Council Introduction: Angie Cooper

 

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When my husband and I began “church shopping” six years ago we were looking for a place where we could occasionally attend services on Sundays and where our future children could attend Sunday School. We had no idea that we would find a true spiritual home.

My husband was raised in a Lutheran church and we joined one together when we moved to the Chicago suburbs almost fourteen years ago. We were married there and continued to attend sporadically after we moved to the city. We never felt like part of that church, however. When we were ready to start a family we knew we needed something more.

The first time we attended Luther Memorial it was between pastors. This was a bit discouraging since our previous church couldn’t seem to keep the same person in the pulpit for very long. The congregation at Luther was so welcoming, though, that we kept going back. We alternated with a few different churches in the area trying to see where we fit in. We were in attendance for Pastor Tim’s first service and we liked him immediately. We had a pretty specific list of criteria while looking for churches. LMC met them all. A few months later we contacted Pastor Tim to ask about membership and baptism as our first daughter had been born that winter. We became members and had Emily baptized on Pentecost in 2010.

We attended semi-regularly, became minimally involved and forged close friendships with a few of the other members. We loved Luther Memorial and looked forward to being there. I kept looking for more ways to get involved, but wasn’t sure just what I should do. Last summer our second daughter was born twelve weeks early. Our world was turned upside down. Addison was a strong baby, though, even at three pounds. She made steady improvements but her ten week hospital stay took it’s toll on our whole family. It was a difficult summer. The response by the people of LMC was completely overwhelming. People brought us dinners, babysat, prayed, sent messages, made phone calls and stopped us after church to offer love and support. I’m not just talking about our friends, either. Some were people we’d never really talked to and some we hadn’t even met before. We were stunned. That’s when I realized we hadn’t just found a place to go to church. We had found a family. Addison was baptized in March surrounded by that family. That day meant so much to me.

I wanted more than ever to give something back to this place, to these people who had lifted us up during the most stressful and terrifying period of our lives. Any parent of small children will know that time and energy can be lacking, so finding something I thought I could handle wasn’t easy. When I was approached about a Council position I was afraid it might be too much. I decided to try it anyway and I’m so glad I did. In our first council meeting I could already tell that I was a part of something big…something important.

The growth we’ve seen since we joined this congregation has been incredible. There is a palpable energy here. I can’t wait to see what is next for Luther Memorial. We can do great things, I think, in this congregation, in this community and in this city. My family isn’t the only one that has found a home here. I see it every week. I talk about it with my friends. Who else can we wrap our arms around? Who else needs a family and doesn’t even know it? What other opportunities do we have here?

Let’s find out together.

Angie

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Space and Dwellings and Time

LMC isn't this posh, but I think we can provide better physical and social space by focusing on how God in Christ is preparing a space for us!

LMC isn’t this posh, but I think we can provide better physical and social space by focusing on how God in Christ is preparing a space for us!

This Sunday’s Gospel text has Jesus with his disciples at the last supper before his crucifixion.

Yes, we are in Easter, but the readings take us a step back this Sunday, to provide a little perspective.

Because even in the days leading up to his death, indeed in his whole life, Jesus the Christ was living a “risen” life.  He was living a life of freedom in the resurrection, even before he was actually resurrected.

This Sunday’s sermon is going to ask you to think about where you are dwelling.  We dwell in anxiety.  We dwell in fear.  We dwell in blind optimism.  We dwell in the past.

But the Gospel invites us to dwell intentionally in God, and to see God dwelling within us.  Recognizing God dwelling inside of us is what I call “finding center” again.  Note that this is not “finding the god within you”…God is not us, but the Mysterious One dwelling within us, as Christ shows clearly.

Jesus says to the disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you (within the dwelling of God).” and “In God’s home (being), there are many dwelling spaces.” (John 14:2-3)  In council meetings these past three months we have been talking about our dwelling space at Luther Memorial.  Not just our physical space (though that is a large part of it), but our social space.  We believe that Jesus has been preparing a space for new disciples, new community members, within the dwelling of God found at LMC.

And our question as a council is: How can we purposefully make space, physical and social, for the persons that God is calling into the community?  Jesus purposefully makes dwelling space for all of us in the dwelling of God.  Lutheran pastor and theologian Robert Jensen describes this dwelling space as “time of being” rather than physical space.

I like that.  We must make space to allow others the time to encounter God and work with this community for justice.  We provide space for others to encounter us in time.  And in God we have endless time.  Jesus embodies this by living a resurrected life even before his death and resurrection.  That limitless (as we discussed last week), endless time is the dwelling that Jesus makes for us in the life of God.

How can we make space to spend time praising God and serving our neighbor at Luther Memorial together?  We must do it intentionally, or else new dwelling spaces won’t be created, and current spaces are being stretched thinly.

Jesus prepares a dwelling in God for us on purpose.  How can we prepare a dwelling for others in this place of God purposefully?

See you Sunday!

pt…

Council introduction: Christian

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Life is funny sometimes. When I moved to the US 5 years ago, I would not have thought about being on a church council or even be part of a Lutheran congregation.

When my wife and I moved into the Lincoln Square neighborhood, we were looking at different churches on our quest to find a congregation that we would feel at home and that would align with our spiritual beliefs. It was shortly before Christmas when we attended a service at LMC for the first time and we were positively surprised on how welcoming everybody was, how big the variety of people were at the service and how well the sermon resonated with us. After coming back several times, we finally set up a coffee date with the pastor and started asking all kinds of questions about LMC and Lutherans in General. Shortly after we joined the congregation officially and have been excited to be a part of this great community every since.

After helping with getting our new member orientation class, “The Great Conversation” off the ground, I wanted to explore other ways I could contribute and when the idea was brought up that I could join the council, I was thrilled.

LMC is constantly evolving and exploring new ways to serve the community. I am grateful and blessed to be part of this visionary team who is so dedicated and wonderful.

See you at the services on Sunday!

– Christian