Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jesus and Me: The Lost Years

There's a (very) long stretch of Christ's life that is not recorded in the gospels. Depending on which gospel you read, you might be led to believe Jesus emerges, sui generis and ex nihilo, around his thirtieth birthday, conducted his public ministry, and died three years later (Mark). Or you get some birth narratives, and small tantalizing teases about his early childhood--refugee in Egypt, left behind in Jerusalem studying Scripture with the rabbis--in some other gospels (Matthew and Luke).

These lost years of Jesus came to mind today as I was contemplating, late on this Thursday afternoon, how much I didn't do and how much time I wasted this week.

This isn't to say I did nothing all week. I taught a bible study, led and preached at Lenten worship, spent time in some counseling sessions, finished some projects, conducted a couple of interviews. In fact on some of those measures it was a busy week.

But I'm talking about time in the office. It is even hard for me to summarize what I did while in the office much of this week. I fumbled around, shuffled papers, looked at books on the shelf, sat in the chair, stood and prayed. Looking back, some of those hours are simply lost hours. I could have been more productive, but I wasn't.

Returning to the lost years of Jesus, some authors (like the Gnostics, or Anne Rice, or Mel Gibson) have had to invent things for Jesus to be doing during his teen and early adult years. The Gnostics had him doing fun magic tricks. Anne Rice gives us Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt: A Novel, and Mel Gibson in his bloody Jesus movie has Jesus inventing modern day tables and chairs (really!).

But what if the middle years of Jesus' life were honestly and truly like my lost hours at work this week?  What if there is nothing to report because there is nothing to report? Is it possible that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, could be illustrating his "self-emptying" (like the Christ hymn in Philippians 2:5-11) even in the very life he lives from his birth to his public ministry?

I don't know. I have typically resisted interpreting this lacunae in the gospel testimony precisely because it is so clearly an intentional lacunae. The gospels are very intentional in their construction. If Christ's life from approximately twelve to twenty-nine years old is not recorded in the gospels, there is a reason.

But I think we can give at least a little space to interpreting the absence. Reading between the lines, interpreting the white space--these are appropriate interpretive moves whether you are a postmodernist or a Rabbinic scholar.

Some things can only be born after long gestation. Just because nothing is happening doesn't mean nothing is happening. I am convinced my spinning wheels were, in this week, essential to some major work I have coming up, including Holy Week preaching and a presentation I will give at the ELCA in early April. My heart and mind need the space.

I guess there are better and worse ways to spend lost hours and weeks and years. My better hours "spinning my wheels" were spent away from social networks, and with less clutter on the desk. Once I was just sitting and contemplating, once I was in the sauna with nothing but the heat, the lostness was even more lost.

Sometimes in order to be found we have to be lost for a while. Perhaps for Christ to be Christ for us of necessity he had to be nobody, nowhere for no-one first.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Read These First, Then Write Your Book

I'm not a best-selling author, but I know a few people who have proven their ability to sell lots of copies of their work, while simultaneously offering sage advice.

Below are three recent posts from writers I respect. Read Rich Melheim first, to get inspired for the long haul. Read Michael Hyatt second for a best-seller launch platform. Finally, read David Carnoy for the nitty-gritty on self-publishing.

Rich Melheim:

Michael Hyatt:

David Carnoy:

Then, post in the comments and add to the wisdom. What's your project, how will you sell it, and what are your best self-publishing tricks?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Elegant Way We Grow Our Church

Elegance is notoriously difficult to define. The right dress on the wrong person is inelegant. An odd dress on the right person might in fact be elegant. Similarly, each year companies march out new products (think of cars) all with essentially the same features, and yet each year some of those products shine with an elegance and beauty lacking in the others.

Life in the church parallels this pattern. Almost every church conducts life together in a way similar to other churches. Most churches eat together sometimes. Most organize bible studies. All gather for worship. Many provide sponsor or mentor relationships for those new to the faith. Almost all baptize, and provide some orientation on the life of faith that accompanies baptism.

However, the manner in which these various components of Christian life are assembled really does matter. It is an art rather than a science, bringing the ancient practices of the church into play with the culture and sensibilities of a particular place. Bible study can be done poorly. New member orientation can be ill-timed.

