Delivered January 28, 2018 at the Annual Meeting by Ferol Menzel, Church Council President
Dear Members and Friends of Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church,
I begin this report with a message of gratitude and appreciation for all that has been accomplished this year at Lord of the Mountains. Everyone in this congregation has contributed in some way to the successes we achieved in 2017. I begin with a very special thank you to members of the Re-formation Team. Today you will receive their report charting the future of LOTM. This report reflects not only the work of the team but the contributions of members through interviews, TheoTalks and subcommittees. I especially want to thank Pastor Liliana and Bonnie Brown who formed a great partnership to see this process through to the end.
If you endorse the report, 2018 will see a reorganization of our committees and a commitment to the goals outlined in the report. In addition, we will begin the process of calling a permanent pastor. Let me briefly remind you that we have permission from the Bishop to call Pastor Liliana, who currently serves as the re-development pastor, to a permanent position or to seek someone else to serve this congregation. The church council will make a recommendation to the congregation as early as March. If the council recommendation is to call Pastor Liliana the church council will make that recommendation to the congregation at a special congregational meeting. If the recommendation of the council is to call someone else to the permanent position, then a call committee will be formed by the council. Of course we have been in conversation with Pastor regarding her future and what God is calling her to do.
I want to say a little more about the re-formation process. The church council asked that the Re-formation Team to work with the congregation (a) to bring healing to the congregation after the departure of Pastor Stephanie (b) to share hopes and aspirations to assure a healthy future, (c) to gather ideas of the members of the congregation in order to establish goals for the future and to (d) to develop a clear sense of identity. In meeting these goals the team was asked to value each person’s contribution; foster trust and building relationships; and encourage participation. Based on the experience of this past year, I believe that the team did indeed accomplish these goals and done so in a way that has been inclusive. Most importantly we have come together as a congregation, welcoming new members and finding our way to a future that respects the past and all the people who have gone before; connects us with the Rocky Mountain Synod; and provides for the future. This is a great deal to accomplish in a short period of time so again, thank you for your participation in this process and thank you to the Re-formation Team members.
We celebrated some very special events this past year. I want to thank Pastor Liliana for bringing us together in a special Reformation Prayer Service with our Catholic brothers and sisters. It was really thrilling to look back at our history and the impact Martin Luther had and continues to have on Lutherans and Catholics. I also want to thank Pastor Liliana for encouraging us to paint the mural on our church and for everyone who participated in that project. We changed a difficult situation into a community project that brought people together in common cause. Pastor Liliana was also instrumental in bringing Pastor Marianne Borg to spend a weekend with us to discuss Christianity for the 21st Century. I think we were all touched by her kindness and her insights.
I am grateful to those of you who contributed to the “Bridge the Gap” campaign. We raised slightly over $30,000 which not only helped us to bridge the gap but also added a small amount to our building reserves to keep our building in good working order and provide for new boilers should that be necessary.
We have had a number of personnel changes this year. Our wonderful Katie Romanoski, who served this church for ten years as our church administrator retired but continues to contribute to the church in a variety of volunteer positions. We welcomed Liz Spicer to the church administrator position and her family to the congregation. We said good by to Johnathan Boyer and hello to Jessica Castleberry at the piano. I am grateful to Darlene Muschett and Chris Keelan and Christy Reinking who continue to serve the church with care and compassion. I also want to lift up the work of Cindy Massaro. She has volunteered this past year to coordinate the Sunday School. As she and Pastor have worked together the number of children attending Sunday has increased, and I am very grateful for her dedicated service and for everyone who teaches our children. We also have confirmands this year and I am thankful to Pastor Liliana for bringing together confirmands despite scheduling challenges. Also a special thank you to Amy Simper who not only organized the Stewardship Campaign, but managed to get the directory done and distributed, a goal of the council for over three years!
Please take a few minutes to look at the committee reports in the Annual Report. While going through the re-formation process our committees continued to work to serve the congregation and the greater community. I am amazed at the amount of work that gets done in this church and am grateful for your time and talent.
As I look back over 2017 I am also reminded of some of the sadness that visited our congregation. The death of Pastor Wolfgang Stahlberg and Paul Hage left us in shock. Thank you Pastor Liliana for being able to carry on in the face of her loss and thank you to everyone who provided support to Pastor and to Deborah Hage.
Finally I want to say thank you to the church council for their leadership over this past year. Not only has the council been faithful to Lord of the Mountains but has worked well together thinking through a variety of challenges issues. It has been a honor to work with each and every one of you.
I pray that 2018 will be another productive year for LOTM as we follow through with the goals of the Re-formation Team and make a decision about a permanent pastor. Phillipians 1:6 says, “I am confident of this; that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to think this way about all of you because …. you share in God’s grace with me.”
I pray that you will continue the good work accomplished in 2017.
Ferol Menzel, 2017 Council President