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Shortly before I was called to Our Savior's in Circle Pines, the congregation adopted an identity statement. The shortened, t-shirt-ready version of the statement is simply, "We are created for relationship." Now, I've been involved with plenty of congregations that have a mission or identity statement that gathers dust and is only recalled with some difficulty by the membership. This is not the case with this particular church. It is emblazoned on everything and the congregation works hard to really focus on their core, relational, identity.
One of the ways that Our Savior's has really chosen to live out this identity has been through our relationship with the people of San Isidro Labrador in Guatemala. Folks here leap at any chance to grow closer to our global sisters and brothers. So they were thrilled to host Karen Sofia, the daughter of Pastor Karen Castillo, during the last week of October.
Karen Sofia was in Minnesota looking at colleges. She hopes to study psychology and special education and so she visited Augsburg, Augustana, and St. Olaf. In between her visits, Karen Sofia shared a bit of her life journey with metro congregations by joining us for our Wednesday night youth group and our Sunday night confirmation service.
Every year on the last Wednesday of October, Our Savior's youth group visits the haunted hayride at Pinehaven, so we told Karen Sofia that she was in for a strange and fun time. Huddled up with our high school seniors, Karen experienced her first haunted house. She chose to join some of the younger students in returning to base camp before the really frightening parts could begin. A smart move. Our students were excited to share this experience with our guest. Such a fun and frivolous event bonded the students with Karen Sofia and readied the ground for our deeper conversations on Sunday.
During our confirmation on Sunday evening, Karen Sofia came and shared quite a bit about what it has been like being Lutheran in her context. She spoke about her own youth group and the work that she occasionally does within the communities that comprise ILAG. Our students asked questions concerning her experience and spoke very highly of her presentation. It has been so meaningful for the people of Our Savior's to welcome and to be welcomed by people whom we would usually consider "other". God is constantly in the work of breaking down barriers and re-creating us for relationship.
The Rev. Tim Maybee
Our Savior's, Circle Pines