Pastor Tom’s Mission and Ministry Report
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel.”
Philippians 1: 3-5
“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am very optimistic about the coming year for our church and its future. I believe that we are moving in positive and in life-giving ways and the Holy Spirit is our constant guide. I am so grateful for all the faithful members of our congregation and how we were able to stay on purpose and mission this past year. Without all of us working together for the common good this past year of ministry would not have been possible.
A daily prayer that I pray everyday as I enter the church building to begin my work day is a prayer of blessing for all the people of Williams Bay Lutheran Church. I can recall as a child my father telling me of the importance of praying regularly for God’s people. He was always in prayer for the people he was serving. Now as a pastor myself, it is a spiritual practice that I do too as I come to the Lord in prayer.
We need to be people of prayer both in praying for each other and in praying for the advancement of the mission of God. I think it is especially important to do so at a time like this. The past two years have been difficult years for our church. But we have remained faithful through the grace of God!
It is because of God’s faithfulness that our church continues to thrive. It is not what we do but what the Holy Spirit does in and through us! In this way we continue being a life-giving congregation.
In looking forward to the coming year we place our trust and our faith in God. Our church is a light to all because of Jesus. I often think about the beautiful hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus. “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged – take it to the Lord in prayer.” In Jesus we will move forward!
In closing I would like to thank the church council for your guidance and leadership during a very challenging year. I am grateful for each one of you! Especially, I want to thank our council president, Jim Pfeil. Jim your ability to maintain a non-anxious presence during a very anxious time was truly a gift to the congregation and to me. You were even able to lighten our load a bit with your wonderful sense of humor. Thank you, Jim!
The Lord will continue to be with and for us in the coming year. Be in prayer. Be diligent in your study of God’s Word. Practice your faith in day to day living. Be thankful. Continue coming to worship here in this place either in-person or on Zoom. These are challenging days but our faith sustains us always. It is precisely at times like this when we need our faith the most. Jesus taught us in the Bible to not abandon our faith when life becomes difficult but instead to lean into our faith in him even more.
It is a great gift to be called to be your pastor. I am grateful for our partnership in the Gospel. I pray constantly that the Lord will work in and with us. We have a great congregation that has survived a global pandemic.
There is a simplicity and a beauty to our church that is very holy and wonderful and I believe is pleasing to God. I also believe our church is poised for growth and for resurrection in the years to come!
Let’s continue inviting others to come and to see and then to stay and to join.
In the book Imagining the Small Church: Celebrating a Simpler Path the author Steve Willis writes that the purpose of the church is to love the people and the place where it resides and to tell the good news story of Jesus Christ to generation to generation. May we continue to stay grounded in our purpose and calling as the people of God. May God bless our mission and our life together. May God be with us in 2022!
“In his arms he’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.” What a Friend we Have in Jesus
Grace and peace,
Pastor Tom Dowling