I was in seminary I had an unforgettable learning
moment during my field education experience.
It was a cold day. The parking lot to the
church was filling up. I noticed as I got
out of my car that people were whispering
among themselves as they walked to the church.
And soon I could see why.
There, leaning up against the wall outside
the church, was a homeless man. He was almost
lying down as if he was asleep. He looked
horrible as he laid there in his long trench
coat that was almost in shreds and a hat that
was pulled down so far you couldn't even see
His shoes, that looked ancient, were too small
for his feet with holes all over them; his
toes stuck out.
As I went in everyone was enjoying their conversations,
as there was a lot of laughing and hugging
going on. But in the midst of all this cheer
someone, coming into worship, decided to bring
the homeless man into the building. Almost
immediately I noticed people as they blatantly
snickered and gossiped, people wondering why
he was standing in their midst.
But now it was time for worship. People couldn’t
walk fast enough as they heard the prelude
starting. No one said a word to him and I
watched as he just stood there like a fish
out of water.
As the prelude finished everyone looked around
for the pastor to give his announcements,
but, oddly enough, there was no pastor coming
out to make them – instead the weirdest
thing happened, our homeless friend began
to make his way up the aisle. Again people
gasped and whispered and made faces, but he
just kept walking making his way down the
aisle and up onto the pulpit.
As he stood there he took off his hat and
coat. I think everyone’s heart sank.
There stood the pastor ... he was the "homeless
No one said a word ... the room was silent
and still. And with that he took his Bible
and laid it on the stand. "Folks, I don't
think I have to tell you what I'm preaching
about today." And with that he started
singing the words to this song ...
"If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody that he's traveling
Then my living shall not be in vain."
To put it bluntly, this live demonstration
affected me to a point of undeniable change
that day. For the first time I saw the face
of need in a different light; and because
of that a new awareness, and accountability,
within me was born. It’s something that
I will never forget and something I don't
want to forget.
But, that being said, I was however recently
reminded of this story as I was questioned
on a decision I made to offer help in the
midst of need. Someone just didn’t get
why I would go out of my way to help a total
stranger because it would surely mean time
and sacrifice on my part. The person made
it clear to me that they believed I was doing
the wrong thing.
Every day we find ourselves in situations
where we are called upon to help. It may not
be the homeless man, but it may be the friend
on the other end of the phone, a relative
who needs us to do something for them, the
person we barely know facing a horrible tragedy;
the cries for help surround us and they come
in many forms and sizes.
And so we decide how we will respond and by
what means we will respond. But as we find
ourselves in these situations here’s
the question that I would like us to think
about: What is it that we are called to do?
How much is too much? How far is too far?
Did Jesus really mean to love and do when
it’s convenient or was it a guideline
for all times? And does it matter if they
are stranger, friend, relative, neighbor,
I hope as you go through your day you’ll
remember the possibilities that exist and
the reality that we do have the power to make
a difference in this world because the truth
is that difference often starts with us. We
have the power to do something; the choice
is totally ours. We decide how we will help
our neighbor or how we will not.
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 email@example.com).
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.
continues with exploration of another interesting
TED Talk. This week we explore Storycorps.
Join us as we hear the story of Dave Isay and
his great accomplishments in driving the point
home that “Every Life Matters.”
Prayer & Care Friday, May 1, 10 AM.
next Pub Church is Tuesday, May 5, 6:30 PM at
Bilo’s Bar & Grill. All are welcome!
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!
Strongsville Food Bank will be open Saturday,
May 9, 9:30 – 11:30 AM. Photo ID and proof
of Strongsville residency required.
Group will meet on Tuesday, May 12 at
12:15 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Our
guest speaker, Tom Strong, will give a lecture
on a medical topic. All are invited. Bring your
brown bag lunch. Dessert and beverages will
be provided by Curt Dean, Doyne Botterman and
Marge Wilder. Evelyn Scibbe, our resident artist,
will also have some of her beautiful work to
A special thanks to Beth David
for presenting the Over 50’s JOY Group
with an informative nutrition workshop. She
did an excellent job and held our attention.
She even prepared and shared some of her healthier,
alternative foods. We have no doubt that she
will achieve her goals. We would welcome a “repeat
performance.” She has our support and
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.
Fair Trade Fair
St. John Neumann Catholic Church
will host a Fair Trade Fair on Sunday,
May 17 from 8:30 AM until 1:30 PM.
Fair Trade supports farmers and artisans around
the world by paying them fair prices for their
goods. This Fair Trade Fair will feature four
vendors who will sell clothing, jewelry, accessories,
and decorative items. The vendors are: Around
the World Treasures, IRTF: Interreligious Task
Force for Latin America, Esperanza Threads,
and Ten Thousand Villages. Fair Trade coffee,
tea, hot cocoa, and chocolate will also be available.
This event is sponsored by St. John Neumann
Congregational Meeting Sunday, May 17, 10 AM.
Election of Council and Endowment leaders –
Update on New Ministries and Finances –
Open Forum for questions & answers. 75 people
are needed to conduct business.
The following leadership positions
will be open for two-year terms: Council
President, Council Secretary, Council at-Large,
and two Endowment Committee positions.
These positions will be elected at the Congregational
Meeting on May 17.
If you are interested in having your name placed
on the ballot, please speak with Pastor Chuck.
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.
Blue Number indicates "Highest
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