July 2020 Update

The call committee is meeting on a weekly basis via Zoom. We are halfway through reading and discussing “A Bigger Table” by John Pavlovitz that will hopefully inform the next steps in our process. Here’s a summary of what comes next:

1. Develop an interview strategy and formulate interview questions.
2. Conduct a practice interview with a pastor serving another congregation.
3. Conduct a first interview with candidate(s) provided by the synod.
4. Conduct a second interview with candidate(s) provided by the synod.
5. Check references and conduct legally required background checks through the synod.
6. Select a candidate of choice (the finalist).
7. Agree to a compensation package with the candidate of choice.
8. Give two weeks’ notice for a congregational vote.
9. Conduct a congregational vote.
10. Extend a call.
11. Receive the pastor’s acceptance of the call.

If you’d like more information, visit https://swmnelca.org/call-process/ . For any questions, contact Nan Crary at nan.crary@gmail.com or 320-583-3083. We are grateful for your support and prayers.

Nan Crary, chair
Louis Bedard — Kris Dobratz –- Scott Gross-Sand – Leah Pollmann – Jim Schaefer – Katie Weisenberger

July 5th 2020

Stones & Rocks, Rooms & Homes
Southwest Minnesota Synod Worship Service

 

June 2020 Update

The call committee met June 24 via Zoom with synod staff for an orientation about the call process to find the next pastor to lead River of Hope.  An exciting and challenging task.  We learned that one source to identify potential candidates can come from you as a member of River of Hope.

If you know of a pastor who you think might be the right fit for River of Hope, please consider completing a Pastoral Candidate Nomination Form.  Once you provide information about this pastor, the form is sent to the call committee chair and then forwarded to the synod.  Contact Emily Heilman at the ROH office to request a copy of the form.

We will provide periodic updates about progress we make as your call committee.  We are grateful for your continued prayers and support.

Nan Crary, chair

Louis Bedard — Kris Dobratz –- Scott Gross-Sand – Leah Pollmann – Jim Schaefer – Katie Weisenberger

June 28th 2020

June 28th Worship Bulletin

Worship – July 28, 2020

Hello and welcome to worship today June 28thPlease click the link to for worship bulletin.http://riverofhopehutchinson.org/…/wor…/Get ready for communion, say hi to each other… we are so glad you are here!

Posted by River of Hope Lutheran ELCA – Hutchinson, MN on Sunday, June 28, 2020

 

Amos 5:21-24

Monday, June 8, 2020

Amos 5:21-24
I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

I want to spend time this week looking at scripture that have been used by those who have fought for justice since these verses were written.

Today’s verse is from a book we don’t read very often – the prophet Amos. These verses are familiar because we sing them often. But here’s some background.

Amos, a shepherd from a small town in the Northern kingdom of Israel, was called by God to speak truth to the religious and political leaders of the day. Remember, being a prophet does not mean that you know the future. It does mean that you are called to speak God’s truth. Amos was called to speak at a time when the kingdom of Israel was doing very well – they were gaining land and wealth from neighbors, but they had forgotten who they were.
They forgot the heart of God. Justice – not false piety.
Mercy – not empty offerings.
Righteousness – not loud singing.

I love this verse because it just nails us right where we are at. In fact, if we don’t see ourselves in these verses, perhaps we need to read them again! These verses remind us that all of these things we do that we think please God are not important.

How we worship – not important. Where we worship – not important. What media we use – not important.

Do we show that we love God in our worship, however we do that – that’s important!

Do we love our neighbor – THAT’s important!

So, if loving our neighbor means keeping them safe by staying in place and continuing to worshiping in that is what we will do.

If loving our neighbor means we must speak out against racism and white supremacy – that that is what we will do.

There will be people who will be upset. That’s ok. They were upset when Amos first spoke these words. Amos didn’t speak them to gain their favor – neither do we.

People – God is doing a new thing in the world right now. Keep your eyes out for the amazing places you will see God’s love and justice pop up. Keep your eyes and ears open to hear from some of the unlikely prophets in our day – it may even be you!

And now, filled with God’s Holy Spirit, may you go out to speak the truth of God’s love for ALL people. Amen

John 20:19-22, 1 Corinthians 3:16

Monday, June 1, 2020

John 20:19-22
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Our focus for the last week has been on the words “I can’t breathe.” When I first heard about the horror that happened in front of Cup Foods a week ago tonight I was brought back to New York City in July of 2014. I was leading a group of youth from St Cloud on a servant learning trip and the news of Eric Garner’s death at the hands of the NYPD was all over the local news. Eric also cried out “I can’t breathe”. I was conscience of my breathe during that week, as we walked from one borough to another. I was conscience of my breathe as I needed to raise my voice in order to get the attention of 30+ students and adults from central Minnesota in the Big Apple.

Now, we are in the midst of a pandemic. A new virus that attacks organs – especially our lungs. Many people are struggling for breathe – but the effects of the virus pales in comparison to witnessing the life breathe being taken from a person at the hands of a police officer.

I don’t know who is reading this – who is watching this. As a woman from the dominant culture I know that I don’t have to worry about a police officer choking the life out of me because of the color of my skin. It is a privilege that I carry because of our deeply held, 400 year old cultural conviction that white people have more value than black people.

This is not a God given value – it is man-made and corporately supported through generations of silence.

Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 3 what value God places on human life… Holy.

