Posts in Category: Church News

Statement Regarding ELCA Declaration of Sanctuary Church

Bishop Mansholt

August 14, 2019


Dear Pastors, Deacons and Lay Leaders in East Central Wisconsin,


Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.


The ELCA Churchwide Assembly concluded a few days ago in Milwaukee. Seventeen voting members from this synod gathered with 950 voting members from all across the United States and the Caribbean. Our time together was centered in prayer and worship as we sought to do the will of God. We commend all our work to the mercy of God. In whatever way we were in the right, we pray God will strengthen our resolve. In whatever way we were amiss, we pray God will continue to shape us.


There was a lot accomplished at the assembly and a summary of those actions will be forthcoming. Among those many actions taken by the assembly one has been making the headlines around the country. The ELCA declared itself to be a sanctuary church body and then directed the ELCA Church Council to provide guidance to all three expressions of the church (churchwide, synods and congregations) about what this means. I want to offer my reflections as bishop of this synod and suggest what this means for us as Church.


The action of the assembly grows out of this Church’s 80-year history of ministry with immigrants and refugees. The Gospel of Jesus Christ compels us through love of neighbor to welcome the stranger and care for the neighbor in need. Thus in response to human need in World War II Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services was founded. Through decades of service throughout the world LIRS has become a leader among nine refugee resettlement agencies.


People migrate for a lot of different reasons. Some are desperate for jobs or food. Climate change is forcing some to leave their homeland. Others are fleeing violence and persecution. Most people do not want to leave their homeland. So when they do flee, migration is most often a matter of life and death. We live at a time when 69.5 million people worlwide have been displaced from their homelands, a historic level. The suffering is real and people’s lives are at stake.


As the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world the United States has the capacity to be a leader in addressing this humanitarian crisis. But our immigration system is broken with antiquated laws that no longer serve the country or human need. In more recent years politics has been a divisive force instead of helping to find a solution. In this quagmire the Church has said we are here for the sake of people, to keep families united, to address human need, to care for the stranger, to witness to Christ’s love.


At the 2016 Churchwide Assembly the ELCA committed itself to walk alongside Central American families fleeing violence. Our pastors and lay leaders in Central America give us firsthand accounts of the violence people are fleeing. The AMMPARO Strategy (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy and Opportunities) has brought help, hope and healing to children and youth through the work of our churches and ministries.


Now in the 2019 Assembly the ELCA has declared itself to be a sanctuary church body. What this means, first and foremost, is that we will continue to advocate for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. It means we will continue to provide concrete resources in ministering to human need. We want to do whatever we can to
assist the most vulnerable.


This commitment led me and many others to take part in a prayer vigil outside the offices of the Department of Homeland Security in Milwaukee during the assembly. We did so as a protest against current policies, especially those that lead to the separation of children from their parents and the expulsion of those who work hard and long to be lawful citizens of this land.
I readily recognize there are many viewpoints related to immigrants and refuges and the extent to which this country provides asylum and opens its borders to others. Good people can disagree while working toward a just and humane solution.


I also recognize there will be disagreements among us in the Church. I hope and pray we will stay connected and talk about these important matters. The United States of America needs us to have civil and respectful conversation about these urgent issues. This goes to the very soul of who we are as a people in this land.
What does it mean to be a sanctuary church body? I expect we will discover there are many different ways that congregations and synods will live into this decision. I think it begins with taking to heart the action of the assembly and listening to the voice of others. Love of God leads to love of neighbor. Loving the neighbor begins with listening to their story, be that the story of the refugee at our border or our neighbor in the pew.


The assembly is not asking any congregation or individual to do anything illegal. It is our right to advocate, our lawful right to participate in the democracy. It is our right to do acts of mercy and extend arms of hospitality. Those actions may rub up against the law of the land when your neighbor is a DACA recipient or an immigrant who lives and works in the shadows.


Congregations need to know that sanctuary has no legal standing. While the local congregation was perhaps once thought of as a sanctuary, a place of freedom from the long arm of the law, sanctuary has no legal standing in this country.


I believe it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said it is the call of every Christian to seek to know and to do the will of God. These are days for discernment, for seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in these present times.

As seek to live out our baptismal call and witness to God’s love for all, I offer this prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship: Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may move every heart; that the barriers dividing us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; and that, with our divisions healed, we might live in justice and peace; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 79)

In the love and peace of Christ,


Gerald L Mansholt
Bishop

Make School Kits and Personal Care Kits

Lutheran World Relief

Collections for Lutheran World Relief:
 
The collection boxes for items for School Kits and Personal Care Kits are located on the bench near the church office.  It would be appreciated if you could bring items for the kits.  
 
SCHOOL KITS:  notebooks (70 sheet), ballpoint pens, crayons (16 or 24 count packages), #2 pencils, eraser (2 1/2 inch) scissors (blunt), ruler, pencil sharpener
 
PERSONAL CARE KITS: bath towel  (dark colored), bath size bars of soap, adult size toothbrush, sturdy combs, metal nail clippers
 
Please have the items there by September 15th.  Thank you for your support.
 

