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ELCABethel Lutheran Church
333 E. Ridge Street
Ishpeming, MI-49849
Phone: 906-485-5533

Pastors’ Monthly Article

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind (spirit) from God swept over the face of the waters. Genesis 1.1-2

So YHWH fashioned an earth creature out of the clay of the earth, and blew into its nostrils the breath of life. And the earth creature became a living being. Genesis 2.7 (The Inclusive Bible)

Fellow siblings in Christ,

As I write this my family and I are busy packing up our house in Florida! We have not found a permanent home we are ready to commit to yet so will be moving temporarily into a rental home located at 716 Bank Street in Ishpeming. If you are available on Wednesday, May 31 at 5:30 pm please come by and help us unload our moving truck. We will be storing most of our belongings in the garage until we find our permanent home. Please contact me (563-581- 0929 or if you can get some pallets for us to put things on. After we unload, I will take a few weeks to settle in. My first day in the office unpacking and settling in there will be June 19. I will lead you in worship for the first time on Sunday June 25 and Monday June 26.

In the midst of excitement about new possibilities, it is good to first take a deep breath and take time to get to know each other. You know that feeling of peace when you stop for just a minute and breathe deep? When you know those deep breaths as God’s very life coming into you. God’s very life, just like God breathed life into human beings in Genesis and God’s Holy Spirit moved over the waters- the wind, the breath of God bringing life.

To start, let me tell you a little about myself and my family. I was born and grew up in Southeastern Wisconsin (Hartford and Sussex). Starting in 8th grade my family attended St. Olaf Lutheran Church. It was here that I came to know God’s love through the people and pastor of St. Olaf. St. Olaf was a special place for me because it was a place where I was cared about, valued, and could share my gifts. After college and working in a factory and engineering for a year while my wife, Sara, finished college, I attended Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa graduating in 2008. I have served congregations in SW Wisconsin, Michigan (in the Keweenaw), and Florida!

I find life and energy through worship, singing, prayer, following my curiosity to learn new things, a good conversation, being with family, playing a board/card game, sitting at a campfire, a good sauna (please invite me =), experiencing the seasons, and hiking/ biking/ snowshoeing/ skiing/ berry picking/ spending time in the woods with the trees and rocks and water that are much older and wiser than me. My connection with God is intimately connected with my connection to the natural world, which I try to nurture on a daily basis. It is also in my time in the woods that I do some of my best planning and sermon writing. You might see my connection to God in the natural world as a good number of my favorite authors write about the natural world. A few of those authors I have particularly enjoyed in the past few years are Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass), Douglas Wood (Paddle Whispers) and Susanne Simard (Finding the Mother Tree). Fun fact: I even enjoy a good story problem- you know the kind from math class! (I have a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech).

Sara and I met working at bible camp during our college years. She was born and grew up in Iowa City, Iowa. She studied elementary and middle school education at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. We have been married since 2003 (will it really be 20 years on June 14?). Sara

enjoys running, reading, being mom, and she shares with me a passion for being outdoors. Our older son, Ari, is a loving and industrious 14-year-old (15 on August 3). He is very

social and loves people. He also likes schedules, ducks, worship, music, hiking, American Ninja Warrior, and most important to him, the Green Bay Packers. Ari has epilepsy and is on the autism spectrum.

Our younger son, Anders, is a sensitive, thoughtful, and inquisitive 12-year-old (13 on June 24). Anders has varying interests but is currently interested in programming, math, and Minecraft, and he loves church coffee hour!

In the months of summer, fall, and even into (I didn’t say it) winter, I would love to have time to get to know you. I look forward to coming to know your hopes, dreams, joys and loves, as well as your struggles and what keeps you awake at night. I can’t wait to hear your stories of how you have grown spiritually or found God at work in your life. I would like to hear your stories of the history of this congregation and your hopes for its future.

I welcome your invitation to meet with you and stay in touch, both in this first year and anytime into the future. Let’s do lunch, take a walk, meet at church, or arrange another time that we can get together. I love tea and food and am happy with a simple glass of water or cup of tea but if you want to bake, please know that I am gluten and dairy free (including butter). Sara and Ari are also gluten free (but not dairy free). Anders eats everything!

As we start off together, Connie Kangas will give you details about signups for scheduled times for groups of people to meet with me. If you are able, please try to make it to one of these gatherings. The gatherings will be at different people’s homes with up to 6 adults, including the host adults (can you sign up to host?). Children are welcome in addition to the 6 adults. Plan on the gatherings lasting just short of 2 hours. Hosts are welcome to simply provide a space or host in any other way you feel comfortable. If you want to host a group at a different time than I am proposing, talk to me and we can schedule a time, maybe in August. These gatherings will be focused on us talking about the past, present, and future at Bethel and the surrounding community. They will allow me time to get to know you and your joys and concerns as we begin walking together as pastor and people. These gatherings will take some months to complete, but that is ok. Take a deep breath, God is at work!

God is on the move! The Holy Spirit is at work! I look forward to discerning with you where that Spirit is blowing. And it all starts with God’s breath. God’s gracious gift of life that we take in during every moment of every day. So, take a moment, breathe deep, and know God’s goodness.

Peace to you in Christ, Pastor Tim