Pastor's Corner


Monday, August 10, 2020

“A Faith that is Great!” is the theme of the Gospel4Kids children’s sermon this week. The Good News encouragement is found Matthew 15:28. This week our lesson tells of a time when a woman of great faith came to Jesus and wanted her daughter to be healed. One’s faith is not great because it is longer, heavier, older than another. Let’s look for that special way to look at our faith. Learn about Jesus power to save us and check out the Gospel-4-Kids, posted to our Facebook page each week by Friday evening. Remember, “Keep the words of the Lord in your heart; teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 11)

Feeding Ministries Continue: Living Waters continues its commitment to supporting local pantries and impacting the lives of those with food insecurity. Stop by the church facilities. Look (from a safe distance) at the construction progress and drop off a food contribution. At the front door you will find a large box labeled as our food collection point. Place your food in the box, and we will get it to the pantries in need of your support. Remember we have special need for bottled water during the recent heat waves!

Contact Cindy if you would like to pack lunches to support St. Bartholomew’s lunchtime ministry in Trenton. 6 members made 75 lunches last week. Thanks to Tom Kull and Cindy Cooper for dropping off these needed resources. LWLC will is again scheduled to provide lunch on August 28.

Lutheran Social Ministries Backpack Drive gathered $450 to support their efforts to provide critical school supplies for students as plans are made to jump-start our educational system this fall. Thank you all for generously investing in the future of NJ students.

Christ in Our Home: Email Edition: With the outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 in North America and around the world many people may be without a physical copy of Christ in Our Home. To assist with devotional life during this time, Augsburg Fortress is offering a limited-time complementary email subscription. Sign up and they will deliver the daily devotional to your email at 4am Central Time through September 30, 2020.

Monday, August 3, 2020

LEAM-NJ:  Live your faith out loud!  As we live through these times of change and challenge, your voice in the public square has never been more important.   Join Lutherans Engaging in Advocacy Ministry. Be part of shaping policy that advocates justice for all! Follow this link to become a member, and share the invitation with your networks. Striving for justice and peace is our baptismal vocation.

“A Faith to Hold On To” is the theme of the Gospel4Kids children’s sermon this week.  The Good News encouragement is found Matthew 14:27-31.   This week our lesson tells of a time when Jesus and his friend Peter were caught in a storm.  Peter tried to walk on top of the water briefly.  Jesus saved Peter when he was scared and filled with fear.   Learn more about Jesus power to save us and check out the Gospel4Kids, posted to our Facebook page each week by Friday evening.  Remember, “Keep the words of the Lord in your heart; teach them to your children.  Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 11)

Feeding Ministries Continue:  Living Waters continues its commitment to supporting local pantries and impacting the lives of those with food insecurity.  Stop by the church facilities.  Look (from a safe distance) at the construction progress and drop off a food contribution.  At the front door you will find a large box labeled as our food collection point.  Place your food in the box, and we will get it to the pantries in need of your support.  Remember we have special need for bottled water during the recent heat waves!  Contact Cindy if you would like to pack lunches to support St. Bartholomew’s lunchtime ministry in Trenton.

Christ in Our Home: Email Edition:  With the outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 in North America and around the world many people may be without a physical copy of Christ in Our Home. To assist with devotional life during this time, Augsburg Fortress is offering a limited-time complementary email subscription. Sign up and they will deliver the daily devotional to your email at 4am Central Time through September 30, 2020.

Sunday School:  As a follow up to an earlier meeting discussing options for VBS, the Youth Ministry Mission Team is inviting all church leaders, pastors, Sunday School coordinators, and other interested adults to a Zoom meeting on Thursday, August 6 at 7pm to share ideas for Sunday School in the fall. Email us at youthmin@njsynod.org for the Zoom invite. Come bring your Sunday School ideas and your Sunday School questions!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Farewell and Godspeed to Ella Myers:  Ella Meyers visited Living Waters while she was attending Princeton Theological Seminary.  She joined the congregation in December of 2018.  She attended worship and has been a part of education, service, and congregational life as her studies allowed.  Members of the congregation have been impressed by her empathy and listening skills.  As part of her Seminary education, Ella did an internship at the Lutheran/Episcopal Advocacy Ministry (LEAM/NJ).  Ella plans to be in Atlanta, GA by August 3 where she will begin PhD Studies at Emory University.  We wish her well and will incorporate our farewell and Godspeed prayers in our Sunday worship on August 2. 

