PASTOR'S PERSPECTIVE FOR JANUARY 2018
Happy New Year!
I have been excited for this year to begin for more than a year. 2018 is the first calendar year that United Lutheran Church of Proctor exists on its own. Though we consolidated in June of 2017, last year also included five months of Bethlehem and Immanuel’s operations. We had three distinct congregations, each with their own joys and concerns. But this year we will fully operate as one congregation. We will pass one budget at our single annual meeting. We will carry out ministry in one building, and in the community as a united people. From finances to kitchen dishes – it’s all one in 2018!
Let me tell you about a few of the new and unique things that will be a part of this year at United Lutheran Church of Proctor. Bishop Aitken and the Synod Staff have been modeling the practice of praying for all the congregations and pastors in the synod each week. Beginning in January, one petition of our prayers will be for a congregation and pastor in our synod. You will know some of these congregation and pastor, but others may be unknown. Our Lutheran church is active all over the Northland!
The Lutheran church is active around the world as well. This year, United Lutheran Church of Proctor begins a friendship congregation relationship with St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Cheboksary, Russia. That congregation, like us, is hoping to build a new building in the near future. And like us, their pastor is the Dean of his conference. As friendship congregations, we will pray for each other, exchange news and pictures of our ministry, and learn about the struggles and joys that we face. We will direct our international benevolence to support their mission and ministry. In May, Pr. Konstantin Subbotin, their pastor, will be visiting us in Proctor, and will be a guest at the Synod Assembly. My hope is to return to Russia in 2019 with a delegation from Proctor and the Synod to continue our companionship.
Above all, my hope for this year is that we will feel like one congregation, not two sharing a building. We have already experienced some wonderful new traditions, like the Good Gifts Tree. We continue to build upon the strengths of the past, like VLM Day Camp. Going forward, I ask you to think less of “how we did it at Bethlehem/Immanuel” and more about how the United Lutherans of Proctor serve God. There are still unknown speed bumps and potholes ahead. But I believe that the road will only get smoother for us. Let’s make this a wonderful year together, following where God leads us.
Peace+ Pastor Kowitz