On Faith: People of faith get it together“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:1-5 NRSV)
By: Pastor Phil Berge, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lake County News Chronicle
“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:1-5 NRSV)
Today I am going to use this column to do some bragging. Not about myself or my congregation, although it might be tempting to do that. Rather, I would like to brag about the Two Harbors Christian Ministerial Association.
The association consists of 15 pastors and 12 congregations representing many denominations with varied theological perspectives, traditions and worship styles.
Do we have our differences? Yes. Are those differences important? Many times they are. But what I appreciate is the intentional effort made to not let those differences become wedges that drive us apart.
There is a shared commitment among the pastors to seek ways to work together for the good of the community. Through our association we seek to support each other, strengthen the ministries of our congregations and meet the needs of this community.
Having been a pastor in other communities, and in my conversations with other pastors, I recognize just how blessed I am to be part of the ministerial here. I consider it a privilege to be a member.
Each year, the association sponsors three community worship services. In the spring, a baccalaureate service for graduating high school seniors that sends them on their way with the blessing and prayers of the community. During the summer, the Heritage Days Community Service brings several days of fun and festivities to a prayerful close.
As fall turns to winter and the frantic holiday season preparations begin, the Community Advent celebration on the first Sunday in Advent helps us focus on the true reason for the season. Very few communities are able to gather such diverse religious traditions in shared worship. I am proud of our ministerial.
In addition to these yearly worship services, the association works together to help meet other community needs as well. The Neighbor to Neighbor Thrift Store is owned by the congregations of the association and the pastors of the ministerial serve as its board of directors. The churches and the community help support this ministry through the donations of quality goods. Again, not many ministerial associations are able to do such things. I am proud of our ministerial.
The group also strives to meet some very specialized needs within our community. It provides a community elder care chaplaincy and a jail chaplaincy. These ministries provide worship, bible study, pastoral counsel and support. A Two Harbors Area Good Samaritan Relief Fund was established by the ministerial and is administered by it. And, the association is a partner in sponsoring the Community Thanksgiving Dinner. I am proud of our ministerial.
All this and more is what the Two Harbors Christian Ministerial Association is and does. I feel it is appropriate to brag a little bit about the ministerial because I am truly thankful for the pastors and congregations of the ministerial, and proud of the things we can do together.
The Rev. Phil Berge has been pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Two Harbors since 1991. His wife Susan is pastor at Knife River Lutheran Church. They have two children, Andrew and Elizabeth. Editor Mike Creger is thankful that association members take time to take turns writing a column in this space each week.