This past year, our congregation has experimented with the ancient (though new for us) rites of Christian initiation for adults, sometimes called the catechumenate. Our journey with this pattern for Christian initiation began with a lot of study and reading on my part. I have spent time the past few years reading descriptions of the catechumenate in other contexts, and interviewed congregations and pastoral leaders who use the model for adult faith formation.

Then, this past summer, I piloted the model with a leadership team. We gathered each week for a meal, then broke open the gospel lesson from the preceding Sunday worship as our common Scripture lesson. While modeling this weekly devotional time, we also read a little book by a colleague and mentor, Paul Hoffman's 
Faith Forming Faith: Bringing New Christians to Baptism and Beyond. We have undergirded all of this study and practice with prayer, hearts open to the new people in our midst.

By the end of the summer, as nervous as we were to try such an intense and beautiful pattern in our church life, we were ready. We began inviting our new visitors, and many inquirers to the Christian faith, to periodic inquiry sessions on Sunday evenings. Throughout the fall, we hosted a Sunday evening supper and bible study. The fall inquiry sessions had a very big front door and big back door. "All are welcome, come check this out, no commitment necessary, if this isn't for you, we understand."

The catechumenate goes in stages, and matches our church calendar. After Christmas, at the beginning of Epiphany, all the inquirers are welcomed during Sunday worship at a Rite of Welcome. This is where the current congregation really gets to start meeting the inquirers formally and up close. Worship leaders give the inquirers a bible for their journey. Each inquirer is matched with a sponsor from the congregation, and that sponsor blesses the inquirer in their journey, making the sign of the cross over their eyes, ears, forehead, mouth, shoulders, heart, hands, and feet.

At this point, the elegance of the catechumenate is on full display. It is well timed (the beginning of the year), and the richness of the formation process means many are attracted to it. We have over forty adults in our catechumenate this year. This is a large number of new people for a congregation our size. Add the sponsors to the group, and this means a lot of people engaged in intentional faith formation from Christmas to Easter.

Now the pattern deepens. The group meets every single week for a supper and bible study, interspersed with brief lessons on the catechism and Christian faith and life. Sponsors attend small group bible study with the catechumens. The model for bible study is very open. It is a space for questions, for exploration. As a Christian community, we do not believe Christianity is about an authority handing down the "right way to believe" to us in sound bites. Instead, we believe the Spirit is at work in the conversation among the group gathered around Scripture. I as pastor do not even attend the small groups. I do the dishes after the meal, so each group really has to rely on themselves for the interpretation of the text. There are no so-called authorities. The authority is in the space itself, their lives, and this text, coming together in fruitful ways.

At the beginning of Lent (a deeply faithful liturgical pattern observed by our and many Christian denominations as a way of journeying in our worship life towards the cross and Jerusalem) all adults who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil (Saturday night before Easter Day) write their names in the baptismal register and are enrolled. They kneel for a blessing, and commit themselves to their preparations for baptism.

During Lent, the group attends Sunday worship faithfully, hearing gospel lessons especially selected for deep faith formation. Each Sunday evening, they continue the simple pattern: meal, lesson, small group study and conversation. The Sunday immediately prior to Easter, the whole group rehearses the Easter Vigil liturgy, which includes the lighting of the new fire, many readings from the Old and New Testament, affirmation of baptism for those returning to the church or re-committing themselves to life in Christian community, and baptism for the adults and many children who will be baptized that day. It is the way the church keeps vigil as it anticipates celebrating once again the resurrection of its Lord.

There is nothing radically new about this pattern. Each component, as I have mentioned, is present in almost every Christian community I've visited or been a part of. But there are more or less elegant ways to put all the pieces together, and I have been learning, over time, that this ancient pattern, these rites of Christian initiation for adults, have that kind of beauty. They're beautiful because they are ancient, yes, and there is much truth in them. But they are even more beautiful because I see on the faces of those who participate in them life, and grace, and joy. This way of being initiated into the Christian story means something to them, to us, to me.