Sunday School:  As a follow up to an earlier meeting discussing options for VBS, the Youth Ministry Mission Team is inviting all church leaders, pastors, Sunday School coordinators, and other interested adults to a Zoom meeting on Thursday, August 6 at 7pm to share ideas for Sunday School in the fall. Email us at youthmin@njsynod.org for the Zoom invite. Come bring your Sunday School ideas and your Sunday School questions!

LEAM-NJ:  Live your faith out loud!  As we live through these times of change and challenge, your voice in the public square has never been more important.   Join Lutherans Engaging in Advocacy Ministry. Be part of shaping policy that advocates justice for all! Follow this link to become a member, and share the invitation with your networks. Striving for justice and peace is our baptismal vocation.

“The More You Give, The More You Can Give” is the theme of the Gospel4Kids children’s sermon this week.  The Good News encouragement is found Matthew 14:13-21.   This week our lesson tells of Jesus miracle where 5,000 people are fed!  Learn more about the power of generosity and check out the Gospel4Kids, posted to our Facebook page each week by Friday evening.  Remember, “Keep the words of the Lord in your heart; teach them to your children.  Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 11)

Feeding Ministries Continue:  Living Waters continues its commitment to supporting local pantries and impacting the lives of those with food insecurity.  Stop by the church facilities.  Look (from a safe distance) at the construction progress and drop off a food contribution.  At the front door you will find a large box labeled as our food collection point.  Place your food in the box, and we will get it to the pantries in need of your support.  Remember we have special need for bottled water during the recent heat waves!

Monday, July 20, 2020

“What Comes First in Your Life?” is the theme of the Gospel4Kids children’s sermon this week.  The Good News encouragement is found Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52.   This week our lessons have it all:  yeast, mustard seeds, hidden treasure, precious pears, and a net full of fish.  The Gospel4Kids is posted to our Facebook page each week by Friday evening.

Ministry Site Profile:  Our Congregation Council has reviewed and finalized the Living Waters Ministry Site Profile.  This 14-page documents will be used by the Bishop, Council, and Call Committee to define the skills and characteristics needed in our next pastor to lead us forward into the next chapter of the life of Living Waters Church.  After this report is shared with Bishop Bartholomew, she will meet with our Living Waters to review the document and search for a pastoral candidate.

Feeding Ministries Continue:  Living Waters continues its commitment to supporting local pantries and impacting the lives of those with food insecurity.  Stop by the church facilities.  Look (from a safe distance) at the construction progress and drop off a food contribution.  At the front door you will find a large box labeled as our food collection point.  Place your food in the box, and we will get it to the pantries in need of your support. 

Parents of Sunday School aged Children are encouraged to contact the Pastor at pastorschantzenbach@gmail.com to express your interest in pioneering an on-line home instruction platform for our Christian education options this fall.  The program details that we develop will be shared widely with all eligible students later in August.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Summer Programs for Youth  Registration is OPEN for Cross Roads virtual summer camp programming, including Leadership Lab, a week-long leadership program for high schoolers (July 19 – 25).

“Our Job is not to Throw Away” is the theme of the Gospel4Kids children’s sermon this week.  The Good News encouragement is found Matthew 13:28-30.   “Do you want us to go and pull up the weeks?” they asked Jesus.  He answered, “No, because as you gather the weeds, you might pull up some of the wheat along with them.”  The Gospel4Kids is posted to our Facebook page each week by Friday evening.

Ministry Site Profile  Pray for our Congregation Council as they gather to review and finalize the Living Waters Ministry Site Profile.  This 14 page documents will be used by the Bishop, Council, and Call Committee to define the skills and characteristics needed in our next pastor to lead us forward into the next chapter of the life of Living Waters Church.

Our Logistics Team, shared a report with the Congregation Council last week related to in-person worship at LWLC.  Following lengthy deliberation, the Council has asked the Worship Team to prepare a plan for outdoor worship.  Worship planning will begin next week.

Feeding Ministries Continue  Living Waters continues its commitment to supporting local pantries and impacting the lives of those with food insecurity.  Stop by the church facilities.  Take a look (from a safe distance) at the construction progress and drop off a food contribution.  At the front door you will find a large box labeled as our food collection point.  Place your food in the box, and we will get it to the pantries in need of your support. 

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Monday, July 5, 2020

Summer 2020 Day Camp at Home: Crossroads is offering a week-long virtual day camp program for youth (completed Kindergarten through 5th grades) from Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 17. Counselors will gather with campers on Zoom from 10 am to 12 noon on each day. Those two hours will be packed with songs, games, arts & crafts, and Bible study.

