July 2017 Building Update, Part 2

Yesterday I talked about the new office spaces and the gazebo.  We are close to being able to move into those spaces.  Click this link to see yesterday’s post.

Today I want to talk about our sanctuary.  Some of us are calling the sanctuary Church 3.5 because it’s not a new sanctuary (i.e. a Church 4), but it’s a significant renovation and needs to be marked in some way.  So for right now I’ll call it Church 3.5.

There were two parts to the renovations to Church 3.5.  The first was the renovations and construction in the sanctuary.  This included everything like replacing the lights, installing the fire sprinkler system, changing the carpet, remodeling the sacristy, reconstructing the altar and music areas, and everything else that’s been remodeled and brought up to code.  (This, of course, doesn’t include the surprise we found early in the construction).   That part of the project is almost complete.

The second part is the project is the organ.  We’re working with our organ builder, John Dill, on that portion of the project.  Mr. Dill is usually at Zion Tuesday-Friday with his crew.  The last several weeks he has worked from his house in the DFW area building needed items for the installation.

Installing a pipe organ is a highly specialized skill that takes lots of time and effort.  Each individual pipe (there are several thousand of them in our organ) has to be securely, but delicately, put in the proper place.  That way the correct note and sound comes out of the organ.

The next step is the most meticulous of the process.  An organ must be properly voiced so that the right tone and volume comes out of the organ.  Each individual pipe has to be properly voiced so that all the notes can come together in a beautiful sound.

So – we’re in the homestretch, brothers and sisters!  Let’s give God thanks for this adventure and pray that our transition out of the FLC later this summer into Church 3.5 is a smooth one!

 

 

 

No Power on Wednesday

This Just In….

If you were in worship on Sunday, you found out that we weren’t going to have power on Monday to Church 3(.5) and the Administration Wing.  This is because our contractor needs to do necessary work to connect power to the new offices and the education building.

Well… to make a long story short because of the rain on Monday, the work had to be rescheduled and we found out this morning that it has been rescheduled for Wednesday.  This means that power and phones will be cut off on Wednesday for construction safety.

Plans are for the staff to be back in their offices Thursday morning.

There will be no crafty bunch or chancel choir tomorrow.

 

As usual…

Youth Night is still on, 6:30pm in Church 2, with supper, games and a devotion.

Al-Anon group meets in the Fellowship Hall at 7pm.

 

Lent 2017

Lent is here!  Maybe having an exclamation point isn’t the right way to talk about the muted season of Lent, so I’ll try that again… Lent is here.

This time of deep reflection is one of the more meaningful seasons of the church year for me.  We always begin on Ash Wednesday by thinking about our mortality and utter dependence upon God.  This year we’re gathering in Church #1 on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm for mid-week Lenten worship.

A few details:

-We’re going to be working on a congregational art project during Lent.  Maybe you’ve seen or colored pages from a coloring book.  This Lent we will have coloring pages mounted on the wall of Room 101 in the FLC.  These pages are pages from the Stations of the Cross.  While those of you with Roman Catholic roots will recognize the stations, they have been used by Christians of various traditions to mark the crucifixion of Jesus.

-We switch the liturgical music each season.  This season we’re trying a new setting of the liturgy called “Mass from Age to Age.”  It’s a great setting and here’s a preview of what we will be singing on Sundays throughout Lent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXFnNDiXMR8

-This Lent, we invite you to join us in Church #1 at 6:30 on Wednesday evenings for mid-week prayer.  This year we will be focusing on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.

Please know that all are welcome!  We pray that God would richly bless you as you live out your faith!

2017 Stewardship

2016 has been a year of Celebrating Generosity!  We give God thanks for the many ways in which you have been so generous in making ministry happen at Zion Lutheran Church.

