Dear St. Paul’s friends,

Do you remember reading this sentence sometime in the past two years:  Our church should be the first line of support for all members in our congregation who might be feeling worried, isolated or overwhelmed due to life-changing events”?  If these words sound familiar it is because they come from our congregation’s Caring Ministry statement.  Our Caring Ministry, you should recall, seeks to coordinate and promote caring among the membership of St. Paul’s. 

Whether you remember those words or not, I would like to report on just how effectively you carried them out in one recent case – mine.  Through our Sunday services you were informed of my mother’s illness and death.  In response you gave me time off to care for her, you said prayers for me and my family, a couple of you gave a little cash towards my needs, you sent me the most beautiful cards and wrote me the most beautiful notes, you contributed memorials in my mother’s honor, and you showed such wonderful compassion to me when I returned from her funeral.  I am truly overwhelmed and grateful for the care you showed me. 

I’m not sure if any of you thought about the Caring Ministry program when you extended your care to me.  More likely, your compassion came from a heart cared for by Jesus himself through years of hearing his word, experiencing his care through others, and knowing of his sacrifice for your sins.   Regardless, whether it’s a particular ministry effort, a particular person, or a particular word of our Lord which fuels your caring, I’d like to encourage you to keep that same spirit of care going as the fall season approaches.  There will be other people in your circles—members of St. Paul’s and otherwise—who struggle with life-changing events.  A word or expression of care from you could be just the thing they need to lift their spirit or, even better, to bring them to the ultimate source of compassion—our Savior Jesus. 

Having a program such as Caring Ministry can help us with particular actions of care, but the greatest “program” for caring is the one the church has been doing since its beginning—gathering together for prayer and the hearing of God’s Word.  I hope to see you regularly on Sunday mornings at St. Paul’s.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark Shaltanis


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