Trinity Connections
Your Weekly Update - September 8, 2021
'Ephphatha!'
But a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about [Jesus], and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. Jesus said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. (Mark 7:25-30)

Dear Trinity Community,

Our Gospel reading this week features two miracles of healing that, combined, teach us something about keeping ourselves open to learning, growing, and changing. The first story gives us a rare glimpse of Christ when he’s not at his best. Just when Christ thinks he has found a bit of solitude, a Gentile woman finds him and asks him to heal her daughter. Christ at first refuses with a rough response, saying “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But the woman is undeterred, and, hearing and seeing her persistence, Christ has a change of heart and heals her daughter immediately.

In the second story, Christ encounters a deaf man with a speech impediment. He puts his fingers in the man’s ears, touches his tongue, and says, “Ephphatha,” which means “be opened,” and the man is healed.

In Sunday’s sermon, I suggested that Jesus is saying Ephphatha to us today. We are in a time when it is very difficult and yet most necessary as followers of Christ to be open—open to hearing what others have to say; open to seeing what others are going through; and open to having a change of heart in how we perceive them, treat them, and meet their needs. 

Key Points:
  • In these times, we are tempted to be dug in and closed off. The pandemic and politics seem to have succeeded in dividing us. We’re resistant to hearing other perspectives, let alone changing how we think about issues, people, or simply the way things work or don’t work for the well-being of all.
  • Christ is speaking to us through the Gospel, where we see that even he struggled at times with shutting down and shutting out. Even Jesus needed to rethink things and open himself. He said it to the deaf man, and perhaps to himself when the woman persisted in her faith—“Ephphatha.”
  • The biblical book of James confronts us with a challenge to put our faith into action. As Lutherans, we would argue with James' seeming assertion that faith alone cannot save us. It saved the woman’s daughter in our first healing story, and it can save us. When it comes to salvation, it's ultimately what Jesus does for us, not what we ourselves do, that makes the difference. Still, we also know that we are called in our faith to follow the example of Christ in how we treat each other and tend to those most in need of God's grace, love, peace, and care.
  • It is when we feel that we have it all figured out that we are most vulnerable to the sort of pride that shuts out others and keeps us from being open. Sometimes we are so concerned with being right that we forget that it’s more important to follow Christ. It is when we are most self-assured that we need to remember that we are children of God, and that our Savior is saying to us, “Ephphatha.”

For Your Reflection

  • Are there areas in your life where you feel have it all figured out—where you’re certain that you are right, period?
  • Has your certainty affected your relationships with other people, how you view them, how you treat them, or even how you see them as siblings in Christ?
  • What can you do to heed Christ’s command of “Ephphatha"? What steps can you take to open your ears and eyes and heart to others whom you may have shut out?
Every new day as God's children in a potential turning point in faith. This coming weekend will be a turning point for Trinity as worship times change, education ministries resume, and a wealth of opportunities to get involved are right there at our fingertips! I hope to see many of you on Rally Sunday!
Trinity's Fall Worship Schedule Begins Sept. 12
Beginning this week with Rally Sunday, Sept. 12, we will worship together in person:

  • 8 a.m. Sundays, with the service also streaming live on YouTube and remaining available online afterward.
  • 9:30 a.m. Sundays, with a 9:30 a.m. Sunday School hour that begins in the sanctuary and (starting Sept. 19) 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, all of which begin Sept. 15!
  • 6 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month (beginning Oct. 2).

The "Trinity Time" radio broadcast will continue to air at 9:30 a.m. on Lakes 92.7 FM and will include the current Sunday's sermon as recorded on the previous Wednesday night.
Fall Volunteer Opportunities at Trinity
Visit our SignUp page at tiny.cc/TLCWorship
to schedule yourselves today! Training provided!
Get Your Caboose to the Ministry Fair!

Sunday, Sept. 12, from 9 to 11 a.m., join many of the Trinity ministry leaders in the Koinonia and Connection rooms, as they display information about how you can be an active part of the church family, volunteering in an area that interests you!
Blessing of the Backpacks This Weekend

Bring your backpack, briefcase, or work bag to church this coming Sunday, Sept. 12, or Wednesday, Sept. 15, for a blessing and a tag to remember that God's love goes with you wherever you are!
Masking Matters. Thank You!
Let’s be honest. No one likes wearing a mask.