The month of October has been focused on our financial stewardship at Zion.  We’ve shared a series of videos in worship about how our financial offerings have made a difference.  Here are some of the videos:

 

We’ve also sent out some letters to the congregation.  Here they are:

Stewardship Letter 1

Stewardship Letter 2

 

2017 Pledge Card

It’s now time for you to prayerfully consider how you can use your resources to serve God’s mission at Zion Lutheran Church.  Because God has given us so much, we respond with joy and thanksgiving with all we have.  Your annual giving to the General Fund empowers God’s word at Zion.  We ask that everyone return a commitment card, even if you can only make a limited financial commitment at this time.  You can always increase or decrease your commitment if your situation changes.  If you have questions about this card, please call the Church Office at 210-688-3090.

God’s Work at Zion

One of the joys of being a pastor is seeing signs of God’s goodness in lots of different places.  I thought I’d share some signs of God’s Spirit stirring here at Zion over the last few weeks.

-We’ve met our challenge grant!!  As was announced in worship last week, we had a family step forward with a generous gift to challenge the people of Zion to help meet some major unexpected expenses with our building.  We were able to collect over $156,000 (with more pledged on the way!) in a little over a month.  $150,000 of that will be matched through the challenge grant.  It looks like by the time the rest of the pledges come in, we will have collected around $325,000.  Thanks be to God!!!

-Last Sunday children in grades 2-5 assembled 210 school kits for children throughout the world in need.  Their kits, along with other congregations, will be sent to Lutheran World Relief.

-Our Sunday School is off to a great start.  Our education director, Karen Stein, is working with the teachers who help form faith in the lives of the littlest disciples.

-Our Blessed Change ministry sent $319 to our partners at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio in honor of our former vicar, Pastor Emily Ebert, who was recently ordained and called to serve a congregation in the Buffalo, NY area.

-This Saturday we have a group of 28 people heading downtown to help feed the homeless with Taking it to the Streets.  They will cook the food here at Zion and then feed anyone that is hungry.  Thanks to Tim Tiemann for heading up this important ministry!

-Next weekend we have a group of people going to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity.  We’re working with other Lutheran congregations in the area on this house.  We also have a group of volunteers that are feeding the crew on Saturday.

-We will have the bloodmobile here on Sunday.

-Third Graders are receiving Bibles this Sunday, September 11, as a way of Zion fulling baptismal promises to them. Three year olds have been given Story Bibles in their classroom as a way to introduce the Bible to them. They hear stories from these Bibles in their classroom.

-Our youth minister, Travis Baker, is having a confirmation ministry kick off this Sunday.  We give God thanks for the adults that spend their Sunday evenings with these youth as they go through this important part of their faith journey.

-Our musical groups have started back after a summer break.  We thank God for the people that use their musical gifts to praise the Risen Christ in worship!  It’s not too late to jump into one of our music groups.  For more info, contact Rob Mikulski.

-We recently commissioned a new Stephen Leader for our Stephen Ministry.  Several people in our congregation are considering becoming a Stephen Minister.  If you’d like to have more information about this ministry, contact Pastor Russell.

We are a blessed church!  God is doing some great things through this congregation.

In thankfulness for our partnership,

Pastor Russell

July 28 Update

It’s been a while since we’ve posted anything on the blog about what’s happening at Zion with our construction. Here are the highlights:
-The demolition on Church #3 and the administration wing is now over. The contractor is starting to put up exterior waterproofing material called Tyvek and the limestone will be going up soon.
-The sanctuary and administration wing of Church #3 are now being renovated and are off limits. The construction workers are currently working on installing a fire sprinkler system and remodeling the restrooms to meet current building codes.
-The pastors, Suzie, and Martha have moved their offices to the Fellowship Hall for the next two months. Julie Rode-Hickey will be working from home and will be in the church office on an as needed basis. If you need to stop by the church office during the day, please come to the Fellowship Hall.
-Work continues on the parking lot in front of Church #3. We appreciate how patient the congregation has been with the parking lot.
-Last Thursday we fed the construction crew in the FLC. It was a great way to say thank you to a group of people that don’t get all that much recognition. Thanks to everyone who came out to help feed and serve the crew, they appreciated it.
Pipe Organ Update
Our organ builder, John Dill, is currently in Midland removing some pipes from the organ that will be installed in the sanctuary. Yesterday in staff meeting, we heard a fun story we wanted to share.

