Pastor's Report, by Liliana Stahlberg
Dearly Beloved Congregation,
Using the blessed words of Apostle Paul, I would like to say:
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of* Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1Corinthians 1:4-9)
I am truly and deeply grateful for all we have accomplished together in 2018 through the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us and around us. I feel that our common journey through life has taken us to a deeper faith and understanding, to a more joyful fellowship, to a more generous place in our hearts and minds and to deep and meaningful relationships within the congregation.
One of the main goals of the Re-Formation Team was to grow into becoming a relational church, where people truly know one another, support and help one another, engage in meaningful conversations, and share Christ’s Spirit of radical inclusivity, love, and grace. I will report to you that I see this relational church happening every time we get together in different groups, whether it is for making music together, bringing social justice to the world, planning worship, studying the scriptures, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, joining for potluck with our Muslim sisters and brothers, or getting together to discuss about what really matters in this world.
Our congregation has grown with people of every age and background this past year. It is heartwarming to see the passion that our new members bring in all areas of church activities, such as adult education, spirituality, choir, bell choir, Sunday School, stewardship, fellowship, social justice, and many others.
We have also been more invitational and truly welcoming of all of God’s diverse populations. I heard from so many of the groups who meet in our building about how welcome and accepted they feel when they step into our church.
Health and healing were also high on my radar this past year. Indeed, many hearts were healed. Stability, trust, spiritual growth, pastoral care, fellowship opportunities, deep conversations among members are foundational for a congregation to not only survive, but to thrive. We will continue on this journey of health and healing.
In conclusion, I would say that we are ‘People on the Way,” trying to create a community of trust and spiritual and physical growth. We try to respond to the best of our ability to Jesus’ call for us to be light of the world. May God bless us to continue on the Way of Jesus, strengthen us to do God’s will for our community and the world and hold us in his abundant grace.
President's Report, by Bonnie Brown
As I look back on 2018, I am grateful for so many things: growth, financial stability, developing a relational church. I’m amazed at the energy and enthusiasm that seems to be filling our church. As we move closer to a more collaborative model of leadership, it is evident that when working together, we are stronger and better equipped. In this annual report, you will find a list of celebrations for our congregation.
As a member of the Re-Formation Team, I remember reading the interview feedback and the “fish” activity responses to the question regarding what we receive and value most at LOTM. Three themes emerged that drew our attention to what people were feeling, and what brings them to worship at LOTM.…faith, family, and fellowship. So, when you see those three words, they are not merely cute phrasing, but what people value about LOTM. The Church Council attempts to focus on those three themes, as well as the entire Re-Formation Team report, as we develop programs and events and allocate funds.
On a personal level, this year as president has been full of gratitude for my extended family at LOTM and the deepening relationships that I have formed through my engagement and involvement. I rejoice in the many talents revealed when we need them. And for the children who have joined us; bringing me happiness with their laughter (and sometimes cries), their innocence, and their steady stream of questions. My heart is filled with joy and a tear in my eye on Sundays to see the pews filling up and people lingering after worship to engage in animated conversations.
As president I am fortunate to have the opportunity to observe the daily running of the church; people coming inside seeking help, the many invisible hours Pastor Liliana gives to pastoral care, and the endless volunteers streaming in to set up for events, attend to a repair, count Sunday collection, and practice music. The list goes on and on. I am also gratified to see our facility being used and the appreciation expressed by the users.
The Church Council truly believes LOTM belongs to everyone, and developing a culture of ownership is an integral part of maintaining our stability. We encourage you to assume that ownership. Since LOTM belongs to us all, we welcome your ideas, dreams, and sharing of your hidden talents and passions for we have only begun God’s work.
Together, we serve. Together we are the Church, One Body in Christ.
I am grateful for each and every one of you.
God's Work, Our Hands - 2018 Celebrations
Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1
- Calling and installation of Pastor Liliana
- Implementing of RFT recommendations
- Growing the church with all ages
- Achieving financial stability –
- Income above 2018 budget expectations and expenditures under budget
- Established Legacy Gift Endowment Fund
- Continuing to form our faith
- Education workshops: Dr. Swanson, Crucial Conversations, and Enneagrams
- Theo Talks addressing World Religions, spiritual practices and many others
- Book groups
- Caring for God’s Creation
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle policy (no plastic)
- Coordinated Going Green Interfaith event
- Sharing our church’s identity
- Enhanced advertising
- Created new logo
- Redesigned website
- Creating a relational church
- Expanded Fellowship opportunities
- Recognizing our dedicated volunteers
- Revitalizing the Memorial Garden
- Updating office computers and copier
- Planning began on new Sound System & building of a Prayer Labyrinth to be completed in 2019
For more specifics and other achievements, please read the team reports included in this annual report and consider joining one of these ministries.