The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
It is with overwhelming joy, great excitement, and deep faith that I proclaim that on December 20, 2018, Trinity Lutheran Church in Lindstrom, Minnesota entered into a congregational partnership with El Buen Pastor in San Antonio, Tzeja, Guatemala for the next three years. We feel very blessed to have been given this opportunity to partner with ILAG and those at El Buen Pastor, and cannot wait to see how this partnership develops and affects both of our congregations in the upcoming months and years.
For dozens of families, Trinity Lutheran Church in Lindstrom, Minnesota, is our home away from home throughout the week. From the children learning about our faith and playing with one another to the women catching up with old friends over coffee, the teens serving breakfast or leading us in worship to the men putting on their choir robes or sharing a favorite Bible verse, our church is always so full of life and energy, compassion and love. The people who we worship with and live alongside each week have become an extension of our families; in our house we call our fellow Trinity members our church family.
When we learned about an opportunity to extend our church family through partnership, not only were we interested, we were elated. What greater gift could we ask for than not only an addition to our already beloved church family, but also an opportunity to connect and grow with followers who walk in step with us - to nurture and refine our relationships with one another while we work to improve our faithfulness and service to Him all the while.
Being a part of our church, which is now over a century old, worshipers are frequently reflecting on considering new ways in which we can focus our love and service to Trinity's mission to connect, grow, and serve. As a church that has such a rich history in connecting to the community and serving others, we understand that there are great benefits in remembering the challenges and triumphs of starting as a new church community with such a deep faith. We have so much hope that partnering with El Buen Pastor will allow us to reconnect with our beginnings as a church in the early 20th century, and be inspired by the vibrant community in San Antonio. Our partners hold their faith close to them as they work together to continue to develop their congregation and meet these families' needs with their church facilities.
In addition to expanding our church family and reconnecting with our roots as a church, this partnership is a very exciting opportunity for our congregation to share and exchange cultures and faith principles with the families of El Buen Pastor. We will have exposure to new ways of worship, language, food, clothing, traditions, and education; this opportunity will help many of us to step outside of our comfort zone. And in this exposure, we will all experience a growth and strengthening of our love for and in Christ. Through the partnership principles and the accompaniment model, there is so much we can learn about what it means to walk alongside another congregation and truly stay in stride with one another.
This partnership has already begun to have a positive impact on our congregation as whole and will expand and deepen our outreach service as we learn more about what it means to be a partner in and through God. It will foster generosity in the youngest generation of Trinity members and facilitate connection between women who face similar daily universal challenges. The partnership will initiate conversations and build a bridge between Lindstrom, Minnesota and San Antonio, Guatemala. It will remind us that we are not alone in anything.
As our church family grows to include the 25 families of El Buen Pastor who count their own church as a home away from home, we will forever be brothers and sisters in Christ.
Trinity Lutheran, Lindstrom