A Word from Pastor

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

(I Chronicles 7:14)

Dear friends,

Peace will be embarking on a new journey this fall based on Mark Batterson’s book, Draw the Circle. The book includes 40 days of devotions that will challenge us to pray. We have challenges during this time, but God is also giving us great opportunities. One of those opportunities is to sharpen our prayer life.

“Pastor! I don’t have the book!” you might be wondering. I have good news. Peace was able to secure a fantastic deal through Willamette Valley Christian Supply. Each member household will be receiving the book in a distribution packet that will be delivered to your doorstep sometime in the first week of September. Consider this your Prayer Stimulus Package from Peace Lutheran Church! The 40 day challenge will begin on Monday, September 7 (Labor Day) and conclude on Friday, October 16. Each day will be an opportunity to read a short devotion from the book and then be encouraged to pray. Our Sunday services during this time will also focus on Draw the Circle.

Why pray? Prayer keeps us in alignment with God’s will. Understanding how a car alignment works is a helpful way to understand how Christian prayer operates. My car has never gone out of alignment over- night. It has always been a slow process. On one day my car accidently goes over the curb. On another day my car skids in dirt. Add on 20,000 more miles and my car goes out of alignment. When my car is way out of alignment, this is when something very serious could happen. My tires become more worn. Other parts of the car begin to wear down. My wheel pulls in one direction, which could cause an accident. It is at this time that I stop and get the car aligned right.

As Christians, we go out of alignment when prayer is non-existent in our life. Over time we can become out of sync with God’s will. Our priorities turn to studies or our work. Our goals in life have little to do with serving our neighbor. Our primary focus becomes our opinions, our dreams…..our view on things. It is at this moment that we go out of spiritual alignment. When we stop for a moment and pray, life begins to have the right focus. We become more aligned with God’s will.

I like this passage from the book (page 10):

The goal of the forty-day prayer challenge isn’t to get what you want by day 40. In fact, the goal isn’t to get what you want at all. The goal is to figure out what God wants, what God wills. Then you start circling it in prayer and don’t stop until God answers.

Too often we pray ASAP prayers—as soon as possible. We need to start praying ALAT prayers—as long as it takes. The goal of the prayer challenge is to establish a prayer habit so you’re still praying on day 41, day 57, day 101, day 365.

It has been very challenging to keep the Peace family together during this time. Most of the Peace family is choosing to worship online—which is a fantastic way to worship and stay connected. Some are worshiping in-person—which is also great and helpful in our connection with one another. Prayer is another way that we bind ourselves together. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

I am looking forward to this challenge and walking this journey with you!

One last item…keep checking in with Peace’s facebook page during the 40 day prayer challenge as Callie will be posting reminders about what day we are on in our journey.

In His Joy,

Pastor J

Sunday School Pen Pal Project

Hello Peace family! As Sunday School begins this fall, we are looking to implement a Pen Pal Project between our Sunday School kids (and any other Peace members that would like to participate) and members/friends of our congregation who are more physically isolated during this time of COVID-19. The idea is that the connection of writing back and forth, sharing thoughts, common interests, pictures, even jokes, will work to form a bond and feeling of community for both the kids and the pen pal.

If you would like to participate in this project, either as a pen pal who receives an initial letter from a child, or as a letter writer to another adult community member, please let Pastor know by September 10 so we can begin the matching process.

Sunday School Update from Superintendents

Sunday School will kick off on Sunday, September 13. Like all things, we are making adjustments to our traditional Sunday School program, but we are still very excited to get classes going again for our youth. Classes for elementary, middle, and high school youth will be offered on-site at Peace at 10am. With school beginning online for most kids, we feel strongly that if we are able to safely offer in-person classes, we need to provide an opportunity for face-to-face interaction with peer groups.  Kids will be safely distanced in class, masked if age appropriate, and supplies will be not be shared. We are working closely with the Hygiene Team to ensure that church facilities are cleaned appropriately. We appreciate your prayers for our children and teachers as we begin Sunday School this fall!

Blood Drive Update

One of the activities that has not slowed down for Peace is the hosting of Blood Drives.  We have been the facility in the area that has allowed blood drives and has been able to meet the need of donors and volunteers.  Our partnership with the Red Cross has been a blessing for everyone; volunteers, donors, workers and recipients. 

We will have hosted one drive per month since June!  August’s drive resulted in a collection of 44 units of blood on a goal of 45, this is great result considering the deferral rate was extremely high.

Every unit of blood has the capacity to save three lives so because of your support and hard work we have the potential to impact 132 lives and for this I thank you. Our next scheduled event is September 28 so if you would like to help out please contact Ellen Holroyd and you will be added to the volunteer list.

Drive in Communion Service

When I think of Communion at Peace, I think of the song “Bind Us Together.” The song goes like this:

Bind us together Lord, Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken,

Bind us together Lord, Bind us together Bind us together with love…… I then think of seeing all of you coming forward to the altar with big smiles. It is truly a special time together as family. I am missing both the singing of this song and the special set aside time for communion.

