The Pastor’s Ponderings Pastor David’s cell phone—765-330-4170 and email address —firstname.lastname@example.org The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. -Psalm 51:19 My heart broke during our final meal together. After a monthand-a-half of separation, we met in a neutral place - a local cafe in Rogers Park, Chicago. As we sat and ate, we both knew that our marriage, not quite three years old, was over. There wasn't much to say, other than the "how-are-yous" and "how is work". At one point, I said, "It's over, isn't it?" She replied with a simple, "Yes." Though our divorce turned out to be relatively simple, we still lashed out at each other with anger from time to time, me perhaps more than her. My broken heart spurred me to irrational thoughts and actions. What I realized later was that I was mourning a death. When we mourn, we can do crazy things. We can find ourselves laughing one moment and drowning under tears the next. We can be calm one moment, and shivering with fury the next. Our hearts can oscillate between love and hate; guilt and fear;
shame and self-vindication. Grief has no clear path. And in the aftermath of grief, we take our bruised, battered heart and try to patch it over the best we can. We might try to patch ourselves up in unhealthy ways - in inappropriate relationships, in alcohol, or in lashing out at others. Even the healthy measures we may take can seem insufficient to dull the pain. Friends can only empathize with you so much. Therapists can only serve as support for an hour a week. Only when I hit bottom did I realize that God had been caring for my broken heart the entire time. The love of my congregation, the offers of temporary free housing, and the support of a group of alsodivorced men in the congregation showed God's presence to me when I felt nothing but absence. When I could not pray, the Body of Christ prayed for me and for her. When I could not take another step, God gave me the strength to crawl. God likes broken hearts. It sounds cruel, but it is not. When we are humbled by life's failures and disappointments, we can sense God close at hand. This is one of the paradoxes of the Christian faith. God
is often a "hidden" God, not revealed in the means and ways we expect to find him, but in their opposites. Jesus, for example, came into his kingdom and glory NOT at the resurrection, but when he was put to death on the cross. It is only in failure and death that we can see life's promises begin to sprout. God can use broken hearts for amazing things. God takes the shards left behind, and remakes it. He remakes us. Our broken, shattered lives and hearts become the building blocks of a stronger, more Christ-like person. It's tough to grow when everything goes well and you experience repeated triumph. It's in the low moments that renewal and re-creation happen. Lent is a season of re-creation. In this season of the church year, we take a close look at ourselves and our brokenness. If we have the courage to look, we might be amazed at what God is doing with our brokenness. We might be amazed at what God's grace can do through us and for others. God grant us the courage to look within ourselves to see his healing, re-creating work amid the brokenness of our lives. See you in church! Pr. David
Ash Wednesday and Lenten Services Zion’s Ash Wednesday Service with the Imposition of Ashes and the celebration of Holy Communion will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the church sanctuary on March 5th. Lenten Services will be held in the fellowship hall on Wednesday evenings from March 12th - April 9th at 7:00 p.m.
Parish Register Bill Musselman passed away on Saturday, February 22nd, at Peabody Retirement Center in North Manchester. Pastor David Fleener will officiate at Bill’s funeral service at Keplinger Funeral Home on February 26th. Burial will be private at the Hartford City Cemetery. Our sympathy goes out to Bill’s family. “If we have died with Christ, we shall also live with him; if we are faithful to the end, we shall reign with him.”
The services will be preceded by a Soup Supper beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Soup Suppers will be prepared by different committees and groups in the congregation as follows: March 12th - Worship/Music/
Memorial Committee March 19th - Congregational Council March 26th - Choir members April 2nd - Parish Education Committee and Pastor David April 9th - Adult Sunday School Class Everyone is invited to attend and join in the fellowship at the soup suppers and services.
Help a Hero!
Zion Lutheran Stewardship Woman have a new project for the month of March and they would like your help. The woman will be collecting salty snacks to send to Operation Stars & Stripes. Salty treats are hard to come by for soldiers serving over seas, making them one of the top-requested snack items from home. So if you have ex-
tra unopened, unexpired single serving-sized packages of potato chips, pretzels, roasted sunflower seeds or peanuts, beef jerky or microwave popcorn, please donate them for care packages for our troops. A box will be placed at the back of the sanctuary for your donations or you may also place them on the table in the fellowship hall. The salty treats will be collected the entire month of March.
Don’t forget to direct Thrivent Choice Dollars® Thrivent Choice Dollars grant funds can help support organizations you care about. Don’t let your designated Choice Dollars expire.
Eligible members of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans who have been designated Choice Dollars have until March 31, 2014, to direct any re-
maining 2013 Choice Dollars®. Help support Zion Lutheran Church. Go to Thrivent.com/thriventchoice or call 800-THRIVENT and state “Thrivent Choice®.”