The theme for Day Camp at Home is “From Generation to Generation.” Each day, campers will learn new stories from the Bible, showing how God’s love endures from generation to generation.

Please download the Crossroads form to register your camper for this week-long program. There is a suggested registration fee of $25. You can pay this registration fee online or send a check to Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center, 29 Pleasant Grove Road, Port Murray, NJ 07865.  If you have any questions, please contact Program Director Kathryn Schaefer at kathryn@crossroadsretreat.com or at 908-832-7264.

Summer Programs for Youth  Registration is OPEN for Cross Roads virtual summer camp programming, including Leadership Lab, a week-long leadership program for high schoolers (July 19 – 25)

“Let the Word Go Deep” is the theme of the Gospel4Kids children’s sermon this week.  The Good News encouragement is found Matthew 13:20-21 “The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for those who receive the message gladly as soon as they hear it.  But it does not sink deep in them, and they don’t last long.  So, when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once.”  The Gospel4Kids is posted to our Facebook page each week by Friday evening.

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Monday, June 29, 2020

Summer 2020 Day Camp at Home

Crossroads is offering a week-long virtual day camp program for youth (completed Kindergarten through 5th grades) from Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 17. Counselors will gather with campers on Zoom from 10 am to 12 noon on each day. Those two hours will be packed with songs, games, arts & crafts, and Bible study.

The theme for Day Camp at Home is “From Generation to Generation.” Each day, campers will learn new stories from the Bible, showing how God’s love endures from generation to generation.

Please use this form to register your camper for this week-long program. There is a suggested registration fee of $25. You can pay this registration fee online or send a check to Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center, 29 Pleasant Grove Road, Port Murray, NJ 07865. If you have any questions, please contact Program Director Kathryn Schaefer at kathryn@crossroadsretreat.com or at 908-832-7264. 

Summer Programs for Youth

Registration is OPEN for Cross Roads virtual summer camp programming, including Leadership Lab, a week-long leadership program for high schoolers (July 19 – 25)

ENGAGE THE ISSUE OF RACE AND PRIVILEGE

An invitation to sign the ELCA Anti-Racism Pledge 

As church we are called to confess the sin of racism, condemn the ideology of white supremacy, and strive for racial justice and peace. Beyond statements and prayers, we are called to also act and respond to injustices. We invite you to sign the pledge found here and take up one or more of the actions listed there. 

BOOK GROUP by zoom July 28th 7:30 pm.  Please join us for a discussion of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, originally published in 1970. Set in 1941 Ohio, the book is a complex investigation of ideas of physical beauty among blacks and whites, and the ways racial attitudes, and other life experiences, damage the lives of the characters.  If you are sensitive to descriptions of abuse, please read descriptions of the book before reading the book.   High school ages and up are invited to this discussion led by Christine Peterson Duque.  RSVP to Kathy Wagner at katherinewtx@comcast.net for the zoom info.

LWLC THIS WEEK           

  1. BIBLE STUDY will continue at our regular time. Not on vacation this week
  2. Tuesday evening our in-person worship team will continue their conversation about what next steps might look like at Living Waters related to initiating in-person worship
  3. Council meets next Tuesday: Trifecta: Pastoral transition, building project, Life during the time of COVID
  4. CHILDREN’S SERMONS: “The Gospel 4 Kids” is great resource for parents and g-parents to teach your children.

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Monday, June 15, 2020

Last week we woke to the news that New Jersey’s stay-at-home order has been lifted. To some, this news comes as a relief. To some, this news increases stress and anxiety. Circumstances of age, pre-existing medical conditions and other reasons will sustain the need for some to continue to stay-at-home. The challenge before Living Waters Lutheran Church is how to move forward, while both respecting the guidance of the government agencies and honoring the choice of members to define a new normal.

Living Waters will strive to put personal feelings and longings aside for the sake of love and for the well-being of members of this fellowship in Christ. The freedom given in Christ call us into the law of love. We have been freed so that we can love and serve our neighbor. With love for all people as our guiding principle, we are planning to resume in-person gatherings. In each of these planned gatherings, we will expect everyone to adhere to two points of basic guidance. Out of love for others we:

  1. Maintain social distancing of at least six feet.
  2. Wear a face covering, protecting yourself and others from droplets or aerosols released when speaking, singing, sneezing, or coughing.

 

These practices will be part of our new life at Living Waters and are the norm throughout every aspect of your public engagements. This is what love looks like when observing these practices in devotion to Christ and in care for our neighbor. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). 

