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It's a New Day! Posted on by Pastor Jim Ahlquist

I hope that you have felt it. It’s a NEW DAY for church congregations in our communities. No longer is there the competitive edge of having to outdo the neighboring parish, or the “stealing of sheep” as people move from one congregation to another because they are upset with a pastor or a decision that has been made. Finally, as numbers decline in a good share of our churches, we are realizing that we are in this together and we have to work as a team and help each other change hearts and lives, building up the Kingdom. We had better become a “church for the unchurched” and, as the title of the conference I'm attending indicates, “Change or Die.”

Last week, 7 of the 8 Eau Claire ELCA Congregations were represented at coffee (and the 8th forgot about it). A good number met up at the “Orange Tour” in Minneapolis, and many are riding on a bus together to Milwaukee for “Change or Die” (which includes LCMS and WI Synod). Over 2 years ago, Carmen and I were privileged to join Peace on a mission trip building homes in Juarez, Mexico, with people we will never forget.

God’s work. Our hands. provides opportunities for us to be better together. (Back in September, we partnered with St. John’s). Our next opportunity awaits us with Trinity Lutheran Church. Yes, even Trinity has opened up their doors and resources so we can reach more people with the Good News of Jesus! Projects for Community Table, Sojourner House, Smile House, and landscaping at Flynn Elementary School (right in our neighborhood) are some activities you can help with. Although our numbers have been small in signing up, it is a start!

There has been talk of meshing youth groups, confirmation, men’s groups, etc. The Women had a morning retreat with St. John's where a good number came from both places. We have had VBS/Summer Stretch with Immanuel, and will continue those activities with others as we move forward.

We have shared Thanksgiving Eve Worship with Grace; just last week First Congregational (310 Broadway) invited Grace, Spirit, and University Lutheran all to join with them. This is happening more often, and we are better for it.

Please dream and pray of other ways we can work together, and reach more people for God’s Kingdom. When our nations and governments seem even more divided, the CHURCH has to be together, even if we don’t always agree. Christ is and always will be the center of all we are and do!

“May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5

-Pastor Jim

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