January Council Minutes The Congregation Council met on January 14, 2014. Present: Pastor David Fleener, Chris Coy, Pat Gillis, John Hendricks, Denise Hile, Cindy Knote, Allen Stallsmith, Megan Stroble, Neil Stroble and Carolyn Zigler Absent: Scott Clamme, Chris Stroble and Linda Walker Chris Coy called the meeting to order and Pastor David Fleener gave devotions. Council minutes were approved. Correspondence: Hartford City Fire Dept. is requesting funds to help provide fire prevention information to the children of Blackford County from the National Fire Safety Council, Inc. Cindy Knote made a motion to send $51.25 for material for 25 children, John Hendricks seconded. Approved. Pastor’s Report: Neil Stroble will be on the Pastor’s Parish Committee. Pastoral care and Lay Team: No Lay Team report from December yet. Pastor’s statistics: visited 5 shut-ins; 6 sick and hospital visits; 3 pastoral visits, 2 memorial services (assist), 1 funeral.
Christian Education; The confirmation final exam will be administered on January 27th. Caroling at Common Grounds was a success, we will try for more people. Committee Reports: Parish Education & Youth: Linda Walker will be on the Parish Education Committee. Worship/Music/Memorial Committee: Denise Hile will be on the Worship/Music/Memorial Committee. We checked with Piano Solutions in Carmel, IN about repairing the cracks around the rim of our grand piano. The cost to repair damage will be $895. Moving would be $175 x 2 trips = $350. For a total cost of $1245. Pat Gillis made a motion to pay to get the piano repaired. Cindy Knote seconded. Approved. Land Use Committee: Chris Coy will be on the Land Use Committee. Motion to accept committee reports by Neil Stroble, seconded by Cindy Knote. Approved. Council Reports—Deacons: Dec. 1st - 87 attended and 84 communed; Dec. 4th - 18 attended; Dec. 8th - 77 attended and 73 communed; Dec. 11th - cancelled; Dec. 15th - 60 attended and 55 communed; Dec.
18th - 13 attended; Dec. 22nd - 85 attended and 70 communed; Dec. 24th - 126 attended and 100 communed; Dec. 29th - 113 attended and 80 communed; Jan. 5th - cancelled; Jan. 12th - 92 attended and 81 communed. Trustees: Neil Stroble said that the garage door at the parsonage is to be fixed. John Hendricks had nothing to report. Financial Secretaries: The new ladies were welcomed. Treasurer: Pat Gillis reported that not all December deposits are on the checking account balance. Old Business: Council approved a budget for 2014 to be approved by the congregation at the Annual Meeting. New Business: Pastor David will ask Dennis Walker to audit the treasurer’s books for the Annual Meeting. The meeting was closed with all praying the Lord’s Prayer. The next scheduled meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. Chris Coy will give the devotions. Submitted by, Carolyn Zigler, Recording Secretary
March 2014 Lay Ministry Servers March 2 March 9 March 16 March 23 March 30
Greeters Barb Hardwick—Helen Stroble Dennis and Debbie Walker—Bill and Joretta Hiday Owen and Mary Ehlers—Tom and Peggy Willmann Louise Clamme—Pat Gillis Barb Hardwick—Jim and Betty Rinker
March 2 March 5 March 9 March 16 March 23 March 30
Ushers Allen Stallsmith, Cindy Knote, Scott Clamme and Don Goetz Allen Stallsmith and Cindy Knote Cindy Knote, Don Goetz, Buck Sharp and Orville Uggen Scott Clamme, Don Goetz, Buck Sharp and Orville Uggen Allen Stallsmith, Don Goetz, Buck Sharp and Orville Uggen Allen Stallsmith, Don Goetz, Buck Sharp and Orville Uggen
March 2 March 5 March 9 March 16 March 23 March 30
Lectors Virginia Langdon Kathy Sharp Nolan Willman Jody Stanley Carolyn Goetz Neil Stroble
March Birthdays Carolyn Zigler Wade Carnes Chris Stroble Chris Coy Joyce Willmann Imogene Schmidt Brent Walker Angie Weddle Betty Rinker Susan Cook Scott Clamme Isola Banter Betty Walker Helen Stroble
3-2 3-8 3-8 3-11 3-12 3-16 3-16 3-17 3-19 3-23 3-26 3-28 3-30 3-31
Assisting Ministers March 2 Jody Stanley March 5 Sarah Fleener March 9 Ben Kizer March 16 Denise Hile March 23 Mark Prout March 30 Chris Coy
The Zion Herald
“Happy are those whose strength is in God, In whose heart are the highways to Zion.” (Psalm 84:5)
Zion Lutheran Church 308 S. Monroe Street Hartford City, IN 47348
U Serving the Lord in Gladness U
David Fleener, Pastor Church Office: 348-3157 email@example.com www.zionhartfordcity.org
Sunday School at 9:15 AM followed by Worship at 10:30 AM