Pastor's Office

(Good) News from St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

Northglenn, Colorado

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Blessed Lent! It has been a very busy week for me, and today I finally will be getting around to writing a sermon and preparing for tomorrow's Service of the Word on ZOOM. Plan to join us at 9:00 am for worship. Here's the ZOOM link; there are more ZOOM helps at the end of this email.

  • Sunday morning ZOOM Service of the Word, March 29, 9:00 am: To join please send an email to Pastor Ron at pastor@sslu.org for the ZOOM link, Meeting ID, and Password. After worship we'll have a "coffee hour" where people can check-in with each other. Join us!

READINGS FOR TOMORROW'S WORSHIP

NEW - You may want to prepare yourself for tomorrow's worship. Here is a preview of what we will be hearing. (Previews are from Sundays and Seasons, (c) 2019 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. They are made available through license #SAS022650)

  • Introduction - In today’s gospel Jesus reveals his power over death by raising Lazarus from the dead. The prophet Ezekiel prophesies God breathing new life into dry bones. To those in exile or living in the shadows of death, these stories proclaim God’s promise of resurrection. In baptism we die with Christ that we might also be raised with him to new life.
  • First Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14 - Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones is a promise that Israel as a nation, though dead in exile, will live again in their land through God’s life-giving spirit. Three times Israel is assured that through this vision they will know that “I am the Lord.”
  • Second Reading: Romans 8:6-11 - For Paul, Christian spirituality entails living in the reality of the Holy Spirit. The driving force behind our actions and values is not our sinful desire for self-satisfaction but the very Spirit by which God raised Jesus from the dead and will also raise us from the dead.
  • Gospel: John 11:1-45 - Jesus is moved to sorrow when his friend Lazarus falls ill and dies. Then, in a dramatic scene, he calls his friend out of the tomb and restores him to life.

A EUCHARISTIC DEVOTION FOR MEALTIME

I have prepared a devotional resource you can use in your home. I'm sure many of us feel sadness that we are not able to be together to celebrate Holy Communion. However, every time we sit down for a meal in our homes, we can be reminded that Jesus is present with us here, too. Each of these meals in our homes is an echo of the Eucharist. I suspect that many of us grew up with the table prayer, "Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed." But has it ever occurred to you that this is the same response we often use in the Great Thanksgiving in Holy Communion? "Come, Lord Jesus!" This devotional booklet aims to link our communion meal with our daily meals. You can download the devotion by clicking here. If your printer does double-sided printing, set it up for that. Otherwise, print two sheets and attach them to each other back-to-back and fold to make the booklet. I hope you find this resource as a help in your Lenten journey and beyond, until we are able to be together again to celebrate Holy Communion.

CARING FOR EACH OTHER

Please keep reaching out to each other and staying in community. If you have a St. Stephen's "buddy" you're checking with regularly and haven't shared that with Karen Shifty, please let her know.

And remember, please, that Kim Gustad is coordinating people to deliver groceries, prescriptions, or essential needs to someone from St. Stephen's. If you are willing to volunteer or you have a need fopr this service, please call Kim (303-246-2492).

ZOOM INFORMATION

If you haven't done ZOOM before you should probably log on ten minutes before your session is supposed to begin so that you can download the software on to your computer. There's an introductory user's guide to ZOOM you can download - click here.You can use any of these numbers to call into a ZOOM meeting. If you access ZOOM this way you will need the meeting ID number and password. If your calling plan charges you for long-distance call, you will be charged that rate during the call.

I hope we'll see you Sunday for worship!

Pastor Ron Roschke

Friday, March 27, 2020

Blessed Lent! We've almost made our way through another week. Thank you for staying connected as community in these strange times!

I am running our articles for two consecutive days in Check-in, so that if a person missed it one day they'd see it the next. The one exception is the call for us to be partnered, since I consider that so essential for our community's well-being. Once Karen Shifty lets me know that we have almost every household partnered, I'll pull that plea. Also, if an article is appearing for the first time, I'll mark it with NEW. Our ZOOM links continue to be listed at the end of the Check-in. Here's the latest....

A EUCHARISTIC DEVOTION FOR MEALTIME

NEW - I have prepared a devotional resource you can use in your home. I'm sure many of us feel sadness that we are not able to be together to celebrate Holy Communion. However, every time we sit down for a meal in our homes, we can be reminded that Jesus is present with us here, too. Each of these meals in our homes is an echo of the Eucharist. I suspect that many of us grew up with the table prayer, "Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed." But has it ever occurred to you that this is the same response we often use in the Great Thanksgiving in Holy Communion? "Come, Lord Jesus!" This devotional booklet aims to link our communion meal with our daily meals. You can download the devotion by clicking here. If your printer does double-sided, set it up for that. Otherwise, print two sheets and attach them to each other back-to-back and fold to make the booklet. I hope you find this resource as a help in your Lenten journey and beyond, until we are able to be together again to celebrate Holy Communion.

