Becoming a Sanctuary Denomination - ELCA Churchwide

In early August, the ELCA held our tri-annual Churchwide Assembly.  Much occured during that week, but one thing in particular has garnered the attention of the media, elevating the ELCA to the nightly news.  At the assembly, churchwide "approved a resolution declaring the ELCA a 'sanctuary church body,' encouraging participating in the ELCA AMMPARO initative for migrant children, discernment of care for our immigrant neighbors in our context, and the promise of forthcoming resources for this work."  

Now, with so much information readily avaible and numerous places for conversation, I feel compelled to share what the ELCA is saying about what this means for us as a church body, a congregation and as individuals.  Here you can find a deliniation of what becoming a "sanctuary denomination" means for us as the wider church, individual congregations and individual members of the ELCA. 

I encourage you to take time to read and absorb this information about what this is, and what this isn't.  You can also find a video on Facebook here, that also helps provide information and clarification.  It's important to know the facts and the expectations regarding what this really means for us all.  As you digest, please do not hesitate to connect with me if you have any other questions, concerns or wondergins particulalry in regards to Minneola's role and ministry.  My door is always open. 
A Sustaining Connection 

 September has simply flown by and that is in large part due to the fact that we have started up our programmatic year again.  So the weeks are filled up with Sunday School, worship, Confirmation and Bible studies.  I for one, love the energy and joy of September but I also realize it is a season it will pass.  The energy is literally not sustainable but the power of connection, the draw of “coming home” to church and the comfort provided are elements of that September energy which can be sustained year round and throughout our lifetime.

As the Minneola faith community moves into October we once again have the opportunity to participate in the sustainability of connecting to the church in a variety of ways.  On Sunday October 6th and adult forum is being offered.  It is a time to come and enter into fellowship and relationship.  We will hear about the calls and passions of one of our own, Rebecca Sjolander.  During worship on the 6th we will be celebrating Campus Ministry Sunday with guests from the Winona Campus Center helping to lead worship.   So often we forget those young adults who leave home and enter their college years, but Campus Ministry helps provide that place, that connection for young people in our Synod.

You can stay connected to our local church through our Fall Congregational meeting after church on the 6th and God’s work through the global church by joining us as we host a prayer vigil commemorating 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down.  On the 13th we will celebrate the ministry our community participates in annually to share God’s love and comfort throughout the world and also to share in local fellowship in the form of a potluck.  And lastly we will close out our month with a celebration of Luther’s Reformation and the Confirmation of three of our young people.

This month provides us a multitude of opportunities to stay connected, to experience that moment of “coming home” to church and to dwell in the comfort God provides through this faith community.  This is one of God’s greatest gifts to us all, each other and our community.  Come as you are called and may God who has created this community, reveal your place and your gifts within it and to it. Amen.

- Pr. Hannah