have a confession to make: I no longer make New Year’s resolutions. No matter what I decide I’m going to do, how I’m going to track it, and what accountability I’ll have, by the time March (or, let’s be honest, February) rolls around, my resolutions are laying in a metaphorical pile in a corner of my apartment, waiting to guilt me about my lack of persistence.
I don’t know anything about the history of New Year’s resolutions, when they started, or how the tradition developed. But as we look forward to a new year (after already starting a new church year back in November), I wonder what resolutions can teach us about faithfulness. I have a friend who is very faithful to her practice of running with the result being able to run marathons for fun. There’s nothing overly exciting about my friend putting on her running gear every day and heading out no matter the weather (in fact, sometimes she’ll send me a text dreading having to go running), but it’s that steady faithfulness that allows her to go the distance on race days. Her faithfulness allows her to accomplish what to me seems like an insurmountable goal.
Thinking about resolutions and faithfulness makes my thoughts turn to the faithfulness of God. This year as I walk our sixth-graders through the Old Testament, they will learn that God shows faithfulness over and over again even when we are not faithful.
What might the new year look like if we focus not on our own striving to keep our resolutions, but if we take time to reflect on the ways God keeps resolutions, no matter what shenanigans humans get up to? How might spending time with God’s steadfast faithfulness and never-ending mercy change us in this coming year?
One of the main tenets that drew me to Lutheran theology was how much we talk about the work of God in our lives. That grace means it’s not up to us to work or strive or accomplish so that God will love us.
During this time of year, when we’re recovering from holiday celebrations and feel the pull to resolve to do more, to be more, to commit to that one thing that’s going to change our lives, let’s take a moment to pause and remember what God has done for us, and how God draws near to us without us having to do anything to earn it.
Happy New Year! I always love the start of the new year. It marks the beginning of new projects and is a time to reflect on what we accomplished and didn’t accomplish in the past 12 months. I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but I will say, READ THE ANNUAL REPORT! The Property and Grounds Team will lay out the many different projects completed in 2021, and you will see my full wrap-up of how we did financially (end-of-year numbers not available at time of newsletter publishing deadline).
Looking at the month ahead, we hope to get a staff development day on the calendar to continue to grow together, learn about each other, and continue to work on our cohesiveness. Without a functioning staff, the church itself does not function well, so this continues to be a priority for me.
I anticipate being absent for two weeks this month for military duties—COVID dependent—so if you need anything, please relay it to Lori in the front office, and she will help where she can. I will return right before the annual meeting and can assist you then.
God’s blessings to you in this new year, and I hope we see our church pews full again!
Thank you for the gifts to our ministries in honor of your loved ones. The funds have been designated in loving memory of the following:
I find myself intentionally pausing to reflect on all the amazing ways Trinity volunteers give all year long! Those who greet, usher, and operate PowerPoint and Wirecast, as well as sing and read for weekly worship services have been so faithful! Those who serve with such joy quilting, knitting, sewing, praying, listening, building, and so many other ways are a delight to work with! As Hebrews 12:3-8 states so beautifully, we all have God’s grace to love and serve. Come visit me any time to see how your gift can bless many!
It is a joy to serve others and our community with you, my Trinity family. New Year blessings to you all!
Sunday School Coordinator
Did you see the “Say Cheese for Christmas” program presented by Beginner 3 through fifth-grade students? If not, you can find the program on Trinity’s Facebook page under the Dec. 19 worship service. It was wonderful being together in person!
There are no Sunday school classes on Jan. 2.
PICTURE DAY: Trinity’s fifth-graders on their way to Bethlehem.
Join Pastor Andy and Pastor Erin at 11 a.m. Sundays, starting Jan. 9, to learn more about the ELCA’s new social statement: Faith, Sexism, and Justice. This conversation is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what we believe as Lutherans and how our faith is lived out in the world together. In-person and Zoom options will be available. To learn more, talk to Pastor Erin.
WAUPACA MIRACLE TREE: Look at how generous our Trinity and community members are! So many families were blessed with a bright Christmas.
LUTHERAN SOCIAL SERVICES: The Homme house in Wittenberg was so grateful for all the donations for their boys.
Director of Music Ministries
We made it through a full year of the “new normal”! And by God’s grace, we were able to keep the music going on some level throughout the year.
Music has always been a source of great joy for me. I find peace in times of distress or sadness just by listening to music. I feel closer to our God when expressing myself musically. Music has long been called the universal language, and indeed it is! Across the globe, people express themselves through music. Many global citizens still listen to music that has been around for centuries. When we sing “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” we are singing a melody that Beethoven composed for his 9th Symphony nearly 200 years ago. This grand orchestral work that included a fourth movement for orchestra and a chorus singing the famous tune known as “Ode to Joy” premiered in 1824. Nearly every Christian denomination worldwide includes this joyous hymn tune in their hymnals to this day.
Thanks to current media options, new music can quickly become known across the planet. The one thing that has remained common as far back as the beginning of the Christian church is that music has always been a part of worship. From the Gregorian chants sung by priests long ago to the extraordinary experience of Christian music that Pastor Mark’s Advent Music Tour participants enjoyed last month, music remains a treasured way to express our faith, love for God, and love for one another.
I wish you peace, good health, and a year full of great music in 2022!
Thank you to those who contributed to the great success of our fundraiser for Trinity youth to attend the ELCA Youth Gathering. You are truly a blessing! We raised over $600. This will help make a youth’s hopes of attending the gathering a reality!
For Trinity meeting and event postponements or cancellations due to weather conditions, please visit our Facebook page and/or website.
Youth attendance for Crossover at 8:15 p.m. Wednesdays has been fantastic! High-schoolers have taken part in games, Bible studies, and conversations. Now that the new year is here, we hope to keep the momentum going! High-schoolers, invite a friend and join us at 8:15 p.m. Jan. 5 for an exciting return.
TURKEY, ANYONE? Crossover high-schoolers had a blast at Waupaca Bowl. This tight-knit group is growing every week!
The church office is OPEN 8-4:30 Monday-Thursday; CLOSED Friday—calls received will be returned on Monday. Immediate-need calls, see below.
Correspondence and monetary donations can be mailed to: 206 E. Badger St., Waupaca, WI 54981.
Contact A Pastor:
Rev. Andy Behrendt
Rev. Erin Coutts
For an immediate need, contact a pastor by calling the church office, at (715) 256-7688, and leaving a voice message in the pastor’s individual voice mailbox. The pastor will return urgent-need calls as soon as possible.
The lady in red aka Vicki Jones has blessed Trinity with 23 years of sign postings. What she had in common with postal carriers is updating the sign in all types of weather. It has been my pleasure working with this awesome woman. We are so ... G-R-A-T-E-F-U-L!