It was great to see so many people from all three of our congregations come together to serve at our annual Homeless Shelter Week! Thanks to everyone from St. Luke, Living Water, and University Lutheran Chapel (plus Cross & Resurrection and Concordia University!) for all of the time and care you put into serving this week. Our expectation is that we will continue to find ways to partner together in doing Kingdom work in the name and to the glory of Jesus!
Here’s a brief overview of what’s going on at each of our sites as we continue this transition.
Living Water Update
Living Water continues to worship at the Whitmore Lake High School auditorium using guest preachers. We are working with Rev. Dr. Kasper of the Michigan District to identify either an Intentional Interim Pastor or a Vacancy Pastor who will help us through the transition to call a full-time pastor. In the meantime we are filing Articles of Incorporation with the State of Michigan as “Living Water Lutheran Church of Whitmore Lake,” and are grateful for the assistance of attorney Jim Fink.
At a congregational forum on January 10, 2016 the Site Selection Team recommended that Living Water purchase the Lakeside Saddlery at 200 Barker Road in Whitmore Lake as the permanent site for our ministry center. Note cards were distributed and the people attending were asked whether or not they agreed with the recommendation: 45 wrote “Yes,” 2 wrote “Maybe,” and no one wrote “No.”
On that basis, at the suggestion of Ron Steinke of Church Extension Fund, and with the generous help of commercial realtor Bart Wise and attorney Jim Fink, we issued a Letter of Intent to purchase the Saddlery. We have also made a written request of the Northfield Township Planning Commission that it change the General Commercial zoning to allow for churches. We are currently awaiting their respective responses.
Living Water has also been accepted by the FiveTwo Network for their StartNew process, which begins with a workshop at Concordia University-Ann Arbor on February 4-7, 2016. Larry Armbruster, Sam Iaquinto, Frank Murdock, and Margaret Neblock comprise the Living Water StartNew team, which will work through the two-year process for re-launching Living Water in Whitmore Lake. For more information on FiveTwo, visit https://www.fivetwo.com/startnew/
Chartering Sunday, February 7
The Board of Directors for the Michigan District of the LCMS approved ULC’s Constitution, paving the way for us to become a fully chartered congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Chartering Sunday is set for February 7, 2016. Planning for Chartering Sunday is in full swing. We will be communicating more regarding this in the near future. We will have our typical service times with a few special attributes to commemorate this historic event.
Our Pastor Call Committee is waiting for list of names from the Michigan District before we proceed to the interview stage. We are in deep prayer regarding this work. Please join us in asking God to bring us just the right pastor at just the right time.
We are announcing this week the hiring of Mr. Zack Werner, a grad student at Concordia University, as our new Administrative Assistant. Zack will be on-site about 19 hours a week beginning February 1. Regular office hours are still to be determined. Join us in welcoming Zack to our Chapel staff.
The Chartering Committee, Council, and Elders are all working hard and collectively on several aspects of the transition process. We appreciate the support from St. Luke staff and all the prayers we feel from St. Luke and Living Water. Thank you for that continued support.
St. Luke Update
New Lay Leaders and Staff
As a result of recent elections, new lay leaders will be installed in worship on January 24. Along with our Site Advisory Team, our Spiritual Leadership Council, and our Board of Elders, we will also be installing our new Communications Coordinator, Susie Gay, and our new Nursery Coordinator, Chelsea Meyers. Pastor Dan Flynn has shifted from Site Leader at Living Water to Connections and Care Pastor at St. Luke, and we welcome him also to this new role. You can get to know new staff and lay leaders between services this Sunday in the foyer area.
Our Elders and SLC are working with the Michigan District to shape the process of congregational vision as well as the Senior Pastor call process. The SLC has already declared a Senior Pastor vacancy; now the SLC will approve a job description and the Elders will put together a call committee. We want to ensure a process that honors the staff we currently have and gives St. Luke the chance to determine the direction of our ministry together. Please pray with us for God’s direction and timing.
Last weekend we held our first 3rd Saturday Leadership Development event. Almost 30 lay leaders and staff gathered to gain insight into the challenges we face as a congregation doing ministry in our current context and to discuss how St. Luke can set a direction to move forward.
In all of this, we were encouraged as leaders to need and depend on Jesus in our personal lives as well as in our leadership roles. Leaders were asked to be willing to reorient toward Jesus and take a small step forward. The first in a series of 3rd Saturday events over the next five months was a great chance for leaders to connect with other leaders and begin their ministry of service.
As we all seek to follow Jesus and extend His kingdom, we ask that we keep all of our congregations in prayer. Transitions are often a time of high challenge, yet we are invited to continue to lean on each other even as we seek God’s unique plan for each of our unique congregations.