make a habit of listening to people I don’t
agree with because it challenges me to think
more deeply about my own beliefs. Recently
I watched an interesting TED talk by Stephen
Cave, a philosopher and author of Immortality:
The Quest to Live Forever and How it Drives
Civilization. Cave opened his presentation
by saying, “We each live in the shadow
of a personal apocalypse,” meaning that
the fear of death overshadows us. Well …
maybe … sometimes … but certainly
not true of Christians, right? Especially
in this Easter season we trust that death
has been conquered by the resurrection of
Jesus Christ, and we live in the hope of that
same resurrection for each of us.
went on to say that there are four basic forms
of “immortality stories” present
in modern civilization that are utilized to
calm our fear of dying: (1) Elixir, or the
search for eternal life through something
like genetic engineering or hormone therapy;
(2) Soul, where one leaves the body at death
and lives on as a soul; (3) Legacy, or living
on through the “echo” you leave
in the world and; (4) Resurrection, which
Cave described as “too much like a bad
zombie movie.” Cave suggests that we
should be skeptical of any of these versions
based on the strength of the evidence. The
only thing that matters, he says, is that
each of us makes life a good story.
can’t imagine living like that, where
the only thing that matters is “making
life a good story.” But I understand
the skepticism. Mark’s resurrection
account tells us that the women who came to
the tomb ran away and told no one about their
experience because they were afraid. Other
gospel narratives reveal the uncertainty of
Peter, the doubts of Thomas, and the inability
of the disciples traveling to Emmaus to recognize
the risen Christ in their presence. But eventually
they all “get it,” they all place
their faith in the resurrection because their
personal experience with the risen Jesus became
all the evidence they needed. It was more
than just a “good story.” It was
a life-giving, life-saving, life-altering
experience that drew them ever closer to the
God who promises that something awesome is
waiting beyond this earthly life.
and brothers, as we move into this joyful
Eastertide let us not be fooled. Jesus is
alive! Whatever experience the disciples had
of the risen Christ was real and powerful,
causing them to share the good news with everyone
they met, even to the point of risking their
own lives. Why? Because they knew for certain
that death had no power over them; because
Jesus lived they would find that same kind
of life too. Perhaps St. Paul said it best:
“Now if Christ is preached as raised
from the dead, how can some of you say that
there is no resurrection of the dead? But
in fact Christ has been raised from the dead,
the first fruits of those who have fallen
asleep. For as in Adam all die, so also in
Christ shall all be made alive.” (I
Corinthians 15, selected verses.)
Have a joyous Easter, for Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed, alleluia!
you have a prayer request?
Please use the bulletin
board over the water fountain to make your prayer
concerns known, or Click
Here to submit one for inclusion
during our next service.
Your Talents with
do I get involved?
on the “Share Your Spiritual Gifts
Volunteer Form” link below if you
know the gifts you have been given, and
let us know how you would like to share
them with First Church this coming 2013-2014
on the “Discover Your Spiritual
Gifts” link below. The survey is
simply a list of questions that help identify
what gifts, skills and interests you have
been given. Once you submit the completed
survey, we will score it and email you
with the results. We will also include
a few suggestions regarding volunteer
opportunities that are a good fit for
your gifts. If you would like to share
your gifts, please take the “Share
Your Spiritual Gifts” survey and
we will get you connected!
and donuts are available in the Fellowship Hall
on Sunday mornings. This is a service project
of our Confirmation students and their families.
The donuts are purchased at a cost of
$.50 per donut. All other
items are donated. Please help us cover the cost
of the donuts.
Prayer & Care Group prepares and sends
cards to those of us, young and old alike, who are
lonely, suffering from illness or injury, or those
with on-going issues. Join us the first Friday of
every month at 10 AM. Questions? Contact Sue Ludwig
(440.238.5164 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lutheran Busy Bags contain quiet items,
crayons, and books for children to use during the
service. They can be found under the table at the
back of the church. Just ask an usher if you would
like one of these bags for your little one.
The Street Ministry
continues to collect men’s socks for the homeless.
Please place your donation in the marked box by
the Fellowship Hall entrance. Questions? Contact
Steve Gall (440.238.3019).
ELCA Malaria Campaign intends to contain
malaria on the African continent by 2015.
To help, make a donation using the special envelope
in the pews. Make checks payable to First Lutheran
Church, and place envelopes in the offering
plate. Our goal is to raise $5,100.
you have a prayer request? Please use the bulletin
board over the water fountain to make your prayer
get rid of your old cell phone? Recycle
the old one! Please drop off old cell phones
and used ink cartridges – boxes located
on the table under the youth bulletin board
by the Fellowship Hall entrance. Questions?
