As I type this Pastor's Perspective, I think of the wonderful things Reformation has been involved with as an Reconciling In Christ congregation. Last year at this time, I was invited to speak at Shepherd By the Sea because the we're considering becoming an Reconciling In Christ congregation. I couldn't go because of Pride Weekend, but Pastor Bill did. They were deeply moved by his presentation they sent their church council to visit Reformation a few weeks later to experience worship with us and to talk to some of our members. Now they have begun their journey to become RIC congregation. But it didn't stop there!
I was honored to present at Southern Seminary a couple times this past year. They are initiating classes that teach rostered candidates about including and ministering to LGBTQ+ individuals. I was honored to represent the wonderful ministry of inclusive outreach taking place here at Reformation.
This past September I was invited to present and preach at Trinity in Greenville, SC. As I shared before, they recently became a Reconciling In Christ congregation. They asked me to come and share our experience as a RIC congregation over the years. I was warmly received and they were deeply interested with our journey. Yes, word of our love and inclusion is being heard beyond our walls, beyond our city, even beyond our state.
We also had visitors from Luther Seminary in Minneapolis. PhD Dwight Zscheile and Associate Director of Contextual Learning Karen Gieseke came to Reformation to discuss the contextual ministry to LGBTQ+ individuals. They had heard what was happening at Reformation, and they wanted to share our story in their developing curriculum for their course on contextual ministries. The story of God's work our hands continues to reach out further and further.
This year, as in the years in the past, I had a great day at Columbia's Pride Festival, with some interesting moments. A young couple from a small house church sought me out. They wanted to tell me how wrong I was to be pastoring a Reconciling Church because I was leading all homosexual's to hell. After, what felt like a 15 minute dissertation of exploring Greek, Hebrew, Constantine & the Church, and hermeneutics they went on their way. Yes we are a beacon of inclusiveness even in the face of confrontation.
This inclusive love is important and necessary for Columbia and beyond! And that's why I want to see it supported. I am concerned. Not panicked but concerned. I know God hasn't led us this far to leave us orphaned. As we close out this year, for the second consecutive year, we are facing a possible $20,000 deficient. Knowing the income we lost over this past year, we did hold our ground, but I think we can close that gap even more. Even if not this year, I know we can for next year. Please bear with me.
If we all increase our offerings by 10% of what we all gave last year - NOTE: 10% of what we gave last year, NOT 10% of our pay - we can pick up an extra $17,873.52 in our offerings, and close the financial gap to within $3,000. As an example, for Kathy and I, 10% of what we gave last year is two quarter-pounders a week. That's it! Yes, closing the gap is that easy! Continuing the inclusive out reach of Jesus' love is that easy! Let's support this ministry together. We can do it!
With Jesus' Love!
September Treasurer's Report
|Offerings needed to cover actual Sept expenses
|Offerings actually received
|Offerings needed to cover year to date actual expenses
|Offerings actually received year to date
|Year to date deficit
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, and Amy Preslar (daughter of Gloria Preslar).
To Clayton King on the loss of his mother, Gloria Preslar on the death of her uncle, Charles Steele.
From the Ministry Team Conveners
We celebrated recent activities and express thanks to all who participated and helped make it happen. This included:
- New Member Sunday on 5th Sunday of September brought 16 new members and a delightful brunch through the Gathering Team.
- Annual retreat over Labor Day week which involved 30-40 members and friends in some or all of the week at Coastal Retreat, Isle of Palms, SC. Thanks to the Gathering Team and Kathy Bupp, Retreat Coordinator
- God's Work Our Hands projects included painting of the kitchen at Coastal Retreat and cleaning of the church kitchen. Also, we participated with the school supply drive for Logan School and others. Thanks to the Scattering Team for service and the various volunteers.
- Blessing of Animals involved 30-40 people with pets (Scattering Team) and the Pet Stand (Scattering Team for service)
We reviewed the working calendar for the rest of 2018 which, in addition to worship, Sunday School, and regular Bible studies, includes the following:
Reformation Sunday -One Service at 10 am
, Trunk or Treat (Scattering Team, outreach event; Colleen Clark, Coordinator)
, All Saints Day
, All Saints Sunday - Daylight Savings begins
, Conveners meet
, Election Day - voting hospitality at Reformation (Scattering Team, outreach)
, Martin Luther's birthday -- #583 (He was born in 1535)
, Annual Meeting of the Congregation - also Veterans Day
, Thanksgiving Day
, Christ the King Sunday and last Sunday of the church year.
Begin decorating of the church for Advent/Christmas after worship.
