Living Word Lutheran Church annual report
2020 a year in review
Contents Message from Pastor Discipleship Ministry Joyful Moments Virtual Worship Music Ministry Financials The Learning Center
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Dear friends in Christ, I write my 2020 Annual Report with mixed emotions (gratitude and sorrow). I am filled with gratitude for our council, our staff and all of you who brought innovation and creativity to our ministry during this season of personal distancing. I am grateful for the commitment you have shown by remaining faithful to our churchâ€™s mission and vision even in the face of a global pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. I give God thanks for your steadfast love and dedication. COVID-19 kept us physically apart. The doors of our edifice were closed for an extended period, but our ministries continued unabated. Though we were physically distanced, we are always spiritually connected in Christ, because the church (Greek: Ekklesia) is not bricks & mortar or beautiful stained glass windows. YOU ARE the church. WE ARE the church. The church is alive around dinner tables when families gather for a meal.
A Message From Pastor Emmanuel
Living Word is alive when we support our local and global partners through our financial gifts, and through our acts of accompaniment. Living Word is alive when we resource other communities in their journey of faith. Living Word is alive through our virtual platforms that have reached more than 2000 viewers weekly through worship and other weekly ministries. We have had more than 75,000 connections via social media in 2020. It is impossible to tangibly measure the impact of our work in 2020. We can only assume that the Holy Spirit was facilitating these connections by bringing God’s grace and peace to troubled hearts and minds during these difficult times. To God be the glory. I am also filled with sorrow. Sorrow, because we miss each of you. We miss our seniors and elderly who have borne the brunt of the burden of social isolation. We miss our children, youth and young adults who have had to learn and grow virtually. We miss our army of volunteers who have shown up weekly and made a difference in people’s lives. I miss shaking your hands and sharing hugs after worship. Yet, we take comfort in knowing that this too shall pass, and we will get through this TOGETHER. We take comfort in God’s promise that we are not alone. The Psalmist writes, “yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for YOU ARE WITH ME.” (Psalm 23)
Looking into the future, we have chosen a theme for 2021: CONNECT. If COVID has taught us anything it is that we were created and wired for connections. We chose this theme because Jesus is all about connection. Jesus connects us to God and to one another. We chose this theme because it is theologically and sociologically relevant at this time. If there was ever a time we needed to feel more connected, THAT TIME IS NOW. God created us for community. God created us for connection. That is why we have chosen the verses of II Corinthians 5:17-20 to support our theme. “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We are Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter God’s work of making things right between them”. (II Corinthians 5:17-20 The Message) If we are going to survive and thrive during these difficult times, we must reestablish our bonds of connection. Beginning in Lent, look for more information on our newly formed connect groups. These connect groups will foster prayer, sharing, caring and support. They will ensure no one in our community feels abandoned or forgotten. We are ONE. Our 2021 Theme, CONNECT, will also focus on 4 distinct areas: 1. Divine/Human connection 2. Local connection 3. Regional connection 4. Global connection I am excited about how God is reestablishing our connects us in 2021. In closing, I invite you to pause in remembrance of those we lost in 2020. May we live each day cognizant of those who have died by honoring their memories and leading lives of care and compassion. In Christ, Emmanuel Jackson Lead Pastor, LWLC
DISCIPLESHIP This has been a hard and unprecedented year. The first few months began and ministry took place in much the normal ways as it always had. As you all know in March life took a huge shift when Covid-19 became a worldwide pandemic, and the Discipleship Ministry Team (as well as the rest of the church staff) had to figure out how to create meaningful ministry remotely. Over the past 10 months many ministries have all been revamped or created from scratch. These ministries are highlighted on the next page. There is a possibility there are more ministries that we are forgetting, but overall, it has been an incredibly busy year. We hope you have been able to engage in some of these ministries during this time of social distancing and that they have helped you continue your faith journey â€“ even during all of the craziness! In peace, Pastor Ariel & Mark
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Discipleship Themes Sunday School Confirmation High School Youth Group Young Adult Group Adult Faith Formation (Pastor Emmanuel Study, Pastor Ariel Book Study, Pastor Ariel Visio Divina) Milestones Ministries – Outdoor Confirmation Milestone Guitar Lessons Trivia Night Story Time Coffee with the Pastors Faith & Fitness with Pastor Emmanuel Pen Pal Ministry
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Happy to Be Together Hour Service Projects (Lunches of Love Bags, Greeting Cards for Hospital Workers, Placemats for Kairos Prison Ministries) Call to Action / Love Your Neighbor Campaigns (Mask Drive, Hand Sanitizer Drive, Coat Drive) Communal Art Projects Ministry Kits (Summer, Fall, Advent/Christmas) Virtual Splash Sunday Virtual Day Camp with Lutherhill Ministries Story, Song, & Snack Summer Reading Challenge Drive Thru Blessing
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Pet Blessing Fantasy Football Daily Prayers and Expanded Social Media Ministry Taste & See Blog & Live Cooking with Pastor Ariel Advent Text Devotions Advent Food for Thought Questions Advent Virtual Dinner Church Winter Solstice sing Women’s Retreat
A Very Covid Christmas! Our High School Youth Group wasnâ€™t able to gather and decorate our sanctuary together as in years past. But the Carlton family stepped up and made our space more beautful than ever.