Contact Debbie Brighter (440.572.2627).
by the Welcome Center, in the
lobby, for additional information on our activities
for a Reason - If you know any woman
currently undergoing Chemo, please pass the
word to her that there is a cleaning service
that provides FREE housecleaning – 1 time
per month for 4 months while she is in treatment.
All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor
fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning
for a Reason will have a participating maid
service in her zip code area arrange for the
Emergency Food Bank - The Food Bank
is open to Strongsville residents year-round:
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9:30 –
11:30 AM and including the 2nd Saturday of every
month. Call 440/846-0197 for more information.
Nonperishable food items can be placed in the
shopping carts by the side and Fellowship Hall
entrances. This is taken to the Strongsville
Both pastors offer open office hours
for anyone who wants to stop by to share &
concerns. It is helpful to call in advance for
an appointment. Drop-in visitors are received
on a first come, first served basis. Pastor Chuck’s hours are 10
- noon on Tuesday.
Pastor Kathy’s hours are 10 – noon
WOW will continue
to collect women’s full-size personal
hygiene items and diapers for Laura’s
Home. Donations may be placed in the container
on the Welcome Center.
following are church events and fellowship opportunities
at First Church. A complete listing of all of the
Church Events can be downloaded by clicking on the
"Weekly Revelations" located in the box
to the left.
School Director – wanted one or two
fun-loving, energetic people to lead our summer
VBS program. This is a great way to interact with
the younger members of our congregation in a short
program format. If interested, or if you have questions,
please contact Pastor Kathy or Judy Peach.
bears in the pews are there to share God’s
love. You may take one to anyone you know
who is hurting for any reason. Donations may be
given in a pew envelope marked “Teddy Bear
Ministry” or new bears may be placed in the
bear den behind the Welcome Center in the lobby.
For more information or an opportunity to donate
a new bear, please take an informational sheet at
the Welcome Center. This ministry is in memory of
John Gray. Questions? Please contact Marj Gray (440.572.3158
There are lots of
dates still available on the 2015 Altar
Flower & Bulletin list in the lobby.
Sign up for your special event date today.
out Pastor Chuck’s latest blog post: Prayer
Check it out as a way of staying connected and having
dialog about a variety of topics related to the
giving easy with Simply Giving! Did you
know you can automate your church offerings and
eliminate the need to write checks? By “setting
it and forgetting it,” you don’t have
to remember to search for your offering envelope
and write that check. The Simply Giving program
allows you to establish a recurring offering that
is automatically deducted from your checking or
savings account. And, you can set the frequency
and amount of the offering to be deducted. The
Simply Giving enrollment/authorization form can
be found in the information center outside the
church office. For those who are already enrolled
in Simply Giving and need to make a change to
the amount and/or frequency, you can submit another
form with the needed changes. Call Brenda Jacob
with any questions.
HOPE USA –A mentor is needed for
a very pleasant third grade boy who loves football.
He would benefit from having a positive adult
role model show him affection and concern, build
his self-esteem, and help him with his reading.
Will you be the one to make a difference in his
life? Contact Gloria Reichert (330.225.3922 or
Are you considering
JOINING First Church? If so, we are
hosting a one-night Living Faith class on Sunday,
April 19, 6-8 PM to help interested
folks learn more about the Lutheran faith and
our congregation. If you would like to attend,
please contact Pastor Chuck (email@example.com
Spring Rally Saturday, April 25 at Our Saviour
Lutheran Church (1605 Center Rd, Hinckley).
Registration & fellowship at 8:30 AM with
business meeting to follow at 9:30. $5 registration
includes lunch. Please see flyer in the lobby
for more information.
brings us to a more serious time with our annual
General Meeting at 10 AM on Sunday, April 26.
This month the group will elect a new President
and Secretary. The current Board is seeking
nominations for both offices. If you would like
to help lead this group in its ministries, or
if you know someone who would be a great addition
to the Board, please contact current WOW President,
Jeanine Kowalewski (440.391.2823).
All members of the
congregation interested in possibly serving
our Sunday school program are invited to attend
the Sunday School Teachers’ Meeting on
Thursday, May 7 at 7 PM. We are excited
about some possible changes to the program and
are looking for the feedback, ideas, and dreams
of past, present, and future teachers, aides
and others with interest. For more information,
contact Jennifer Paine or Judy Peach …
or, just show up!
Two delegates (one
male, one female) are needed to represent First
Church at the Northeastern Ohio Synod Assembly
on May 15. Featured: ELCA Presiding
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will present the report
of the ELCA and preach at worship. See Pastor
Chuck if you are interested in attending. The
cost is covered by our church.
Pierstorf Memorial Loan Fund
application deadline is Tuesday, June 30. Maximum
interest-free loan is $3,000 for the school
year. Go to www.pierstorf.org to download application
or for more information.
indicates "New Record" in monthly or yearly hits.
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