Sauerkraut Dinner UpdateChurch Council with several guests met on Monday, June 29th to discuss the future of the annual Election Day Dinner.

It was noted that the 2019 dinner was approximately a 50-50 split between eat-in and take-out meals. Counting the help,350 dinners were served. The profit was about $3000 from the dinner and raw kraut sales.Everyone present at Monday’s meeting had a chance to list and comment on the issues and options for November 2020.

Issues included:

•Workers –number, capability for lifting heavy pans, duration of work time, commitment

•Date –weekday in question

•COVID-19 restrictions

•Eat-In vs Take-Out

•Take-Out containers, servings sizes

•Competing community events

While not issues of concern, it was expressed that continuing this tradition is important –fellowship being good for our people, this being a chance to reach out into the community, this an opportunity for evangelism.Options considered were boosting manpower by utilizing Alfred Vocational School students and other churches’ members. The main option on the table is changing the menu, thereby reducing the stressful lifting and food prep.A straw vote of all at the meeting confirmed the desire to continue the tradition; however, details need to be worked out.

A follow-up meeting will be held on July 13 at 6:30pm.

Decisions will finalize:

•Menu: traditional fare –pork, mashed potatoes, dressing, sauerkraut, gravy, pie or possibly pork, red cabbage, spätzle, sauerbraten, green bean casserole, sauerkraut, pie.

The traditional menu is tradition; the changed menu reduces the workload, eases the stress. The amount of cabbage/sauerkraut would be less, this cutting back on carrying all up to the main floor.

•Take-Out vs Eat-in or Both ... pending virus restrictions

•Date –Election Day-November 3 or a Different Date

•Cabbage-Cutting –September 19, 13, or ?September 20, the normal date,is Pastor’s Affirmation of his Installation.



During the COVID-19 quarantine, I have been writing a series of short articles to introduce myself to the congregation since our regular means of communication are not possible. Here is the piece that also appears in this week’s Trinity Connections. --Pastor Ash

“Pastor, what do you think?”

Often people will ask that question, “Pastor, what do you think about...? “and then raise some social, Biblical or theological issue. I have lots of thoughts, opinions, and ideas. But let me be the first to say what I think is unimportant. It is irrelevant. In the long run, it just does not matter. What do I mean?

What is most important, most relevant and matters the most is what the Bible says. The Bible is God’s Word, our ultimate authority, and our rule and norm for all doctrine. We cannot go beyond what the Bible says. We dare not speak for God where the Bible is silent. We must proclaim exactly what the Bible says even when it is not popular. There are some issues that the Bible does not address directly. What do we do then? When facing issues where there is no “Thus saith the Lord,” we apply the godly principles we have gleaned from scripture to the concerns and pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, while also using the good sense God has given us. Then we can say, “While the Bible does not address this directly, we discern that the Bible guides us this way...” Knowing that we can be mistaken on non-essential points leads us to treat those who disagree with us with charity and understanding. As tempting as it might be, I cannot preach or teach my ideas or opinions. The Bible alone must be taught and proclaimed. I look forward to when we get back to Bible study classes, where we together can explorethe riches and glory of God’s Holy Word and hear what The Lord is saying to us today.

Re-Opening Church ............... Protocol Highlights

•Follow mandated safety precautions: mask, social distancing

•Save street parking for handicap users.

•Enter/leave churchusing the front door.

•Stagger pew-seating as directed by the ushers.

•Place offering in the basket bythesanctuary entrance.

•Refrain from hugging, shaking hands.

•Worship foregoing communion until the pandemic clears.

•Refrain from handling hymnals, Bibles, papers, etc. Bring your own Bible.

•No coffee or snacks after the service.

•Limit personal needs to the one bathroom by the audio area.

•Stay home if sick, coughing, sneezing, etc.

The building has been thoroughly sanitized, this continuing each and every week before and after worship. Anyone’s decision to not attend until safer times is completely acknowledged and respected.

The weekly communication by email and postal mail will continue to all desiring such.

Please let us knowyour request by calling the church office (593-3311).

We want no one left without the support of our spiritual comfort.



What Does Preaching Do?

It probably strikes non-Christians as strange that someone would listen to another person speak for 15 minutes or more, uninterrupted, expounding on an ancient text, without visual aids or commercial messages.  Yet, Christians all over the world listen to preaching week after week.  For my part, as a pastor, I love to preach.  It is my passion.  So, what good is preaching, what purpose does it serve, what does it do?  I could expound on that topic for hours, but I will try to highlight just a few points.