Trinity's Health Committee has always tried to balance the safety of our congregation and the importance of gathering as a faith community. As followers of Christ, we all are called to love each other. The Health Committee believes that as the body of Christ it is our responsibility to protect all in our congregation the best that we can during this pandemic. Masking is just one facet of safety that Trinity has implemented so that everyone who wants to attend/gather at church can do so safely. Other measures that are in place to help with gathering safely in addition to masking are: distancing, proper ventilation, hand sanitizer, group size limitations (to allow for distancing), and limiting exposure by limiting time together.

There are those among us who come to church who are at greater risk than others to get COVID or to become severely ill if infected: children under 12 who don’t have the option to get vaccinated, immunocompromised people (those who have weakened immune systems due to cancer, diabetes, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions), and people who are not vaccinated. We do not know who might be at higher risk, and so we must protect everyone.

We are all created in the image of God. Look into the eyes of someone and ask: Am I willing to put on a mask and be uncomfortable for a short period of time to keep you safe?

Laura Reynolds
Health Committee Chair
With gratitude for your caring cooperation with Trinity's current policy of masking for those age 4 and up, the Health Committee offers the following 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. In Wisconsin, there is now a $100 incentive program to get vaccinated! For more information on how to claim this reward click here.
  • 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 at 8 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.
Congregation to Consider Changes to Constitution
Trinity's Governance Task Force was formed shortly after Pastor Andy Behrendt was called as lead pastor toward the end of 2019. Its purpose has been to examine the structure of leadership at Trinity Lutheran Church. With the resignation of two pastors and other staff members, it was apparent that it was the right time for changes to be made. Cathy Cowling, a consultant, was brought aboard earlier in 2019 to assess the present structure of Trinity and began working with the staff, Council, and congregation to determine what was working and what changes needed to be made. As the decision was made to become a two-pastor congregation with a full-time administrator and youth coordinator, the Governance Task Force was assembled with members of the Council, congregation members, Pastor Andy, and Cathy.

We began our meetings in January 2020 by first reading and discussing the book “Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership” by Dan Hotchkiss, who was the keynote speaker of the lead-pastor seminar attended by Pastor Andy just before his installation to that position. At the same time, we took an honest look at Trinity's structure and how it could better function as well as discussing expectations of Council members. Conversation regarding the creation of the Governance Task Force began with the congregation at the Annual Congregational Meeting on January 31, 2021.

Work to update our constitution, by-laws, policies, and continuing resolutions has been ongoing. This previously had not been done for quite some time, and the constitution needs to reflect the changes, additions, and new structure of Trinity’s governance.

At a meeting in March, each Task Force member was assigned a section of the existing constitution to examine closely and compare with the ELCA model constitution and that of a church in Madison that recently went through a similar restructuring. Based on these documents, several constitutional changes have been proposed and shared with the Council and will soon be presented to the congregation through temple talks at the following worship times:
  • Sunday, Sept. 12, at 8 and 9:30 a.m.; Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 6:15 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 19, at 8 and 9:30 a.m.; Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 6:15 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 3, at 8 and 9:30 a.m.; and Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 6:15 p.m.

Copies of the proposed constitution will be available starting this coming Sunday, Sept. 12. There will also additional information and discussion sessions:
  • Sunday, Oct. 3, 10:45-11:45 a.m.
  • 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 pm.

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.

Respectfully submitted by
Bonnie Pegel
Governance Task Force member
From the Synod: Supporting Refugees & Afghan Allies

For more than 80 years, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) has been a champion for refugees and migrants from around the globe. Its legacy of compassionate service has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have found safety and hope in America’s communities. Now, as we watch scenes of desperate people in Afghanistan longing to find safety and of terrorist attacks at the airport in Kabul, many are wondering: How can we help?

As the body of Christ, we bring God's love to those in our midst who need it the most. As evacuations take place, many Afghan allies and their families are arriving in Wisconsin and across the United States—and we expect to welcome thousands more in the weeks to come. When our Afghan allies and their families arrive, they often have little more than the clothes on their backs. Many have no money, nowhere to stay, and nothing to eat. Your prayers and support is needed now to make a difference for families who have left everything in order to live in safety.
 