We have been so surprised, though perhaps we should not have been, at the overwhelming response we've gotten in our congregation to this pattern of faith formation for adults. I Clearly this process and its timing were right. Our members, old and new, were craving this. It may very well be that this, or something like it, is a desire of people in your places of worship as well.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Ash Wednesday Sermon on Matthew 5

Testimonial from a parishioner, used with permission.

"Good morning!
I’m not good at expressing how I feel but last night’s message really touched me.  It was a heart-opening understanding of what is God’s love.  I’ve always said the my God is a loving and just God, but I’ve always wanted Him to “smite” those that hurt me and often get mad because they keep getting “rewarded” even though I think they’re awful people.  After listening last night, I understand why that is and when I understood that, it seemed like a lot more of my relationship with God fell into place.  Since we just finished up the Sunday School session about the Prodigal Son, I put what you taught last night in with that story and realized I’m the eldest son.  I want to be rewarded for being good and faithful and I’m very upset when He welcomes and rewards those that abandoned Him.  I realize that story is not only about forgiveness but about unconditional love.

Thank you for speaking to me last night."

Here's the audio of the sermon:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

If you are self-publishing

Thanks to my friend Rich Melheim ( for this spectacular summary of Seth Godin's insights on self-publishing in his justly famous book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

If you are self-publishing, read what Seth Godin says in Tribes, then on his blog, then in a retracting of what he said on his blog:

1.  If you have a tribe of 1000 fans, you can make money on your ebook

2.  If your tribe of 1000 fans thinks you are trying to sell them something – rather than trying to add value to their lives – they'll disappear faster than a teenaged football star at a beer bash when the cops show up

3.  If you have something worth saying and say it well, there will be an audience for your work
4.  Just because you have something worth saying and you say it well, it doesn't mean anyone will see it

5.  Writing a brilliant book is 20% of the work. Getting others to market it for you is 80%.

6.  Ok, I exaggerated. Getting others to market it for you in 99% of the work.

7.  Nobody believes anything any marketer tells them anymore

8.  Most people believe their friends (until and unless they come to them selling Amway)

9.  There are only three ways to make money in the publishing industry today

10. None of those three ways work

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Preaching "Mystagogically" this Lent

Take a mystagogical approach to preaching throughout the season of Lent. Craig Satterlee, in his Ambrose of Milan’s Method of Mystagogical Preaching (Liturgical Press, 2002), defines mystagogical preaching as “sustained reflection on the Church’s rites of initiation” (2). Even if Lent is about more than the rites of initiation (and it is), nevertheless many approach Lent hoping for preaching and teaching that gets “back to the basics,” and mystagogical preaching accomplishes this. “It is mystagogia, preaching on the ‘mysteries’ of the Christian faith. It is preaching in that it is scripturally based, takes place within a liturgical setting, is addressed exclusively to the Christian community—the baptized and the newly baptized, called ‘neophytes,’ and has as its goal the formation of Christians rather than providing religious information to Christians.”

In our era, and in our North American pseudo-Christian culture, it is not easy to demark who is fully formed as a Christian, and who still needs basic formation—nor is it needful to make such a distinction. All of us, daily, need sustained reflection on initiation (remember your baptism daily), so all gathered for worship, whether they are newly baptized, baptized decades ago, or inquiring concerning baptism—can benefit from preaching that forms more than it informs. Even better, preach formatively in a way that also informs.

Lent offers a splendid set of texts for just such an approach to preaching. It begins at Ash Wednesday with a solemn call to fasting and repentance, setting the stage for conceptualizing and living Lent as a journey to Easter. Make use of the 2 Corinthians connection back to Transfiguration of Our Lord. If transfiguration is looking in a mirror and seeing ourselves (in Christ) differently, the Lenten journey is a turn away from the mirror and towards the neighbor and world as “ambassadors for Christ,” through whom God is making God’s appeal (2 Cor. 5:20). In other words, even when we are not looking at a mirror, we are still called to remember in whose image we are made, and with what image we are marked—the cross.

Created in the image of God, restored through the renewed image of God (Christ), ambassadors participating in that image—that is the beginning of sustained reflection on the church’s rites of initiation. Then the gospel lessons for the season offer sustenance for the remaining journey.

