Pastor’s Thoughts

WORSHIP INSIGHT

Lent comes from Old English for “lengthen,” as the days lengthen in spring. It is a season of preparation for Easter. Even though the character is solemn and reflective, it is not without joy, for Sunday is always a day of resurrection. Sundays are not included in the forty days of Lent, and we symbolize this by referring to Sundays in Lent, not Sundays of Lent. Even in this more somber season, we still gather on Sunday to acknowledge, celebrate, and give thanks for Christ’s victory over the forces of evil, death and darkness.

Lent: God’s Gift to Us

What is Lent?
Lent is mostly known in our culture as a time to give up something good; however, it’s really far more meaningful and life-giving than that! At heart, Lent is about seeing that we need forgiveness, and also experiencing God’s forgiveness. For Lutherans in particular, Lent isn’t a season of sacrifice, but rather, a gift of time by which God re-orients us: from insecure, self-centered people into forgiven, other-centered people.

Shrove Tuesday, 3/5 6:30pm – for adults & children
No matter what it’s called – Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fastnacht – this night is a celebration before the somber season of Lent begins the next day. On Tuesday night we eat pancakes for dinner and conclude the evening by burning last year’s palms from Palm Sunday to make ashes for the next day’s worship service.

Ash Wednesday, 3/6 7:30pm
We begin Lent being mindful of our mortality “You are but dust, and to dust you shall return,” and returning to God’s mercy and grace. Ashes are optional.

Mid-Week Lenten Gatherings
Come to supper, come to worship or come to both!

Light Supper is at 6:15 pm in Faith Hall; Lenten Vespers are from 7 – 7:30 pm in the sanctuary

Using candlelight vespers (Holden Evening Prayer), we look to the light of Christ to scatter the darkness in ourselves and our world.

The theme is “The Creed We Need: The Apostles’ Creed”

March 13 – Intro: God’s medicine
March 20 – The One who creates
March 27 – The One who saves us
April 3 – The One who gives us faith
April 10 – The One who makes us new

Devotion booklet: The Word in Season or Christ in Your Home
These booklets are in the Narthex year-round and offer a brief scripture verse, reflection & prayer for each day. The scripture is connected to Sunday readings and offers a way for God to re-shape us daily.

Fasting from Plastic
If you are interested in sacrificing something for Lent, please see Judy Bumpus’ article in the Social Ministry section: “Plastic-less Lent” for something we can all do to make a difference.

Pastor Ingrid Wengert

Pastor, why don’t you capitalize pronouns referring to God (i.e., “his” vs. “His”)?

Actually, nobody has asked the question, but I thought you might wonder!  I follow the practice of the wider church, religious publishers, and general publishers that all began to adopt a lowercase or “down style” mid 20th century.

Lutherans began using the “down style” in the 1958 Service Book and Hymnal (SBH), and the 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW) continued.  From a 1978 LBW Note on Orthography:  “In line with modern practice, capitalization has been reduced in the LBW.  The SBH like the Book of Common Prayer, no longer capitalized pronouns which referred to God – a nineteenth century innovation.  The practice was not entirely consistent in any case; ‘he,’ ‘his,’ and ‘who’ were regularly capitalized but ‘own’ (grammatically an adjective) was not.”

From the Zondervan Style Manual:  “Many religious publishers and most general publishers have adopted the lowercase style, in large part to conform to the styles of the commonly used versions of the Bible. It is the style recognized as contemporary by the greatest number of readers and writers both inside and outside the church.  Because capitalizing the deity pronoun, as well as a vast number of other religious terms, was the predominant style in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century publishing, it gives a book, at best, a dated, Victorian feel, and at worst, an aura of complete irrelevance to modern readers.  Contrary to popular opinion, capitalization is not used in English as a way to confer respect (we capitalize both God and Satan, Churchill and Hitler) . . . Capitalization is largely used in English to distinguish specific things from general.”

 

In 2011, even the Evangelical Press Association, associated with the Evangelicalism movement that widely continues to follow the 19th century convention of capitalizing pronouns, noted, “…the lack of capitalized pronouns doesn’t necessarily need to be seen as a sign of disrespect. The King James Version, which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year, does not capitalize pronouns that refer to God. Neither do several other historic English Bible translations, including those by Wycliff (1380) and Tyndale (1534). And, of course, the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts on which our translations are based do not capitalize pronouns that refer to God.”

 

I follow the down style that Lutherans began to use after World War II for a number of reasons; as a way to differentiate Lutherans from the Evangelical movement (as we ARE different!), but most importantly, to make the gospel feel modern and not separated from the rest of the world or Victorian.  The gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ remains the same through all time; that is, almighty God passionately loves and unconditionally forgives us.  However, the way in which we communicate the gospel, including grammar, has changed through generations, eras and cultures, and will continue to change, so that the message can be heard as really being “for you” and me, right here and right now.                                                              Pastor Ingrid Wengert

 

 

 

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