Ministry Kits are FUN! Our Discipleship Ministry team created at home ministry kits that allowed kids and families to create, learn and worship at home utilizing the resources Living Word was able to provide them. Below Jaime (Salem, OR) shows off the ornament he made using our Advent Kit.
Call to Action! Living Word members generously donated coats for the homeless teenages and adults served by Montrose Grace Place. Kids coats benefited Katy Christian Ministires.
Staff perfected their â€œSelfieâ€? Skills! With ministires going virtual over time our staff found creative ways to create content and entertain each other in the process.
Bagging up Blessings! Living Word members decorated over 500 hangs for Lunches of Love. As students grabed their meals our messages of hope and love brightened their day.
PJs, Pastors and Stories... Oh MY! Some of our youngest community members connected with us for nightly Story Time. These two even read along at home in thier own Spark Bibles.
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Since COVID-19, virtual worship has transformed congregations around the world. Living Word has been incredibly blessed with the staff and resources to not merely create online worship services, but to do so in a way that is meaningful and inspiring. Additionally, Living Word has created content from services, to virtual music performances to online camps that have blessed people around the world.
Music Ministries at Living Word Lutheran Church Vocalizing in a Virtual World! In 2020, Living Word Music Ministries were forced to adapt quickly. In March, as the pandemic swiftly led to closures and social distancing our music ministires, under the guidence of Barry Sames and Chelsea Lerner, had only a matter of days to figure out how to lead worship virtually. Over the course of the year our Music Ministry teams continued to provide music for 2 weekly worship services and special services like Holy Week, Easter, Winter Solstice Sing and Christmas. Musicians spent countless hours rehearsing, recording and performing to create powerful renditions of our hymns and songs.
In addition to our normal worship services, our music ministries coordinated with our Discipleship Ministries and Media Team to create content for dinner church, special services. Though the pandemic did not allow our music groups to meet in person we were able to gather virtually. Our Drama Club expanded to ZOOM as did the Jewels Childrens Choir, Bells and Adult Choir and music groups. Additionally, we produced a weekly live “Musical Moments” where Director of Worship Arts, Barry Sames, engaged with viewers online at the piano.
In 2019 Living Word established a new drama ministry. Our talented members spent months rehearsing and preparing to present “Esther the Musical” in 2020. Regretably there were unable to present the performance. We continue to be hopeful to share it with all of you in 2021.
Although we were unable to experience it in person our musicians still found a way to WOW us with their musical gifts. In December Living Word premiered our first ever virtual cantata. Each voice, instrument and part was individually recorded with both video and audio tracks then masterfully combined into a marvelous celebration of Advent. In all it took more than 100 hours of production, recording and editing.
Virtual Cantata A Musical Celebration!
The Learning Center is the largest outreach ministry of Living Word! We are proud to serve families of both the church and the surrounding community.
Interesting statistics about The Learning Center in 2020: • 97 children registered • 19 new families registered to begin the 2020-2021 school year • 15 Living Word families • 2 teachers renewed their Child Development Associate Degree • 1 teacher and the Director each celebrated their 15-year anniversary with TLC • Our Administrative Assistant celebrated their 5-year anniversary with TLC In 2020… • TLC had a successful re-accreditation visit from the National Accreditation Commission • The Learning Center was closed during the months of April and May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday, May 22 we hosted our first-ever outdoor Pre-K Graduation. • 33 Pre-K children graduated in the class of 2020; 9 of these graduates had been with TLC since Infancy! • TLC offered supervised Katy Virtual Academy for the 2020-2021 school year • Through TLC’s Annual Food Drive, our families donated 455 lbs of food to Katy Christian Ministries
Created by Living Word Lutheran Church
A review of ministries at Living Word Lutheran Church in 2020.