Dear friends and members of Resurrection,
As October begins, there are several upcoming opportunities I would like to bring to your attention. On
Tuesday mornings, Oct. 5, 12, and 19, from 10-11a.m., we will be holding in-person Bible study in the
multi-purpose room at church, discussing the book, “What is the Bible?” by Rob Bell. He asks such
questions as, Why should we bother with such an ancient book? Isn't it all myths and fairy tales? What
about all that violence? And the contradictions? Isn't it dangerous to take it seriously? Is it inspired? Can
it help us?
All questions regarding the Bible are welcome at our discussions! I have several copies of the book
available for $12. Otherwise, you are able to buy it on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble. I hope you will
consider joining us!
Also, on Thursday nights, beginning October 14 we will be holding a Grief Support Group from 6:30-
8:00p.m. Anyone is welcome to join the group for help in dealing with recent or past losses. While I lead
the group, most of the healing comes through shared vulnerablity and insights that group members offer
to one another. Please let me know if you will be attending so that I can purchase appropriate materials.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In October, we will be having guests from our various partnerships present during worship to speak
briefly about the ministry they are doing and the ways we can be involved in that ministry. A chief
characteristic of Resurrection is that we look outward together, beyond our walls, to find ways that we
can participate in making the loving presence of God visible. While our particular partners and
opportunities for service change over time, our commitment to outreach does not. I hope you will be
present in worship during October, as often as possible, to help welcome these guests.
Finally, on Sunday November 7, we will be having a memorial service at 10:00 am for Rose Ellington,
Joannie Lager and Ken Strecker. These beloved members died during the past 18 months and, due to
Covid-19, we were unable to hold services to remember their lives and commend them publicly to God's
eternal care. This Sunday, in the church year, is All Saints Sunday. It seems an appropriate Sunday to
hold this service. If you have any pictures of these friends or other items that you would like us to display
during the service, please bring them to the church by October 31.
While we will not be collecting or reading a list of all of our loved ones who have died during this year's
All Saints Day worship, there will be an opportunity for you to light a candle and/or say a silent prayer for
those who you remember on this day. While we cannot “go back” to before the pandemic, we can find
new ways to “tell the old, old, story of Jesus and his love.”
Thank you for your creativity and patience in discovering together these new ways to express our faith in
the God who was, who is, and who is to be. With us. In love. Always.
Dear friends and members of Resurrection,
What keeps you going, day after day? Where do you find the strength you need to keep trying? In the
face of disappointments, where do you find hope?
I think it is worth reflecting on these questions. Identifying what it is that gives us strength and hope can
help us to turn to those people or practices as we continue to face ongoing challenges.
The specific direction of the year ahead with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic is unclear. It is not
“behind us.” As we make plans for the year ahead, we do so with contingency plans in the background.
It can feel overwhelming. For me, it forces me back to my foundations: what and who gives me strength
I know that many have fallen away from organized religion in the past year. No judgement here.
Organized religion has done a lot of harm over the years—often being very vocal about what it is against
and who is excluded.
However, at its best, it has invited people into loving relationships with God and with one another. For
that I am grateful.
In my own life, I grew up in a tradition that spent a lot of time talking about hell and all the sinners who
were going to end up there. I was told to be glad that I wasn't one of them—but I never felt certain that
was true. And, truth be told, I wasn't sure I wanted to go to a heaven run by the kind of God who would
send so many to hell.
When I went to college, I was introduced to the concept of “grace”--freely given, unconditional love. I
was taught about a God who loved all people—sinners included, sinners especially. I began to consider
that maybe I could be saved from all of my fears and heartaches and lies and losses not because I was
good enough, but because God was.
My relationship with God began to change as I began to trust that the gift that was given to the world in
the person, Jesus, was a revealing of the heart and intentions of God. While some of the accounts about
God found in the Bible make God sound vindictive and cruel— Jesus never does so. His ability to
forgive others astounded me and began to transform me.
I found myself being able to let go of some of the hurts that others had done to me, to actually begin to be
curious about what those people's lives would look like if they lived as God hoped. I let go of a lot of my
anxiety about the future: I trusted the God who gave me “now” for whatever “then” might be.
What I am describing is a process that repeats itself many times over in my life. Especially in times of
stress and uncertainty like the ones we are living in now. I talk to this God that I have come to know
through Jesus and I ask for peace and strength. I experience this God's presence in many places,
including in the love and laughter of this community named Resurrection.
Am I certain where we will be as a congregation in 2022 and beyond? No. But I am curious about how
God will work through us and bring unconditional love and forgiveness and inclusion to all. I am
challenged to speak this truth when others, in the name of God, speak words of judgment and exclusion.
And I am hopeful that, one day at a time, God will renew our strength when it falters and will love us
even during our darkest days.
With love and hope,
The Rev. Dr. Mary Ubuntu is the spiritual leader of Resurrection Lutheran Church and has served in that capacity since 2003. More on Pastor Mary can be found HERE.