Trinity Connections
Your Weekly Update - October 6, 2021
Bone of My Bone and Flesh of My Flesh
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” … And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” (Genesis 2:18, 22-23)

Dear Trinity Community,

When I read the lectionary readings for this week, my mind flashed back to a scene from the movie "Saved," where a self-righteous teen played by Mandy Moore heaves a Bible at her friend, whom she’s trying to force to repent. Her friend turns, picks up the Bible, and says: “This is not a weapon.” However, the Bible can be used as a weapon. Verses pulled out of context can be used as “scripture sticks” to hit people with harsh judgements.

In Sunday’s sermon, I reminded us all that when we read and examine scripture, we’re not reading it in the original languages, and, whenever there’s a translation, there’s interpretation. So, particularly when certain verses seem to be at odds with Christ’s consistent messages about grace, love, and peace, it’s important to step back, look at context, and perhaps dig into translation. This week’s readings provided a great opportunity to do just that.

Key Points
  • In this week’s verses from Genesis, to truly understand what is meant by “helper,” it’s important to know that a more accurate, if clunkier, translation would be "a partner facing him"; as in an equal / another person to help carry the burden. This particular phrase is used only a few times in the Bible, most often in talking about how God is a help to the people of Israel.
  • God said, “… It is not good for humanity to be alone.” We are made for relationships, to be together to help and support one another, to comfort and cheer on one another. What Adam first noticed about Eve wasn’t how different she was from him, but how they were the same. We are all created by the same, loving God. Made to be in loving, healthy relationships that help build one another up.
  • Which brings us to Jesus' conversation with some other religious teachers in our Gospel reading. It is a conversation that has been used time and time again to keep people in unsafe relationships. This passage has been ripped out of its context and used to perpetuate so much harm, particularly toward women and children.
  • What is the context? During Jesus' time, Jewish and Roman cultures were clashing, and the Pharisees were trying to answer the question, "How do we remain faithful to God when surrounded by a culture so different from ours?" Divorce was just one facet of that conversation, and the Pharisees who came to talk to Jesus were trying to trip him up.
  • Instead of falling into the trap, Jesus did what Jesus so often does: He zooms out to take a look at the spirit of the law. Jesus looks at God’s design for human relationships, going back to Genesis and the foundational stories of humanity’s relationship with God. It is a story of equality and mutual respect, of seeing the ways we are the same, connected to the God who created and loves us.
  • This is our starting point as Christiansthe thing we know about God that we hold tightly to and that enables us to see today’s Gospel discussion through the lens of love and compassion and care. Looked at this way, we see Jesus saying that no one is disposable, no one deserves to be thrown away for any reason. The problem Jesus diagnoses today is “hardness of heart,” of refusing to see our siblings in Christ as fully human, as complex and loveable children of God.

For Your Reflection
The journey of discipleship that we are all on together is one of recognizing where our own hearts may be hardened, and then letting God work on us and with us to soften our hearts.
  • Where is God calling you to see that others are also “bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh”?
  • Where do you need to let your heart be softened, to start with the love of God and the beauty of all of God’s creation, rather than fear or suspicion?
  • Where is God calling you to step out in faith, to love others, even if you don’t understand them?

Scripture is a beautiful gift that helps us understand God, ourselves, and the history of our faith. This collection of stories was written for us, but it wasn’t written to us. When we keep the God of love at the center of our reading and interpretation, we bring ourselves a little bit closer to the kingdom of God, where there is a place for all of God’s beloved creation.
Fall Worship Schedule in Full Swing
Having started a new series for fall, "On the Road: The Journey of Discipleship," we're now well under way with Trinity's new worship schedule:

  • 8 a.m. Sundays.
  • 9:30 a.m. Sundays, with a 9:30 a.m. Sunday School hour that begins in the sanctuary and breaks out from the worship service into classrooms after the children's message.
  • 6:15 p.m. Wednesdays, a contemporary service before the 7:15 Confirmation hour and 8:15 Crossover Bible study for high-schoolers.
  • 6 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month (next service Saturday, Nov. 6).

Please note that the 9:30 a.m. service is now the weekly service streamed live at youtube.com/trinitywaupaca.

The "Trinity Time" radio broadcast also continues to air at 9:30 a.m. on Lakes 92.7 FM.
Upcoming Blood Drives Canceled
Sadly, due to staffing shortages, The Community Blood Center has canceled all Sunday blood drives through March 2022. The organization will reevaluate at that time. Trinity's October and December blood drives are among those that have been canceled.

