Pastor’s Corner

May 19, was Pentecost Sunday

This is a Sunday that we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  I preached on Ezekiel 37:114.  It is a very familiar  story about the Valley of Dry Bones.  Here is just a paragraph from my text to help carry you through the week.

Pain and suffering were the only things that the chosen people in exile saw, because they didn’t see things from God’s perspective. They were locked into the present.  Cut off, having no hope. When we have no hope, we lose our ability to believe. We lose our ability to believe that all things are possible with God.  We lose are ability to  dream alternative possibilities.  Hope is the thing that always helps us to lean towards the future.

In this vision, God was promising spiritual renewal to  His Chosen People.  If you notice:   First there was the coming together. Then the sinews, and the breathe, and finally the SPIRIT of God brought them to life.  Ezekiel, with God, had to do a lot of work to bring those bones to life …

Change/transformation doesn’t come quickly, or easily, when one journey’s down a path of hopelessness. But life, does come from God.

May 12, I talked about Jesus Praying for Us.

1) …to protect us from the twists and turns of life. The many voices that call out for our attention. Jesus Prayed that we would make Godly Choices.
2) …He prayed that we would shine with the glory of God because we were in such close relationship with God.
3) …He invited all to the Dance of the Holy Trinity. I ended with something I saw on a bumper sticker that was somewhat related:

Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?

INTRODUCTION of Pastor Louise Britts

American Lutheran Church welcomes Pastor Louise Britts as she begins her ministry in Woodland on September 1, 2023. We are blessed to have her join American Lutheran Church and to join the ecumenical ministries of Woodland. She would like to share a little bit about herself as she joins us in service…

“Ecclesiastes is often read at funerals. I think because with its rhythm and cadence it talks about seasons in our life. As I think about my move to California, I find myself reflecting on the seasons in my life that have shaped me as a way of introducing myself to Woodland, California, and the American Lutheran Community. I come from a large family. I have seven sisters and one brother. I am one of the “Older kids,” as we were called because I am girl No. 2. My parents were both educators and activists. They were devoted Catholics and worked tirelessly for racial equity and economic justice. Their passion for helping people shaped my life. Mom and dad were also people of faith who prayed. We prayed as a family each night. And Mom taught us to have a relationship with Jesus Christ that was real and authentic. When I was a little girl, I had a dream, and this real Christ called me to serve God’s people. He said I want you to pastor my people. I will never forget that dream, but as a Catholic, I was told that it could never happen. So, I tucked it away until later. Ours was also a family that sang and enjoyed music. My mother’s family had many musicians, and my father played the piano. Singing was always a part of our gatherings when the family got together with my grandmother’s sisters. My grandmother came from a family of eleven. Nine sisters and two brothers. I learned to play the guitar in High School and sang in several musicals. Music has always been one of my favorite ways to praise God. Music has been a way to talk to God and feel God’s healing grace. In my early young adult years, I was part of a contemporary group, playing guitar and singing. Later, as a youth minister at St. Anne’s and St. Michael, I was the director of the children’s choir and young adult contemporary music group. Youth ministry was my avocation, as my paying job was working at Honeywell first in physical plant security and then in software and computer work. I was fortunate to work from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. This gave me time to do youth ministry during the daytime. As a youth minister, I got to go camping, do mission trips, and learn different ways to help young people learn about God, learn how to pray, and build their own relationship with Christ. I loved my season as a Youth Minister. The gift of working at a big company like Honeywell allowed me to volunteer during my time off. I had the pleasure of volunteering in India as a community development worker, helping in a well-baby program in Kenya, and finally working with the Catholic Commission of Peace and Justice as they were trying to implement the Truth and reconciliation act in Zimbabwe. This was the season that changed my life as I would stay on holiday with a group of students from Luther Seminary at the Domashava House, a student Dorm. It was those dialogues that helped me solidify my understanding and relationship with the Divine.

When I returned to the United States, I started worshiping in the Lutheran church and became an American mother to Petronilla. Her mother was the secretary for the Catholic Commission of Peace and Justice. We had become like sisters, and her daughter came to the US for an education. I became her American mother. She is now married, and her two girls are my grandchildren…the season I love the best…having a family. Becoming a Lutheran, brought my life full circle to the dream of the little girl so long ago. I could now become a pastor and follow God’s call. This season has been peppered with Urban ministry, rural ministry, and Chaplaincy. Hospice has blessed my heart with a deepening of the reality that God is and there is much more to the spiritual world than we know, but closeness to death sharpens that reality. The urban ministry helped me see the Spirit of God at work as people came together as a community to help one another and work toward lifting each other and sharing giftedness. It gave witness to the resilience of Humanity and the healing that can take place when we trust that God has given us all gifts for the building and breaking in of the Kingdom now! When trust that the Spirit of God still works miracles. And so, as I reflect on this new season of my life, I am excited. God called Moses, and he was over 50. God called Abraham and Sarah, and they were in their 90’s. Zechariah and Elizabeth all seniors. So, I know that as I journey to American Lutheran Church and Woodland, God has something wonderful for us all and I can’t wait to work with you all and grow with you all.”