PRAYERS FOR SARA BURCHARD

Our office administrator Sara Burchard started having a low fever with mild respiratory symptoms Wednesday. She has consulted with her doctor Thursday and has learned that she is most likely experiencing flu rather than COVID-19. She reported that she was feeling a little better Thursday. However, the doctor has asked her to self-quarantine for at least ten days. Please keep her and her family in your prayers! We will pass on updates as they become available.

A HEALTH AND WELLNESS UPDATE FROM TAMMY WOLLBRINCK

Tammy has prepared her health article for the April Rambler. Tammy's article is filled with such great timely advice we've decided to make it available to you here and now. You can click here to read it. Thanks, Tammy!

THE APRIL RAMBLER

Given that Sara needs time to rest, I would recommend that we not plan on publishing an April edition of The Rambler. If you have materials you would normally share through the newsletter, please send them to me and I can get them distributed through our daily Check-in.

CARING FOR EACH OTHER

Please keep reaching out to each other and staying in community. If you have a St. Stephen's "buddy" you're checking with regularly and haven't shared that with Karen Shifty, please let her know.

And remember, please, that Kim Gustad is coordinating people to deliver groceries, prescriptions, or essential needs to someone from St. Stephen's. If you are willing to volunteer or you have a need fopr this service, please call Kim (303-246-2492).

ZOOM INFORMATION

Here are our up-coming ZOOM gatherings:

  • Sunday morning ZOOM Service of the Word, March 29, 9:00 am: To join contact Pastor Ron at pastor@sslu.org to get the ZOOM link, Meeting ID and Password. After worship we'll have a "coffee hour" where people can check-in with each other. Join us!

If you haven't done ZOOM before you should probably log on ten minutes before your session is supposed to begin so that you can download the software on to your computer. There's an introductory user's guide to ZOOM you can download - click here.You can use any of these numbers to call into a ZOOM meeting. If you access ZOOM this way you will need the meeting ID number and password. If your calling plan charges you for long-distance call, you will be charged that rate during the call.

Enjoy your evening. I hope we'll see you Sunday for worship!

Pastor Ron Roschke

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Blessed Lent! Today is the first day for the Colorado state-wide stay-at-home order. The Denver stay-at-home started early this week, so I have already been staying in place for some time. I hope all of you are following these directives since physical separation is one of the only ways we can slow the virus and not overwhelm our doctors, nurses, and hospitals and put them all at risk. This is a way to love our neighbor and care for ourselves. Please follow the required actions, and let your St. Stephen's buddy know if you have special needs.

It was good to be with many of you last night for Midweek Lenten devotions. For those of you who were not able to join us, we did God Sightings and shared Responsive Prayer for Evening. It's really difficult for us to do Holden Evening Prayer on ZOOM effectively, but we are thankful to John Wollbrinck for posting a Holden sound file on the SSLU website. If Holden Evening Prayer can lift your spirits in these challenging days, you can click here and scroll down to find that resource. Thanks, John!

We will have only one more Lenten Midweek Devotion next Wednesday, April 1, and then Holy Week begins. Plans are being made for how we will observe that important week. You should start seeing some previews in the coming days here in the Check-in.

PRAYERS FOR SARA BURCHARD

As I shared at Evening Devotions last night, our office administrator Sara Burchard started having a low fever with mild respiratory symptoms yesterday. She has consulted with her doctor today and has learned that she is most likely experiencing flu rather than COVID-19. She says she's feeling a little better today. However, the doctor has asked her to self-quarantine for at least ten days. Please keep her and her family in your prayers! We will pass on updates as they become available.

A HEALTH AND WELLNESS UPDATE FROM TAMMY WOLLBRINCK

Tammy has prepared her health article for the April Rambler. Tammy's article is filled with such great timely advice we've decided to make it available to you here and now. You can click here to read it. Thanks, Tammy!

THE APRIL RAMBLER

Given that Sara needs time to rest, I would recommend that we not plan on publishing an April edition of The Rambler. If you have materials you would normally share through the newsletter, please send them to me and I can get them distributed through our daily Check-in.

THINKING AND DOING STEWARDSHIP

If you didn't read it yesterday, please review this great letter from Marje and Fred Hoppe I want to pass on to you. Many thanks for their continuing help!

