I am proud of my denomination

I am proud of my denomination

I am proud of my denomination the ELCA.   They did something last week at this year’s national assembly that I believe will be a light and model to other churches.  The gathering of ELCA Lutherans not noted for their radical political behavior voted to be a sanctuary denomination. This will cause division in many congregations and once again we will have some of those churches leave the ELCA. This happened in 2009 when we voted that LGBTQ folks were welcomed in every leadership role in the church including pastors.   Not only that leap of faith, but authorizing that same sex weddings may be performed in ELCA churches and recognizing same sex union as fully married couples.

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Letter from Bishop Brian Maas

The following letter is from Bishop Brian Maas, the Bishop of the Nebraska Synod of the ELCA.  His letter is an explanation of the vote by the Church-wide Assembly designating the ELCA as a Sanctuary denomination.  Attached is the full statement of what  a Sanctuary denomination means.  I believe that the ELCA has acted in accordance with our Biblical and Theological heritage.  I also believe that each congregation, St. Paul's included will work through what this means for us and our neighbors in our communities.  This action of the church-wide assembly is the beginning, not the end, of the conversation we are called to be about with one another, both in and outside the walls of this church.

Follower of Christ and servant of God,
Pastor Paul Coen

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The Power of Forgiveness

The Power of Forgiveness

There are so many superhero movies out there, a person can get sick of them.  I am not one of those people.  The other day one of my grandkids asked; “Do Christians have a super-power?  She wanted to know now, not “I will get back to you!” You know pastors are suppose too have all the answers.  I was quiet for a bit thinking and then she asked. “Don’t you know Papa?”

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The 4th of July

The 4th of July

On Thursday, July the 4th, we will celebrate our nation’s birthday.  There will be fireworks and food, beverages of all kinds, friends and family, a national party as it were.  But like any good party, it takes lots of work to make it happen.  I am not talking about the 4th of July festivities, I am talking about what it took to make our nation.

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The Beauty of God's Creation

The Beauty of God's Creation

I am half way through my sabbatical and the time is moving along way too fast.  I have traveled, written, read, and relaxed.  One of the things that has started to set up in my mind these days is “paying attention”.  Yes, I pay attention when I drive, talk with folks, or am working with power tools.  I am not talking about that kind of attention, but more about how God is speaking to us and showing us things all the time about his love and plan for this world and our lives.

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Where do we go from here?

Where do we go from here?

This is the question asked by many following Holy Week and Easter services.  Like the disciples, many pastors and staff in a variety of denominations and congregations go and hide for a couple of days just to recover.  But the question is a valid one; “Where do we go from here?” How can we compare to the great celebration of Easter Sunday?  It would seem that all the Sundays that following that greatest of Holy Days would pale in comparison.  You would be right.

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From Darkness to Light

From Darkness to Light

Typically Holy Week (those 7 days prior to Easter) begins on Palm Sunday (sometimes called Passion Sunday).  For most folks who aren’t into that churchy thing, it is just the week before Easter and we have to get through the gloom and doom of “Good Friday”!  It is true, we do have to go through the death of “Good Friday” to get to the resurrection of “Easter”.  

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