First Communion Class

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1 A Monthly Publication of Atascocita Lutheran Church 7927 FM 1960 East, Humble, Texas January 2009 Volume 13 Number 1 First Communion Class The ELCA statement entitled The Use of the Means of Grace states; "The Holy Communion is Given to the Baptized". Under this heading, the statement reads; "Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized." Throughout the history of the Church, people have began to commune at various ages. No matter what age a person begins to commune, baptism has always been a prerequisite. The statement goes on to say under Application 37 c: "Baptized children begin to commune on a regular basis at a time determined through mutual conversation that includes the pastor, the child, and the parents or sponsors involved, within the accepted practices of the congregation. Ordinarily this beginning will occur only when children can eat and drink, and can start to respond to the gift of Christ in the Supper." First Communion is simply the time when a young person shares in the bread and wine for the first time. On Saturday, February 21 st, I will be offering a First Communion Instruction Class. This class is for children who have already been receiving communion, but have not been part of a First Communion Instruction Class, or for children who are interested in receiving the Sacrament for the first time. The class will be from 9:00 a.m. - noon. Parents are asked to attend the class with their child. The children will then celebrate their first communion or the completion of the class during worship on Sunday, February 22 nd. A sign up sheet is posted on the bulletin board in the hall. Please sign up or call the church office to register your child no later than Wednesday, February 11 th, so that materials can be ordered. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to give me a call at New Member Class to Begin in January If you have been visiting with us at Atascocita Lutheran Church on a regular basis or you know somebody who might be interested in joining our membership, there will be a New Member Basics class beginning January 25th. The class will run for seven consecutive weeks during the Sunday School time, from 9:30 10:15 a.m. Whether you are a life-long Lutheran or are new to the faith or even a member who has recently joined, this class will enable you to not only brush up on the basics but will provide an opportunity for you to meet new people. The format of the class will be informal and non-threatening. If you wish to join us, or if you have any question, please give me a call at Pastor Gary L. Anholt

2 Brothers and Sisters in Christ, First of all, I would like to thank all of you who contributed to the Pastor s Christmas Gift. Your generosity is so greatly appreciated. Thank you also to those of you who sent our family cards and greetings during the Christmas season as we celebrated the birth of our Lord. We are truly humbled and grateful. We are now already into a new year. I must confess that I did not make any specific, measurable New Year s resolutions this year. Every time I have done that in the past, I have set myself up for failure. And indeed I have failed. I sometimes wonder why that is. I might say that I am going to eat 7 helpings of fruits and vegetables a day, exercise 5 times a week, pray an extra half hour a day, read the Bible from beginning to end, take my daughter camping 3 times, go on a date with my wife once a week, etc. I always have such good intentions. But I always end up falling short. Perhaps some of you feel that way also. Well, you are not alone, and this is nothing new. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans writes; For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Paul goes on to say; Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! It sounds to me that Paul did some things a little worse that just not eating enough vegetables. We all fall short of expectations, both our own expectations, and the expectations of others. That is why we begin each worship gathering with confession. The great Lutheran Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote a prayer of confession that I thought we could all relate to as we begin this new year. The prayer goes as follows: YOU KNOW THE WAY FOR ME Oh God, early in the morning I cry to you. Help me to pray And to concentrate my thoughts on you. I cannot do this alone. In me there is darkness, But with you there is light. I am lonely, but you do not leave me. I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help. I am restless, but with you there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with you patience. I do not understand your ways, but you know the way for me. Restore me to liberty, And enable me so to live now That I may answer before you and before humanity. Lord, whatever this year may bring, Your name be praised. Dietrich Bonhoeffer We have no idea what life will bring in With so many serious issues facing the world, our country, our communities, and even our families, it is hard to know what to expect. One thing that we can know is that God s peace will always go with us. For Jesus was given to us on this day and every day to come. And he is the Prince of Peace. May His peace be with you during this coming year. Pastor Gary L. Anholt

3 WE RE IN THE MISSION OUTPOST ENTERPRISE WITH OTHERS An essential reality of the existence of Atascocita Lutheran Church is that we are not flying solo as we are engaged in ministry and mission. We are a part of a three-expression denomination known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The three expressions are: congregations, synods and churchwide. Our geographic partnership is through the Texas-Louisiana Synod with Bishop Mike Rinehart whose office is in the Greenspoint area. And there is ministry collaboration in our local community with other congregations and social service agencies and institutions. In the next several months the Stewardship Work Group of the congregation will be sharing information about some of the partnership connections that are important for us to know about and to nurture. Below is the calendar of emphases that will be considered in this educational project. The 2009 calendar of emphases for Atascocita Lutheran Church January - Global Missions February - New Missions in our synod and nationally March - Evangelism April - Higher Education and Campus Ministry May - Theological Education and Church Vocations June Church in Society July - Synod ministry partners August - Community Ministry partners September - Christian Education (faith formation) October - Stewardship November - Ecumenical partners (local, regional & beyond) December - Social Ministry in our community GLOBAL MISSIONS Every day of the year there are Lutherans representing us throughout the world sharing a witness about Jesus Christ in words and deeds. Our congregational and individual prayers, and our financial support through regular and frequent transmittal of benevolence dollars to the synod fuel the work of the hundreds of persons we know as missionaries. Atascocita Lutheran has a direct connection to Pastor Andrew Hinderlie and his family. These partners teach in schools, operate relief agencies, and in countless other ways they nurture and motivate citizens in dozens of countries to improve their lives. And, of course, in a variety of ways they share the gospel message of God s love for them and the world by sending Jesus to be the living word of God for forgiveness and salvation. There will be more shared about Pastor Hinderlie and other global mission partners in the months ahead. We invite you to read this month s Stewardship insert? You will find reflective insights into the importance of a minute. What we may do with a minute may truly affect our health, eternal destiny, and fortune. Also, there is a very good short article on COPING IN DIFFICULT TIMES. We all are being affected by our current economic pressures. We encourage you to read this one. Finally, you will learn more about the meaning of Stewardship, stewardship resolutions offered by others and an excellent example of a Steward. The ALC Stewardship Working Group