As we wait to learn more, the best way to help is to financially support organizations like Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan and LIRS by donating to provide expert services and temporary housing.
  • Online: www.lsswis.org/donate
  • Mail: Make checks payable to Lutheran Social Services – Refugee and send to P.O. Box 88868, Milwaukee, WI, 53288.
  • Mobile phone: Text LSSREFUGEE to 41444.
Share in-kind donations or participate in volunteer opportunities by contacting Sarah Halstead at Sarah.Halstead@lsswis.org. (Needed items include: utensils, dishware, linens, cleaning supplies, gift cards for major retailers, cell phones and SIM cards, laptops in working condition, diapers, backpacks, and school supplies)
 
Stay up to date with what is most needed by following Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services on social media or online.
Help Lutheran Disaster Response Tend to Hurricane Victims
Hurricane Ida made landfall near New Orleans on Aug. 29exactly 16 years after Hurricane Katrina. As a strong Category 4 storm, Hurricane Ida’s 150 mph winds, torrential rain, and strong storm surge caused widespread flooding and wind damage in southeastern Louisiana and coastal Mississippi. On Sept. 1, the remnants of Hurricane Ida barreled through the Northeast, leaving devastation in their wake. New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were hit with historic flash flooding, and tornadoes touched down in Maryland and New Jersey. Homes and subways filled with water, cars were swept away, and the death toll continued to rise. Meanwhile in Louisiana and in some parts of Mississippi, evacuees have been told not to return because many areas have remained without electricity, and people have struggled to find gas, food, and clean water.

The impact of Ida is yet to be fully assessed, but with a hurricane of this scale, rebuilding will be costly and take years. With extensive experience in accompanying communities throughout the relief and long-term recovery phases, Lutheran Disaster Response is working with local synods of our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Lutheran social service organizations to coordinate a response to Hurricane Ida. Immediate needs will include basic necessities and temporary housing. Long after the headlines change, Lutheran Disaster Response will continue to accompany communities on the journey of rebuilding their homes and lives.

Please pray for the communities impacted by Hurricane Ida. May God's healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need. Pray that God will deliver comfort to those who mourn and strength to those working diligently to rescue survivors.

Your giving will also support survivors of Hurricane Ida. Gifts to "Hurricane Ida" will be used in full to assist those affected by hurricanes until the response is complete. Or make a general donation to Lutheran Disaster Response so it can respond to disasters whenever and wherever they strike.
 
You can also make a special gift toward these efforts through Sunday's offering at Trinity. Simply note "Hurricane Ida." Thank you for your help at this crucial time!
Send Honor Flight Letters for Fred Kuenzi

Fred Kuenzi will embark on an Old Glory Honor Flight next Wednesday, Sept. 15. On the return flight, there will be a mail call, a surprise to show veterans appreciation, love, and thanks for their service. While serving, veterans always looked forward to getting mail and hearing from their loved ones, so we are asking that you get family and friends to write cards and letters showing their appreciation, love, and thanks for this special veteran.
Anyone who would like to participate by sending a letter or card addressed to Fred at E5503 N. Shore Rd., Weyauwega, WI 54983. Fred's wife, Char, will collect the cards, to be given out at the mail call during the flight home. Please send cards the next few days so they can arrive before Fred leaves.
Lutheran Men in Mission Meet Sept. 11
This upcoming Saturday, Sept. 11, at 8 a.m., the men of the congregation are invited to attend the Lutheran Men in Mission group meeting. Please join us in the Multipurpose Room for a time of fellowship and remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack, as well as a discussion about the psalms of confession.
New Member Class Coming Soon
Are you new to Trinity and want to learn more? Are you looking to join as a member and make Trinity your church home? You are invited to our new member class on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 6:30 p.m. Pastor Andy and Pastor Erin will talk about Trinity, our programs and ministries, and what it means to be a member of a faith community, and they'll answer any questions you may have. Please call the church office to RSVP!
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 9 a.m.! Masks are strongly recommended.

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 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