Siblings in Christ,
With the Fourth of July just around the corner there is a lot of talk about “freedom”. As citizens of the United States we are afforded certain freedoms; freedom of speech and freedom of religion are two that come to mind. Freedom, however, does not mean that we are able to do whatever we please without consequence or repercussion. There are realities that limit our freedoms that we seldom think about. There are laws that guide our decision making, as well as individual and communal values that we hold dear which limit and guide how we use these gifts of freedom. As Christians of the Lutheran denomination, we understand freedom in a somewhat different way. Freedom is a gift given to us by God through Jesus Christ, however this kind of freedom is best used addressing the needs of others rather than meeting our own desires. Our founder, Martin Luther, reflects on the freedom of a Christian this way:
A Christian is lord of all, completely free of everything.
A Christian is a servant, completely attentive to the needs of all.
What does this mean? The love of God is given to us generously, not because we earn it or because we deserve it, but because God gives it to the world. This love frees us from everything! Our value and worth is no longer tied up in our ability to do good deeds or to succeed at certain activities. Our value is not bound by prestige in society. Our value and worth is not diminished because of the choices we make, our losses, our failures, or things that are out of our control. One is not seen as more precious or valuable because of their country of origin or their need for help. We are freed from these earthly markers of value. We are free and fully love by God! So now what? What do we do with that freedom? Jesus offers us a way to use that freedom when he tells those questioning him about God’s law; love God above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself. Now that we are free, God calls us to use that freedom to attend to the needs of others. We are called to bring justice to those who have been wronged, welcome those who have otherwise been rejected, and find commonality and compassion for those we deem as “other”. In other words, we are called to give others the same freedom that God has given us. For me, I am using my freedom to learn about the experiences of those that are different from me. I spent my maternity leave taking care of my son, but also, reading about the experiences of people of color in our country. I am taking the time to learn about the experiences of these author’s so that I can better understand how our experiences have differed, and what needs to change so that all people, no matter their skin color, can be treated with respect and compassion by me as an individual, within our congregation, in the wider community, and in our country. What does living freely look like for you?
Peace in Christ Jesus,
Pastor Lauren Applegate
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IT'S A BOY FOR THE APPLEGATES—CONGRATULATIONS!
They welcomed Marcus Brandt Applegate to their family on May 3, 2018.
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While Pastor Lauren is on maternity leave, please feel free to contact the church office at 610-838-0731; Council President, Marianne Zellner at 610-216-1016; or Council Vice President, Bill Young at 610-797-8440 for pastoral emergencies.
Greetings from your New Jerusalem “Apples” Church council. Congregation members are invited to attend Church Council meetings as spectators. Our meetings run 7:00–9:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. If you have a question or concern that you want addressed at a council meeting, please notify me by Sunday of that week or place it in the question box located in the Narthex. Of course, you can always share your thoughts and concerns with any current council member and ask them for help as well. As your Council President, I am available by email to email@example.com or call 610-216-1016.
The Council officers for 2018 are:
President: Marianne Zellner
Vice President: Bill Young
Secretary: Barbara Young
Treasurer: Jesse Hart
Council Members: Glen Campbell, Greg Frederick, Pat Leith, Tina McCardle, Ron Miller, Terry Ravier, Tami Welch, Cindy Ziegler
May 2018 Summary
We made a lot of progress during our June meeting. The agenda included updates about the merger, the request from the Boy Scouts, the Music Director search and the installation of the air conditioning in the preschool and conference rooms. We spoke at length about some property issues at Christ-Lower Saucon and the need to form a small committee to research options for moving the organ. We approved a proposed budget for the preschool along with some recommendations for teacher contracts and the evaluation process for the preschool staff. We also decided to begin to review all church use requests as a council to help eliminate any potential liability issues. With that in mind, be sure to make any church use requests in a timely manner.
I ask for your continued prayers for all the council members and all those in leadership positions for this congregation.
Peace be with you,
Marianne Zellner, Council President
Council Question Box
No questions this month.
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Music Director Search ~ New Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church seeks qualified candidates to fill the vacant position of Director of Music. Candidates must exhibit proficiency in playing the piano, and be willing to learn and play the organ, if not already proficient. The successful candidate will exhibit passion, energy, and enthusiasm in performing assigned tasks. Responsibilities include providing musical accompaniment during worship services; rehearsing, leading, and teaching large groups with varying abilities, including choirs and musical ensembles; and collaborating with the Pastor, other worship leaders and committees to complete administrative tasks and develop an appropriate and meaningful worship experience. Weekly 9:00 a.m. Sunday Service, Monthly 6:00 p.m. Saturday Service, 100 AWA, 1 Choir. Continuing Education money available.
Submit letter of interest, resume, and salary expectations to church office at:
New Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church
3233 Apples Church Road, Bethlehem, PA 18015; 610-838-0731 (phone)