Blessings from Pastor Joel!

January 24, 2016

“Now, I am making all things new.”

(Revelations 21:5)

Pastor Joel -resizeWe continue our vision and mission of being made new again! At some points in life, a person really has a sense of being part of history in the making. This time and place is one of those points for me. To think that we began this process of being made new again 19 years ago when we decided to take a leap of faith and enter a visioning process to see where we might venture with our future ministry! I am continually amazed at how God’s Spirit has been and continues to be at work, alive and well, in our community of faith here at Grace First Lutheran Church!

2015 has proven to me another in a series of years where our “cup runneth over”! God’s abundant blessings have been bestowed on us in a year in which the world has had a hard time finding a reprieve from fear and violence. For and with each other, we’ve been a source of faith, comfort and fun. I continue to appreciate both our diversity of faith backgrounds and ages and yet how well we play together. In many ways we’ve become a bit more of a community church with a variety of denominational backgrounds but still firmly founded on our Lutheran emphasis on GRACE FIRST.

There are so many things to be thankful for but one for sure is the blessing our first year in our new Family Center! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “How did we ever get along without it?”

We’ve again risen to the numerous challenges and opportunities that come with being a congregation in transition. Sometimeswe’re making it up as we go!  With a small staff and a large number of volunteers we’ve done amazing things. We simply would not be where we are if it weren’t for the commitment and dedication of so many volunteers in so many areas of ministry. THANK YOU ALL SOOOOO MUCH!

2016 is our CENTENNIAL YEAR! It’s amazing in so many ways. It’s kind of hard to comprehend that we are actually that old…..1916 really? It’s especially hard given what we are experiencing in our recent history. Part of God’s making us new again is that He has provided us with this paradigm shift of relocation and building wherein we see and experience ourselves as a NEW,  YOUNG COMMUNITY OF FAITH! It’s powerful and precious. Let’s not take what the Spirit is doing in our midst for granted or become complacent. We need to keep our focus on our vision of being a source of God’s Grace for central Oregon and the world. (Please, note that there will be a variety of special celebrations/events during 2016.)

So many to thank. Thanks to Trina and our Church Council for leadership and inspiration. Thanks to our staff during 2015; Ann Marie, Linda, Christine, Marcie, Mary, and Mike. Welcome to our new Administrative Secretary Lynn Heilman and Youth Minister (hopefully days from being announced). Thanks to all the committee members and leaders, Bible study leaders and participants, Task Force members and visionaries, and with all the challenges of 2015 especially Dave Jones and the property Green, Blue, White and Brown Teams!

Love you guys,








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