We are going to be doing our best to recreate this moment with another special worship opportunity at Peace. Peace will be offering a short worship service with Communion in our parking lot—this will be a Drive-By service like the one we had in June. This will take place on Sunday, September 6th at 9:30 A.M. We will once again use a FM transmitter to carry the service directly to your car radio. We will let you know the exact radio station to tune into as you enter the parking lot. The good news is that the entire service will take place in the parking lot, with everyone safely distanced in their own car. At the appropriate time, the “ushers” will guide you to the front of the church (while remaining in your car) to receive the communion package.

Even though we are only seeing one another from our cars, it still feels good just to be able to wave and make the sweet connection. Who knows—you might even start to hum that song, “Bind Us Together?”

Prayer Challenge

We are coming up on a new season, Autumn, which usually means the beginning of school, harvest festivals, and getting ready for hibernation.  This year, Autumn look a little different.  School is different, there are unanswered questions for some who are working at home and from home. 

We find ourselves increasingly asking, “What is going to happen?” or “What is happening?” In the face of uncertainty, we know that God is there; and we are going to lean into Him a bit more in the new 40 day challenge we are starting. 

This is the description of “Draw the Circle” by Mark Batterson, taken from his website: https://www.markbatterson.com.  “Do you pray as often and as boldly as you want to? There is a way to experience a deeper, more passionate, persistent, and intimate prayer life.

“Drawing from forty days of true stories, Mark Batterson applies the principles of his New York Times bestselling book The Circle Maker to teach us a new way to pray. As thousands of readers quickly became many tens of thousands, true stories of miraculous and inspiring answers to prayer began to pour in, and as those stories were shared, others were bolstered in their faith to pray with even more boldness.

In Draw the Circle, through forty true, faith-building stories of God’s answers to prayer, daily scriptures and prayer prompts, Batterson inspires you to pray and keep praying like never before. Begin a lifetime of watching God work. Believe in the God who can do all things. Experience the power of bold prayer and even bolder faith in Draw the Circle.”

Join us as we all learn together to make our prayers meaningful and powerful.

Peace Says Goodbye to Vicar Dollar and Svenja

Sunday, July 26, Peace honored Vicar Dollar and Svenja with a picture book of the activities and people at Peace and a beautiful money cake, made by Janette Payne.  The Ladies Guild facilitated the collection of a gift of money from the members of the congregation.  Thanks to Peace members, we were able to send Vicar Dollar and Svenja on their way with over $1874.00.

After the service, we had a drive-by for members to wish them good luck and goodbye.

As a grand finale, because the church cannot get together as a whole and have a meal with the Dollars, the Ladies Guild had a surprise private picnic with delicious food and treats from New Morning Bakery on the back patio.  Svenja and Christian got to enjoy the patio at the church and soak up the Oregon sunshine before heading back East and into the next part of their journey.

Just a thought from a Former Vicar

This last month has been full of “Ends” for the Dollar Family: The “End of Vicarage;” the “End of our Cross-Country Move;” and – most recently – the “End of the Boxes.” Yesterday – August 19th – Svenja and I finally finished unpacking our last box. We are officially moved-in and done, and we are now taking some time to reflect on all these “Ends”.

This move has been a long process. Four days on the road and thousands of miles long: From Philomath and to St. Louis. Even though it is often sad when things end, I’ve realized that our journey has had just as many “Beginnings” as it does “Ends.” Every time I think I’ve gotten to the end of a journey, I see another beginning right around the corner, and it is exciting to think about what God might have in store for us next.

It is true, we miss our Church Family back at Peace, and we are sad that vicarage is over. It was a wonderful year that neither one of us will ever forget, but there is also a joy in awaiting what God will do in the future. So that even though the “End” may be sad, we have an unshakeable joy in our Heavenly Father and a confidence knowing that He holds the future. Both my wife and I were blessed that God directed our journey through Philomath, OR and that we were able to spend a year with you, whether it was at the Frolic and Rodeo, the Coast, or the OSU game. Wherever we were, we knew we were with Family.

As Endings come to a close and new Beginning bloom, I’d like to share with you the Words of Jesus from the last Chapter of the last Book at the End of the Bible, because it’s in these words that we can have joy even when things end.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

                                                                                 Revelations 22:13

Keep in Touch,

Vicar Christian

(Note from the Secretary: Christian put the line through the word ‘Vicar” when he sent the letter to the church; that is not an addition by me.)

Saying Thank You

Thank you to all friends and family of Peace Lutheran Church for so many things.  Here are some of the things we ‘Thank You’ for:

  • Generosity – financial, in time given, effort put forth, talents, and prayers said.
  • To everyone who helped to keep the grounds around the church cared for.
  • To everyone who helped to keep the Freezer Meal Ministry going.
  • To everyone who made masks and gave them to others.
  • To Barry for his never-ending effort to keep the building clean and sanitized.
  • To everyone who has and continues to help us search for Lysol aerosol and has dropped it off at  the church…you know who you are!  Thank you.
  • To those who have been sending out cards.
  • To those who drive packages and drop them off from Philomath to Lebanon.
  • To those who make sure our quality of online service is at the best it can be.
  • To those who share their voices for music.
  • To those who spend every weekend ushering.
  • To those who keep the slides running.
  • And so many more things that some may have been missed.

You, as a church family, are a light!  Thank you for being a part of Peace Lutheran Church.  We certainly are moving through this year together!  God Bless you all!  See you in church/online 😊