Dear Friends at St. Stephen’s,

Just wanted to let you know some items that are available and what the cost is for contributions. Even if you are not a member of Vanco you can call the 800 number (1-800-675-7430) and they will take your contribution over the phone. You will need to verify you are with St. Stephen’s either by knowing the address or zip code. The cost for this is 1% of the contribution plus a 45 cent transaction fee.

Another way to do it is by credit or debit card on line and then the cost is 2.95% of the contribution plus a 45 cent transaction fee. You can also mail your checks to the church and they are being deposited once a week.

On another note, if you have any need for a grocery card for King Soopers or Safeway, we will be glad to meet you at the church and get them for you. Just call us at 303-457-0894. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.

Thanks and stay healthy and remember that the church still needs your contributions to stay afloat during this time.

Your friends,

Marje & Fred Hoppe

CARING FOR EACH OTHER

Please keep reaching out to each other and staying in community. If you have a St. Stephen's "buddy" you're checking with regularly and haven't shared that with Karen Shifty, please let her know.

And remember, please, that Kim Gustad is coordinating people to deliver groceries, prescriptions, or essential needs to someone from St. Stephen's. If you are willing to volunteer or you have a need fopr this service, please call Kim (303-246-2492).

That's it for now. Tomorrow I hope to have the ZOOM link information for Sunday's Service of the Word. Stay in place, stay well, trust God - and care for each other!

Pastor Ron Roschke

(Good) News from St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

Northglenn, Colorado

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Blessed Lent! We had a good Bible Study this morning, and I hear Tuesday's Bible Study went well. We still have "bugs" to work out here and there but I appreciate everyone's willingness to work together to become comfortable with this new way of being community. I'll pass on a great email I got yesterday from Phil Strain: "Even Phil Strain figured out Zoom! If I can you should all be able to🤤."

I'm looking forward to this evening's Lenten Devotion at 7:00 pm. Since these ZOOM gatherings are becoming more routine, I will gather all the scheduled ZOOMs in one place toward the end of our daily email blasts.

THINKING AND DOING STEWARDSHIP

I've received a great letter from Marje and Fred Hoppe I want to pass on to you. Many thanks for their continuing help!

Dear Friends at St. Stephen’s,

Just wanted to let you know some items that are available and what the cost is for contributions. Even if you are not a member of Vanco you can call the 800 number (1-800-675-7430) and they will take your contribution over the phone. You will need to verify you are with St. Stephen’s either by knowing the address or zip code. The cost for this is 1% of the contribution plus a 45 cent transaction fee.

Another way to do it is by credit or debit card on line and then the cost is 2.95% of the contribution plus a 45 cent transaction fee. You can also mail your checks to the church and they are being deposited once a week.

On another note, if you have any need for a grocery card for King Soopers or Safeway, we will be glad to meet you at the church and get them for you. Just call us at 303-457-0894. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.

Thanks and stay healthy and remember that the church still needs your contributions to stay afloat during this time.

Your friends,

Marje & Fred Hoppe

CARING FOR EACH OTHER

Please keep reaching out to each other and staying in community. If you have a St. Stephen's "buddy" you're checking with regularly and haven't shared that with Karen Shifty, please let her know.

And remember, please, that Kim Gustad is coordinating people to deliver groceries, prescriptions, or essential needs to someone from St. Stephen's. If you are willing to volunteer or you have a need fopr this service, please call Kim (303-246-2492).

That's it for now. I hope to see many of you tonight at Lenten Midweek Devotions at 7:00 pm. Stay well, trust in God, and care for those around you!



Pastor Ron Roschke

(Good) News from St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

Northglenn, Colorado

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Blessed Lent! We are getting more of our activities scheduled to ZOOM: tonight's Bible study, tomorrow morning's Bible Study, and Wednesday Evening Lent Devotions. Below you'll find the links to each of these activities. I am putting general ZOOM information that applies to all of these at the end of this email.

TUESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDIES

We now have a ZOOM meeting set for Tuesday Evening Bible Study. It starts at 6:00 pm. Here's the information you need. If you are going to call in with your phone, see below for the numbers to use.

  • ZOOM Tuesday Evening Bible Study, March 24, 6:00 pm: To join, Email pastor@sslu.org for ZOOM web link

WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY

The Wednesday Morning Bible Study will be meeting on ZOOM starting this Wednesday at 9:30 am. We will be looking at next Sunday's Gospel and thinking about how this story helps us live in our world today. Whether you have been a "regular" or want to join us to see what's going on, you are welcome to attend. (Sorry I had the wrong date in yesterday's Check-in. I hope you didn't try logging in this morning!)

