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LWML Zone-Spring Rally

Sunday, April 28th there will be an LWML Zone - Spring Rally at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Willmar.  Registration is at 1:30 PM, Rally begins at 2:00 PM.  The theme chosen is: "To the ends of the Earth"  Guest Speaker: Dr. Martin Dicke.

How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!  Psalm 133:1

 

Living Embers April 7th

Living Embers Senior Group will be meeting Sunday, April 7th at 2:00 PM in the Christian Growth Center.  Join us for bingo and also please provide a repurposed gift to share.  If anyone has a bingo game that they can borrow for that day, please contact Deb Goebel.

Mites Collection April 7th

There will be Mites Offering Collection following Sunday Worship Service.  Mites may also be mailed or brought to the church office.

A Time to Consider and Cherish Religious Liberty

The following is a blog post from Rev. Dr. Lucas V. Woodford, President of MN South District LC-MS, and Rev. Fred Hinz, Public Policy Advocate for MN North and South Districts LC-MS.  The video mentioned is linked above.

"A Time to Consider and Cherish Our Religious Liberty"

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Lenten greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Suffering Servant.

I write you with an important update which impacts our religious liberty in the State of Minnesota. Please be sure to read through this entire letter and watch the attached video.

As you will see in the video, something rather extraordinary and disturbing occurred in a committee hearing of the Minnesota House last week. The topic being discussed addressed whether or not the special status offered to certain protected classes in the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) will henceforth be binding on religious organizations in our state. More specifically, it concerned the question of whether Minnesota’s faith communities would be prevented from considering sexual identity in the screening of potential employees. For example, could a Lutheran School decline to hire a teacher applicant based on the fact they are “trans” without fear of facing legal action?

By way of background, the MHRA was first passed in 1993 and for 30 years offered protection to both the citizens of Minnesota from a variety of inappropriate forms of discrimination and to faith communities from lawsuits arising from decisions related to the mission, virtues, and beliefs of those communities. This changed last year when the 2023 MN Legislature added new language to the MHRA, listing “gender identity” as a distinct protected class but failed to include a religious exemption for that class. The net effect of this change was to expose all religious communities to legal action if they failed to subscribe to the worldview and values of the government. In effect, it denied these religious entities the right to freely determine who they would hire.

In the video you will hear repeated reference to the A2 Amendment. This was an attempt to restore the religious exemption so it would once again apply to all protected classes as was formerly the case. Indeed, this is what is required to reestablish that necessary, yet difficult-to-achieve, balance that will allow all citizens in Minnesota to live together in peace and harmony despite our having differing views on a wide range of religious or philosophical matters. This is frequently referred to as “pluralism”. It was a simple amendment offered in a spirit of mutual respect in an effort to avoid future confrontations. Multiple faith traditions spoke to the amendment, including MN South District public policy advocate, Rev. Fred Hinz.

As you will see from the video, however, this overture was rejected in the most strident of terms and was defeated on a strict party line vote. Instead of seeking to restore the delicate balance between the role of government and the role of the Church in society that had previously existed, and instead of acknowledging the foundational and beneficial role that religious liberty has played in our state, we witnessed an intentional effort to impose government control over yet another aspect of our lives, specifically our faith life.

I pass on this video because I believe it is important that our members be aware of these changes and understand the impact they are likely to have on all of us in the future. Consider broadly distributing the video to your members and to the community-at-large, recognizing that religious freedom is a right belonging to all citizens; a right that needs to be understood, cherished, and defended. As of this writing, public protest may be producing a reconsideration of the amendment, though that remains uncertain. 

I encourage pastors and school leaders to engage their members, and perhaps the broader community, in discussing these events and impressing on them the importance of religious liberty to a harmonious life together. But, of course, first and foremost, I encourage you to be active in prayer, asking God to protect us from the erosion of our religious liberty, so that the Gospel and the full counsel of God’s Word can continue to be heard in our communities.

It is important to remember that though these developments are disturbing, they also present us with a great opportunity—an opportunity to reflect on the great blessing we enjoy as citizens of this nation where we are guaranteed religious freedom, and an opportunity to recommit ourselves to protecting that liberty as we exercise our citizenship in the days ahead.

Finally, as we journey with our Lord to His cross during this Lententide, we are reminded of the rulers and authorities Jesus faced on our behalf. Therefore, we trust His promise never to leave us nor forsake us as we encounter the adversity of our times, even as we rest in the triumphant hope of His empty tomb.

Your brothers in Christ,

Rev. Dr. Lucas V. Woodford, President
Minnesota South District
The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod

Rev. Fred Hinz
Public Policy Advocate
MN North & MN South Districts
The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod

Living Embers Lunch March 13th

Join Living Embers Senior Group at The River's for lunch at 11:30 AM on March 13th.  Everyone is welcome.  Following lunch join us at Brookside at 1:00 PM for fellowship and coffee with the residents.

"Time and Talent" volunteer sign up sheet

A sign up sheet for donations and volunteer opportunities to help with various tasks around the church will be posted in the Narthex in the near future.  If you have any questions please contact Brandon or Jessica Bjelland.

After Church Breakfast February 18th and 25th

Thank you to the Youth Group for serving breakfast after church, it was delicious! Next week they will be serving egg bake and muffins. Money donated this week and next week for the after church fellowship will go to help cover the cost of a mission trip that Isaac and Ethan Moravetz will be taking to LA.

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