         Luke 4:1-13—Draw attention to the connection between this text and the threefold renunciation of the devil, the powers of this world, and the ways of sin, during the Profession of Faith in the liturgy for Holy Baptism. Texts for this Sunday are also very "Trinitarian" and easily tied to the baptismal "Apostles'" Creed.

         Luke 13:31-35—Here Jesus speaks of his own crucifixion and resurrection, the dying and rising we participate in through our baptism into Christ. Connect the text to the portion of the catechism devoted to baptism.

         Luke 13:1-9—Although a mystagogical sermon will distinguish between those who are baptized and those who are not yet baptized, it will also not turn the distinction into a hierarchy, the kind of practice warned against in this text. The focus is repentance, so consideration of confession and absolution is in order.

         Luke 15:1-3, 11b.-32—This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them (15:3). Yes indeed, which is likely one reason some of your adults are considering joining themselves to his life in baptism. Here simple ties can be made to the portion of the catechism devoted to the Lord's Supper.

         John 12:1-8—Love God, and love your neighbor. Here, although those around him try to make it more complicated, Jesus sees love of God in his anointing, and encourages everyone to love the poor around them continually. This is the Christian life. Such annointing and love looks quite a lot like prayer, so consider meditation on connections to the Lord's Prayer.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lutherans Are Sorry -- On Prayers at Newtown

Suddenly Lutherans are all over the news. Here's a pretty straightforward news report by way of example:

Since the name Lutheran is being invoked absent any subtle distinctions concerning denominational affiliation, it could be tempting for me as a Lutheran pastor to disclaim complicity. I could try, "Yes, those are those other kind of Lutherans. They're LCMS. I'm a pastor in the ELCA. We join in interfaith worship all the time, all over the place. We're different."

However, the more I peer into that pastor's actions, examine my own theological commitments, and prayerfully ponder the multi-valent faith and pastoral implications, the more I think some simple and faithful commentary is in order. Please bear with me. I'm trying to keep it simple, but some of the subtleties really matter.

Lutherans Lead With Apologies

We believe saying sorry is a good thing. Many if not most Lutheran churches begin corporate worship with confession and absolution. So in a certain sense, all this pastor is doing is being a good Lutheran, and acting within his tradition.

The Bible Leads With Apologies

Scripture is replete with testimony against the very people who hold it up as Scripture. By apologizing, this pastor is simply doing what many of the faithful have done over time, lead in their witness by owning their complicity in sin, and seeking forgiveness. He's in very good company.

But this was an apology with a difference.

Read this short statement from the CNN press release:

"To those who believe that I have endorsed false teaching, I assure you that was not my intent, and I give you my unreserved apologies," Morris wrote in a letter to the Lutheran leadership. "I apologize where I have caused offense by pushing Christian freedom too far, and I request you charitably receive my apology."
In the same letter, however, Morris defends his decision to participate, writing that he believed his participation was "not an act of joint worship, but an act of community chaplaincy."
Notice that the pastor is apologizing for causing offense, not for his participation per se. Even the news reports pick up on this (although the headlines mostly do not). I think in this way he is apologizing with integrity. He is sorry for offending his fellow clergy and perhaps even members of his own congregation. He is not sorry for trying as best he could to engage in community chaplaincy (one of the victims of the shooting was one of his parishioners).

I do not live in a communion that would ask me to apologize for participating in a service like this, but if I did, I would probably try to walk this very careful line the way this young pastor walked. And I would be grieving the whole way, because of the pain, and the sadness, and much more. I would likely make mistakes. In the midst of grief, I might make a lot of mistakes.

