Pr. Laura’s new call

April 10, 2019

Dear River of Hope-ers,

I am writing to share news with you that marks a new milestone in the life of River of Hope. With both grief and joy in my heart, I will be leaving River of Hope. My last Sunday with you will be May 19.

Over the past eight years, you have taught me to be a pastor and a preacher. It has been a privilege to serve you and with you and I have loved each of you deeply. You have taught me how to love so well. It has been the most beautiful and terrible gift to be shared. You are part of my heart now, so I will carry you with me wherever I go. My departure will mean different things to different people. It might bring up other losses you’ve experienced, or you might be disappointed or angry. All these feelings are part of this process, and I am experiencing this loss as well. Let’s offer each other grace and forgiveness as we navigate these waters.  In the midst of our sadness, the Good News is always a new thing being born out of loss – this is our resurrection story that we tell every Sunday. This is our rhythm of life already as Christians.

The new call I have accepted is a brand new thing for the ELCA. I will serve as Pastor and Program Director at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter for the Continuous Growth Pathway.  I will resource and support pastors and deacons in the Southwestern and Southeastern Minnesota Synods to faithfully lead into the unknown and difficult terrain of the future of the church in healthy ways. I will commute regularly to and from Fairmont to St. Peter knowing that as the program gains steam, I will be able to work from home.

As many of you have heard me say, “Living in two places will work until it doesn’t.” Coming to this realization has been a gradual, prayerful process of listening to my life as your Pastor and as a partner with John. It has been difficult to feel my call to serve as your pastor change. The energy it takes to fully live in two places will not serve River of Hope or my marriage well for the long term.

This is a moment of hope for you as you continue your life together as a community. I know you’re ready to live into the future that God is calling you toward, discovering more about who you are as a people, and how you are called to be a specific place for hope and healing for whoever you encounter. A new pastor will bring new gifts and you’ll go in new directions! The Holy Spirit has so much up her sleeve for you. Hutchinson needs this community of faith so, so much. Mike Weisenberger, River of Hope President, will lead you well in this time of transition. Please include him and the River Table in your prayers as they lead you into and through this time of transition.

My life is forever changed because of how our lives have been brought together to follow Jesus. I am grateful beyond words. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

All my love and a little bit more,

Laura

 P.S. I would be grateful if you kept this news off of social media until after worship on Sunday, April 14.

Prepare Meals for the Beffert Family

River of Hope-ers!

Just imagine how an illness throws routines into a mess.  Many of you know just how how that feels. So please help the Beffert family as they adjust to Jami’s illness and as doctors work to help her body heal.

Will you sign up to make a freezer meal or 2?  Because Jami’s diet has changed, the help they need is in feeding the rest of the family (2 growing teenagers and their dad). The only stipulation is that there is protein included in whatever you make.

Sign up and details including contact person can be found right here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4ca9ac2fa0f85-meals

Thank you, River of Hope, for showing and sharing the love of Jesus in this way!

A Discussion About Race – Book Study

“I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness” by Austin Channing Brown will be the book that will shape our discussion about race.

Please commit to most if not all sessions, offered Sunday mornings (led by Sara Shorter) or Wednesday evenings (led by Pastor Laura). We’d like at least 8 participants per group in order for discussion to be healthy.

Yes! Invite a friend to attend with you!

Sunday Mornings @ Event Center  8:45-10:15 – March 10, 17, 24, 31 & April 7, 14

Wednesday Evenings @ downtown office 7-8:30 pm –  March 13, 20, 27 & April 10, 17, 24

Sign-up sheets are on the Connect Table at worship or let the office know you want to attend.

Lutheran Marriage Encounter

How about this for a valentine’s gift? Receive the gift of a closer relationship with Lutheran Marriage Encounter. The next enrichment event is Feb 15-17 in Brooklyn Center. Dave and Pastor Linda Pedersen are one of  the presenter couples. Apply now at GodLovesMarriage.org, or contact Peter and Phyllis McMahon at mcmahonp@comcast.net or 763-561-1575 for more information. A special 50% discount off the regular application fee for 2019 events is offered in celebration of Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s 50 Years of enhancing marriages. Pre-registration is required and space is limited.

