And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. (Acts 11:21)
By this time of the year, we are usually planning for summer events, gatherings, and youth and children’s programs. It’s still tough to plan ahead. Some things we know, others are still up in the air. We continue to monitor COVID-19 statistics from the Southern Nevada Health District, wear masks, and pray for healing and help from God who is near at all times.
What we can say is that our hybrid worship is moving along smoothly. Easter was joyful and energizing. It is a joy to see the faces of the saints, new members, and guests with us in Edwins Hall Sunday mornings. Still more are with us for online worship. We’re now learning to adapt our communion liturgy to this gathered apart and in-person approach. We are training up our tech team and looking for more volunteers! Our online worship will remain for the foreseeable future here, as a way to reach beyond our physically gathered community and as an extension of the proclamation into the world.
We delivered a car load of clothes and items for Martin’s Mart on Monday. They are still in need of more volunteers looking to work a shift at the shop so they can expand their hours. I also dropped off a load of food to the Digimart at Lutheran Social Services of Nevada. This week, we received a donation of a digital piano. I’m not sure yet where it will go, but it’s here and seems to be a nice instrument. Thank you to Roger, Alfred, and Crisanto for helping with the pick up. We live in a generous community and are gifted to be generous to our neighbors. Thanks to all who donate and deliver!
Our Heart of the City Senior meal program continues to serve folks in our community, not just with food, but companionship, safety, information, and joy! Bobby is one of our seniors who comes and plays the piano every afternoon. The meal is currently managed by Carl Swan from LSSN, with support from Martin, and faithful volunteer Stefan! If you or someone you know would like to volunteer, let us know! We also have provided food and baby supplies to 6 local families on a regular basis in the last year. They are Spanish speaking families, connected to us through Fremont Middle School, and we look to grow these special relationships in the months to come.
I will be helping to plan and facilitate four 90-minute online Zoom training sessions with the ELCA Vital congregations team. I continue to serve with the Synod new and renewing congregations team, who are currently focused on ministry grants and ministry reviews across the synod. (Reformation is currently not applying for new grants as we have grants funds in house that need to be used as soon as we are able.) It is always exciting to hear what other churches in our synod are doing to serve and reach out to their communities.
This week was the start of our Zoom new book study on Honoring our Neighbor’s Faith, and included 7 participants in a wonderful discussion and comparison of Lutheran denominations and practices. Next week we’ll discuss the Assemblies of God and Evangelical Free church. Griefshare groups continue to meet on Tuesday evenings with Pastor Marta, and our Sunday Bible study is finishing up our study of King David (thank to Pastor Matt) and moving into Creation Care (just in time for Earth Day).
While we long to be together, to have more time for close contact and fellowship, we do what we can where we can. Our church is connected in so many ways, and it is fulfilling to see church members checking in on one another, caring for each other, and praying for us all. The Spirit of God is with us, and will be near as we keep moving forward faithfully, trusting in the goodness of our risen Lord, Jesus. Thank you for your contributions of leadership, generosity, service, and prayer. By this, we give witness to God’s love and grace here in the heart of the city. Thanks be to God.