Anticipate basic decorations complete by first Sunday of Advent, Dec 2
, Concert in the church
, First Sunday of Advent
, Conveners (if needed)
, Set up and decorate for Sights and Sounds (Bring sets for display by Dec 5)
, Sights and Sounds event open 5 - 7 pm with carol sing at 6:30 pm.
Barbara Burton angel displayed for first time
, Sights and Sounds Festival 3:30-7:30 with Carol sing at 7 pm
, Children's Christmas event - pending
, Christmas concert - pending
, Christmas Eve Worship at 7 pm and 11:45 pm
, Christmas Day (Tuesday)
, 5th Sunday - ONE SERVICE
, New Year's Eve (Monday)
From Church Council President
First, I want to let each of you know that we will have our annual congregational meeting on
Sunday, November 11th at 10:15
. I want to encourage each of you to attend. We will be voting on the budget for 2019, you will receive an update on the sale of the parsonage and we will elect Church Council, committee member and Synod representatives for 2019. It is important that each confirmed member make an effort to attend.
As we prepare for the meeting I would like each of you to think about few things.
- What brought you to Reformation Lutheran Church?
- How did you hear about our church?
- What activities do you consider to be important to the ministry of our church?
- Are there any activities that you would consider cutting?
As we look at the budget you will again see that we are proposing to spend more than we receive in tithes and offerings based on historical information. The Church Council has struggled with the questions above. There are so many activities that we feel are important to the overall health of the church that is difficult to cut programming. We have cut every dime we can cut.
Please pray for the Congregational Meeting on November 11th that we can come to good decisions as we move into 2019.
Help Make Sights and Sounds Festival Happen
Sights and Sounds Festival of Nativities, in its 5th year, is a seasonal self-guided tour/open house with sights and sounds to kick off the Christmas season. It is a gift to the community inspired by the Mepkin Abby Festival of the Creches, supported by families and friends of Reformation and others. It includes: beautiful decorations; at least 200 nativity sets on display including 12 Stations of the Creche; seasonal music; candlelight atmosphere with refreshments; children's activities; a program guide for a self-guided tour to last as long as you like; Christmas carol sing the last 30 minutes of each day, welcoming volunteers. A special feature will be the first time display of the Barbara Burton Angel Collection donated to the church by the family. The 2018 event, as all others, is free with free-will donations accepted to support the WIS TV 2018 Year of the Veteran campaign. It is supported by Thrivent Financial Action Teams. The 5th Sights and Sounds Festival of Nativities is Saturday, December 8, 5 to 7 pm and Sunday, December 9, 3:30 to 7:30 pm at Reformation Lutheran Church.
This is a huge undertaking for Reformation. It takes many hands and a lot of people involved in a lot of different ways as we prepare for the open house and serve as welcoming hosts. Everyone is invited to help make it happen. Below is a list of ways you can be involved. We hope you will choose one or more and let us know how you will help. Review the list and let us know your choices. If you have questions or can respond by email, contact Dot Jeffcoat, Sights and Sounds coordinator, at 803-407-9375 or
- Decorate the Sanctuary (Michael Reames)
- Decorate the Outside (Gee Gamache)
- Loan one or more nativity sets for display by Dec 2 (Dot Jeffcoat & Charles Joye)
- Reserve space by Dec 2 to set up and take down your own nativity display (Dot Jeffcoat)
- Write 90-150 words about what one of the Christmas story characters might have thought. (Karin Culp)
- Help set up and clean up after the Festival (Charles Joye)
- Bring finger foods for the candlelight refreshment table (Gloria Preslar)
- Help with or lead Children Activities Room (pending)
- Assist with plans for streaming audio and video (Ian O'Briant)
- Share 15-30 minutes of seasonal music in song or instrument, alone or with others (Dot Jeffcoat or Colleen Clark)
- Serve as a host/volunteer on the Festival days (Lynn Black)
- Invite family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. to participate (Everyone)
- Come (Everyone)
An Invitation to Tell a Story
Here's your chance, as well as a special invitation, to reflect on part of the Christmas story and be a "voice" of the nativity
characters and animals,
sharing your reflection with others. There are no right or wrong answers. Prepare a short writing, between 90 and 150 words, and submit your writing in any form you like by Thanksgiving. Send your writing to the
marked as "Voice for Sights and Sounds." It will be delivered to Karin Culp. Here are some quick teasers:
It is so quiet here at the manger, the only sound is that of the cow, chewing her cud. But if the cow could talk, what would she say to us? What is her impression of the sights, the sounds, in her stable? What would she want us to know?
The Shepherd, what is he thinking? It is not far from his field of sheep to the stable in the town, but on his way he has had time to think, to wonder. What would he tell us?
Take some time to look at those who have gathered in the place where Jesus was born. Take some time to sit in silence and listen for their voices. Then write, for us, what you hear. Share with us a voice from the manger.