Removing pipes from a pipe organ is a difficult job. Pipes in a pipe organ are a variety of weights and lengths, but a good average for each rank (i.e. a set of pipes for a particular sound) is that it weighs around 600 pounds. Once installed, our organ’s pipes will weigh around 20,000 pounds.

A local high school football team heard that Mr. Dill was in Midland removing pipes. They were interested to see how a pipe organ gets removed and stopped by to see if they could help. Mr. Dill was more than glad to accept their help because the pipes can be as long as 16 feet and can be very heavy. So they formed an assembly line to pass each of the pipes down the line and put them in boxes for transport to San Antonio. At the end of the day, they had so much fun doing this; they asked if they could come back another time to help! Mr. Dill was more than happy to have them come back and because of their help, we will have a large shipment of pipes arriving to Zion tomorrow morning around 9:30 am.

This is where you can help. If you have a flexible schedule, we could certainly use a few people to help unload these pipes and put them in storage. We will have a group of people that will be meeting in Church #2 parking lot at 9:30. Come and stay for as long as you can and we’ll be happy to put you to work! For more information, contact music director (and organ transplant coordinator) Rob Mikulski.

Parking Update

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As we announced in worship on April 3, the parking lot in front of Church #3 is closed.  We continue to ask that you have a spirit of adventure and generosity throughout construction.  As a reminder, we had to do this once we started any construction in order to be in compliance with current city building codes.  Our new parking lot will be much nicer once it is done, but in the midst of construction we will have to deal with some inconveniences.

 

A few helpful hints to navigate our time without part of our parking:

-Handicap parking that was on the front row nearest the Fellowship Hall has now moved to two places:
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-The corner of the FLC nearest Braun and Leslie Roads AND

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-Several spaces on Leslie Road directly across from the Fellowship Hall.  The non-handicap spaces can be used if you have mobility issues and are coming to the Fellowship Hall.

 

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-If you are more able bodied, consider parking on Sundays in the grass in front of Cemetery #2 to reserve more prime parking spaces for those with mobility issues.

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-The owners of the vacant lot across from the Fellowship Hall have graciously agreed to let us park there.  If you park there on Sundays, please cross with the assistance of the police officer at the designated crossing point.  If you park there at other times, please utilize extreme caution when crossing the street.  We have had several close calls with oncoming traffic and want to keep everyone safe!

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-There is plenty of parking near Church #2.  On Sundays, please cross at the designated crosswalk with the assistance of the police officer for your safety.  During the week, please exercise extreme caution when crossing Leslie Road.

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-We now have a designated, paved walkway near Leslie Road that connects the lower parking lot near Cemetery 2 and the sidewalk near the Fellowship Hall.

-There are plenty of parking spaces on the 1604 side.

During the Week:  

Zion is a busy church throughout the week, so we know that there are several people that come to the church during the week.  Here are some additional helpful hints:

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-If you are coming to the Church Office during the week, you can park in the lower parking lot nearest Cemetery #2.  There are some stairs and a sidewalk that will lead to Church #3’s Narthex.

-If you cannot navigate the stairs and you need to come to the church office, you can park on the 1604 side and enter through the Conference Room.

As always, we will continue to keep you informed with construction updates.  We continue to live with a sense of adventure and thank God for giving us generous spirits throughout our time of construction… Until next time!

After the storm…

Last night was one heck of a storm on our side of town.  I was amazed to see the pictures people were posting on social media last night.  Texas-sized hail pummeled our community!

First things first – we hope you and your things are ok.  As Christians, we have a calling to love our neighbors as ourselves, so we want to invite you to check on your friends and neighbors and make sure they are ok as well.

We thought we’d briefly update you on what’s happened at the church.  Last night we did sustain some storm damage.  Our facilities manager, David Blank, reports that approximately 10 windows in the education building behind Church 2 were broken because of the hail damage.  He has been busy making temporary repairs to the windows today while we put in a call to our insurance company.  A quick inspection of other parts of the church facilities don’t seem to indicate any major damage.

It looks like the construction site and equipment did pretty well.  Our construction workers were out on the job site this morning cleaning up debris and making sure everything is ok.

