Pastor’s Thoughts

Parsonage Update

We already have a visual reminder that change has come to Zion! In probably what was the fastest fence installation we’ve ever seen, the beautiful new fence on the Parsonage Property was installed the week of Christmas and paid for by the Wengerts in order to create a safe space for two of our “new neighbors” – the Wengerts two rescue greyhounds—Luna and Chiffon.

Please make sure the gates remain closed at all times so these beauties remain safely in their yard!

Pastor Ingrid is making some changes to the way we worship, but do you know why?

Join us for a special Adult Forum Series “Getting God’s best Out of Worship” taught by the Rev. Dr. Tim Wengert

All Christians, no matter what church they belong to, gather for worship. But many Christians do not necessarily know why they worship in the way they do. Many things that we do in worship go back to the very first Christians—or even back to the Jewish worshiping communities of Jesus’ day. Other things have their roots in practices developed in the first five centuries of the Christian church. Others come from the Middle Ages, and still others from the time of Martin Luther and the Reformation. When some Christians insist on doing everything new and different, it turns out that—although they may not know it—even they are following traditions of one kind or another. These sessions will focus on the way Lutherans worship and how much we owe to our predecessors (especially Martin Luther), to Christians today, but especially to the Bible. The more we know about worship, the better it gets.
God is In the Details—Learn How!
January 6th: “The Center of Worship.” There are several things that Christian worship cannot do without. Find out what they are and why they are so important.

January 13th: “The Order of Worship.” All Christians worship in some order or another. Discover what structures Lutheran worship to be biblical and personal.

January 20th: “The Marks of Worship.”  Lutherans insist that the church is defined by Word and Sacrament, which in turn define our worship.  Come and see why God “gets physical” with us in worship.

January 27th: “Singing the Gospel.”  One of the greatest gifts Martin Luther gave to western Christianity was the recovery of congregational singing.  See how Lutherans (and others) have sung God’s grace through the centuries.

The Rev. Dr. Tim Wengert, our pastor’s husband, taught for 25 years at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.  He has written many books and articles about the history of Lutheranism and Martin Luther. This includes editing and contributing to a book on Lutheran worship published by Fortress Press in Minneapolis. He also has twice addressed the most important gathering of Lutheran worship leaders, which meets annually at Valparaiso University in Indiana

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A blessed New Year to you! I continue to settle into the parsonage and into the role of pastor of Zion, and feel very blessed to have been called as your pastor. One thing that can be a bit of a stumbling block for a newly called pastor to a congregation is change, especially when it comes to worship, which is the heart of our life together. On one hand, I have probably made a number of changes that I don’t even realize! On the other hand, I’ve intentionally made small changes, including to Christmas worship services, and I hope that didn’t throw too many people off! I do not plan to make any immediate profound changes because I want become familiar with how Zion worships. Please know that I will not make changes to worship because I personally prefer things a certain way (e.g., I avoid choosing my personal favorite hymns), but I try to make changes for 2 reasons:

1. Because it makes sense in a practical or logistical way (e.g., sitting in the presider’s chair so that I can see the congregation and move around more easily)

2. Because it makes clearer the gospel; that is God’s grace (e.g., preaching sermons on Christmas Cantata and Lessons & Carols Sundays because scripture isn’t always easily grasped as good news by everybody). With the blessing of Worship & Music, I plan to make slight changes to the wording and format of bulletins in the new year; that is, to align worship more closely with the ELW, and all of its short descriptions for why we do what we do. For example, for the Offering, the description is: “An offering is gathered for the mission of the church, including the care of those in need.” During the first month or so, I plan to describe these minor changes in the bulletin insert so that you might know the reasons for change. Finally, when it comes to worship, small changes can feel profound. If I have changed something about which you are puzzled or concerned, please come and tell me. I really do want to hear your concerns and reflect upon them. Also, if it’s a change that I’ve made intentionally, I hope that you might be willing to hear the reason behind it.
Pastor Ingrid Wengert

Office Hours This Week

The office will be closed on Tuesday, January 1st for New Year’s Day. If you have a pastoral emergency, please contact Pastor Ingrid on her cell phone at (215) 692-2091. Happy New Year to all!

