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