Cross of Christ Lutheran Church - Welch, Minnesota -
Ministry Notes                                 December 2018

Christmas is good news!  God has shown up as the tiny baby Jesus, born in a barn in a small town in the middle of nowhere.  So vulnerable!  Yet the story will change the heart of the universe.  It is the story of a God who always takes the first step to enter our world and our lives.  As in baptism, God chooses us.   God doesn’t love us if we are good; God loves us because God is good.  May God bless all of us as we share in the story and gather to celebrate.
December will be a busy month.  For many weeks we have been praying for our future, asking that God would give us wisdom and good judgment about the next pastoral leader.  Discernment is a process of being intentional in prayer and asking, “How is God leading?”  Both of us have been discerning: you as congregations have looked to the future and I have as well.   I’ve come to trust that God has been leading both of us. 
I’ve been telling my pastor friends, that when I came here in June it felt to me like we were dating; each getting to know the other, slowly and carefully.  In all healthy relationships, there is honesty, integrity, and authenticity.  And I’ve felt that.  I’ve never tried to be anyone other than Deacon Todd and you’ve never tried to be anyone other than yourselves. 
As relationships mature the process of trusting deepens.  There is much joy in being in a relationship of trust and mutual dependence.  Like marriage, those relationships are enduring, dependable and mutually supportive. It was an honor for me to be considered and then recommended by the call committee as your next pastoral leader.  That is a big step of trust and affirmation.
 On Sunday, December 2, both churches will have the opportunity to consider if the relationship should take the next step of making vows and will vote on whether or not to extend to me a permanent letter of call. To me it feels a little like an engagement.  And typical of most “engagements,” it’s usually not a surprise how the other person will respond.  And to be perfectly honest, I’ve fallen in love… 
If the vote on December 2 affirms the next step, it would be a tremendous honor and certainly a humbling experience.  And because December is a busy month, people have been wondering about plans.   Should the vote be affirmative, it would be a blessing to make vows on Sunday, December 16.   The date works for our synod representative and call committees.  It would also be our Sunday School Christmas programs, so there could be all kinds of wonderful Holy activity!  Maybe the kids can be involved with the installation?
Cross of Christ and Cannon River are wonderful congregations with so much love for our churches, one another, and our wider community.  To witness it firsthand has been an honor.  We are indeed healthy congregations; loving God and loving our neighbor.
I pray that God continues to lead us, step by step…  
May God continue to give us wisdom and good judgment...
And Merry Christmas to all!
Deacon Todd Portinga

Church Phone: 651-388-3464 
Pastors Email:  

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