From My Perspective

Reflections through a Lens of Faith from Pastor Jen

A Gift of Hospitality

A Gift of Hospitality

On Sunday, we’ll hear from a number of youth from Faith what Tom Schauer’s ministry meant to them.

But in the past couple of months, I’ve heard from many adults how Tom’s ministry impacted them too. They’ve said things like, “Tom was the first person I met at Faith,” and “Tom always had a smile for me,” and “Tom noticed when I was standing by myself.”

Tom may have been Faith’s official “youth” director, but his ministry extended to all ages. Tom did what each of us is called to do: notice the person standing by themselves; smile at people; meet people newer to the congregation.

Let’s hope that Tom’s gift of hospitality catches on to each of us. Meet more. Smile more. Notice more.

(I realize this might sound like a eulogy – thanks be to God that Tom is still among us so we can continue to learn from him!)

Thank you Tom!

In Christ,

Pastor Jen

What Might Have Been Created

What Might Have Been Created

This weekend I’ll be headed to Camp Calumet in NH to help lead our women’s retreat. As I prepare for retreats, one of my favorite tasks is readying the playlist…background music for prayer, quiet time, contemplation, stretching, driving, what-have-you.

As I was doing that task this week, I came across the work of one of my favorite musicians, Fran McKendree. Fran was a Massachusetts native who in his early years of his life as a musician, formed the band McKendree Spring, one manager called, “one of the best unknown bands in the world.”

Fran found his way into the Episcopal church and I met him on retreat in North Carolina about 10-12 years ago. Fran’s music helped make that Advent retreat one of the most sacred retreats I’d ever attended. It wasn’t because his voice was all that great. It wasn’t because his guitar playing was spectacular or his melodies were particularly intricate. Many of his songs had just a couple of lines: “Watch, O watch, the night has come. Be still my soul and pray.”

As Fran played and sang, it was simple and honest. And that prayer was enough. I didn’t need any more than those few words. And in the years since, I would often play them on repeat. “Watch, O watch, the night has come. Be still my soul and pray.”

Fran died of cancer in 2021, and as I listen to my playlist for the retreat, I’m once again saddened that there will be no new retreats, no new music from him.

When artists and musicians, poets and dancers die, the loss of what they might have yet created stings doesn’t it?

(If you’d like to hear Fran, here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNzrbxocuBU )

In Christ,

Pastor Jen

Humbly Bragging

Humbly Bragging

Tomorrow is Andover Day.

I’m told that thousands of people show up to this outdoor event where vendors boast about their products or services and encourage people to stop and chat.

Faith Lutheran will have a booth this year (we will be across the street from Dunkin’ Donuts if you’d like to say hello!)

The funny thing about a church is that we’re not really comfortable about the whole “boasting” thing. We’re supposed to be humble. When we give alms, we’re not supposed to let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. (Matthew 6:3) And what’s more, we don’t really have “products” we’re selling.

So what will we have at our booth? What do we as a church have to offer the community?

               We will have friendly people who will be willing to chat (we offer connection).

               We will have fleece blankets for the homeless that people can help tie (we offer people the opportunity to serve).

               We will have a box and pens and paper for people to write down their prayer requests that we will include in worship on Sunday (we offer people a space to connect with God).

               We will have a few chimes for people to check out (we offer opportunities for people of all ages to sing and play music).

               We will have candy (we offer opportunities for joy and laughter).

We have a lot to offer. And a lot of people in Andover don’t know it. So we will humbly brag about what God is doing through us. (See what I did there?) 😊

In Christ,
Pastor Jen