Grace Marion Salvatore

was born on November 19th. Grace weighed 6 lbs, 15 oz and was 20 1/2 inches long.

Her parents are Matthew and Elizabeth Salvatore of Montclair, NJ.

Grandparents Larry and Deena Salvatore couldn’t be prouder of their first grandchild!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am eagerly settling into the parsonage and office. My husband Tim and I have been very warmly received, beginning with a parsonage that was freshly painted, repaired in minor ways and cleaned from top to bottom – literally! We’re mostly unpacked and were happy to be able to host Thanksgiving dinner for our family who (for the most part) didn’t have to drive as far this year.

Getting to Know You
One of my main goals is to get to know the community and in particular, the people of Zion. In order to do this, I hope to visit with the majority of households of Zion my first year. Here’s my plan:

*To make it as convenient as possible, I suggest these “get-to-know-you visits” run about 30 – 45 minutes.
*We could meet at your house, in the church office, or at a place such as the Coffee Potter.
*Ideally, I’d make 1-3 visits per week – evenings, mornings or afternoons – whatever works for each household.
*I’d like to begin with Confirmation families, the newest members of the congregation, and anybody else who’d like to sign up!

I will be contacting Confirmation families & new members, and putting up a sign-up sheet in Fields Hall.

Office Hours & Cell Phone
Also, for the time being, and until I better know the patterns and needs of the congregation, my office hours will be Monday 2pm – 5pm as Monday morning is the pastor’s Bible study in Sparta; Tuesday – Thursday, 9am – 12pm, and 2pm – 5pm. However, I will be using these hours and also evenings to make visits, not only to parishioners, but also to meet people in Long Valley, such as the Police & Fire Chiefs, Superintendents, local stores and other clergy. I would hate for somebody to want to talk but find me out of the office. So, if you want to make sure to see me, please call or email me to set up an office visit. My cell phone number is (215) 692-2091, please feel free to use it to call or text me (if texting – make sure to identify yourself the first time).

Hospital & Convalescing Visits
Please let me know if you’d like a hospital visit before surgery as a little prayer can provide comfort, or as you’re recuperating in the hospital or at home. I know that some people prefer to be left alone when they’re feeling poorly, but others really appreciate prayer or Communion. The timing of a surgery is typically scheduled the day prior, and I’m happy to come out pre-dawn – no problem! Simply let me know.
Pastor Ingrid Wengert

Friends in Christ,
Please accept my sincere thanks for the wonderful “send off” on the 18th!  The luncheon was wonderful . (I ate too much as usual.)
My thanks as well to all those who contributed to the closing gift and for the framed print.  I was truly taken back! Finally, I must also offer my thanks for all the support and hard work by so many over the past two years.  I wish you all the best with Pastor Ingrid in the months and years to come. Grace and peace,
(Former) Pastor Dan

From your Interim . . .

I intend to take a bit of a breather through the month of December, and am actively working at this point toward securing a new community in which I might ply my trade.  Jenny and I are looking at short term opportunities for me locally, and are also investigating longer term calls within a much larger radius.  We have long ago learned to trust God’s Holy Spirit to guide us to new and exciting vistas.

A note about the final transition to your new pastor:  While I will make myself available to Pastor Ingrid to help her get settled in, beginning on November 25thshe will be your one and only pastor.  I will make myself as scarce as possible and will not respond to any pastoral requests beyond that date.  It is very important that interim pastors, just like departing settled pastors, put distance between themselves and the congregation that they have served so as not to color in any way the relationship that the congregation will develop with the new pastor. I wish the best for all of you and will keep you in my daily prayers, asking that Zion continue to be an anchor of faith for its members, for the surrounding community of Long Valley, and for the world.          

Grace and peace,

Pastor Dan

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am very eager to arrive in Long Valley and begin as pastor to Zion Lutheran Church!  My first day will be Christ the King Sunday, November 25th, which is the final Sunday of the church year.  In a show of hospitality and to accomplish a smooth transition, Pastor Dan will overlap with me for a day or two, which I appreciate very much! I’m excited about making Long Valley our home, and getting to know our neighbors and the surrounding communities, but I especially look forward to getting to know the members and households of Zion. May God bless this new chapter at Zion, that together we might be faithful in bearing the gospel to the world.

Pastor Ingrid Wengert