Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Caller
Redeemer Lutheran Church                                                                    
April/May 2013

Pastor Elaine Hewes
Seeking glimpses
of the Risen Christ
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,  
Every year, on the Sundays after Easter, we have a series of Gospel lessons that tell the stories of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances to the disciples. And every year I suggest that we too are given glimpses of the Risen Jesus in our midst if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
This year, on the Second Sunday of Easter, we were blessed during the sermon time to hear of two such glimpses, as Jackie Leibfarth and Pat Donovan both told stories from their own lives of times when they have seen the love that is stronger than death. Their beautiful testimonials got me to thinking that perhaps the life of faith is a life of looking for such glimpses, such "signs" of God's love on the move, and then having seen them, bearing witness to what we have seen. 

I think there is much truth to this. And I think we should provide more opportunities in the Christian community for people to share the glimpses and the signs they have of the Risen Christ in their lives, as they are powerful stories, and can help us all in our walk of faith. But this morning I looked up from my writing desk and saw an old piece of paper I've had hanging on the window sill for a long time. It's a message that was written on the sign outside the Essex Street Baptist Church years ago that says, "What if God is looking for a sign from us?" 
"Mmmm," I thought.... "What an interesting post-resurrection question to ponder.... What if God is looking for a sign of the Risen Christ from us? What would God see? What glimpses would He have, and what stories would He tell?" 
Just a little something to ponder during the fifty days of Easter.

Your pondering sister,
Pastor Elaine 

Youth to sponsor 
Malaria Campaign
'teach-in' April 28
Redeemer youth will hold a "teach-in" for the community with a focus on the ELCA Malaria Campaign at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, April 28. 
The ELCA has designated April 25 as "World Malaria Day." This is a topic that was introduced to the youth when they attended a retreat at Camp Calumet in New Hampshire in March. 
During their "teach-in, the youth will pass on to Redeemer adults what they learned about the ELCA's efforts to eradicate the effects of Malaria in Africa, and will challenge the congregation to become involved in this effort.  
Come to learn something new, as well as to eat Calumet treats and see photos from the Calumet weekend.
ELCA Malaria Campaign short version 
ELCA Malaria Campaign short version
Youth to hike for Homeless April 13
The youth at Redeemer have been busy the past few weeks, and are still going strong. Here are some upcoming dates we'd like folks to be aware of: 
Some of our youth will take part in the Hike for the Homeless fundraiser for the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter Saturday, April 13, in Bangor.  If you are interested in pledging to any (or all) of them, please feel free to contact Pastor Elaine or Jenn Batron.  Thank you in advance.

The youth will take over the 9:15 a.m. hour on Sunday, April 28, with "Calumet snacks" and all kinds of information from our weekend at Lutheran Camp Calumet in New Hampshire.  Please join us to learn about the ELCA Malaria Campaign, and what you can do to help us reach our goal of raising $2000 toward this worthy cause.

We look forward to seeing you there!

--Jenn Batron

An Inside Look at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter 
 Inside Look at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter

Extraordinary Sundays:
new model of education
starting on Pentecost  

We are in one of those odd places small congregations sometime find themselves when there aren't enough children to provide a "regular" Sunday School program, at least as the "old" model usually looks with classes every Sunday for kids of similar ages. 
Right now we have a slew of babies and toddlers, a large teen group, and about six children between the ages of 4 and 7, whose families worship with some regularity, but are not all that eager to participate in the "Sunday School Hour" on a regular basis.  This means that there might be anywhere between zero and three children on any given Sunday hoping to go to "class."  And quite often there is only one, which makes it hard for both teachers and students! 

So Jen and Jenn and Michelle and I put our heads together to think about what model might work for Redeemer
at this time in our life together, and we decided that we might try something we would call "Ext
raordinary Sundays."  These Sundays would take place at various times in the
church year around themes pertinent to the lessons, the seasons, and the stories being celebrated in worship. 

 So, for example, the first "Extraordinary Sunday" we will be hosting this year will be at 9:15 a.m. on the Day of Pentecost, Sunday May 19.  And rather than the "normal" Sunday School model of kids sitting in class for a "lesson," we will have a variety of "centers" set up in various parts of the building (and outside) from which the children can choose and through which they can move as they wish.