  • ZOOM Wednesday Bible Study, March 25, 9:30 am: To join, Email pastor@sslu.org for ZOOM web link

WEDNESDAY LENTEN DEVOTION

We'll gather by ZOOM on Wednesday evening for a Lenten devotion. We'll meet at 7:00 pm. If you practice Centering Prayer, why not plan to practice that before or after our gathering. Here's the link:

  • Wednesday evening ZOOM Lenten Devotion, March 25, 7:00 pm: To join, Email pastor@sslu.org for ZOOM web link

CARING FOR EACH OTHER

Here's a note from Karen Shifty: "Last night Alley called us for a chat. It perked us up in addition to knowing that somebody was checking up on us old fogies. Alley doesn't even have an email. We have connected with two families who we call every other day. It only takes a few minutes but adds a bright spot to the day. So all of you e-mailers pick an other e-mailer until every one has a buddy. Let me know who you connect with so we can make sure that everyone has a connection. Karen"

Please report your pairings to Karen Shifty so we can know whether anyone is missing a partner.

If you can volunteer to deliver groceries, prescriptions, or essential needs to someone from St. Stephen's - or if you are in need for such a service - please be sure to let Kim Gustad know. Thanks, Kim, for coordinating this!

ZOOM INFORMATION

If you haven't done ZOOM before you should probably log on ten minutes before your session is supposed to begin so that you can download the software on to your computer. There's an introductory user's guide to ZOOM you can download.You can use any of these numbers to call into a ZOOM meeting. If you access ZOOM this way you will need the meeting ID number and password. If your calling plan charges you for long-distance call, you will be charged that rate during the call.

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

+1 253 215 8782 US

+1 301 715 8592 US

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

That's it for now. I hope to see many of you tomorrow on one of the ZOOMs. Stay strong and healthy in God's love and promises.

Pastor Ron Roschke

(Good) News from St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

Northglenn, Colorado

Monday, March 23, 2020

Blessed Lent! It was a joy to be with so many of you yesterday in our Service of the Word. I counted 28 households that were connected by ZOOM. I was especially pleased with the ease we were able to navigate the software. If you haven't "jumped into the water" with ZOOM, I encourage you to try it.

Luther's Morning and Evening Prayers are wonderful devotional tools. I've created a sheet you can print and leave by your bedside table so that they're available when you wake up in the morning and before you turn off the light each night. Click here to download a copy.

WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY

The Wednesday Morning Bible Study will be meeting on ZOOM starting this Wednesday at 9:30 am. We will be looking at next Sunday's Gospel and thinking about how this story helps us live in our world today. Whether you have been a "regular" or want to join us to see what's going on, you are welcome to attend. Please click on the link below. If you haven't done ZOOM before you should probably log on ten minutes before we begin so that you can download the software on to your computer. There's an introductory user's guide to ZOOM you can download - click here.

  • ZOOM Wednesday Bible Study, March 24, 9:30 am: To join, Email pastor@sslu.org for ZOOM web link.

TUESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDIES

We are also working to get a ZOOM set up for Tuesday Night Bible Studies. We don't have the link for that group yet, but I will work to get it into tomorrow's Check-in.

CARING FOR EACH OTHER

In this time of medical crisis, we need to care for each other. We have made provisions for pairing up non-internet households with internet "buddies." (Thanks to all who have participated in that project!) Now it's time for the rest of us to pair up with each other. Please reach out to another household and agree to check in with each other at least every-other-day. Please report your pairings to Karen Shifty so we can know whether anyone is missing a partner.

If you can volunteer to deliver groceries, prescriptions, or essential needs to someone from St. Stephen's - or if you are in need for such a service - please be sure to let Kim Gustad know. Thanks, Kim, for coordinating this!

Let the twenty seconds you spend washing hands be a time of respite and prayer. Breathe out the tension, ask God to bless you and those you love, and recall that you are in God's care whether you're thinking about that or not. Stay well and secure in God's love!

Pastor Ron Roschke

(Good) News from St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

Northglenn, Colorado

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Blessed Lent to you all! As I'm writing this the sun is glistening off the snow in Cheeseman Park. I am thankful for the moisture and the promise of new life. I hope you are, too.

In my news feed today I found an excellent video of epidemiologist Emily Landon. It really helps me to understand why staying in place and social distancing - which we are doing - are so critical right now. I thought you might like to see it - just click here to view. (I'm hoping that the Washington Post is providing this for free. If you can't see it there, click here to see a longer version on YouTube.) I am proud of the way St. Stephen's has embraced these very strange "Lenten disciplines" this year so that you can care for each other and your neighbors. Thank you!

