Newsletter of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Random Lake, WI ELCA
705 Grand Avenue, Random Lake, WI 53075
Volume XLVI, #1, January, 2023
Church Phone: (920) 994-4043
Pastor Elizabeth Jaeger (920) 331-0874 Pastor Dale Erickson (262) 376-0037
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light
And for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.
These words are the last of seven prophesies that Matthew quotes to explain how Jesus’ birth and the beginning of his adult ministry was part of God’s great plan to deliver the world from the darkness of sin and death. Matthew’s Gospel, which will provide our church with readings for most 2023, invites us to live in the Light of Christ, when the dark powers of violence, rooted in anger and fear, pound our eardrums and try to make us succumb to division, isolation and despair.
The people who come to St. Paul’s Lutheran, Random Lake, will encounter Jesus the Christ. “For it’s the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’ who has shown in our hearts to give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” St. Paul, the Apostle, proclaimed these words to his friends in Corinth. (2 Corinthians 4:6.) We claim them as baptized people of the church.
I recall worship in the chapel at Valparaiso University, where thousands continue to gather in this awesome building. The central figure in the chancel is a sculpture of the risen Christ, whose out-stretched arms, made of beaten metal and raised cross high, invite all to share the Light. At Vespers or Evening Prayer (a service in our Evangelical Lutheran Worship book, pp. 309ff) students, faculty, and visitors gather as darkness settles outside. A procession of worship leaders enter from the rear of the sanctuary led by one student carrying a tall Christ candle, like the one in back of our St Paul’s worship space. One voice sings, “Jesus Christ is the light of the world,” and the assembly responds, the light no darkness can overcome.” The service proceeds with “Thanksgiving for Light.”
I invite you to live in 2023 with the confidence that “you are the light of the world,” as Jesus said in the Sermon the Mount (Matthew 5:14)–reflecting the Light that Jesus brought into our darkness. When darkness gathers in your life and in our sin-sick and divided society, you may also say confidently with the poet of Psalm 27: 1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”
Arise, your light has come!
The Spirit’s call obey;
Show forth the glory of your God
Which shines on you today.
ELW, 341, stanza one
The Epistle article deadline for February, 2023 is Monday, January 23rd at Noon.
Sunday Bulletin article deadline is every Monday at Noon.
FROM YOUR PARISH NURSE – Nancy Eberhardt
Dear Friends of St. Paul’s Lutheran,
Long ago and far away there lived a beautiful young woman. Her life was unfolding as she hoped it would, and she was engaged to a very nice young man. Suddenly, she found herself in a most inconvenient situation. She had received the news that she was going to have a baby. As you can imagine, this news troubled her greatly. Instead of focusing on all the personal embarrassment,
difficulties and changed plans associated with this unplanned child, she chose to focus on the gift of life. She accepted this child with a faithful heart, even though she didn’t understand how things would ever work out. Her response to this inconvenient child was reflected in these words, “I am the Lord’s
servant….May it be unto me as you have said”.
As time went on, things did not get easier. A comfortable place was not even found for her to give birth. Instead of the comfort of an inn, she gave birth in a barn.
Not so long ago, and not so very far away, people continued to find themselves in inconvenient situations. Sometimes, when women found out they were pregnant, they were as troubled as the woman from long ago, but their response changed over time. People began taking exception to rather than accepting the gift of life. In one country, 4000 babies were aborted every day with 93% of
these deaths related to matters of convenience (changes associated with rearing a child, additional responsibility, financial, relationship problems, and satisfaction with current family size). These modern women share another difficulty with the woman from long ago: they also may not find a place of comfort. Often, they can’t find support during their pregnancy, they may give birth alone, and if they
place their child up for adoption- few homes are found for children with special needs. This modern culture seems to have a low tolerance for inconvenience and often has no room for those who make decisions to accept life with faithful hearts.
