Column: All are welcome at St Paul Lutheran

Suzy Van Norman

BY SUZY VAN NORMAN
GUEST COLUMNIST

It is a time of change at St Paul Lutheran as we have been re-imagining and exploring what it means to be the church today, in the here and now of 2017. We have discovered it is messy. Change is challenging, figuring out new ways of serving and worshipping, listening to new ideas, and then realizing that like the early church we must get back to the basics. It is about sharing, caring, and being in relationship one with another. Giving each other hope and encouragement when the world is beating us up out there, giving to those in need, feeding the hungry, and looking for opportunities to share the amazing grace of Jesus, the stories of our lives with this local community we all love so very much.

One of the changes we have embarked on is the launching of a new casual worship service this summer for several Sundays, which in the fall will be at 10:30 a.m. We stripped the service down and began to vision together a relaxed, simpler form of worship yet keeping our Lutheran roots and the Gospel at the forefront. There is intentional praise music time in the service, the type of songs you might find on the radio or that you recall from your campfire days. Our new format also includes a community prayer time where you might find a story, a testimony, and a brief prayer reaching beyond our church into the local, national or world offered on behalf of all people. We commune together every Sunday, and we continue to make the confession of our faith together a priority. It has been exciting thus far, and messy, as we learn together new ways to worship God.

Intrigued or inspired? Good. We invite you to come and worship with us just as you are. We have a couple of upcoming outdoor services at our 9 a.m. summer worship schedule on Sunday, July 16, and on Sunday, August 13 where we will be continuing to debut our casual service. Another date to note is that we will once again be hosting the carnival games at the Historic Courthouse Ice Cream Social at the beginning of the Lumberjack Days on July 20 from 4-9 p.m. We will also be hosting the tradition of the free Annual Ice Cream Social with Nelson’s ice cream served on the church campus on August 13 from 2-4 p.m. All are welcome here, and we look forward to seeing you in worship soon! We are here every Sunday rain or shine, at 9 a.m. through Labor Day and at that point, we will resume our 8 a.m. (traditional) and 10:30 a.m. (casual) service schedules. You can find us at 609 South Fifth Street in Stillwater.

Intern Pastor Suzy Van Norman is currently on internship at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Stillwater. She recently graduated with a Master of Divinity (MDIV) from Luther Seminary in St. Paul.