The Reverend Doctor Nathan Corl Minnich, STS
Ordained Lutheran Pastor of the North American Lutheran Church
Peace be with you!
Here we are at the beginning of a new season of fall activities, school for the children, Sunday School after church, and the slow signs of color overtaking the green growth of summer. This is the 11th year we have been together in this ministry and although there are certainly similarities year after year; the differences abound.
As I think back over this past decade there are faces missing, new ones around, and ministries that we could not have even imagined. Change forces us to adapt and grow, as long as we are focused on what lies ahead. Rather than always looking back, wondering why things are not the way they were we must look forward and wonder what things can become.
As I’m sure many of you have noticed lately, we’ve been working on solidifying the staff procedures here at Salem. With the addition of a Deacon, the support of a Parish Nurse, and the countless others who are involved daily in the ministry here we are beginning to define Salem’s ministry in such a way that needs are met, and ministry roles become well-defined and productive. So, you may be asking “what does this actually mean?” Well, it is quite simple. We are seeking to use the ministry of each branch of our staff to its best possible outcome. This means the encouragement of the council for each of these branches to develop their ministry according to the needs of the congregation, the community, and the wider church all while maintaining a manageable use of time, space, and energy. For example, if you’ve been in the Ed. Building you might have noticed we’re making the Pastor’s study into a meeting room! This will allow the council, small committees, classes, and planning all to happen in a convenient space.
We are also building a lending library in that room so that among out members we can share the wealth of literary knowledge we have all collected but would rather share than let sit silent on our own shelves.
The Deacon is already working on several community outreach projects. The Parish Nurse is preparing for more health information programs. The music staff is gearing up to coordinate our music ministry. The Education Committee is planning Sunday School for three separate classes. The list goes on, and on. We need the support and commitment of our members to keep these ministries vibrant and growing to meet the needs around us.
Finally, you will notice in this newsletter and in weekly bulletins a clearer policy of visitation. With our highly educated, and well-trained staff, a few eager lay people, and a proper plan to communicate among us we seek to respond to the needs of visitation both inside and outside the membership of the church. Knowing that we’ve continually constrained the budget, squeezed what we can from our available time and energy, we know this is much needed. This means that we will seek to accomplish the appropriate visitation of those in need according to their requests. The needs of those around us are multifaceted and so our response must be as well. Take this opportunity to read what the staff has put together on visitation and make sure that you, and your family, are familiar with these details. In consultation the staff will ensure that each visitation request is met with the appropriate response according to need.
The visitation response will be based on a multi-tiered approach to provide each other with mutual consolation and visitation as needed, by a fellow congregation member for comfort and conversation, by the Parish Nurse for health-related encouragement and prayer, by the Deacon for prayer and distribution of communion, and by the Pastor for emergencies, death, and spiritual distress.
We will continue to refine these definitions and better develop our visitation response with your help! So please, respond to us with your thoughts and ideas. And, most especially, make sure that you request visitation by the office phone, email, or directly with the Pastor, Deacon, or Parish Nurse. It is difficult to respond to social media and other word-of-mouth requests.
As this new season begins, begin again your commitment to the Lord, and to your presence with His people, gathered around His table, the place where He promises to meet you with His real presence!