TOMORROW'S WORSHIP

I am looking forward to our worship service tomorrow at 9:00 am. It's happening on ZOOM. Here is the link you will need if you want to participate: Email pastor@sslu.org for ZOOM web link or phone number to join our Sunday Service.

If all this sounds new to you, please know that I reported this in more detail in yesterday's Check-in; please read that. I have also prepared an introductory user's guide to ZOOM you can download and print if you click here. If you're having trouble after the practice session, please contact Curt Williams; he will try to help as many of you as possible.

Please anticipate that it may take a few weeks before ZOOM worship feels comfortable. Patience will help you a lot! And remember that I will be sending out sermons by email as well. You can expect to see a copy in your inbox sometime tomorrow afternoon, I hope.

CARING FOR EACH OTHER

In this time of medical crisis, we need to care for each other. We have made provisions for pairing up non-internet hopuseholds with internet "buddies." (Thanks to all who have participated in that project!) Now it's time for the rest of us to pair up with each other. Please reach out to another household and agree to check in with each other at least every-other-day. Please report your pairings to Karen Shifty so we can know whether anyone is missing a partner.

If you can volunteer to deliver groceries, prescriptions, or essential needs to someone from St. Stephen's - or if you are in need for such a service - please be sure to let Kim Gustad know. Thanks, Kim, for coordinating this!

That's all the time I have for today. I need to get busy and prepare a sermon for tomorrow. Stay well, take care, and live by faith.

Pastor Ron Roschke

(Good) News from St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

Northglenn, Colorado

Friday, March 20, 2020

Happy Friday, St. Stephen's. I hope your day is going well. We're getting more and more things set up to live in this new space where we find ourselves. I hope you'll read everything here so that you can take advantage of all the ways St. Stephen's is working to feed your spirit in these troubling times.

Virtual electronic worship this Sunday!

This coming Sunday we are going to try out our first worship service using the internet. We will be using a software package called ZOOM. It will allow all of us to be together on our computers, smart phones, and telephones so that we can worship together at the same time. If you use your computer to join ZOOM, it will need to have a speaker so that you can hear what is happening.

The Service of the Word will take place at our regular time, 9:00 am. Since many of us are unfamiliar with using ZOOM, we are offering a practice ZOOM session on this Saturday, March 21, at 4:00 pm. If you plan to worship on Sunday, I really encourage you to do the practice session on Saturday - it means that Sunday's worship will happen much more smoothly.

If you click here, you can see a Beginner's Guide to Zoom I've prepared to show you the basics of how to use the software. I encourage you to print it and look it over before you log into the practice session.

Each time we use ZOOM for worship or Bible study, you will need an invitation to join the session. I am listing the invitation links here. Please wait until the time of the gathering before you click on them, since they won't be "live" until that time. I'd suggest you click on the link five minutes before the worship or class begins. The first time you use ZOOM, the software will need to load onto your computer, so it might be good to check in ten minutes before the start. Be sure to use the correct link on the correct day!

If you want to join by telephone please contact. Long-distance charges will apply. Unfortunately, there is currently no local number for ZOOM meetings.

It may take a couple of "tries" before we feel totally comfortable using this platform, so please practice patience. And for those of us who don't like ZOOM, please know that I will continue to send out sermons as well!

Stewardship

Please remember that you can make an electronic offering through Vanco online. Simply click here and a browser page will open where you can make a donation. You can call also contribute through Vanco by phoning 800-675-7430. Vanco is waiving all fees during the time of the coronavirus. And you can make a donation by text message by sending a message to 720-586-4002; simply send a text message with an amount you want to give (no dollar sign needed), and then follow the prompts to complete your donation. Message and data rates may apply when you use this method. Finally, you can mail a check to the church. Thank-you for your faithful stewardship!

A report from the Call Committee...

The Call Committee would like to let you know that, thanks to technology, we have been able to continue our work and still follow CDC health and safety guidelines. We held a ZOOM videoconferencing interview with a candidate this week, and we are in the process of following up. However, because of the current restrictions on gatherings, we will not be able to schedule any in-person meetings or visits in the near future. While our timetable is uncertain, we will keep working. At the current time, we have released two candidates from further consideration, and we have two candidates whom we are currently considering. We ask that you keep our work in your thoughts and prayers as we continue our search for the best possible match for St Stephen's. Thank you!

Stay well, all! And I hope to see you on ZOOM tomorrow!