 

  1. Our LWLC leaders have begun to draft guidelines, policies, and preparations that will be necessary to re-open our building and return to in-person ministry. This will be an important part of our Council deliberations as we move forward. Before taking action to create guidelines for in-person contact at LWLC we will carefully and prayerfully consider an array of factors and seek to land on the side of love for our neighbor and know that change and adaptation will be inevitable. We also recognize that the path to reopening our building may not be a linear one that could include gradual forward movement followed by restrictions if new waves of infection emerge. 
  1. Until a vaccine is available risk related to this virus is not avoidable. We will respect the deep concern of persons in high-risk populations (like us old people), people who are ill, or have been exposed to COVID-19, have compromised immune systems, or are at high risk of exposing others, or who are anxious about the real risk of public gatherings. Even after in-person gatherings are added back in to our ministry offerings, we will sustain online options for worship, meetings, and fellowship. 
  1. We ask your patience, generosity and flexibility as we strive to make loving and respectful decisions for the people of God in this place at this time. 

In the weeks ahead, watch for information about our religious education opportunities. We will investigate online options for Virtual Bible School as well as Sunday Church School in the fall. The role of parents in sharing the faith with children will become essential if we are to remain strong in following the command to baptize and teach. 

Log on to the ELCA’s time of lament Commemorating the Emanuel Nine on June 17. This is the 5th anniversary of the evening nine people were shot and killed during a Bible Study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. The service will include ELCA and ecumenical partners as well as a sermon by Presiding Bishop Eaton. We join in a time of repentance, mourning, and prayer as we remember these 9 martyrs and renounce the sins of racism and white supremacy. 

An ELCA Prayer Service for Commemoration of the Emanuel Nine will be available for online viewing at 12 noon Eastern Time on June 17, the fifth anniversary of the evening nine people were shot and killed during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The service will include leaders from around the ELCA and ecumenical partners, as well as a sermon by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. We join in a time of repentance, mourning and prayer as we remember these nine martyrs and renounce the sins of racism and white supremacy. The service can be viewed at ELCA.org/EmanuelNine

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Monday, June 8, 2020

VBS: Susan Gil and I will join a video conference on Thursday evening with educational leaders throughout the New Jersey Synod to discuss options for Vacation Bible School and Sunday School programs.  We are committed to providing the best educational experiences for our children, youth and adults, however BOTH the pandemic and the new construction work at Living Waters will provide some limitations to our traditional offerings.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our imagination and resolve to fulfill the Great Commission to teach and learn.
 
FOOD PANTRY: When you stop by the church to look at the foundations of our new sacred space at Living Waters, bring some food cleaning supplies, and sanitizers to share with our local food pantries.  You will find a large black box located at the front door of the church.  Place your items inside and close and latch the box.  It is checked and emptied regularly and all items are shared with the Delaware Valley and Flemington pantries is support of those with food insufficency.
 
VIRTUAL WORSHIP:  We would love some feedback regarding the new Sunday Worship format.  If you like it, or dislike it, we want to know.  We have tried to be responsive to your longing for a more "live" format.  We will also be adding the sermon as a "stand alone" option on our YouTube channel.
 
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Monday, June 1, 2020

Construction continues on our new facilities at Living Waters.  Thank you, Richard for your detailed and faithful attention to this process.  Photo link: 

//drive.google.com/drive/folders/1OdVnRfl013zfe0o5mzMXSJVSwPEMEIsP?usp=sharing

Church Council meets on Tuesday evening at 7:00.  Pastor Schantzenbach will report of several matters that are vital to our life together.  Among the items in the Pastor’s report this month:
  1. A review of what the pastor learned from the “Check-In Survey” that was distributed last month.
  2. A discussion about the “weariness” that many members are experiencing during the pandemic
  3. Sharing related to improvements that will be shared in our on-line worship services beginning June 7.
  4. The potential to refresh our commitment to “A Living Hope for All” capital appeal.
  5. A call to rally our church educators to plan for “distance learning” during our VBS time and possibly into the fall.  The use of our educational space will be directly disrupted by both COVID-19 and our construction. 
  6. Consideration of taking a deeper dive into the issues and demands surrounding the continuing racial injustice, privilege and violence which has been manifest in our nation in recent weeks.

Our Presiding Bishop Eaton will be providing all ELCA congregations with a sermon to be shared this Trinity Sunday.  Don’t miss her message to the church this week.

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