Would you like to put an announcement in the Sunday bulletin? Please send the text to the
by Thursday noon.
Sunday 09 March 2014: Bulletin announcements.
Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ –
On this last Sunday as interim pastor, I want to thank you all for the opportunity of once again serving as pastor of this remarkable congregation. It has been a privilege to serve as your pastor. Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel. It has been a remarkable interim of 17 months with much to celebrate –
• Our Governance Working Group completed two years of hard work with a revised congregational constitution that was approved by our Congregational Assembly and the Church Council.
• We have grown in membership even as we have bid fare well and God be with you (i.e. “Good-bye”) to dear members of our congregation – some who have been members for many years and others for only several months.
• We have grown in our financial stewardship with increased offering contributions from 2012 through 2013.
• We challenged ourselves with a “stretch budget” for 2013 and increased our giving from 10% to 12.5% beyond our walls through sharing projects.
• Several Focus Groups have given us considerable data and information with which we can begin short, medium and long-range strategic planning for our mission and ministries.
• We have navigated unexpected transitions as we gave thanks to God for the ministry of Marian Frerichs and welcomed Donna Phillips as our new administrative assistant; and gave thanks to God for the service of Andrew Peter as we now welcome Joy Gasatan-Cadangen as our new accountant.
• 10 people have been baptized into Christ’s Church (4 more soon will be baptized), celebrated 3 marriages and commended to God 5 who died.
• The Gospel has been proclaimed in Word, sermon and song, the Sacraments celebrated with joy and thanksgiving; people from age 3 to 93 have been nurtured through Christian education, pastoral care, The Geneva Lutheran and the remarkable outreach ministry of videos on our church web site.
Thanks be to God for this amazing congregation!
Amidst the celebration, there is also some unfinished business, and continuing transitions so I hope you will embrace these challenges and opportunities:
• Our Outreach Concern Group meets today with a new coordinator, Marit Bauer-Moore, and the task of identifying a new editor for The Geneva Lutheran and how better to communicate within and beyond our congregation.
• Our Fellowship Concern Group meets this week to reflect on our Neighborhood Groups and consider possible realignments of them and re-energizing of them.
• Our Stewardship Concern Group has been asked to bring a proposal for an every member visitation to educate and motivate ourselves about our financial life together as we seek to meet 2014 budget commitments and goals. They will also consider how to involve more of us in our mission and ministry life together.
• Our Nurture Concern Group meets soon with a new coordinator, Peter Prove, to engage the challenges of youth and young adult ministries along with on-going nurture and educational ministries for all ages.
• Our Sharing Concern Group meets soon with a new coordinator, Maria Lucia Uribe Torres, to continue the task of identifying new sharing concern projects and educating our congregation about the many ways in which our 15% of total income is being used to extend Christ’s compassion and mercy throughout the world.
• We have many households who have become inactive in recent months. Have you also missed them at church? We need to re-engage and encourage these households to become involved once more in our congregational life.
• How might we be more involved in BELK – the Federation of Lutheran Churches in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein?
• Our 2014 Annual Assembly will be held in 11 weeks – we’ll reflect on the past year and look ahead to the 2014 – 2015 program year, we’ll elect new members to our Congregation Council, we’ll dream dreams of new mission and envision ministries within and beyond our congregation. How will you be involved? Where will you serve?
While I will no longer be the interim pastor, I will continue to be an active member of our congregation and look forward to engaging these challenges and opportunities with you.
How will you be involved? How will you engage these challenges and opportunities alongside our new pastor? How is God calling you to servanthood and ministry at this time in your life?
God has richly blessed us as a congregation – we have a debt-free building to use for worship, programs and office space; we are a vibrant congregation of Lutheran, ecumenical and international diversity; we have marvelous staff serving our English congregation (1 – brand new full-time pastor, 1 - 50% time administrative assistant, 1 - 20% time music director (who celebrates his 25th anniversary with us this year!), 1 hourly organist and 1 hourly accountant) and the entire Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva shared with the German congregation: (1 hourly organist, 1 hourly accountant, 1 live-in part-time concierge and 1 hourly cleaning staff).
