Well, we come to the end of another year. Perhaps a year that has introduced more of what we remember as “normal”, or at least a large step in that direction. Here are a few observations on what I thing are some very positive moves toward a new normal coming in 2023:
- We have a senior pastor. Should I repeat that? After literally arriving at the last minute and then helping Zion manage through a transition period over the past year, the congregational members of Zion voted to extend a call to Pastor Bahe as our settled senior pastor. Her work in helping fill out staffing needs, including children’s ministry and youth ministry as well as just providing guidance and insight has been invaluable. For this, I want to say a huge THANK YOU!!
- Youth ministry is up and going in a huge way. Holly Husom and Tammy Zumbusch have really reenergized the programs and have seen participation swell to one hundred plus participants. In addition, they have done a great job with the confirmation program and the kids are loving it.
- Kristin Lotthammer has done amazing work building up the Sunday school program, with the help of Lora Nichols, and this year she reintroduced the 8:30 Sunday school option. There are well over 100 children participating in both time slots combined, and feedback has been great!
- The facilities staff has done a fantastic job of managing through all kinds of changes and I really appreciate the flexibility with new youth ministry activities and other facility requests. Joel Mackereth, Lyle Jans, Eldor Jordan and Melissa Galvin have been wonderful. Lyle has always gone the extra mile to make sure our weddings and funerals are planned and staffed.
- The office staff have been more than amazing. Kim Haggen is doing a great job after taken on the volunteer coordinator role along with her other office responsibilities. Julie Pryor has developed into the front office role and is my go-to for any number of requests for communications and logistics. Angela has been so incredibly patient with my late submissions for content (such as this newsletter which is about five days late) as well as providing guidance on details about committees, contacts, and membership information.
- Sue Stensrud has done an incredible job on our financials and making sure everything gets paid on time and that our payroll is up to date along with so much valuable direction on all things financial, as have Steve Peterson and John Lindlief in managing our financial contributions.
- The Transition Committee and Call Committee members helped our congregation prepare us to call a new senior pastor and provide us with some valuable insight into our congregation and what concerns we have, what input we have, and what we want to accomplish moving forward. So thank you to Joan Halderson, Kris Harlan, Andy Kohls, Josie LaFave, Emily Lewis, Ian MacCallum, Wes Mahlberg, Judy Sandeen, Phyllis Bengtson, Taryn Bullert, Dominic DesMarais, Jennifer Gustafson, Paula Herda, Eric Mattson, Hannah Peterson, and Tyler Peterson.
- Sherilyn does what she always does and makes sure everyone knows what’s going on any given Sunday (or whatever event is coming up) along with all of the work she does to make the music portion of the service happen including organ and piano. Mike Walsh for his music direction along with Jason Chalupnick and Any Intrieri for their work with bells, choirs, and worship coordination. Mike Agre and Minda Squadroni for providing organ music. Bob Strommen, Glen Johnson, Clint LaFave, Tom Moline, Zac Damico, Mike Otten, Mark Davidson, Katherine Lind, and Lyle, and all the work they put into the sound and video tech to make our worship services sound and look great.
I’m at 616 words so I need to pull up and just say thank you to all of the volunteers who regularly make sure Zion’s worships and events can happen and all of the individuals that help coordinate our social ministries and our stewardship. It’s hard because I know I’m going to miss someone that deserves mentioning. We’ve come a very long way in the past two years and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. Zion doesn’t happen without people who care.
If all of this sounds like a wrap-up, for me it is. My term on Church Council and as council president is over and there is a great team of council members for 2023 so I will not say goodbye but rather thank you for all of your kind words of support, your advice and direction and most of all the smiling faces that I have seen in ever greater numbers on Sunday. Church is a home and home is family. Together we are family in Christ.