Since Pentecost is the day when we celebrate the wild, windy Spirit of God moving through the community of faith to create a
vibrant life-giving Church, some of the "centers" will be as follows: 1) decorating "happy birthday to the church" cupcakes, 2) making kites or wind-socks or pin-wheels to take out into the wind, 3) filling a tree outside with colorful decorations that blow in the wind, 4) making a community stained glass window that reflects the colors and themes of Pentecost, 5) making noise-makers to use in worship, 6) learning a Pentecost song.
Each "Extraordinary Sunday" will begin with a very short introduction by a "teaching team" so the children know what the day is all about.  And there will be other ways in which we will celebrate the day during worship and coffee hour, so by the end of the morning the children and their families have really experienced the theme and meaning of the day.  

The thought is that we would have Extraordinary Sundays around such themes as: community-building, creation, harvest, giving thanks, Advent-Christmas, baptism (water), light, Lent, Easter, Pentecost.. more ideas to come!  These Sundays would probably take place about once a month, but not always on the same Sunday of each month.
As you might imagine, we will need lots of help to make this plan work, and so we are hoping that many people in the Redeemer community might be willing to help during one or two of our Extraordinary Sundays per year.  You will be hearing from the education team before too long about how folks might be involved.  In the meantime, please mark your calendars for Sunday, May 19, for our Pentecost Extraordinary Sunday.    

--Pastor Elaine

Dreams: 'God's forgotten language'  to be adult class topic April 14-28 

"But in this you are not right. I will answer you: God is greater than any mortal. Why do you contend against him, saying, 'He will answer none of my words'? For God speaks in one way, and in two, though people do not perceive it.  In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on mortals, while they slumber on their beds, then he opens their ears, and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn them aside from their deeds, and keep them from pride, to spare their souls from the Pit, their lives from traversing the River." Job 33:13-18

Dreams have been called "God's forgotten language." Many figures in the Bible, along with many biblical writers, seem to have been quite fluent in the language of dreams - just as if it were their first language or mother tongue.  And dreams were the language in which God communicated with them - directly, individually, and intimately. But today it seems we have lost our facility for the language of dreams, if we ever knew it at all.

For three Sundays in April, the adult education class will be discussing dreams - following a particular dream described in the book of Acts along with the process by which the dreamer, the apostle Peter, comes to interpret his dream.  Along the way we'll talk about our own dreams, what we think about them, what sense we make of them, and how it is that they really might be a way God speaks to us.

Bring your dreams, your questions, and your coffee, and join the conversation. Let's get reacquainted with a language the Bible shows us we once spoke with ease. April 14, 21, 28 at 9:15 a.m. in the church library.

--Pam Shellberg

A perfect perch (Pam Shellberg Photo)

Pastor to take month's 'mini-sabbatical'

The council would like you to be aware that Pastor Elaine will be away for little over a month this summer, July 8-August 8.  Part of the time will be her vacation time, and part will be some long overdue sabbatical time. 

Sabbaticals for pastors are advised by our synod, but are more broadly recognized as just good practice for preserving the health and vitality of both pastor and congregation. The mutual ministry committee and church council are working to establish a more formal sabbatical policy for Redeemer.  But, in the meantime, the council has worked to find a seam in the calendar that would allow us to offer Pastor Elaine something like a "mini-sabbatical."

We recognize that the particular gifts with which she blesses our congregation - most especially in the pulpit, in worship, and in all moments of pastoral care - are expressions of an exceptional imagination, creativity, and depth of spirit, all of which occasionally require some time of special and intentional refreshing in order to be sustained.

We also recognize that the special gifts with which we bless her - our prayers, our attention, our partnership - also occasionally require a time of refreshment, a time when we, in her absence, are renewed in our commitments to being "the church."

The council is delighted that such a time, such a seam in the calendar, will open for her and for us this summer.  Already plans have been made for pulpit supply, and we will be keeping you apprised of other plans to cover needs for pastoral care as they are finalized.

--Pam Shellberg, council president

Quick Links

Redeemer Lutheran Church
A House of Mercy
A Place of Grace

All are welcome here

Services: 8 and 10:30 a.m.
Christian education: 9:15 a.m.

