While Bishop Eaton
was still our synodical bishop she challenged
every congregation in Northeastern Ohio to participate
in a spiritual discernment process she dubbed
“On the Journey Forward.” Even though
Bishop Eaton is now serving as the Presiding Bishop
of the ELCA the Journey Forward continues.
First Church has
a Journey Forward team consisting of Ray Treudler,
Darden Blake, John Brinzo, Kurt Blankenship, Connie
Nielsen, and the pastors. We are part of a cluster
of nine congregations who will meet together regularly
to participate in this process. Our team will
also meet on its own, in between cluster meetings,
to work on a variety of assignments designed to
help us understand our identity and what God has
called us to do and be in the Strongsville community.
The Journey Forward
process involves four general phases. Discovery
is the data gathering phase, designed to give
us an accurate picture of our congregation and
community. Diagnosis is the analysis
phase where we will attempt to interpret the data
and what it reveals about our mission and ministry.
Decision is the planning phase
where we will design a mission plan with measurable
goals. Because we are working within a cluster
we may discover that a partnership with another
congregation in some particular area of ministry
may be beneficial. Do is the
implementation phase, and well … it’s
where we will actually start DOING something.
As this process
continues the congregation will be updated and,
at times, invited into the process to provide
valuable information and insight. In the meantime
the team invites the prayers of the congregation
for clear insight and understanding of God’s
intentions for us.
with us Holy Week and Easter:
Easter Sunday: April
8:00 AM – Planting of Easter
8:15 AM – Traditional Easter
9:45 AM – Contemporary Easter
11:15 AM – Traditional Easter
Festival Service Note time change for
Easter Sunday only!
First Church is currently looking
to fill two positions within the church.
Please click on the position to see
or download the job description.
Candidates may also call Pastor Chuck
at 440.238.7890 with questions or
I shared this story
in a recent sermon but perhaps it
bears repeating. Two brothers were
playing on the sandbanks of a river.
One ran after another up a large mound
of sand. Unfortunately, the mound
was not solid, and their weight caused
them to sink in quickly. When the
boys did not return home for dinner
the family and neighbors organized
a search. They found the younger brother
unconscious, with his head and shoulders
sticking out above the sand. When
they cleared the sand to his waist,
he awakened. The searchers asked,
“Where is your brother?”
The child replied, “I’m
standing on his shoulders.”
With the sacrifice of his own life,
the older brother lifted the younger
As we enter the holiest
time of the church year we remember
the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf.
Soon we will gather to greet Jesus
with billowing palm branches and choral
refrains of Hosanna. But these will
abruptly turn into shouts for his
crucifixion. We will forget what we
thought we were beginning to acknowledge,
that Jesus is the Lamb of God who
came to take away the sin of the world.
We will leave Jesus to succumb to
a lonely death on a cross, an ending
reserved only for the worst criminals,
seditionists and traitors.
Will we understand
that with the sacrifice of his own
life, Jesus has lifted us to safety?
Will we comprehend that our sins have
been washed away because Jesus accepted
the death intended for us, and that
by this atoning act we have been saved?
And not just us, but the whole world?
In an extremely well-written
article in The Lutheran Pastor Peter
Marty reminds us that “We are
not given permission to shrink the
cross to suit our own version of God.
We ought to think of the work of Jesus
Christ as cosmic in scope.”
As we worship on Palm Sunday and participate
in the reading of the passion narrative,
and on Maundy Thursday as we receive
the Eucharist, and on Good Friday
as we meditate on the last words of
a dying Christ, let’s remember
that what happened is not just about
us or only about us. It’s about
Jesus lifting the entire world onto
his shoulders so that all people of
every time and place may experience
forgiveness and new life.
May we enter Holy
Week with the assurance of our salvation,
so that our Easter joy may be complete.
(crucified and risen),
you have a prayer request?
Please use the bulletin
board over the water fountain to make your prayer
concerns known, or Click
Here to submit one for inclusion
during our next service.
Your Talents with
do I get involved?
on the “Share Your Spiritual Gifts
Volunteer Form” link below if you
know the gifts you have been given, and
let us know how you would like to share
them with First Church this coming 2013-2014
on the “Discover Your Spiritual
Gifts” link below. The survey is
simply a list of questions that help identify
what gifts, skills and interests you have
been given. Once you submit the completed
survey, we will score it and email you
with the results. We will also include
a few suggestions regarding volunteer
opportunities that are a good fit for
your gifts. If you would like to share
your gifts, please take the “Share
Your Spiritual Gifts” survey and
we will get you connected!
regarding the surveys, or opportunities
to share your gifts with First Church,
can be directed to Connie at (440)238-7890
or send an email to email@example.com.