            Sometimes in sermons I will tell what I hope are interesting and often humorous stories about myself and my family.  It is not that my life is normative or ideal.  Quite the opposite.  I am just an unwitting recipient of God’s amazing grace like everyone else.  It just happens though that I know my life better than anyone else’s and I do not have to worry about breaking confidentiality if I tell a story about myself.  A preacher always has to remember, of course, “It’s not about me, it’s about Jesus.”

            Sermons can be educational, but that is not their main point.  The history and linguistics of the Bible can be fascinating.  There are many theological ideas that can be endlessly debated.  There is more than enough impressive Christian jargon that can be tossed around.  If those things help the sermon make its point, that is fine, but a sermon should not be an academic lecture. 

            The main point of every sermon should be the Good News of Christ’s death and resurrection for our salvation.  Someone once said, “If Jesus didn’t die in your sermon, it wasn’t a sermon.”  A sermon should proclaim God’s love for YOU.  To achieve that goal, we delineate both the Law (God’s commandments for us and how we fall short of them) and the Gospel (what Christ did to earn our redemption and His promise of forgiveness).  If a sermon has reached its purpose, the listeners should come away ready to profess their faith, as we do in the Creed, and prepared to offer prayer, praise and thanksgiving to God, as we do in the Holy Communion. 

            On my own, I could never preach a sermon that would meet those high expectations.  Only if I am informed by the Word and led by the Holy Spirit can I do what I am called to do.  Let us pray that God will bless both the preaching and hearing of His Holy Word.







The Man in Black

One of the trademarks of Country Music superstar Johnny Cash was that he always wore black, earning him the nickname, The Man in Black. He did a song saying he wore black to show solidarity with the downtrodden. My family and friends have joking referredto me as The Man in Black because I almost always wear a black clergy collar shirt. The tradition of pastors wearing black goes back centuries and is supposed to remind us of our mortality. In our evangelical freedom, Lutheran pastors can wear any coloror style. I choose to usually wear black clergy attire. A black clerical collar shirt is my preference because it makes me easily recognizable as a pastor. So often in hospitals, nursing homes and all sorts of public places, people will approach me because they want or need to talk to a pastor and the garb identifies me. Many times, these chance interactions lead to significant pastoral conversations. If you see me in the grocery store or out elsewhere and I am wearing black, don’t be surprised. I’m not necessarily on official business, I’m just letting people know a pastor is there if they need me. With the shutdown due to the pandemic I haven’t be able to visit our members and get to know you as quickly as I had planned. I hope these little “getting to know you articles are helpful until we can have more face-to-face conversations. God bless. ~ Pastor Ash~


Pastor is “Pastor” ……………. As He Answers:  “What do I like to be called?”

     That is a question I am asked frequently.  Personally, I am not one for fancy titles.  A simple “Your Most Excellent Holiness” will do.  But seriously, there are lots possible titles used for clergy people of various faiths:

     What do I like to be called?  Although all the names above have some descriptive value, there is one I prize above all others.  Let me share with you a story.  The pastor who was my Vicarage Supervisor was named Duane.  He was called Duey in the vernacular.  I heard an aged parishioner once say to him, “You know, a lot people take great pleasure in calling you Duey behind your back.  But I always call you ‘Pastor’ because that’s what you are and have always been to me, my Pastor.”  Pastor, meaning shepherd, is a title that I can never truly earn, but one I am called to strive for.  If you can think of me in that way, I will be very blessed indeed. 
~ Pastor Ash ~




A New Pastor – A New Chapter in Our Church

Pastor Ash’s Installation on Sunday afternoon, May 3rd, was a time of God’s blessing enhanced by our excitement.

If you missed it, the actual Rite of Installation was officiated by Eastern District President Chris Wicher. He had a wonderful and encouraging meditation in which he offered appreciation for Pastor Bill Willson, motivational words to Pastor Ash, and a very positive recognition to our congregation.

(An editorial comment – Pres Wicher made us sound pretty good; now we must be worthy and step up!)

The video is available for watching through the church website.

The car parade with so many people and bell-ringing was a fantastic welcome for Pastor Ash and wife Melanie.

Thank you to all who participated.

Pastor Ash is at church most days, yet he is still settling in.

His office furniture didn’t fit on the moving truck, but there are four chairs if you want to stop in and meet him. He is somewhat shuffling between church and home, both Ashes working on unpacking lots of boxes at their newly purchased house. Eventually he expects to be off on Fridays.