But then there is this letter

The president of the LCMS offered this response more recently, in the wake of the media spotlight:

In it, he writes:

As president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, I take responsibility for this debacle. I handled it poorly, multiplying the challenges. I increased the pain of a hurting community. I humbly offer my apologies to the congregation, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Newtown, Conn.; to Pastor Morris; and to the Newtown community. I also apologize to the membership of our great church body for embarrassment due to the media coverage. I know that despite my own weakness and failings, God “works all things for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). My interaction with Pastor Morris and President Yeadon has never been anything but cordial and appropriate for brothers in Christ. Speculation that has implied anything else is false.
The day I was elected two-and-a-half years ago, I noted that the Synod had kept its perfect record of electing sinners as presidents. I also noted that I would fail at times. I am a sinner. I have failed. To members of the Missouri Synod, I plead for your forgiveness and patience as we try again to work toward resolution, faithful to Christ and His Gospel, in times that challenge us all.
When I finished reading this letter, I wept. You can tell that these brothers and sisters of ours in Christ are wrestling mightily with the struggle between their desire to be faithful to their Scripture and tradition as they understand it, and their desire to bring healing and offer caring ministry. I might disagree with them in many ways, but I can read in all of this the authenticity of their struggle.

Any of us, if we are honest, acknowledge the difficulty of balancing truth with grace, love with boundaries. There but by the grace of God go I.

When our failures are in the national spotlight

So the pastor, the district president where the pastor serves, and the president of the LCMS, wrote this joint letter:

Rob Morris, Pastor, Christ the King, Newtown
Timothy Yeadon, District President, New England District
Matthew C. Harrison, President, The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

To our brothers and sisters in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod:
By the grace of God, we have worked through a very challenging situation. It has been our deepest mutual concern in dealing with one another to be faithful to Christ, our respective vocations, and to each other as brothers.

We implore the church to do likewise.

We have mutually forgiven each other where we have fallen short. We are reconciled. We are at peace. We are in support of each other.

Rob Morris, Pastor, Christ the King, Newtown
Timothy Yeadon, District President, New England District
Matthew C. Harrison, President, The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

So leaders in a denomination I consider to be our siblings, even while I struggle mightily with some of their faith commitments, has decided to go on record, publicly and clearly, in favor of apologizing. Do all of us, regardless of where we come down on the side of interfaith worship and community chaplaincy, have the grace to accept their apologies?

Have they modeled failure, or have they modeled real Christian confession and forgiveness? I think they have modeled the latter. Such things are always messy. When was sin ever clean? Only when it has been forgiven.

Furthermore, the new life claimed in forgiveness frees us once again to pour out our lives for our neighbors. It is my prayer that we not get so entangled in puzzling over this pastor's apology that we fail to continue to love and care for all the families still grieving after that terrible tragedy. And we need to remember that that pastor is grieving, too.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

In Memory of the 10th Anniversary of My Ordination

Liturgy at  the Ordination
of Clint Schnekloth
February 9th, 2003

The Word

Prelude  Praise to the Lord, the Almighty       C. Phillips
Opening Hymn LBW #230:  Lord, Keep Us Steadfast
Apostolic Greeting                                           LBW, p. 57
Prayer of the Day                                 
First Reading: Romans 11:25-32
Psalm 95 (sung responsively, cantor begins)    LBW, p. 260
Gospel:  John 21:15-17 
Sermon                                                  Pastor Andris Sedlins
Apostle's Creed                                                            LBW, p. 65
Hymn of the Day LBW #396: O God, O Lord

The Ordination

P:  I present for ordination to the holy ministry of Word and Sacrament Clint Allan Schnekloth, who has been prepared, examined, and certified for this ministry and who has been called by the Church to the office of pastor.
C:  Thanks be to God.


P1:  According to apostolic usage you are now to be set apart to the office of Word and Sacrament in one holy catholic Church by the laying on of hands and by prayer.
P2:  Our Lord Jesus Christ says:  "Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.  Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."  (John 20:21-23)

P2:  And again: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.  (Matt. 28:18-20)

P3:  St. Paul writes:  I receive from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me."  In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new testament in my blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.  (1 Cor. 11:23-26)

B:  Before almighty God, to whom you must give account, and in the presence of this congregation, I ask:  Will you assume this office, believing that the Church's call is God's call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament?
O:  I will, and I ask God to help me.

B:  The Church in which you are to be ordained confesses that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and are the norm of its faith and life.  We accept, teach, and confess the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds.  We also acknowledge the Lutheran Confessions as true witnesses and faithful expositions of Holy Scriptures.  Will you therefore preach and teach in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and these creeds and confessions?
O:  I will, and I ask God to help me.

