare to preach about the Christmas story from Luke, and Luke's emphasis on hospitality or the lack-there-of, in some cases, what we are experiencing at those ports of entry, hangs over my preparations like a haunting storm cloud.
Luke juxtaposed hospitality and inhospitality throughout his gospel and his book of Acts. Hospitality reveals the righteousness God yearns us to live out with each other, our neighbors, even our enemies, while inhospitality is a blasphemy against God's will. But, what is God's will? Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his Ethiks gives insight how one may determine God's will.
The point of departure for Christian ethics is not the reality of one's own self, or the reality of the world; nor is it the reality of standards and values. It is the reality of God as God is revealed in Jesus Christ. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethiks, p. 195
So, what does this Christ Child reveal to us about hospitality and the will of God? The will of God was so focused on hospitality that even when there was no room for the messiah, God humbled God's self and manifested Emmanuel, "God is with us", in a family's stable. The God of the Universe permitted all to sleep in the warmth of shelter, while the Righteous One was birthed in the open, exposed to the elements. That's divine hospitality. That's agape, selfless love. Christ sacrificed for us at the very beginning of his life on earth, and set the precedence from the beginning. Luther saw the connection.
As I have frequently stated, the suffering and work of Christ is to be viewed in two lights: First, as grace bestowed on us, as a blessing conferred, requiring the exercise of faith on our part and our acceptance of the salvation offered. Second, we are to regard it as an example for us to follow; we are to offer up ourselves for our neighbors' benefit and for the honor of God. This offering is the exercise of our love-distributing our works for the benefit of our neighbors. He who does so is a Christian. He becomes one with Christ, and the offering of his body is identical with the offering of Christ's body. (The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther, vol. IV, "First Sunday after Epiphany," p. 9)
Bonhoeffer, in his "Ethiks" paper, also saw that Christianity is not a place of privileged piety, sheltered in our religiosity, insulated from the rest of the world. It's a call to witness to Jesus by our words and actions.
The hungry need bread and the homeless need a roof; the dispossessed need justice and the lonely need fellowship; ... the slave need freedom. To allow the hungry to remain hungry would be blasphemy against God and one's neighbor, for what is nearest to God is precisely the need of one's neighbor. It is for the love of Christ, which belongs as much to the hungry as to myself, that I share my bread with them and I share my dwelling with the homeless. Bonhoeffer's Ehtiks pp. 135-137
So, who are the homeless? Who are the dispossessed? Who are the slaves? So please, to us pastor types, if we support our nation's recent behavior at our southern border, we shouldn't mention Jesus this Christmas. Are we putting the Manger in a cage, or tear gassing it, or permitting the babe to die from exposure? If not, please put away those nativities. It is a betrayal of the Christ child's hospitality and the will of God's love has been blasphemed.

Pastor Tim

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