The next drive at Trinity is now scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 23, from 2:45 to 6 p.m. Blood is always especially needed around the holidays. We have also been made aware that the American Red Cross will be at Waupaca’s Senior Center on Monday, Nov. 8. You can make an appointment there and still give the gift of life locally.
A Growing Effort
One of the best things that has sprouted up at Trinity amid the challenges of the past year and a half is our memorial garden. It’s the result of generosity, energy, and effort from many members of our congregation in their planning, planting, and provision of meaningful monuments.
 
It’s a beautiful sight, and it’s also a downright biblical vision of what God allows us to cultivate together. Cultivating involves both preparing and developing, and that’s exactly what has taken place in our garden space in 2021.
 
In 2022, we will cultivate even more—most especially the care and connection that so many of us long for in these difficult days. By now you’ve hopefully heard about Trinity’s new stewardship appeal, Cultivate, Care, Connect. With the help of your giving in the coming year, we will develop the ministries we have and prepare for the next season of our life as a church.
 
You’ll hear more about Cultivate, Care, Connect in the weeks ahead, just as we’re delighted to hear more immediately from you. Our Stewardship Team has invited you to write things you love about Trinity on paper leaves and to write things you hope for in the future on paper acorns, all of which can then be placed on special trees inside our church building. We’re grateful for your input, and we’re taking your thoughts into careful account as we look to prepare and develop ministries through which God can better connect us and help us to care for one another in 2022.
 
We thank God for the gift that Pastor Erin Coutts has already become to our congregation, and we eagerly await the coming year in which we’ll be further blessed by her many abilities—so many of which are tied to connection and care. We also give glory to God for the many new members who are joining us this fall. They remind us what a growing effort our life as a church community needs to be—an undertaking that involves all of us as stewards of God’s garden.
 
In the opening pages of the Bible, brokenness broke into the harmony of the original garden. In this pivotal chapter, let us break into today’s broken world by cultivating connection and care, through Christ!
Protect Yourself & Others During Virus Surge
Amid the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Trinity continues to make adjustments that allow us to keep people safe while continuing to offer in-person worship, meetings, and other gatherings. Of particular concern is the safety those who are most vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19 infection. If you have not been vaccinated or if you have a compromised immune system, Trinity's Health Committee recommends that you consider attending worship and other indoor gatherings virtually. If you do decide to attend in person, the Health Committee recommends that you wear an N95 mask. Trinity now has N95 masks available—please contact Pastor Andy if you are interested in making a donation to offset the cost.

With gratitude for your caring cooperation with Trinity's current policy of masking for those age 4 and up, the Health Committee offers this additional guidance for members of our faith community:
  • If you have yet to be vaccinated and are able to, please get the shot! The vaccine continues to be very effective in the battle against the virus, and everyone in Wisconsin age 12 and older is able to get the vaccine for free. Past infection with COVID-19 does not assure protection from the Delta variant, so people who have had past COVID-19 infection are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
  • Please, please stay home if you do not feel well or have knowingly been exposed to the coronavirus.
  • Remember that Trinity continues to make worship available to you in the safety and comfort of your own home. Video worship services are live on Sundays, now at 9:30 a.m. on Trinity's YouTube channel. You can also listen to "Trinity Time" at 9:30 a.m. Sundays on Lakes 92.7 FM, WDUX.
Latest CDC Data for Waupaca County
Constitution Discussions Continue
A proposed revision to Trinity's constitution is now available in print and at tiny.cc/TLC21Draft, with the existing constitution printed alongside the new draft as well as notes explaining the differences. Governance Task Force members are currently offering temple talks at worship services to explain the proposed changes—most notably a smaller Church Council with 12 voting members instead of the current 17, with officers selected from within the Council instead of being elected by the larger congregation.
 
Along with this, members of the Governance Task Force and Church Council are hosting information and discussion sessions:
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13, 7:15-8:15 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 17, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 20, 7:15-8:15 p.m.
 
Meanwhile, you can read immediate answers to common questions as well as reflections by Pastor Mark Ziemer on his firsthand experience with the model of governance and ministry that parallels the proposed changes.

There will be a special congregational meeting on Sunday, Nov. 14, at 9 a.m. for a first vote to accept changes to the constitution. The final vote to institute the revised constitution will be at the annual congregational meeting on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022.
Welcome, New Members!
Tonight during our WOW service, as well as Sunday, Oct. 10 at both our 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. services, we will welcome new members.