At this time and place we are preparing our hearts and home for the birth of the Christ Child. Advent seems to accentuate the dissonance between the way we embrace the Baby Jesus and how we respond to the gifts of life which may or may not meet our expectations, be inconvenient, or challenging (such as unplanned pregnancies, children with special needs, those with mental impairments, and those with life limiting diseases). As we ready our homes, may we consider how
ready our hearts and lives are’ to accept all the gifts of God’s hand.
May we be motivated by Mary’s response to recommit ourselves to life. As we reflect on the humble setting of Christ’s birth, may we recommit our hearts and homes to those who make decisions for life. May our words and our lives proclaim with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant….May it be to me as you have said” Luke 1:38.
Have a wonderful New Year!
Prayers from the people for the people.
We pray especially for…
Dave Torrison, Sr., Candace Snider,
Joanne Hafemann, Pastor Dale Erickson, John Knuth (Lorna’s cousin), Art & Sherry Jaeger (Pastor Elizabeth’s mother- and father-in-law), Theresa Wilke
Jim Engel, John Wulff, Alba Torrison, Tim Torrison
those on our prayer list and those we name in our hearts.
We pray for all serving in the military, especially:
HOLY COMMUNION will be celebrated on the first Sunday and third Sundays of the month. Wafers and wine are in disposable cups.
SERMON NOTES If you have missed a Sunday and would like to have a copy of the current or previous sermon, see Sandi Wulff.
THE RANDOM LAKE HISTORICAL SOCIETY will be hosting a holiday open house today, Sunday, January 1st. The open house will run from 10 AM – 2 PM at the Historical Society Museum/Community Depot. Stop by to see the Christmas trees and magical decorations, and enjoy coffee, hot cocoa and cookies.
THE ANNUAL MEETING will be held on Sunday, January 29th immediately following morning worship. Business includes electing 2 new council members and next year’s president, approving the budget for 2023, and an update on the Cemetery Association. If anyone has anything they would like on the agenda, please see Sandi by January 8th. All committee reports are due in the office by January 11th. All reports should be emailed to the office, if possible. The report will be ready for review 2 weeks prior to the meeting.
THANK YOU to all who made this Christmas season special…
…to Lorna for all the special music throughout the month, and to those who sang it.
…to Dominic for contributing to the cost of the tree
…to the tree decorating elves: Dom, Ruby, Ray, Candy, and John
…to everyone who helped in anyway with the Cookie Walk
…to Roni for putting together a children’s program, and the students who participated
…to everyone who ordered a poinsettia to make our sanctuary so beautiful
FROM YOUR CUSTODIAN…Thank you for the wonderful monetary Christmas gift given to me. My Grandma Bauman (my favorite grandparent!) served her congregation in this same capacity for many years and it is an honor for me to be able to follow her example. I hope I can serve St. Paul’s for many years to come! Thank you again! Sandi
A NOTE FROM YOUR PRESIDENT,
It is once again that time of year when we begin looking for members to serve on the church council. Serving on the council is an excellent opportunity to serve and drive the direction of our congregation. As you look around the pews, you will notice that we don’t have an overabundance of members. I ask that if you are tapped on the shoulder and asked to give of yourself by serving, you prayerfully consider accepting. No one is too old, and if you are over 18 or confirmed, you are not too young. Everyone has lots to do outside of church, but what a wonderful way to help this congregation grow and thrive by giving of yourself. Council meets the 1st Tuesday of every month for about 1 and 1/2 hours, and we ask that you usher 2 months out of the year. That’s it. Nothing too hard, right? Please consider accepting the call to help St. Paul’s continue to serve this community and show our love and faith to those we encounter. Sandi
NEW BIBLE STUDY: The first to respond to my request for a possible topic for Bible study picked Ezekiel. It’s a big book, but we will only do an overview on the first weeks that I’ll be serving at St. Paul’s. Those interested can grab a copy of the one sheet outline (front and back) and look over this fascinating prophet’s work. It’s on the back table. Plan to be with us after worship on January 22, and February 19 and 29. Note: January 29 will be the annual meeting.