Staff Listing
Church office: (207) 945-3166

Nancy Leibfarth, Secretary

Michelle Dokka, Director of Music

Church Council
Pam Shellberg, President  
Wally Jakubas,Vice President  

Cheryl Olson,  Secretary  

Ruby Herring

Pat Kelly

Roger Pelletier

Neal Pratt

Lisa Wahlstrom    


Harry Madson, Treasurer  

Rudy Walter, Financial Secretary  

Reconciling in Christ
Redeemer Lutheran Church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation. Reconciling in Christ (RIC) is a is a program of ReconcilingWorks for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other Lutheran organizations. RIC recognizes Lutheran communities that publically welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender believers. The Reconciling in Christ roster of congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries and organizations now exceeds 500.  Redeemer Lutheran Church affirms its welcome to people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, and economic situations. 
Upcoming Events 
May 11 - Spring Spiff-up and Barbeque - '9 till done'

May 12 - Blanket Sunday - Donations collected for blankets for disaster relief

June 2 - Annual meeting -  9:15 a.m.

June 7-9 - New England Synod Assembly, Springfield, Mass.

June 24-28 - Arts Camp
Gathering In
Each month our outreach focuses on a different group as we collect items or donations to help those in need. Items are collected in a red wagon in the Welcome Room, the church entry. For April, trial size toiletries will be collected for the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter. In May, we will collect donations for blankets on Blanket Sunday, Mother's Day, May 12. Blankets provide warmth and even shelter to those in disaster areas worldwide.

March Gifts 
 for our Ministry

Regular Giving

Building Fund

Year to Date Regular Giving

Year to Date Building Fund
Worshipers in March:

Food Cupboard
During March, 15 bags of groceries and two grocery store vouchers were given to those in need as part of our food cupboard ministry. Donations of staples, such as macaroni and cheese, pasta, pasta sauce, canned tuna, canned vegetables and fruits, and peanut butter are always needed for our food cupboard, which is totally supported by Redeemer members.
Bishop's Blog
Check out the "Bishop on a Bike" blog by New England Synod Bishop James Hazelwood. You can subscribe to Bishop Jim's blog. Visit the Bishop on a Bike blog

New England Synod Bishop James Hazelwood
Blog of the Month
Each month, the Caller features a Lutheran blog. Visit the ELCA Malaria blog and read about creative ideas from congregations on how to raise money for the ELCA's Malaria Campaign to "Make Malaria History."

Arts Camp Help
It's not too early for us to begin soliciting help for our 12th annual Redeemer Arts Camp week, running from June 24-28.  The theme for this year's art camp will be "Something's Fishy!"  We are always looking for folks who would be willing to help during the week, even if it's just for a day or two.  Please let Jenn Batron or Pastor Elaine know if you are interested. 

Roof fund thanks
Early this past winter, the council invited members of Redeemer to make contributions to a special roof fund in service of restoring to the Coupe-Bitter Fund some of the resources used to replace the church roof. We had indicated that we would welcome your contributions through Lent and up to Easter.  Through this time we received $2,040 in contributions, for which we want to express our deep gratitude. The new roof sustains Redeemer as a house of mercy, your contributions sustain the ministries that make it a place of grace.

--Pam Shellberg,
Council president
Music Notes
Many thanks to Redeemer musicians for the beautiful music they added to Holy Week and Easter services.  We had Grace Note singers, brass players, youth  instrumentalists, string and woodwind players, pianist, organists, and drummer, in addition to the voices of the adult choir and Celebration Singers.  Many hours of preparation were offered by our musicians in the weeks leading up to Holy Week. Our choirs and instrumentalists are enjoying a little Easter celebration break.  But you can look forward to hearing more of their gifts in the music liturgy between now and Pentecost. The talent and prayerful spirits of our Redeemer musicians, and a singing congregation, makes my job a blessing.  

-- Michelle Dokka
Psalm 100

Trek Across Maine 
This year will mark my fourth year riding in the American Lung Association's Trek Across Maine. In my first year, I was riding in memory of three family members who suffered from lung disease. In year two, I added another family member and friend of the family. This year, I'm riding with two more friends in my heart and mind.

I continue to participate in this event because I believe strongly in the work of the American Lung Association. This organization works for a cure for lung disease and also works to improve air quality through its support for the Clean Air Act. This support is critical in States such as Maine where the incidence of asthma is so high.

If you believe in the valuable work of this organization like I do, please consider making a pledge towards my ride in the Trek.  If you would like to ask me questions you can talk to me after church, call me at 227-9364 or write me at dmahoney5@roadrunner.com.

Dave Mahoney treks across Maine two years ago.
Submit News
Contributions from the congregation are welcomed. Please send articles as either Word documents or PDFs to Cheryl Olson, The Caller editor. Photos are also welcome.