Some say it comes from old Spanish, some say old French, but the word is carried forward to us in Latin. “Ultreia” = “let’s keep going”; “onward”; “go beyond”; or even “stay young”!   Word nerd that I am, it comes from the walkers, hikers, pilgrims along the way of Camino de Santiago,  pressing on toward the goal of St. James, Compostela – the most famous pilgrimage of Europe.

(cf. the 2010 movie “The Way” starring Martin Sheen, Deborah Kara Unger, Emilio Esteves.)

Today – – Tampa, 2021 in the “here and now”  – –  I say  “Ultreia”!!   Onward!   Let’s keep going! Let’s stay young  as we move through this ‘ol pandemic which can have the effect of wearing us down and wearing us out, even as we stay safe from covid-19. Energized by the excitement and hope of seeing life again overflow with freedom, health, joy, unrestrained movement, we press on toward that goal. Even as we say “Ultreia, Onward”! …vitality is evident right now in our midst.

This Sunday, March 7, our Confirmation Youth will lead us in worship. “Confirmation” is a ministry of the church – the whole church – “to, with and among the youth of the church”.   It is a major piece of “Faith Formation”.  Parents & teachers, Confirmation Leaders (“Thank you” Tim & Janet Wise, Susan Nieland, Carol Gutcher, Sue Mendenhall) all are part of the team.  Yes, even the Congregation (that is “YOU”!)  takes a part in supporting, affirming, modeling your faith, and demonstrating your active participation in the life of this community.  (Nothing really goes unnoticed!)  Together, I – with YOU – help build a community where youth have an essential place; where they can share & use their gifts, demonstrate their faith, and by their pure energy, give vitality to us who may be entrenched or jaded in our faith.

Soo…this Sunday, we welcome our youth!  It will be a ‘hybrid’ service.  Some youth will be “in person”; some will have prepared a video at home, which will be embedded in both the power-point, and online streaming. 

We continue to “stay safe”, keep steadfast with all “safe practices”: wear masks, wash hands, keep a distance of 6’, and sanitize frequently.   To those who have concerns about ‘social engagement’, please live in such a way that aligns with your thinking & feeling. “Freedom of thought and expression” is spoken here!  To those who may be feeling ill or poorly, please stay safe at home!   But wherever we are on the spectrum…

                         ”Grace is a Place of Faith, Hope and Healing for all”.

We will continue to move forward into the future as a community of mutual trust, respect, and appreciation for all.   And “all”  means  ALL!

“Ultreia”!!!    Onward!

Pastor Hillmer

Grace Lutheran Church at Carrollwood

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