B:  Will you be diligent in your study of the Holy Scriptures and in your use of the means of grace?  Will you pray for God's people, nourish them with the Word and Holy Sacraments, and lead them by your own example in faithful service and holy living?
O:  I will, and I ask God to help me.

B:  Will you give faithful witness in the world, that God's love may be known in all that you do?
O:  I will, and I ask God to help me.

B:  Almighty God, who has given you the will to do these things, graciously give you the strength and compassion to perform them.

Prayers of the Church
B: ... Lord, in your mercy,
C:  Hear our prayer.

Ordinand kneels
B:  The Lord be with you.
C:  And also with you.
B:  Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
C:  It is right to give him thanks and praise.

B:  Holy God, mighty Lord, gracious Father, we bless you for your infinite love in Christ our Lord, in whom we have redemption and forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace.  We thank you that by his death your Son has overcome death and, having been raised by your mighty power, has ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.  We praise you that Christ has poured out his gifts abundantly on the Church, making some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, to equip your people for their work of ministry for building up the body of Christ.

B:  Eternal God, through your Son, Jesus Christ, pour out your Holy Spirit upon Clint and fill him with the gifts of grace for the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

B:  Bless his proclamation of your Word and administration of your Sacraments, O Lord, so that your church may be gathered for praise and strengthened for service.  Make him a faithful pastor, a patient teacher, and a wise counselor.  Grant that in all things he may serve without reproach, that your people may be renewed and your name be glorified in the Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.

O:  Amen.

Stole is placed over shoulders of ordinand

P1:  Receive this stole as a sign of your work, and walk in obedience to the Lord Jesus, serving his people and re and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  (Matt. 11:28-30)

Ministers Address the Newly Ordained

B:  The God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever.
C:  Amen.

Ministers and newly ordained face the congregation
B:  Will you, assembled as the people of God and speaking for the whole Church, receive Clint as a messenger of Jesus Christ sent to serve God's people with the Gospel of hope and salvation?  Will you regard him as a servant of Christ?
C:  We will.

B:  Will you pray for him, help and honor him for his work's sake, and in all things strive to live together in the peace and unity of Christ?
C:  We will.

B:  Let it be acclaimed that Clint is ordained a minister in the Church of Christ.  He has Christ's authority to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments, serving God's people.

C:  Amen.  Thanks be to God.membering his promise:  "Come to me, all who labor

The peace of the Lord be with you always.
C:  And also with you.

Sharing of the Peace

The Lord's Supper

Offering Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ  J.S. Bach

All offerings at this service will be donated to
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services


Offertory hymn, Let the Vineyards                   LBW, p.67
Prayer    Merciful Father...                                           
The Great Thanksgiving
Words of Institution                                        
The Lord’s Prayer                                            LBW, p. 71


Distribution of the Lord's Supper
Blessing & Benediction
Postlude                        “Fugue in G Major”  J.S. Bach
 you are invited to remain seated for the postlude
Please join us in the Commons for coffee, cake & ice cream following the liturgy!

A heartfelt thank you to everyone present here today.  Some of you traveled many miles to be here, and that gift alone makes it a special day.  Thank you to Pastors Peter Marty, Ron Huber, and Jennifer Henry for hosting and assisting; to Pastor Andris Sedlins, our preacher; to Bishop George Carlson of the South Central Wisconsin Synod, our ordinator; to Melanie Moll, our organist; to Hans Schnekloth and Dave Holtz, our offering collectors; to Harris Schneekloth for setting up the reception space; to Karin Hanson as well as the women’s circle, who graciously volunteered to help with the reception; to the members of St. Paul Lutheran Church who have continued to support me in preparation for ordained ministry in the Church of Christ; to the members of St. John’s Lutheran Church who have called me into the ministry; and finally, to my family, John & Cynthia Schnekloth, who gave the beautiful gift of a red stole symbolizing Pentecost and used at ordinations, Mildred Schnekloth who helped in many ways with the reception, and Amanda Grell, for input and constant support.  Much more could be said here by way of thanks.  “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Philipians 4:23).