A WORD FROM PASTOR TOM
Pastor Tom’s Mission and Ministry Report The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all the people of Williams Bay Lutheran Church. (Here is my annual report to the congregation. God has truly blessed our congregation in 2018.) This past year was filled with both challenges and joys. Overall, I am grateful for the many ways that we came together as a faith community in order to move our congregation forward in mission. Thank you to all the people of Williams Bay Lutheran Church! I am especially thankful to God for three surprises that happened this past year.
The first surprise was Vacation Bible School. We have not held VBS at our church for three years. This past summer the education committee decided to take a step of faith and plan for a week of VBS. When the week for VBS came thirty-six kids appeared! It was a fantastic week and the children were blessed by this ministry. As time goes on, and we continue building up our VBS program, I hope that we become known in the community for offering an outstanding VBS ministry.
The second surprise was all the new members that we received. I was filled with joy on New Member Sunday as twenty-one adults and children joined our congregation. It has been a while since we welcomed new members to our congregation. This past year God blessed our church with a large group of new members. We have been doing the work of evangelism! Already our new members are getting involved and are participating in the life of the congregation.
The last surprise happened at our Thanksgiving Service and our Christmas Eve services. This year I decided to invite the Chapel on the Hill congregation to join us for our traditional community Thanksgiving service. They welcomed the invitation! That evening we filled the church as we gave God thanks and praise. A very large ecumenical choir also sang during the Thanksgiving service.
For Christmas Eve we decided to bring back the 10:00 service. The attendance between the 5 and 10 service that night was one hundred sixty-seven people. That was the highest attendance for Christmas Eve worship in many years!
While there were challenges this past year I am so grateful for your enduring support and grace. One thing that I have learned, from my two previous congregations that I served, is that the work of a pastor is too great without the support of other people. I am grateful for your partnership with me in God’s mission and ministry work here at WBLC.
I especially want to thank Carol, Rebecca, and Chad. Thank you Carol, for your creativity and for your beautiful music. Thank you Rebecca, for your good work and for helping to promote our church within the community. Thank you Chad, for being such a faithful and dedicated church council president.
Lastly, I want to thank the church council for walking with me in both the challenges and joys of ministry this past year. Can the challenges and joys of ministry coincide so deeply? We discovered that it can! Thank you to those who are serving now on church council. Thank you for your leadership and for your love for our church.
As we look to a New Year I hope that we can, even more, awaken our love for God. In looking ahead to the coming year I have started planning ministry for 2019. I will soon be leading a Bible study on the Psalms. I will also be leading a class on a book that has greatly influenced my spirituality: Desiring God by John Piper. During Lent I will be inviting people to share their faith stories during the Wednesday Lenten services. I have invited the Voice of Praise, a sacred chorus, to come and to sing for us on Sunday, March 17th . This fall I am planning on leading a class on the topic of living out our faith in real and practical ways. In the fall I would also like to invite our congregation to participate, in some way, in our town’s Centennial celebration. Lastly, I am planning on
working ecumenically with UCC and Chapel on the Hill for more ecumenical worship services.
Please continue to keep our church in prayer and to remember me in prayer as well. I will be praying for you and for our church in 2019. May God richly bless our congregation!
Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish those words over a lifetime. –Dale Carnegie
In Christ, Pastor Tom Dowling
SHARING OUR FAITH STORIES
During the five Wednesday Lent services Pastor Tom will be inviting people to share their faith stories during Lent worship. Have you ever given your faith testimony to others? Would you like to? Sharing our faith is an important way to spread the Gospel. If you are interested, please let Pastor Tom know and he will assign you to a Wednesday service. He can also offer you some coaching and guidance in writing your faith story.
VOICE OF PRAISE
Pastor Tom has invited the Voice of Praise Chorus to join us on Sunday, March 17th for the 9:30 am worship service. The Voice of Praise is a local religious chorus. Their mission statement is to Sing God’s Praise, to Tell God’s Story, and to Sing God’s Praise. We will have a unity service on that day. There will be no 8 am worship. Come and hear this talented choir as we listen to and join in on singing God’s praises!
SUNDAY MORNING CLASS
Our next topic will be: “Desiring God.” We will read the book Desiring God by Pastor John Piper. In life we desire many things. Do we desire God above all the material things of this world? Come and explore this faith question in the Sunday
Morning Class. We meet at 11 am in the Hearth Room on Sunday mornings. Come with you questions and grow in your faith. Pastor Tom would love to have you join the group! All are welcome to join in on this new topic.
SALLY’S CIRCLE BOOK CLUB
All WBLC women are welcome to join our Sally’s Circle meetings. Some of the participants knit or crochet prayer shawls or do other hand work while we talk. Our meetings are very informal and are a great way to get to know each other. We meet in the Hearth room in the lower level of the church. If you have any questions about where to get the book, please see Mary Mock or Cheral Sadler. February 26, 2019 “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls March 26, 2019 “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee
4-WEEK LUNCH BIBLE STUDY
Come and join Pastor Tom for lunch and a Bible study. We will meet for four weeks to study the Psalms. We will begin our first study on February 14th , Valentine’s Day, at 12:30 pm. We will use the study guide: Psalms, Prayers of the Heart by Eugene Peterson as a guide for our conversation. We will meet in the Hearth Room. Bring your lunch and your Bible. All are welcome!
Please join Pastor Tom for conversation on becoming more passionate in our faith lives. How do we live with passion for our Lord? How do we make sense out of our beliefs? How are we to live out our faith in our day-to-day lives? Come and join in on the discussion! We meet on Sunday mornings at 11 am. All are welcome!
SALLY’S CIRCLE BOOK CLUB
All WBLC women are welcome to join our Sally’s Circle meetings. Some of the participants knit or crochet prayer shawls or do other hand work while we talk. Our meetings are very informal and are a great way to get to know each other. We meet in the Hearth room in the lower
level of the church. If you have any questions about where to get the book, please see Mary Mock or Cheral Sadler.
February 26, 2019 “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls
March 26, 2019 “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee
Every year during Lent we have the opportunity to renew our relationship with God and with the people in our congregation. During Lent we prepare for the celebration of our risen Lord, Jesus the Christ. Lent can be a very meaningful time for us within the church year. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6th. On that day we will worship at 7 pm with our special Ash Wednesday service. During the next five Wednesdays of Lent you will hear faith testimonies from people in our congregation. Pastor Tom will also offer a short message. His topic this Lent will be: “Understanding the Bible.” Our worship services will be the beautiful Holden Evening Prayer Service. All services will begin at 7 pm. A delicious soup dinner will be served before worship. Come to the Lent services and find renewal for your faith journey. LENTEN SOUP SUPPER Lenten Soup Suppers will resume on March 13th. Come and break bread with your church family before our midweek Lenten services. Two to three types of soups, bread and a sweet desert are served up from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm.