Dear Members of St. Paul's First Lutheran,
I'd like to take a moment to express thanks to the following persons for all of their hard work and patience during the COVID-19 quarantine:
- Pastor Meitner, for his daily devotions on our YouTube and Facebook pages, and for all of the attendance-restricted services, he led at the church. He has kept us in the Word and focused on Christ's redeeming work on the cross during the final days of Lent, into Holy Week, and right through to our Easter celebrations yesterday.
- Pastor Sean DeFrain of St. John's Tarzana for helping in our Lent and Holy Week celebrations.
- Pastor Clemons for helping us understand the need to follow the distancing guidelines.
- Santiago Botero for taking care of the technical aspects of the various online services and social media messages.
- Karl Bauer, the whole Bauer family, and Kristen Mindock for using their musical talents during the online services.
- Everyone who helped out with the Tenebrae Service on the evening of Good Friday.
- Mr. Koeppel and all of the teachers at St. Paul's First Lutheran School for keeping all of our students focused on their studies during this time of distancing and class disruption.
- Our school parents who have been a key part of the education partnership that our distance learning plans so greatly depend upon.
- Jason McGee and the entire Board of Education for working hard on the search for a new principal for our school.
- Ken Weary, Bonnie Cox, and Mike Robinson for pushing forward our financial paperwork for the Federal CARES Act loans.
- All of the members of the various boards for taking time to meet virtually by Zoom for our council meetings and special call meetings during this time.
- Everyone who heeded the call to take Easter 4 Kids on the road, delivering crafts and messages of Christ's redemption to the kids who would normally have attended our annual Easter 4 Kids celebration.
- To anyone else I might not have listed who has been volunteering their time, talents, and treasures to St. Paul's during this time of social distancing.
To all of these people, a HUGE THANK YOU for all that you do for this ministry, keeping the message of Christ's redeeming love and resurrection at the forefront of everything we do!
For everyone in the congregation, I want to say that we are doing everything we can to keep everyone in touch and to keep our services going given the most recent directives from the city and state. If you need anything please do not hesitate to reach out to the Pastor, to the church office, or to me. This very odd time in our collective history will soon come to a close, and we can once again meet together to worship our God and give thanks to his son Jesus Christ, who died for our sins so that we may live with Him eternally.
Congregational President, St. Paul's First Lutheran
-Pastor Meitner's Call Decision-
Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Risen Lord! One of the most heart-wrenching scenes from the book of Acts is Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders. For all the itinerant ministry of St. Paul, his three years in Ephesus was the closest thing to a normal and settled life. Yet the Lord called him to go. And Paul, obedient to the will of the Lord, took the call. Yet in his leaving, he shed tears of love and gratitude to his God and to this congregation who had embraced him, worked with him, and leaned together upon Christ Jesus their risen Lord. After prayerful consideration at where best to serve the Lord in the years to come, the Lord has led me to take the call to serve as the pastor at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Winthrop, MN.
I am grateful for so much here. I am grateful for the education that my children received. I am grateful to the faithfulness of the faculty and staff, boards and council that always saw the end goal as Jesus for all who came to our ministries. I am grateful for the Lord teaching my stubborn and proud heart patience and humility (and those lessons were painful and learned the hard way). I am grateful for the adults and children I have baptized, the couples I have united in Holy Matrimony, and the blessed souls I was privileged to stand at the bedside as the Lord commanded his angels to take them from this life to the eternal mansions he had prepared for them. I am grateful for the generosity of spirit, the fellowship of faith, and the joy of hope we shared in the Lord Jesus Christ.
This was not an easy decision. There were many sleepless nights and tears shed while making it. However, at the end of my deliberation, I feel that this is the course the Lord is leading me to take. I can say with Paul that in my nine years as your pastor, “I did not hesitate to proclaim to you the whole counsel of God.” For all my failings (and I know there were many), I ask your forgiveness in Christ. It is my plan to remain as your pastor through the end of June. I am doing this so that I can see the congregation through the current COVID-19 challenges and restore things to a sense of normalcy before I leave. In closing, remember the words of the Risen Christ to his disciples, “And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.” The Lord will never go anywhere. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Pastor Paul Meitner.