We are blessed to be a blessing to others. This Season of Lent as we journey from the ashes of Ash Wednesday to the new fire of Easter’s resurrection light it’s a fine time to reflect on how we will contribute our time and abilities from the abundant gifts God has given to each of us. Please give prayerful and careful thought to how you will support our congregation financially and with your God-gifted time and talents as we welcome our new pastor, Rev. Andy Willis, and his family to serve among us. And please keep Pastor Andy, Grete and Trygve in your prayers in these coming weeks and months as they make Geneva their home and enter into the life of our congregation.
Thank you all.
And thanks be to God!
Pastor Stephen Larson
For more on our new pastor, please go to the link on the right side of the home page - thank you.
12,000 Thanks! Thank you especially to the creative imagination and boundless energy of Marian and Jonathan Frerichs for last Sunday’s auction action to raise funds for our congregational budget to assist in moving the Willis family to Geneva. As of today, over CHF 12,000 has been raised! Thank you all for your generous participation. And thank you to the many people who have volunteered labor to help prepare the parsonage apartment for the Willis family. Over 300 hours of volunteer labor have been contributed!! Thank you all!
Bible Study on the Gospel of Matthew has begun and meets Tuesdays at 19h30. Miriam Deffenbaugh is leading this study of The Gospel of Matthew: God With Us. Please sign up today and receive a copy of the study guide. The cost of the study guide is CHF 20.
We will be receiving new members again in March. If you are interested in becoming a regular or associate member of our congregation, please contact Pastor Larson.
Valerie's Traditional English Orange Marmalade is on sale after the service today. All proceeds go to our church.
New Members: We will be receiving new members again in March. If you are interested in becoming a regular or associate member of our congregation, please contact the church office, or as of next week, Pastor Andy Willis.
Coming Soon to a church near you! Mark your calendars:
4 May Easter III A joint worship service with the Swedish Congregation
25 May Easter VI Our 2014 Annual Assembly
29 May Ascension Day Join our choir in singing on the mountain top at “The Art Church” The church of Notre-Dame de Toute Grâce du Plateau d’Assy (Our Lady Full of Grace of the Plateau d’Assy) is a French Roman Catholic church, constructed between 1937 and 1946 on the plateau d’Assy facing Mont Blanc.
New calendar arrangement for rooms reservations. As of the first of January the church office has begun using Google Calendar to coordinate rooms scheduling with the German-Speaking Congregation. Consequently there will no longer be a large wall calendar in the sacristy. If you would like to reserve a room, please contact Donna Phillips in the church office to check on availability.
Ecumenical Lenten Study Groups are forming throughout the Geneva area. They will discuss Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. There will be several groups offered on various dates, times and locations, including our church which will sponsor one of the study groups on Wednesdays at noon. The book is available on Amazon or on Kindle; if you are interested in ordering a copy, please speak with Pastor Larson. The six-part study will explore the spiritual disciplines of meditation, simplicity, worship, prayer, solitude and celebration.
Do you know what BELK stands for? Did you know that Elisabeth Benn of our congregation is the President of BELK? “BELK” is the German acronym for the Federation of Lutheran Churches in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Our congregation is the only English-speaking Lutheran Church in Switzerland and we are a member of BELK along with German, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and Danish-speaking congregations in Geneva, Lausanne, Basel, Bern, Zurich and Vaduz.
On 12 February, Elisabeth Benn and several BELK pastors met in Bern with Dr Locher, President of the Schweizerischer Evangelischer Kirchenbund (Federation of Swiss Evangelical Churches).
On Easter Monday, 21 April, Elisabeth Benn will be in Tessin to attend an Ecumenical Vesper Service of the “Working Group of Christian Churches in Switzerland” and sign a document of mutual recognition of Baptism among Swiss churches.
On 18 May there will be a Kirchentag (Church Day Festival) in Basel with the theme, Sing to the Lord a New Song. Several BELK-sponsored workshops will be held at the Evangelisch-Lutherisches Kirche in Basel: a choir workshop, a drum-building workshop for children and parents, a Bible discussion, and a Psalm-writing workshop. For more information check <www.luther-basel.ch>. (More about BELK on this website: via "associative links" on the homepage.)
NB: Spam Alert Our church email address seems to have been identified as spam in many personal inboxes. In order to stay in touch with our congregation and to avoid having our email messages rejected by your server, kindly add our email address to your contacts or favorites list: <