Congratulations to Mikita Showers and Immanuel Foxe
On September 1, 2018, the Reformation Church Administrative Assistant, Mikita Showers was married to Immanuel Foxe in small family wedding in Helen, Georgia. Mikita met Immanuel who is Music Director at Little Zion Baptist Church in Blythwood and they dated about five years. It was a beautiful day in Helen for this special celebration. Mikita and Immanuel thank the Wednesday Group and others for remembering and celebrating this special occasion with them. We wish Mikita and Immanuel Foxe the very best as they begin this phase of their lives together.
Sunday School in November
Judy Jolly, 11/1
El Baylor, 11/4
Mark Waltz, 11/5
Scott Speares, 11/5
Bryan Burgin, 11/5
Kevin Hasinger, 11/6
Grace Bedenbaugh, 11/7
Errol Croft, 11/8
Gavin Babusiak, 11/10
Lynn Black, 11/10
Saran Hasinger, 11/11
Jennie Temple, 11/17
George Taylor, 11/19
Kyle R. Birindelli, 11/20
Margaret Taylor, 11/22
Helen Keeland, 11/26
Linda Skipper, 11/28
MaryAnn Sansonetti Wood, 11/28
John & Katie O'Connor, 11/13
Paul Bouknight & Joe Haynes, 11/21
Frosty (Forrest) Lohr & Clay Carlisle, 11/27
Help needed for Sites and Sounds of the Nativity
It takes many hands and lots of people involved in many different ways to prepare for the open house and serve as welcoming hosts. If you have questions or can respond by email, contact Dot Jeffcoat, Sights and Sounds coordinator, at 803-407-9375 or
Save the Date
Worship & Music Committee Meeting will be held Sunday, November 4 between the services. If you can't attend and want to give feedback on Worship or Music, please email or talk to Colleen Clark.
Congregation Meeting on November 11 between services. Come help decide our direction!
Thanksgiving Dinner. RLC will continue our annual tradition of hosting a community meal in the Fellowship Hall. Date TBD. Contact Ben Bullock if interested in volunteering to bring food or to volunteer at the event (set up, serving, cleanup).
Senior Day at Camp Kinard November 13 fun, food and fellowship. $20 includes lunch. Let's get a group together and have a day of fun. Contact Gloria Preslar if interested.
Mustard Seed Thought
A memo that has reportedly been circulating at the Department of Health and Human Services aims to narrow the federal government's definition of "sex" under Title IX - a change that could leave transgender people without a number of the legal protections that have become standard in recent years under the Obama administration.
The potential impact of the policies described in the memo, and the headline under which The Times ran its story - 'Transgender' Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.
I don't understand this administration's want to divide and exclude. I know it's close to election time and there is a drastic need to rally their religious base, and throwing "red meat" of scapegoats is the easiest way to do that, and transgenders seem to be the sacrifice for this recent election cycle. I know the religious right will clamor and declare the president the messiah, but their declaration will be based on an incomplete reading or the Bible.
From the time of the prophets, to Jesus, through to the first century church, trans-gendered individuals were accepted, honored, noted, and baptized. Now, this administration's religious base may ask where?
In Isaiah 57 we learn that those who were considered sexually damaged in Deuteronomy because of removed or crushed testicles were now going to be honored and their names noted in the temple.
and do not let the eunuch say,
"I am just a dry tree."
For thus says the LORD:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
I will give, in my house and within my walls,
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.
So eunuchs were excluded from full community in society because of the Deuternomical laws, but by the time of the prophets, that all changed. They were not to be mocked because of their inability to add to the building up of a nation through procreation, but they were to be honored with their names in the temple.
Jesus will take this further when he uses his discussion about marriage in Matthew
to note the place of eunuchs in society.
His disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry."
But he said to them, "Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given.
For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."
Jesus, in his conversation about one-sided divorce notes the relevance of eunuchs in his conversation of relational behavior. Some were made that way for various reasons, while others were born that way. In other words some are naturally born that way while others were surgically transitioned. So, eunuchs were the first understanding of a
person, according to Jesus. And finally, as we read in the Book of Acts chapter 8, eunuchs were baptized into the church.
So from the time of the prophets trans-gendered individuals were promised a coming time when they would be welcome into the Lord's temple, and from the time of Jesus trans individuals were welcomed, and baptized into the first century church. So, this reported memo that is being pandered to the religious right is not biblically based, and this administration's attempt to "define them [trans individuals] out of existence" is actually the antithesis of the scripture. Jesus did not exclude!
To my Trans friends, parishioners, and even strangers, I say to you "You are loved and accepted for who you discover in your gender identity journey." You have been given "a monument and a name in the [Lord's] house". They will never erase you!