We are so excited to welcome these new families to Trinity. Make sure to give them a warm welcome when you see them! If you missed our new-member class but are interested in joining Trinity, contact Pastor Erin.
Celebrate Tiny Treasures' 20th Anniversary!
Trinity's Tiny Treasures Preschool is all grown up—20 years old and counting!

Sunday, Oct. 17, we invite you to celebrate with cake and coffee outside Trinity's main doors at 10:30 a.m., directly after 9:30 worship. Tiny Treasures alumni and staff as well as Trinity congregants are asked to join us in celebrating this milestone!

For two decades since 2001, Tiny Treasures has served community children with this in mind: Preschool should be a positive, educational experience, which fosters a strong sense of self-worth. We strive to work with each child on his/her own level in a loving, Christian atmosphere to help him/her to achieve his/her own potential.

We are happy to celebrate Tiny Treasures' success!
Thank You for Your Generosity

Thank you to all who generously gave toward the shipping of Lutheran World Relief items. Because of your generosity, we were able to ship 209 beautiful quilts from our Missions Quilters, as well as 22 school-supply kits for students and 85 baby care kits.

All these items are truly a labor of love for those who worked on them, and we appreciate all those who serve and share their gifts with so many.
Deadline for Aluminum Is Sunday

Last call to get your aluminum cans to the trailer here in Trinity's parking lot! The deadline is this coming Sunday, Oct. 10, and all proceeds will go to Trinity's sister church, Saron Parish in South Africa.
Upcoming Fall Events: Save the Dates!
Trunk or Treat at Trinity

Join us in Trinity's parking lot from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, for Trunk or Treat! Deck out your vehicle, wear your costumes, and get ready to hand out treats to trick-or-treaters.

There will be a prize for the best decorated trunk, so start planning your decorations now!

The event will take place alongside neighboring festivities on the 29th.
Hayride in Rural

Sunday, Nov. 7, from noon to 3 p.m., Dean and Carmen Sondrol are bringing back Trinity's annual family hayride and picnic at their home in Rural! Save the date, and stay tuned for more details coming soon!
Pancake Supper

Join us Tuesday, Nov. 9, for our annual Pancake Supper, which will again be drive-thru style. Pick up dinner and support Trinity's ministries at the same time!

Sign up to volunteer at tiny.cc/TLCPancakes.
Interfaith Conversation Becomes National News
Trinity is in The Washington Post! Read Religion News Service's coverage of last Thursday's interfaith dialogue, as featured on the national newspaper's site here. If you missed Pastor Andy Behrendt's newsworthy conversation with the Rev. Ethan Stark, a Pagan clergyman, you can still watch it on Trinity's YouTube Channel.

Thursday's discussion came in advance of Pastor Andy and Ethan's upcoming panel presentation at the 2021 Parliament of the World’s Religions, held virtually Oct. 16-18. Despite their different beliefs, the two presenters hope the conversations bring about understanding and healing between Christians and Pagans, many of whom turned to Paganism after being disenfranchised or ostracized from Christian communities.
Ruby's Pantry Looking for Drivers
Ruby’s Pantry has been expanding. The pantry has a job opening for a full-time and part-time semi driver at Ruby's Waupaca location. It pays $25 per hour, and benefits are available. Drivers are home every night and must have a current Class A license.

For more information, contact RoxAnn Sahr, executive director of Ruby’s Heart/Ruby’s Pantry, 651-674-0009 or roxanns@rubysheart.org. Check out Ruby's website here.
Find Devotions and Other At-Home Resources
Trinity's website has a wealth of material, including links to devotion sites, on the At-Home Resources page.
Worship in Person or at Home
Join us for worship in person at Trinity, 206 E. Badger St., Sundays at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. with Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. and midweek W.O.W. service at 6:15 p.m. Our current policy is for those ages 4 and older to wear masks inside the church building.

Those at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 are encouraged to continue worshiping online or via our radio broadcast. 

  • Video worship services are LIVE on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on Trinity's YouTube channel.

  • You can listen to Trinity Time at 9:30 a.m. Sundays on Lakes 92.7 FM, WDUX.
Your Giving Matters
Please consider making your offerings to Trinity as follows:

  • In person: Offer your gifts as you enter the sanctuary for worship.

  • By mail: Send checks to Trinity Lutheran Church at 206 E. Badger St., Waupaca, WI 54981.

  • By drop-off: Deposit offerings in the secure box just inside the south door nearest the church office. The office is open Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

  • Online: Click the "Give Now" button below.
Trinity Lutheran Church, Waupaca, Wis.
715-258-7688