News, Photos, etc..
- Important Dates - Stuff.....
“For we are what he has made us, created in
Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
beforehand to be our way of life.” Ephesians
Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Baskets
A heartfelt THANK YOU to the many congregation members
that donated an abundance of nonperishable food
items, monetary gifts, and their time during the
busy holiday season to maintain the long-standing
tradition at First Lutheran Church of helping those
Over 50 volunteers, of all ages, helped pack over
44 food baskets that provided a holiday meal to
over 165 people through the Southwest Hospital’s
Neighborhood Care Center and Gatekeeper programs,
the county’s FrontLine Service programs, and
within our congregation. A special thank-you goes
out Don Nielsen and the Curtiss Wright Company,
who donated a generous amount of extra turkeys and
other food basket items; and to all members of the
congregation who donated turkeys. As it turned out,
there were plenty of turkeys for all of the Thanksgiving
and Christmas food baskets. Finally, a very special
thank you goes out to the Confirmation youth, under
the direction of their mentors, in a huge food collection
effort from area neighborhoods and the youth group
which provided delectable baked goods and thoughtful
homemade cards for the Thanksgiving and Christmas
Christmas Sharing Tree
104 gifts for children in families that would not
be able to afford Christmas presents were purchased
for the Children's Sharing Tree. A special thank
you goes out to Connie Nielsen for her leadership
role and all her elves who helped make that program
Many thanks to those that donated blood at the First
Lutheran Blood Drive. 25 units that were collected
gave hope to those urgently needing blood. Each
pint of donated blood can help save up to 3 lives!
Look for the blood mobile to return to First Lutheran
the first weekend of November in 2014.
click on a link below to view the current
newsletters published by First Lutheran Church.
community Food Bank is running low on food.
Donations may be dropped off in the shopping carts
located near the doors. Items needed most: canned
soup, canned tuna, canned vegetables, peanut butter,
offerings thru the end of the program year will
go to Providence House, one of the oldest
child care organizations in the country to house
newborns to children age 10 for an extended period
of time. They are voluntarily placed there when
there is fear of abuse or neglect within the family.
The family also receives needed help and support
to change the home environment. Watch for more details
on this service project.
and donuts are available in the Fellowship Hall
on Sunday mornings. This is a service project
of our Confirmation students and their families.
The donuts are purchased at a cost of
$.50 per donut. All other
items are donated. Please help us cover the cost
of the donuts.
Prayer & Care Group prepares and sends
cards to those of us, young and old alike, who are
lonely, suffering from illness or injury, or those
with on-going issues. Join us the first Friday of
every month at 10 AM. Questions? Contact Sue Ludwig
(440.238.5164 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lutheran Busy Bags contain quiet items,
crayons, and books for children to use during the
service. They can be found under the table at the
back of the church. Just ask an usher if you would
like one of these bags for your little one.
Service, formerly MHS, has several families
who were recently homeless and are now in need of
beds and living room furniture. They also need TV’s
and a microwave. If you have donations, please call
Tammy Widdows (216.548.2761).
Street Ministry continues to collect
men’s socks for the homeless. Please place your
donation in the marked box by the Fellowship Hall
entrance. Questions? Contact Steve Gall (440.238.3019).
the Red, White, and Blue Team!
new Mission Ministry is being kicked
off to help military families within
our congregation and community that
have a parent or loved one currently
deployed overseas. We are looking for
volunteers to provide meals, home handyman,
and babysitting services for military
families that could use a little extra
help and support.
fulfill your patriotic duty while doing
the work our Lord has called us to do!
ELCA Malaria Campaign intends to contain
malaria on the African continent by 2015.
To help, make a donation using the special envelope
in the pews. Make checks payable to First Lutheran
Church, and place envelopes in the offering
plate. Our goal is to raise $5,100.
you have a prayer request? Please use the bulletin
board over the water fountain to make your prayer
get rid of your old cell phone? Recycle
the old one! Please drop off old cell phones
and used ink cartridges – boxes located
on the table under the youth bulletin board
by the Fellowship Hall entrance. Questions?