Pastor Ron Roschke

(Good) News from St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

Northglenn, Colorado

Thursday, March 19, 2020

A snowy Thursday greeting to you! Yes, snow is a hassle. Yes, it makes life much more complicated. But isn't it pretty? (Maybe I'm stretching it here.) I'm serious. I am finding that I need to practice a much-neglected spiritual discipline lately. I need to "tune my soul" to find the good and true and beautiful things around me. In many ways, this reminds me of Centering Prayer and learning how to rest in God. It's also like a God Sighting. Where is God trying to reach out to me this day? Is there some gift hidden and buried in all the difficulties around you right now? Can you enjoy the beauty of the snow for a little while? (If it were Christmastide, I'd remind you that God lays hidden as an infant amidst a lot of scratchy straw!)

SPEAKING OF CENTERING PRAYER...

I hope you were able to use the Lenten Devotion I sent out yesterday. If you haven't, you can look at it today or tomorrow. One resource I developed yesterday is an introduction to Centering Prayer. You can look at it if you click here. I find Centering Prayer to be a great spiritual tool. We all are very aware that we need to do things right now to stay healthy. As a congregation, we are practicing "social distancing." Centering Prayer is good spiritual hygiene. Really, it is "spiritual un-distancing." It is a conscious decision to take a time-out for resting in God. The person who taught me Centering Prayer said it was like what happened when I was with my grandson when he was two years old and he'd climb onto my lap and just sit there quietly for a while. No one needed to say a thing - we just were TOGETHER. We need some time each day to sit in the lap of God and know we are OK, no matter how we may feel or what is going on around us. If you haven't ever tried Centering Prayer, I suggest you try it for several days. It's very different from our normal experience, so it may feel awkward at first. But give yourself several days to experience it, and see if you don't discover that spending quality time with God each day is a good practice.

PASTORAL CARE

This past week I have been working from my apartment in Denver. Saving the several hours I would spend in the car commuting to Northglenn and devoting that time for ministry tasks has been a good stewardship of my time and energy. If you have any needs or if you are aware of someone who has needs, be sure to let me know. You can call me on cell phone (303-946-3123) or send me an email (BPrRon@comcast.net). If you call and I do not pick up, I am probably helping someone else, but be sure to leave a message and I'll get back to you ASAP.

CARING FOR EACH OTHER

We are getting people with email paired up with people who do not have it to "keep them in the loop." Some of our volunteers have as many as three people they are "buddying," We could still use some more volunteers. If you are available to help with this, please call Lois Ekern (720-545-4246) or email her (ek45er@msn.com) . And many thanks to Lois for taking on this important ministry!

It would also be a good idea for everyone (whether they have internet or not) to be paired with someone else in the congregation so that we are sure to be aware that everyone's OK. If you do pair up with another household, could you please let Karen Shifty know (klshifty@gmail.com). That way, we'll know if anyone is "falling between the cracks." Please check in on your "buddy" every couple of days, and be sure to let Pastor or the office know if someone is ill or has special needs. And thanks, Karen, for shepherding this project!

VOLUNTEER DELIVERIES AND RIDES

Kim Gustad has kindly volunteered to coordinate St. Stephen's members and friends who may need a delivery (groceries, supplies, or meds) or who need a ride. If you are able and willing to assist her in this ministry, please let her know (303-246-2492). And if you have special needs, please give Kim a call and she will line up someone who can help you.

SUPPORT FROM OUR PARISH NURSE

Tammy Wollbrinck invites you to call her on her cell phone (303-550-8299) or use her personal email (tfwollbr@gmail.com) if you have any health questions or concerns or you just want to talk. She wants everyone to know she is thinking of them and is there for them. Thanks for your ministry and offer, Tammy!

PARKING LOT REPAIRED

Phil Strain reports that the asphalt in our church parking lot has been repaired, with special work being done on the driveway entrance off Kennedy Drive. Thanks to our anonymous angel who has given this to the community as a gift!

That's all the news I have for now. Stay well and trust God! And keep a blessed Lent....

Pastor Ron Roschke

(Good) News from St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

Northglenn, CO.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Lord be with you! (And God really IS!)

I hope you're doing well on this beautiful day. I plan to get out and take a walk this afternoon. If you are healthy and can spend a little time in sunshine and fresh air in a way that keeps you safe, think about finding some time for that.

I have three pieces of news I want to share with you today....

