By Pastor Jorden and Kristin Mueller
This Wednesday, May 22, 2019, we will celebrate the end of another semester of school and another season of Community Gatherings. Community Gatherings is a Wednesday night ministry that began in August of 2017. Each semester that we have offered this ministry we have been adjusting the format, schedule, and content to best serve the needs of our congregation. From the very beginning, we envisioned Community Gatherings being a place where everyone, from our youngest congregants to our oldest, could come together and share in a meal and then share time in formation options across the campus. This semester continued in that same desire. We have been blessed with another wonderful season of meals made each and every week. On the first Wednesdays of the month the Schmfissel Group makes the meal, and on the other Wednesdays of the month, Amber Hatke has been managing and coordinating the meals. We are very grateful for their faithful service and delicious food!
Our children’s groups saw over 30 children throughout the spring semester, from nursery through 4th grade. Children in preschool through 4th grade spent 13 weeks studying the Beatitudes, from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. We took an in-depth look at Matthew 5:1-12, and covered various concepts like working for peace, comforting those who are sad, and having pure hearts. Each week we spent time studying God’s Word, playing games, sharing snacks, and doing hands-on activities to apply the Biblical concept. We saw many children get to know each other better and grow in friendship throughout the semester!
Our 5th through 8th-grade group saw over 30 youths throughout the spring semester as well. The youth spent time exploring four different studies from the BLESS curriculum produced by the Evangelical Covenant Church to understanding how they are impacted or impacting the world around them. Each week they spent time together playing games, hearing from God's word, and learning more about the role that God has called them to in his kingdom.
This semester we offered a number of options for the adults to choose from. We had conversations on financial peace and the legacy we leave, we discussed the complex realities of race in our world and the role that we can play in that conversation, we spent time exploring God's gift of marriage and how we can strengthen our marriage, and we spent time exploring our Good and Beautiful God and the Sermon on the Mount. This semester we saw around 75 adults engaging in studies across our campus on Wednesday nights.
We are excited for the slower pace of summer...but we can't wait to start up again next Fall. Our first Community Gathering in the fall will be on Wednesday, September 11, 2019! We can't wait to see you there.
By Carol Smith
Over the last few years we have put a display together for our graduating seniors. It is always a joy to look through the pictures and look back on their time with us as a church. Some of them you will remember from their childhood and some you may not even recognize, but they all have a place here at ECC.
Transition is difficult for all ages and generations, and it is especially hard for this age group. Join me in prayers for this transition, as they are no longer a “teen” in youth group but not quite considered an adult. Statistically, we often see this transition as a time many leave the church, but that doesn’t have to be our statistic. One way you could help with this is getting to know our teens BEFORE they leave for college. Invite them into ministry work you are doing. Have coffee or lunch with them or even volunteer in youth ministry areas. But I digress.
This group of 19 seniors are an eager group and ready to tackle what life has ahead of them. We will be celebrating them May 19th at the 10:30am service. I would like to challenge you, church, to find ways to encourage these seniors during their next steps in life.
Seniors are not the only ones transitioning. Confirmation will be celebrated on May 19 in the first service. Many of our teens have patiently gone through two years of The Journey and will be celebrated that Sunday. We are excited to see them tackle questions of the faith and grow in their beliefs through the last two year. It will be a mornings of celebration!