See you on Sunday as we continue to celebrate Resurrection joy!!

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Easter Thanks!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Yesterday the church office was closed so we could rest after a very busy Holy Week.

As you can imagine, Holy Week and Easter doesn’t just happen. It takes lots of planning and work so we can gather to celebrate the resurrected Christ with beauty and dignity.

So with that, we want to lift up these things and people that helped to make Holy Week and Easter so meaningful.

Altar Guild – Ever wonder who fills all those communion cups on Sunday mornings?  That would be our altar guild.  They are one of the important “behind the scenes” groups that makes worship run smoothly.
Brass Group – It was great to hear the brass playing on Easter Sunday!
Choirs – Their musical leadership adds so much to our worship.
Drama Ministry – Godspell was wonderful on Saturday night! It was a wonderful way to hear the story of Jesus.
Easter Egg Hunt – We love seeing our children here at Church.  Thanks to everyone who made that day such a blessing.
Floral Guild – They worked to make our worship space filled with beauty. We loved seeing many of the pictures of people around the floral cross on social media.
God – Of course, we’re going to thank God! It is by God’s mercy that we are able to gather.
Holy Week in Church #1 – Thanks to those who came out to worship with us on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week.
Iridescent glow off of Pastor Dave’s head. He was sure having fun!
Jimmy Hoffa – that’s the nickname we gave to the copier that runs all the church publications. We’re very thankful for copiers!
Kindness – We are in the midst of a year of adventure at Zion.  One of the things we noticed is that we have a
Lectors – Thank you for taking time to practice your readings and to proclaim the Word of God in worship.
Men’s Ministry – They met on Holy Saturday for their monthly prayer breakfast. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of prayer during this time.
Nursery Staff – We have three of the best nursery caregivers!  Thanks Mrs. Connie, Mrs. Laura, and Ms. Katie for taking such wonderful care of our young children.
Office Staff – There are lots of behind the scenes sorts of stuff that has to happen. Our office staff handles it wonderfully and makes it look easy!
Program Staff – Easter Egg hunts on Palm Sunday, choirs that sing throughout Holy Week, a drama ministry production…. Our program staff is a blessing to this church!
Quietness – God uses quiet to speak to us.  We had several chances for extended silence in our worship.
Resurrection – It’s all about resurrection!  Jesus’ first and foremost; and because of Jesus, ours.
Sound Team – We keep hearing that you can hear in the FLC. We’re glad! That happens because of the sound team.
The Amiable Assemblers – (Ok – this one is a little bit of cheating!) This is a good group of folks that come up to put together your bulletins. They joyfully put in extra time during Holy Week stuffing all those extra bulletins.
Ushers – They are the first line of people to welcome people to Zion. We give God thanks for their hospitality
Video Team – We didn’t know how many people would be here, so we asked them to broadcast a closed circuit video to Room 101 for overflow. The good news is that we now have this technology and we can use it in the future when we need to.
Worship Leaders – Each worship service had lots of people helping as communion assistants, acolytes, and other important roles.
X – We still can’t think of anything that starts with an “X” in this place.  Anyone want to start a ministry with that title?
You! – It takes all of us to make ministry happen in this place.
Z – as in zzz’s… The pastors and staff are thankful for getting a few extra zzz’s after Easter Sunday is over.

February Construction Update

Hello from Zion!  Things continue to move along with our construction projects here at the church.  If you come up here during the week, you’ll see workers doing all sorts of stuff.  Rather than writing about what’s been happening, I thought I’d share some pictures with some information.

 

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Those trenches have our plumbing and electrical lines in them.

Building Team 2

It’s important to make sure the base is packed tightly.  I’ll think about this picture the next time I read Jesus saying something about building things on a solid foundation!! (Matthew 7:24-27).

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Today (Friday), we saw some concrete trucks on campus.  Before the pipes buried underground, they are sealed in concrete and then the dirt is tightly packed on top of them.

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There used to be a wall there!  Part of the walls to the stairwells were removed this week.  We did this to help bring attention to the stairwells so people who can will be able to use the balcony more often.

Building Team 1

Do you recognize where the light switch was?