KEEPING CONNECTED WITH EACH OTHER

I am very thankful for the technology of email and internet that allows me to stay connected with you during the time of this medical crisis. It is a great gift for which we should thank God daily! However, not all our members and friends have email and internet, so I have been working to make a plan for how we keep them "in the loop." When we found it necessary to cancel worship last Sunday, Sara Burchard was able to identity sixteen households for whom we have no email addresses. Cyndi Skillings and Lois Ferguson were able to call them to let them know about our cancellation. Since that time we have received an email address from one of those households. We need to find a way to sustain this contact over the long-haul while we are unable to meet face-to-face.

That's where YOU come in! We are asking fifteen St. Stephen's members with email to volunteer to be "buddies" with one of the fifteen households without it. This would involve telephoning your buddy every couple of days, sharing St. Stephen's news with them, and finding out if they have needs or news. Lois Ekern has volunteered to coordinate this project. If you would be willing to be a buddy, please call her (720-545-4246) or email her (ek45er@msn.com) and we'll see you get an assignment. Once you're signed up, Lois will email you a set of suggestions on how you can be a good buddy. Thanks for considering this shared ministry!

KEEPING OUR STEWARDSHIP STRONG

I want to remind you of the notice that appears every week in our bulletin to offer you a way to make your offering electronically.

You can make an electronic offering through Vanco online. Simply click here and a browser page will open where you can make a donation.

You can also make a donation by text message by sending a message to 720-586-4002; simply send a text message with an amount you want to give (no dollar sign needed), and then follow the prompts to complete your donation. Message and data rates may apply when you use this method.

LENTEN MIDWEEK EVENING PRAYER

It's Wednesday, and even though we cannot be together, I would like to invite you to take some time at 7:00 pm this evening for a Lenten Devotion. I will be sending out another email blast later this afternoon. It will contain suggestions for sharing in this discipline. It will be nice to know, at 7:00 o'clock, that while I do devotions in my apartment, there will be other St. Stephen's siblings sharing in the exercise at the same time. Look for the email later, and plan to share in prayer!

Keep the faith and stay strong! Wash your hands and hope in God. We are the Body of Christ together. You are loved and cared for - remember that, and share it with others!

Pastor Ron

Pastor Ron's St. Patrick's Day message:

(Good) News from St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

Northglenn, Colorado

St. Patrick's Day, Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Good morning! I wanted to share something that tradition says was written by St. Patrick. I find it especially powerful in our current situation. It has some very ancient ideas in it, but the images are powerful for us to have as we make our way through this uncharted territory. I've made a couple changes in the text to help us understand it. If you want to see a hymn version of it, you can look at ELW 450. I hope you find it helpful.


Pastor Ron


I arise todayThrough a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,Through a belief in the Threeness,Through confession of the Oneness Of the Creator of creation.
I arise today Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism, Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial, Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise todayThrough the strength of the love of cherubim,In obedience of angels,In service of archangels,In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,In the prayers of patriarchs, In preachings of the apostles,In faiths of confessors,In deeds of righteous men and women.
I arise todayThrough the strength of heaven; Light of the sun,Splendor of fire,Speed of lightning,Swiftness of the wind,Depth of the sea, Stability of the earth,Firmness of the rock.
I arise todayThrough God's strength to pilot me;God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me, God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me, God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me, God's hosts to save me From snares of the devil, From temptations of vices, From every one who desires me ill, Afar and anear, Alone or in a mulitude. I summon today all these powers between me and evil,Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul, Against incantations of false prophets,Against false laws of heretics,Against craft of idolatry, Against every knowledge that corrupts body and soul. Christ shield me today Against poison, against burning, Against drowning, against wounding,So that reward may come to me in abundance.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise todayThrough a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,Through a belief in the Threeness,Through a confession of the OnenessOf the Creator of creation.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Good afternoon! I hope your day is going well. We tried out our MailChimp system yesterday to distribute the sermon. I got a number of emails and posts back from some of you, so I think the sermon was distributed as we hoped. John Wollbrink and Kim Gustad are also seeing that news goes up on our website (SSLU.org) and Facebook page. Thanks to both of you! If you're having any difficulty staying connected please let Sara Burchard or me know. We're also working on plans to stay connected with members of our community who do not have internet access. We don't want anyone to feel they are "out of the loop."

The Covid-19 situation seems to be changing by the hour, and the Congregation Council and I will be working in the days ahead to make sure our congregational life can continue in this new way of "being church together." I'm continuing to do a crash self-study on how to use our electronic platforms most effectively, and I hope I can learn fast enough to give you some previews of future projects in tomorrow's (Good) News.