Jesus breathed into you, church just as he did into George Floyd, the presence of the Holy Spirit. George Floyd was God’s temple. We cannot allow the destruction of any temple of God to go unchallenged. We can no longer sit in silence, showing the world that we care more about being white than about being christian.

And so, church, may God’s Holy Spirit –dwelling in you – give you the will, the strength, and the power to go out and transform lives through Jesus Christ – all lives! Amen.

Let’s pray:
Holy God, giver of life, you have breathed into each of us the gift of your Holy Spirit transforming us into your temple. May we see YOU in each person. May the value of a person no longer be based on the color of their skin but on the fact that YOU dwell within them.
Be with the family of George Floyd and all who grieve his death. Be with the first responders as they maintain order in our nation’s cities. May their actions be just and their words be life giving.
Spur us on to be a force for change in our culture that we might see an end to systemic racism.
In Jesus name,
Amen.

1 John 4:7-12

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:7-12

We’ve been spending time for two weeks with the church of Corinth. A church in conflict over leadership, worship practices and who can claim to be the most spiritual. Paul seeks to resolve this conflict by reminding them of the basic principles of living lives as Jesus followers – including love.

The 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians is a “go to” section when we need to figure out what love is – but another “go to” is the 1st letter of John – the 4th chapter.

The author lets us know that the source of love is God, and that by loving each other we actually SEE – experience – God’s presence among us!

Here’s the trick, love is not easy. It isn’t something you can just fall into or “figure out” without God.

You see, we learn how to love by spending time with God. Reading God’s word, prayer, worship and spending time with God’s people immerses us in God’s presence – and when we are immersed in God’s presence, we grow in love. Through the power of God’s Holy Spirit we are gifted with Godly love, the kind of love that does not seek its own way; the kind of love that has no hidden agenda; the kind of love that only seeks what is best for our neighbor.

Let’s pray:
Gracious God, fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we might know more of you love! May we be equipped to share that love with everyone we meet. Amen.

1 John 4:7-12

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:7-12

We’ve been spending time for two weeks with the church of Corinth. A church in conflict over leadership, worship practices and who can claim to be the most spiritual. Paul seeks to resolve this conflict by reminding them of the basic principles of living lives as Jesus followers – including love.

The 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians is a “go to” section when we need to figure out what love is – but another “go to” is the 1st letter of John – the 4th chapter.

The author lets us know that the source of love is God, and that by loving each other we actually SEE – experience – God’s presence among us!

Here’s the trick, love is not easy. It isn’t something you can just fall into or “figure out” without God.

You see, we learn how to love by spending time with God. Reading God’s word, prayer, worship and spending time with God’s people immerses us in God’s presence – and when we are immersed in God’s presence, we grow in love. Through the power of God’s Holy Spirit we are gifted with Godly love, the kind of love that does not seek its own way; the kind of love that has no hidden agenda; the kind of love that only seeks what is best for our neighbor.

Let’s pray:
Gracious God, fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we might know more of you love! May we be equipped to share that love with everyone we meet. Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 1 Corinthians 1:10

If someone had come to you a year ago and told you what these last 8 weeks would be like, would you have believed them?

• Church doors would be closed and we would be
worshiping online
• Children would be going to school
• Toilet paper would be in short supply
• No one could visit loved ones in the hospital
• Unemployment would go to depression era levels
• Dentist offices would be closed – but liquor stores would
be essential…
• People would create plastic sheets with sleeves so they
could hug each other

The list goes on… and on

It is not only surreal, it is controversial. The practice of “staying at home” to control the spread of a deadly virus makes sense on first glance, but what happens to the people whose livelihoods depend upon the business that are now closed? What happens to the families who need to work to pay the bills and need to be with their children as they “go to school” at home?

Many people want to open everything and trust that people will make wise decisions. Others want to go slowly, having witnessed the pain and heartache that comes with this virus.

These conflicts have, in places elevated to arguments, demonstration and even violence.

Perhaps Paul’s words to the church in Corinth could help us now as well. The reason for the conflict is different, but way to resolution is the same: Keep your eyes on what’s really important.

Keep your eyes on what is most important, or, as Paul put it, “be united in purpose”. As a congregation, our purpose is to love God and love our neighbor. That’s it. Opening up the economy is one way to love our neighbor – as is staying home to stay safe. It isn’t an either or situation – it is about placing the needs of our neighbor over and above our own desires.

Let’s pray: Gracious God, keep our eyes focused on your love as we make decisions that affect the people around us. May we end division in the pursuit of caring for each other.
In Jesus’ name – Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:9

Monday, May 11, 2020

God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9

Tonight we continue with Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. He writes to a church that is in deep conflict. Not with simply one issue, but many!

Conflict is inevitable in life. Conflict exists between friends, neighbors, spouses, family members and, yes, churches. This isn’t a new thing – it goes right back to the very early church.
This verse from the very beginning of a rather long book gives a glimpse into how we, as Jesus followers, look to handle conflict – by trusting in God.
Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t act… we do – but we act in HOPE – Seeking a resolution that is in the best interest of everyone involved – not simply ourselves.

The way of the cross demands that we look for ways that honor the person or people with whom we are in conflict. To the world that sounds just foolish – but to Jesus followers, it is the way of Christ.

We know that it is possible because God is faithful – God will walk with us, equip us and guide us into ways of seeking resolution that lifts up our neighbor – and doesn’t drag them down.

Let’s pray:
Faithful God, be with us when we find ourselves in conflict. Grant us wisdom to seek a resolution that honors the other person. Amen.