“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.” ~Ecclesiastes 3. 3-8 (New Living Translation)
This seems to be an appropriate way to start our Annual Report. This past year we have continued to struggle with many seasons all present in our world this past year. COVID still remains with us, yet we have found new ways to be together and sustain our faith. We can now meet in person and share the Bread of Life in person. We can also participate in real time via the internet. Experiencing the Love of God together, separated by distance but not Spirit.
“For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I will be right there among them” ~Matthew 18.20
All the St James activities are open to all. Worship at St James is alive and thriving. Membership is not a participation requirement for any of our opportunities, other than elected leadership.
The pandemic may have changed how we share God’s Word, but share it, we do. Our congregation changes with the times as well. We have lost people and we have welcomed new people; this is another season that we embrace. We continue to change with the world. We managed to stay in touch many ways. For the Advent/Christmas season we had a cookie event that provided cookies to all households in our congregation along with an information packet. The success was heightened by a community event –packing the cookies (samples may have been taken… quality control is always a good thing).
The Seasons of the world have also seen physical changes in our church building. After the new roof and gutter installation at the end of 2020 into early 2021, much work was needed to restore the beauty of the water-damaged Sanctuary wall. Murray Sim, Dave Haefke, Steve Thuss, and Pat Hanson spent time and love working on stripping and replacing plaster and painting. This work will continue in 2022 in the Chapel.
Our community service and outreach continued with support of Painting Pathways Clubhouse, our participation in the Salvation Army adopt-a-family program, and Meals On Wheels. As COVID continues to lessen, we hope to have more opportunities. We also serve the community by making our building available for outside groups: PFLAG of Manitowoc County and the Girl Scouts use our space regularly. The congregation is also welcome to reserve out Fellowship Hall and/or Kitchen—talk to Amma Diane.
Time and talents are offered frequently. People from our congregation provided, rides, food, and other services for each other. We all have something to share. And we all have times we have a need—do not hesitate to let your church family know. Contact Amma Diane or the Wardens and we’ll help coordinate getting your need met. Some more examples of sharing: Liz Foster has overseen the calling tree providing calls to members; Donna Franz does our card ministry recognizing birthdays, anniversaries, and other life events. Nick Doszkewycz is our representative on the Manitowoc Ecumenical Ministry Group.
Beloved Community: thought, words, and certainly deeds. We strive to understand and embrace our differences, and to realize we have more similarities. We are charged with seeing the disparities within our community and working to promote understanding and the common elements that unite all people. We can work address these issues as a group, but each one of us is charged to Walk in Love and live this day-by-day. Each time we make a small step it adds up to our goal of reaching the destination of peace.
Our world continues to face pandemics, racially motivated murders, political differences, and wars. Yes, there are challenges. We meet these challenges with prayer, walking in love, reaching out to others, sharing our thoughts respectfully, and caring for each other.
We have learned and grown with the times, as well, as we have served as your wardens this past year. Your prayers have helped us to move forward and kept us focused on this work. We look forward to many new seasons of growth and change.
Yours in Christ,
Chris Dee Eggert-Rosenthal, Senior Warden & Mary Green, Junior Warden