Erin’s Kids

Have you been hearing about “Erin’s Kids” lately?

Erin’s Kids is a fund set up at River of Hope in memory of Erin Olson, by her parents Shirley and DuWayne Olson.  Erin was a vivacious young lady who had a passion for life, a radiant smile, unending energy, and a love of kids. She loved to camp and always went out of her way to make sure everyone was included. To leave anyone out was unacceptable to Erin. Therefore, the funds raised for Erin’s Kids will be used to ensure that all youth who express interest in going to camp at River of Hope will have the means of going. All kids are Erin’s Kids!

While we chose to kick off Erin’s Kids on #GivingTuesday (November 27, 2018), it will be ongoing! You can expect to see more fundraisers throughout the year, hear more about “Erin’s Kids” and learn more about Erin as we honor her memory.

Please help us grow this fund, support our youth, and provide life changing experiences through Him.

Here are some ways to help with Erin’s Kids:

  1. Donate online, selecting “Erin’s Kids”
  2. Drop a check in the weekly offering or send it to the office with the Memo: Erin’s Kids
  3. Share about Erin’s Kids on social media and help us spread the word. #ErinsKids
  4. Talk to your kids, grand kids, and their friends about going to camp. Let’s get them excited!
  5. Tell someone about Erin! Her parents tell us that she would LOVE what’s is being done in her honor.
  6.  Share your own memories of going to camp on social media, using the hashtag #ErinsKids
  7. Watch for upcoming fundraising events and dive in!

Thank you!

The Latest & Greatest from River of Hope

Read it here!

Shadow boxing with Matthew 1 – Week of October 14, 2018

Today is the day we begin reading the book of Matthew – one chapter a week, reading the same chapter once a day, picking up pen and paper (or turning to a keyboard) and writing down your questions, your thoughts, and seeing how they change over a week’s time.

Full disclosure: Matthew is not my favorite book in the Bible. Out of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (the 4 books called the Gospels which means Good News), my favorite is Mark and then comes Luke and then John and, if I must put it on the list, Matthew. So I’ve got to shadow box with it. I’ve got to contend with it because it does have Good News to share and I wonder if I will have ears to hear it in a new way through this practice of reading it one chapter at a time, slowly but surely.

Feel free to SOAP this reading, if it helps you get into it in new ways.  What’s SOAP?

S – Scripture.  Read it. What stands out to you? Underline it or write it down.

O – Observations. What do you think this scripture says about God? About you? Write one part in your own words.

A – Application. How does this apply to your life right now? How does it bug you or comfort you?

P – Pray. What do you need to say to God or hear from God?

Glad to be with you on this journey through Matthew. I can’t do  it alone!

Daily Bible Readings for the week of March 25, 2018

  • Sunday: John 19:16b-22, The Crucified Messiah
  • Monday: John 17:1-19, Jesus Prays for His Disciples
  • Tuesday: John 17:20-26, Jesus Prays for His Disciples
  • Wednesday: John 15:18-1-11, The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
  • Thursday: John 19:23-30, Jesus’ Last Words
  • Friday: John 19:31-37 Jesus the Passover Lamb
  • Saturday: John 19: 38-42, Passover Lamb

What is the Bible?

“I’ve heard people say that they read it literally. As if that’s the best way to understand the Bible. It’s not. We read it literately. We read it according to the kind of literature it is. That’s how you honor it. That’s how you respect it. That’s how you learn from it. That’s how you enjoy it.

If it’s a poem, then you read it as a poem.
If it’s a letter, then you read it as a letter…
There are lots of ways to read it. In fact, right isn’t even the best way to think about the Bible.

How about dancing? You dance with it And to dance, you have to hear its music. And then you move in response to it.”

Rob Bell in “What Is the Bible?” pages 80-81

What is the Bible?

“You never stop asking questions:
Why is that there?
What is that referring to?
Why does Luke mention that women paid Jesus’ bills?
Who were those women?
How does that book begin?
How does it end?
Why does the book of Ruth end with a brief genealogy of King David?”

Rob Bell in “What Is the Bible?” page. 78