Dear Members of First Lutheran Church, 

Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This Sunday in worship our gospel comes from the first chapter of Mark. In this reading, we will encounter the Holy Spirit two times, and in two very different ways. We will experience the Spirit as a fluttering dove, descending on Jesus at his baptism. And we will experience the Spirit as the abrupt force that drives Jesus into the wilderness.

Two years ago, the Spirit visited our congregation not as a gentle dove, but as the harsh reality of cracked and sagging beams in our sanctuary roof. Two years ago, the Spirit did not descend sweetly upon us. It rudely shoved us out of the sanctuary and into a wilderness journey.

In the wilderness, what began as a question about how to fix a roof quickly turned to a different, Spirit-led question: Where is God calling us in our mission and ministry? We were moved to discern mission-based building solutions to facilitate current and future ministries. 

You are encouraged to read our “Building On Mission” post and to take great joy and excitement in what you find there. These leadings of the Spirit are the priorities shaping our hopes and dreams for both our ministry and our building. These priorities are the result of faithful listening and prayerful discernment. They are an act of faith and a response to God’s leading.

These values provide the spiritual foundation for the work that we will do this spring. Led by God’s Spirit, we will vote on launching the public phase of our capital appeal. We will discern and finalize building plans. And we will prepare to build.

There are many crucial ways for you to get involved in the building and capital campaign processes this spring. Upcoming opportunities include:

Town hall meetings this Sunday, February 21, and next Sunday, February 28, at 10:30 a.m.  The first of these meetings will focus on the timeline and process going forward and will include a presentation by Pastor Joe Crowther, our Kairos Consultant. The February 28 meeting will focus on the proposed building plans. Attend these meetings in-person in the Fellowship Hall or online via Zoom.

Congregational meeting on Sunday, March 14 at 10:30 a.m. Our agenda is to vote on the following recommendation: “Led by God’s Spirit, we approve the launch of the public phase of a 5 million dollar capital appeal for funding the First Lutheran Church building project. This appeal will allow us to finalize a building plan at a later date.”

Watch for further opportunities to come. In the meantime, pray for the congregation and its leaders, that the Spirit would strengthen us, guide us, and lead us in faithfulness to the mission God is setting before us.

Continue to stay informed about the building process through building updates in the weekly AfterWord, the Building Updates page on the church website, and announcements in worship and on social media.

Dear ones, the Spirit may have shoved us out into the wilderness by surprise two years ago, but make no mistake: the Spirit has not abandoned us here. The Spirit has remained with us, comforting us and winging along with us.

There is an exciting and expansive future ahead of us. We move forward, trusting that we are, indeed, being led by God’s Spirit…

….from everlasting to everlasting…

…for generations to come.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Melissa Bills