Reaching Out

Last year to celebrate our sixtieth anniversary as a congregation, we adopted four guidelines for our mission and ministry.  Two of them involved the relationships between our members and our community.  We desire to send our members out into our community to build relationships that serve our neighbors and encourage them toward a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Included in these activities are the opportunities that have been offered to pack food at the Oregon Food Bank and the “Backpack Ministry”—that connects some of our members with those at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Aloha—to support students and their families at Kinnaman Elementary with food for the weekends.  You can visit with any member of the Service Team for information to connect with these opportunities.

The other emphasis or guideline expressed our desire to bring members of our community into our building to encourage them toward a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Our Comforts of Home team works with Love, INC of Greater Hillsboro to serve our neighbors with household goods and bedding as they transition out of homelessness.  Many members have worked with Family Promise of Washington County to welcome families (who are transitioning out of homelessness) and provide a meal and a safe place for the night.  We have been blessed with diverse opportunities as we follow this desire—from hosting Aloha High School AP students during the May testing to hosting a Sri Lankan cultural event in our building.

“…that relationships with Jesus Christ might begin.”

A new opportunity has been presented to us—and some members have already responded.  Pastor Dan Haugen, the pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Portland, has gathered some folks together—a member or two from Bethlehem included—forming the Alleluia Children’s Theatre.  As it sounds, this is an opportunity for children and students through high school to be involved in a Christian theatre group.  They perform plays, skits and musical numbers that are written from a faith foundation.  How does this connect with these two goals I’ve been discussing?

As I mentioned, a few of our members have become involved in ACT.  There have been two performances since ACT began—both have been presented at Prince of Peace.  So, some of our members have gone out into the community to build relationships.  There’s another performance coming this fall of “Uncle Phil’s Diner.” Come and take a trip back to the 50’s for an evening of food, music and fun. Put on your poodle skirts and leather jackets and come ready to enjoy some classic diner food and an evening of entertainment unlike anything you’ve ever seen. So invite your friends and family and come on down to the hottest spot in town. The performance is Saturday, October 26th at 5:00pm. This is the only fund-raising performance of the year, so tickets are on sale for $20/each (if you buy a table, each ticket is reduced in price).

So, how does this combine with our other goal of bringing our neighbors into our building?  Bethlehem will be the location of the Christmas production of “For Unto Y’all” on December 21.  This production will be free to everyone.  There will be auditions and more information in coming weeks.  This is an informal and fun way to connect with members of other Lutheran congregations and bring our neighbors into our building to meet us.

Is this ministry?  It is serving our neighbors.  How does this fit into our mission?  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that “whatever you do, do for the glory of God.”  I wonder if Paul didn’t write this to suggest that everything we do out there in the world for the glory of God doesn’t provide the Holy Spirit with something He can use to draw others toward us so that relationships with Jesus Christ might begin.  What do you think?

There’s always joy in the journey,

Pastor Jeff Shearier

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