Pastor Mary Janz’s column from the October Emmaus Visitor:

butterfly108Following the unanimous vote at the Emmaus congregational meeting, approving shared worship with St. Andrew, I was more than eager to find out what had happened at the congregational meeting held at our sister congregation. They had met the same morning. They had considered the same question of shared worship we had. When Pastor Michael didn’t answer his phone immediately, I got in my car and headed directly for St. Andrew.

The first person I encountered was St. Andrew council president, Pam Robers, who greeted me with a “thumbs up!” I later talked with Pastor Michael Mueller, and Pastors David Rhoads and Sandy Roberts, both members of St. Andrew. The tone of the conversations was positive and hopeful.

As we were all about to leave, I shared with Dr. Rhoads that one of our members had asked the question, “What will we call ourselves? Where will I tell people that I worship?” There was no answer to that question as we talked in the parking lot that Sunday. In fact, Dave announced that there was an “emergency” and they had to get going! (The Packers game had already begun, and he was antsy to get home and watch it!)

However, that question about name and identity stayed with Dave well beyond the Packers game that afternoon. In fact, the next day Pastor Michael and I received an e-mail from him that included the following thoughts:

I wonder if we could consider a new name and an appropriate one might be “New Creation Lutheran Church”?
This would be deeply biblical: “When anyone is in Christ, creation is new. The old has passed away. Behold! Everything is new!” II Corinthians 5:17
It would depict the new creation that has come out of our combined congregations.
And it would reflect our common commitment to serving God in bringing about a new creation on Earth.
And it would be unique and distinctive among Lutheran churches in focusing on the first article of the creed.

We’re not there yet, but there has been considerable movement toward something new. As some of us now refer to ourselves as “FaithWorks North—Emmaus and St. Andrew campuses,” let us never underestimate the power of God to create and to re-create and to make all things new. I can’t wait to see where the Spirit leads us next! Are we ready to grow into such a bold name as “New Creation Lutheran Church?” Never forget that in God, all things are possible!

Grateful to be part of an ever Re-forming church,
Pastor Mary

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