I want to also remind you that even though we do not meet face-to-face, we still rely on your generous stewardship to keep our community healthy and active. I'm exploring to see if there are easy ways for you to shift your giving to our electronic automatic deposit (through Vanco), and I hope to explore other ways our finances can be kept strong. If you are not contributing through Vanco, please be sure to send your offering by check to the church.

Continue to pray, to hope, and to wash your hands. These are not mutually exclusive! Let us especially care and pray for those who are most vulnerable. Thank you for your care of each other. Remember that God walks with you and calls you into that future where He is already waiting for you. Have faith. Be strong and filled with the assurance of your baptismal promises.

Blessed Lent!

Pastor Ron

Pastor Ron's letter to the St. Stephen's Community

Sisters and brothers in Christ,

This has been a week of rapid change, as all of us try to gauge the best way to respond to the coronavirus and the threat it poses to us. Our strategies for keeping the community healthy and safe at St. Stephen’s have been evolving as more information comes available. Yesterday afternoon, Bishop Jim Gonia had a conference call with Governor Polis, and on the basis of the latest information, he sent out a letter strongly advising all synod congregations to cancel face-to-face meeting, including worship, at least to the end of this month. I have been working with congregation leaders to evaluate our situation at St. Stephen’s and we have decided to follow the Bishop’s recommendation. As a result, there will be no worship at St. Stephen’s beginning tomorrow, March 15, and continuing through March 31**. This includes both Sunday worship and Midweek services, and also includes Bible classes and Centering Prayer. The JOY St. Patrick’s lunch has been cancelled, and the Spaghetti Dinner is postponed to a later date.

Bishop Gonia makes an excellent statement in his letter:

This time of social distancing – or better said, physical distancing – does NOT mean we are suspending being the church! On the contrary, this means that we become church in new ways.

I am already working on plans for us to be church in this time of physical distancing. Here are some of the plans being developed:

  • I will continue the Ministry of Word and prepare a sermon for you for each Sunday. Sermons will be available on the website and may be distributed through emails and US postal mail to those without internet.
  • I plan to continue our Lenten study, “Looking Through the Cross.” I am converting it to an online course, beginning with the first session, so that you can do Bible study at home.
  • I will be preparing Midweek devotions, including God Sighting exercises.
  • Pastoral care will take place by telephone. I will check in with our homebound members regularly, and you can reach me on my cell phone (303.946.3123) if you need support. If I do not answer, please be sure to leave a message with your call-back number, and I will return the call as soon as I am able. The Prayer Chain will also continue.
  • I am preparing a “Eucharistic Devotion for Mealtimes” that you will be able to use in your home. Although we will not be receiving Holy Communion in the next weeks, we can use devotion at mealtimes to remind ourselves of Jesus’ promise to be present with us every time we break bread. Look for this in the coming week!
  • I will be working with Sara Burchard and other members of the congregation to streamline our communication during this emergency, as well as exploring other ways we may be able to be together electronically. There will be regular - perhaps daily - emails, so please check your inbox frequently. If you are aware of members of our community who do not have access to email or internet, please be sure to let Sara or me know as soon as possible.
  • We deeply encourage you to continue your offerings during this time of emergency. The work of the church continues, and your stewardship is needed! If you are not giving electronically, please send your checks to the church. We will be working to plan for regular posting and deposit so that the congregation can support staff and administration.
  • We will be encouraging you to care for each other. Be sure to check in regularly with those who are most vulnerable in our community!

We will re-evaluate the situation as it develops. Relying on the best information from those who know the most about the pandemic, we will assess when it will be safe for us to return to face-to-face gathering. Until then, let us keep each other in prayer, pray for the sick and for all who care for them; let us be a sign of hope, comfort, and God’s presence to those with whom we interact.

Blessing and peace, health and hope, in the name of Jesus, who gives us life!

Pastor Ron Roschke

**NOTE: Due to further discussions with state, church, and healthcare leadership the date for in-person gatherings to resume will be closer to the middle of May, 2020.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Hello! I am introducing you to a new way we will reach out to members of St. Stephen's. The rapidly changing situations created by the coronavirus are encouraging us to find new ways to be together in community. We are exploring the possibility of moving our communications and emails over to MailChimp - which has sent you this email. MailChimp allows both Sara and me to have access to communication. It also allows us to work away from the office. I plan to use this platform tomorrow to distribute my sermon to you. And you may find in the weeks ahead we use it to send communications almost every day. If you're having any problems seeing your email, please let me know (BPrRon@comcast.net) and I'll try to help you get it working. Watch for the sermon tomorrow, and future emails in the days ahead! We'll want to stay in touch, so please get into the habit of checking your email daily.

Peace and health!

Pastor Ron Roschke