Crossways Campaign 2019

Crossways Campaign 2019


July 22, 2019
 

Dear Member of Immanuel Lutheran Church
 

Crossways Camping Ministries is vital for the passing of faith to children and youth and developing leaders for our church. It is so important for our church right now to ensure Crossways Camping Ministries continues to provide exceptional facilities and remains accessible to all who desire to be part of these programs where God is so clearly proclaimed.

Congregations look to Crossways as a resource in providing a valuable ministry to our youth and children, as well as families.

Because of the need to expand this vital ministry, Crossways is conducting a Capital Campaign to help raise $1.8 to $2.7 million by the end of 2019.

During the next five weeks, you will learn more about this important effort. We pray that your commitment to ministry will encourage you to become involved and excited about the “Rooted in Faith, Growing to Serve Campaign”.

 

Yours in Christ,

Bob Henning,
President, Immanuel Lutheran Church

Rev. Dr. Niveen Sarras
Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church

Vacation Bible School

August 13-15, 2019

The 2019 Ecumenical Vacation Bible School theme is “Who is My Neighbor?” This curriculum invites children and youth to re-imagine what it means to be neighbors in Christ. Based on the Good Samaritan story, this full program contains skits, games, crafts, snacks and intentional activities for children to enjoy and learn how our faith calls us out into the world to love and serve our neighbors. The sponsoring churches are: First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, and the hosting Church: Immanuel Lutheran Church of Wausau.

VBS will be August 13-15, 2019 with a 5pm meal and VBS 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

 

“Who is My Neighbor?” invites children and youth to re-imagine what it means to be neighbors in Christ. Based on the Good Samaritan story, this full, five-day program contains skits, games, crafts, snacks and intentional activities for children to enjoy and learn how our faith calls us out into the world to love and serve our neighbors.

The skits for each day introduce a new character in the Good Samaritan story, starting with the lawyer who asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Each skit shares an important lesson that directly relates to the theme and theme verse, which groups will practice at the start and end of each day.

Who is My Neighbor

Click here to download the registration forms.

Save the Dates: March 23-31, 2020 ECSW Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Join Bishop Mansholt and fellow ECSW Lutherans for a synodical group pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Planned stops include, Nazareth, Capernaum, Sea of Galilea, Jordan River baptismal site, Dome of

the Rock, Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Mount of Olives, Bethlehem, with an optional home stay and more. We’ll break bread with local religious and community leaders, peace-builders, and community members, including partner ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and Lutheran World Federation. For three days, we’ll experience MEJDI’s UN award-winning Dual Narrative touring program, with Israeli and Palestinian guides in dialogue on contested issues and sites.

Pricing: $2290-$2450, depending upon number registering. Space is limited to 34 so register early. Also, watch for information on an optional extension to Jordan. Contact Darlene Kalfahs for more

information. darlene.kalfahs@ecsw.com or 920-734-5381.

NAOMI Monthly Meetings

As Immanuel's Representative for NAOMI, I'm happy to announce that NAOMI will start offering bi-monthly meetings for its members and all meetings will take place right here at Immanuel. Immanuel is a member of NAOMI.

NAOMI is a faith-based, values-based organization that works for racial and economic equity, focusing especially on the issues that impact the most vulnerable members of our community. We are united based on shared values of equality, human dignity and mercy. We work towards social justice for all community members and some of our platforms include; childhood poverty, treatment instead of prison, climate change, immigration reform, tolerance & respect for our citizens of color and transit issues for the disabled.

Our first meeting will be on Tuesday, March 12th, offering two different meeting times. A lunch meeting from 11:30 to 1 pm (bring your own Brown Bag lunch), and an evening meeting from 7 to 8:30 pm. Both meetings will be downstairs in Fellowship Hall. Come and learn about Naomi. We will also be discussing our bus trip to Madison on March 26th to meet with legislators and discuss topics important to both our community and citizens. For more information, contact Sally Scinto-Reinertson.

Lenten Bible Study

Lenten Bible Study: We are going to study the Passion of Jesus Christ and cover the following topics:

  • March 10 - The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus. Was Jesus a Roman Hoax to Trick the Jews?
  • March 24 - The Passion of Christ and anti-Semitism (John 19:15; Matthew 27:25)
  • April 14 - Did the Passion Week of Jesus last a week?

The Bible study starts at 10:45am in Emmaus Room.

Fat Sunday

Sunday - March, 3, 2019

We are having Fat Sunday this year instead of Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It is called Fat Tuesday because Tuesday is the last day to enjoy all the meaty and fatty delicacies you can muster up.

Pastor Niveen invites you to join her after the service on Sunday, March 3 to enjoy a delicious serving of pancakes. Are there any pancakes chefs out there? If anyone would like to volunteer to cook pancakes, please let the church office know.