Message from Pastor John 11/20

There’s just one word for the week:   “WOW”!   “Wow”   and   “Thank you”.

Ok, that’s two words!   The WOW-factor of last Sunday was amazing: “A celebration of the 50th anniversary of Grace Lutheran at Carrollwood”.  It was an event that brought tears to the eyes of many. A hundred people participated in some form or fashion during the morning, and there 431 ‘views’ online.  A huge ‘Thank You’ and “Shout Out” to all!

Especially to: Liz Planz – chair of the 50th Anniversary planning committee.  Office staff – Maggie Gould, Kerri Shaw.  Worship & Music Committee and staff – Maggie Scott, Lisa Watson, Jim Sawyers, Laurie Sweigart. David Vickers – for installing and operating new video/sound and technical equipment.

Fred Borchers – Council President and head usher.  Cookie bakers and tote bag stuffers, emcee narrators and cook-book sellers – – you know who you are!  It’s impossible to name everyone by name, but we know who you are!  “Thank You”

            And… it’s not over!   What I mean is, the “Grand Event” may be over but “wait” there’s more”!   There is a living tree yet to be dedicated Sunday, November 29th outside after service. Yes, the Great Event may be now recorded in history, but the ‘heart & soul’ of Grace, our purpose, our mission, our spiritual DNA carries forward!  The “Next 50” of Grace lies ahead of us.  Our mission to do God’s Work in the world is a fresh as ever. Strengthening and supporting one another — reaching out into the community — serving our neighbor — caring for the least & last, not just the first & greatest – – this is our call.

In other words:  “Knowing Christ and Making Christ Known”.   Make it another 50!

Next!    Next week is Thanksgiving week.   Thanksgiving will look and feel different this year.  Corona virus 2020 is one for the history books.  I for one, will not be traveling this year. My ‘kids’ are not coming in for the holidays.  There will be no Thanksgiving Feast at the church this year.  All these changes are ‘in play’ because we need to stay safe.
Nevertheless,  there ARE THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR!  Many things! 

I am thankful for each of you. 

I am thankful for family. 

I am thankful for masks. 

I am thankful for Nurses, PA’s, doctors and medical workers who are truly ‘out there’ for the health and well-being of us all. 

I am thankful for 2 vaccines – and all the scientists and labs who have developed them in record time. 

I am thankful for a democracy ‘at work’.  I am thankful for a secure and fair election. 

I am thankful for technology that enables families to connect and communicate this coming Thursday, even if we don’t gather at the same family table.  We are blessed!

To focus on our gratitude rather than our grievances is a sign of resilient faith – indeed one of the “fruits of the Spirit”… as was eloquently highlighted last Sunday.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Pastor John Hillmer

Grace Lutheran Church at Carrollwood

“Grace is a place of Faith, Hope and Healing for ALL”