Contact Debbie Brighter (440.572.2627).
by the Welcome Center, in the
lobby, for additional information on our activities
your altar flowers to local nursing
homes or our own church shut-ins. Please contact
the church office if you are interested in donating
for a Reason - If you know any woman
currently undergoing Chemo, please pass the
word to her that there is a cleaning service
that provides FREE housecleaning – 1 time
per month for 4 months while she is in treatment.
All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor
fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning
for a Reason will have a participating maid
service in her zip code area arrange for the
Emergency Food Bank - The Food Bank
is open to Strongsville residents year-round:
Monday thru Friday, 9:30 – 11:30 AM and
including the 2nd Saturday of every month. Call
440/846-0197 for more information. Nonperishable
food items can be placed in the shopping carts
by the side and Fellowship Hall entrances. This
is taken to the Strongsville Food Bank.
Both pastors offer open office hours
for anyone who wants to stop by to share &
concerns. It is helpful to call in advance for
an appointment. Drop-in visitors are received
on a first come, first served basis. Pastor Chuck’s hours are 10
- noon on Tuesday.
Pastor Kathy’s hours are 10 – noon
parties, or just everyday living ... if you
shop at GFS - don’t
forget to mention First Lutheran when checking
out and help First earn credit to supply future
clients need women’s size 16 jeans or
pants and XL solid color tops. Also, men’s
size large and size 18 boy’s shorts for
a 15-yr-old. Please place donations in the church
office. Questions? Please call Tammy Widdows
The PATH Program
(serving those living under bridges and in the
woods) needs canned food to hand out to people
they find. Please put your donations in the
shopping carts. Questions? Please contact Tammy
WOW will continue
to collect women’s full-size personal
hygiene items and diapers for Laura’s
Home. Donations may be placed in the container
on the Welcome Center.
Church has a program to provide CD recordings,
currently of the lesson readings, Gospel
reading, and sermon, for members who are
unable to attend regular services.
shut-in will be provided with a CD player,
on loan from the church, with which to listen
to the service recording mailed or delivered
to them each week. Plans are to expand the
recording capability to the entire service
in the future.
you know of any or our members, or nonmembers,
who may be interested in participating in
this program, please contact the church
office or click
now have a special page on this Web site
devoted to the prior sermons from each week
here to view the sermons you
following are church events and fellowship opportunities
at First Church. A complete listing of all of the
Church Events can be downloaded by clicking on the
"Weekly Revelations" located in the box
to the left.
after dark keeping you away from our weekly Lenten
suppers and/or services? Volunteer transporters
are here to assist. Have questions, interested in
a ride, or offering to provide a ride, please call
Linda Walker (330.225.9340).
Continuing Rob Bell video series topics for the
4/20 – NO CLASS
4th Annual Eggstravaganza –Please
bring a dozen (or more) hard-boiled eggs to church
on Easter Sunday, April 20. A table
will be provided outside the Fellowship Hall. Our
Street Ministry will deliver them to the homeless
on Tuesday, April 22. Comments
or questions to Yvonne Buehner (email@example.com
Semiannual General Meeting will be held Sunday,
April 27 during the 10 AM Education Hour.
Join us in the Fellowship Hall as we elect a Vice-president
and Treasurer. Anyone interested in running for
either position, please contact any WOW Board Member.
for Hunger – We encourage all of
First Church to join us for the Cleveland Hunger
Network’s Walk for Hunger on Saturday,
May 10 in downtown Cleveland. This is a
non-competitive 5K walk. We are trying to put together
a team and plan to walk with the team from New Covenant
Lutheran Church in East Cleveland. All walkers who
raise $40 will receive a T-shirt. Please contact
Bruce Holderead (firstname.lastname@example.org
or 440.655.1523) if you are interested in walking.
Lutheran Church will be taking part in Relay
for Life on May 17/18, 12 PM – 8 AM!
If you are in grades 7 thru 12, you can sign up
now to be part of the team! Adults are welcome to
sign up as well. For more information, please contact
Morgan Kluck (email@example.com)
or Gabi Bewie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Memorial Fund provides interest-free loans
to Lutheran students who are or will be enrolled
full time in a four-year undergraduate program at
any accredited college or university. This year,
the maximum interest-free loan is $3,000 for the
school year. For video and information, go to www.pierstorf.org.
Download the 2014-15 application from the website.
The deadline for all applications is Monday,
June 30, 2014.
indicates "New Record" in monthly or yearly hits.
Blue Number indicates "Highest
All-time Month" in hits.