A Blessed New Year to All!
New Year’s resolutions don’t pack much of a punch for me. Maybe it’s because they are usually little more than wish lists that have little staying power. What do have staying power for me are things my mentors have taught me. I think back at these things over and over and thank God for those persons who have taught me such things. One of those wonderful mentors for me was my former colleague, Pastor Don Deines, who I was privileged to work with for over 7 years during my nearly 20 years at Our Savior’s in Austin. Some of the lessons I learned from Don which I shared at his passing in 2010, I share with you now as wisdom for the New Year:
- Don’t worry about not being able to do everything well; no one can.
- Don’t stew about your mistakes too long; everybody makes them.
- Always find ways to welcome people into the church as they are; most people have lots of experience in being told they aren’t welcome.
- Laughing at yourself is sometimes great entertainment.
- Never be threatened by people who are better at something than you are; make them your
teammates and everybody wins.
- Some things are worth doing over and over again; they’re that good.
- If you need help, ask for it.
- Don’t be afraid to be honest with people.
- People easily fall through the cracks; the church’s job is to notice and make an effort to catch them.
The sign outside of Mount Olive says, “Visitors Expected!” We mean this. We expect YOU, whether you are a new resident to Rochester, or you’ve been here for years, or you are just visiting. We have a completely accessible facility for physically-challenged folks. We are open and welcoming to people of all creeds, beliefs, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. We believe that God has called us to this ministry of hospitality and we welcome guests every weekend. Consider yourself invited.
We are also an unapologetically Lutheran community of faith. This means that our theology is centered in the life and death of Jesus Christ. This means that we are part of a long line of historic churches who celebrate infant baptism and weekly Holy Communion. This means that the Word of God is the norm and basis for our life together. We are also a part of one particular group of Lutherans – the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and through this group we are networked with thousands of other congregations, mission sites, social service agencies, and educational institutions that live out the faith of Jesus Christ in similar ways.
We would love to have you join us for worship on a weekend. Our communion table is open to all as God draws you. Please come and introduce yourself, stay for coffee and fellowship afterwards, and get to know us better. We believe Christ calls each person, of every age and situation, to some kind of ministry. We also believe that our lives are enriched when we do ministry together. YOU are welcome to explore YOUR calling in this community of God’s people.