4 Jan. 9 Jerry & Karen Weeks Celebrating Birth- Jan. 2 Benjamin Graham 4 Ted Vuong 12 Matthew Johnson 13 Nathan Beyer 14 Frank Jacobs 16 Michelle Grados 20 Jesse Anholt 21 Lauren Potter 27 Stephanie Mikesell 29 Lauren Mena 31 Helen Moyer Marie Wilkinson STEWARDSHIP NEWS Altar Flowers Given With Love Jan. 4 by Vinny Bieber in honor of God s blessings on ALC in Open 18 by Ruth Schumacher in memory of her husband, Don Schumacher 25 Open Sign up in the narthex to give altar flowers. Our church florist will make a beautiful arrangement. Cost is $35. NOW LOOK WHAT YOU VE DONE! (December) Income for December 2008 was exceptional!! Over $66,000 was received during the month the Christmas Eve offering was nearly $6,300. Member giving for the Mission Spending Plan was just under $28,000. Giving for the month was also solid for FAITH VENTU RE 2007 appeal. And over $6,000 was contributed toward reducing the existing mortgage on our building. Of special importance: The congregation approved a four-month income & spending plan (September thru December) to accommodate the shift to a calendar year planning schedule. The regular offerings received for the four months were 109% of the forecasted amount; and the spending was a couple of hundred dollars less than plan (100%). The reality is that there was a balance on hand of $10,364 on December 31. Average worship attendance in December was 137 per week. Attendance for the three services on Christmas Eve was 371. The contributions for the first 14 months FAITH VENTURE 2007 (FV07) have been on track with a total received of $148, (8% more than would have been expected by this point). In 2008 $113,358 was given for FV07. This is almost 95% of the amount committed for 52 weeks. A reminder: the FV07 appeal was for 3 years (154 weeks) with a commitment total $354,000. Thanks!!!...for your discipleship faithfulness through participation and growing generosity! Keep on keeping on for our mission for God. The congregation s partnership with other ELCA Lutherans in the Gulf Coast Synod and churchwide improved as ALC s income improved as more funds were transmitted as benevolence than ever before in the congregation s history.

5 VIP s at ALC on Christmas Eve There were a host of Very Important People at Atascocita Lutheran Church on Christmas Eve beginning with the hundreds of worshippers. Another group of VIPs were the tremendous number of people who participated in preparing for the worship services as well as those who participated in the services. Assisting Ministers Offering counters Communion Assistants Poinsettia providers Word & Sacrament teams Musicians: instrumentalists Musicians: vocal (children) Children s Choir Moms Office volunteers Office staff Greeters Ushers Lectors Acolytes Musicians: vocal (adults) Worship Environment Team Last but not least Pastor Gary. What an inspiring evening for all. Thank you to everyone!! NURSERY ATTENDANT Atascocita Lutheran Church is in need of a responsible adult to care for our youngest members in the nursery on Sunday mornings. This is a paid position. Please contact Robert Graham at , if interested or for more information. Golden Hammer Award A tap of the hammer to Erik and Brady Mikesell. Erik and Brady constructed the stand to hold Spirit Bags for children to enjoy during worship. Be sure to take a look and to shake the hands of Brady and Erik. Thanks guys!!! GriefShare... your journey from mourning to joy GriefShare is a weekly seminar and non-denominational support group for people who are grieving the death of someone close. It s a place to be around others who understand what you are feeling, learn valuable information about recovering from your grief and renew your hope for the future. Each session includes a video seminar featuring some of the top experts on grief and recovery followed by participation in small group discussion. You will have the opportunity to interact with others who have experienced a loss and have the opportunity to share your own experience. Adolescent group may be available as need arises. Begins Jan. 28th on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 8:30 p.m. Holy Comforter Lutheran Church 1901 Woodland Hills Drive Kingwood, TX Call Susan Wagener at or for more information.

6 ATASCOCITA LUTHERAN CHURCH 7927 FM 1960 East, Humble Texas (281) Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Huffman, Texas Permit No. 19 ATASCOCITA LUTHERAN CHURCH Our Vision:

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