Message from Pastor Jerry

June 2019

If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”  2 Corinthians 5:13-15 (NLT)

Greetings and peace to you all!

If three years ago, I had shared with you that in the near future, we would be sharing ministry with two other communities of faith, not only in powerful and profound ways, but in very functional and intimate ways, you probably would have thought I was crazy! If two years ago, I had shared with you that in my years of ministry that the community of faith I currently belong offers more opportunities to fully participate in and live out a life of discipleship than any community of faith that I had ever been part of, once again you may have suggested that I was crazy!

Yet, here we stand, on the cusp of the second anniversary of the United Proclamation of the Gospel and these things are true! New life and new opportunities have come to God’s people who gather on the campuses of the United Proclamation of the Gospel!

The United Proclamation of the Gospel was once an “unspoken hope.” An “unspoken hope” that God’s children who gather in Bethlehem and hold the principles of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America central in their faith could come together in powerful ways to promote the love of God within our community. An “unspoken hope” that together these communities of faith would be able to be better stewards of God’s abundant resources and find ways to more effectively and efficiently share this proclamation. An “unspoken hope” that together these communities of faith can have a greater impact on the world around us by increasing our understanding of what God is up to in the world around us and inviting more people to join us in our shared mission! An “unspoken hope that became a “whisper.” A “whisper” that became a “thought.” A “thought” that became an “idea.” An “idea” that was shared and surprisingly became an “opportunity.” An “opportunity” that has become a type of “journey.” A “journey” that has become this community of faith’s “current reality”, yielding incredible opportunities in ministry for those who have opened their hearts and minds to the movement of God’s Spirit among us.

As we enter into the summer of 2019 in the United Proclamation of the Gospel, I look forward to some moments of “re-creation” and perhaps a bit of relaxation; however, the never-ending work of the discipleship continues to advance forward!

During this summer, the leadership of the UPG has implemented the thoughts and ideas that YOU have shared with us through the survey completed last year! I am excited to share with you that we will offer UPG Joint worship celebrations frequently in the summer months, as per your request (June 16, July 14, and in a “weekly rotational” experiment August 4 – September 8.) I am also incredibly excited to have been invited and have the leadership of our community of faith accept an invitation from St. John’s Windish Church to join their community of faith in their annual “Polka Mass” on June 23, 2019! Truly all of these worship celebrations have the opportunity to increase our awareness of God’s presence dwelling within and among us as together we lift up our voices to the Lord!

During this summer, the UPG will also be working diligently to follow the hopes and dreams that YOU provided last year in filling out the questionnaires to have more ministry opportunities for the younger believers within our community of faith. Rev. Eugene Sharkey will be working with Pastor Jerry, Tracy Haas, and Cindy Kemp to develop a UPG youth ministry that will prayerfully increase the faith, fellowship, and understanding of God’s presence, in the lives of young people. The UPG youth group will have our first meeting on May 19, 2019 and is planning at this point of meeting on a monthly basis, the third Sunday of the month at 4:30 PM. This youth group is designed for our believers who are in the 7th grade up to 12th grade. The hope is that if this is a successful ministry that in the near future we will begin a youth group designed for even younger believers!

Yes, the once “unspoken hope” seemed CRAZY; yet this craziness has been offered to bring glory to our God! This Craziness has brought new life into our community of faith! This craziness is proclaiming the love of God to a world in desperate need of hearing about God’s love! This craziness continues to journey forward proclaiming God’s love; one heart at a time!

Peace and blessings,