We are so very blessed!First things first! Thank you to all of the firefighters, emergency personnel, law enforcement officers and volunteers who ran to our church in our time of need. Your courage and your dedication to the Finland community leave us deeply humbled and forever thankful. We are blessed to have caring neighbors like you!
By: Pastor Tom Murray, Lake County News Chronicle
First things first! Thank you to all of the firefighters, emergency personnel, law enforcement officers and volunteers who ran to our church in our time of need. Your courage and your dedication to the Finland community leave us deeply humbled and forever thankful. We are blessed to have caring neighbors like you!
Many things that we treasured were lost in the fire that consumed Zion. Our sanctuary and social hall, along with our beautiful paraments, church records, musical instruments and Bibles are now gone. This was a place where children were baptized and confirmed, where community members were married, and where we gathered to grieve and to commend our loved ones to the eternal care of God. Even though all these things are gone today, we can’t help but to lift up our voices and proclaim: “We are so very blessed!”
We have much for which to be thankful. Despite the extreme nature of the fire that consumed Zion, no one was injured. Even with the loss of our sanctuary, we can still gather to worship thanks to the generosity of the Clair Nelson Center. Even though we lost everything in our office, we are slowly getting back up to speed thanks to the kindness of Sychar Lutheran Church. Churches from New York to California have told me that they are praying for us, and we can feel the power of their prayers.
People from outside of the Finland community have asked me, “Why rebuild?” And the answer is quite simple. We will rebuild because God’s ministry to our community is not yet finished. The gospel is alive in the people of Little Marais, Finland and Isabella, and our community is not complete without a gathering place for those who seek the grace and the forgiveness of God. We will rebuild so that all who wish to worship will have a sanctuary to call home.
We have been given a wonderful gift, which is the opportunity to envision the future of God’s ministry among our neighbors. Our new sanctuary will take some time to complete, and there are many prayers which will need to be answered along the way. What we know today is this: One day soon a beautiful community chapel will stand along Highway 1 in Finland; it will reflect the faithfulness and the heritage of the people who live here. It will be a sanctuary for those in need of healing and a place of comfort for those who grieve. It will be a gathering place for the community, and a visible reminder of our Lord’s resurrection for all who pass through our beautiful village.
We are so very blessed. We are blessed to be a part of such a wonderful community. We are blessed by the prayers of people of faith whom we have never met. And we are blessed each day to know that we are held in the embrace of God’s loving hands.