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A Pastor's Perspective for Jan 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I pray that this newsletter finds you in a joyous spirit after a wonderful Christmas season and a festive New Year celebration.  Christ’s birth reminds us that God comes to us in this world, in unexpected places, in the dark of night.  That coming brings light and life!  With hope, we enter 2017 believing that God is with us.
It is with joy and hope that I tell you that both Bethlehem and Immanuel voted to consolidate into United Lutheran Church of Proctor!  Our first worship together will be on Sunday June 4th, 2017.  That day is Pentecost, the day we mark the coming of the Holy Spirit to the believers who were “all together in one place.” (Acts 2:1) Many call Pentecost the birthday of the Christian Church.  That makes it a fitting day for our new congregation to begin “all together in one place.”  Until June, Bethlehem and Immanuel will continue to exist and function as they have for the past few years.  In future months we will be asking for volunteers to help with all aspects of the transition.
As we begin this new year, I want to remind you that I am here as your pastor for the good times and the challenges of life.  I am easily reached by phone (218-240-1660), by email (pastorkowitz@outlook.com), and on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).  I am usually at Bethlehem on Mondays and Immanuel on Thursdays.  Stop by and say hello.  I will gladly visit you in the hospital or recovery center if you ask.  Remember that hospitals do not automatically contact me.  I only know about your illness or injury if you or a family member/friend contacts me.  I will also gladly meet you for a cup of coffee or a lunch out to talk about life and faith.  I can bless your house, pray over your new driver, bless you on your retirement, or celebrate with you on a special birthday.  Just get ahold of me and we can set something up – that’s why I am here.
Beginning in January, I will be leading “Thirsty Theology” on the second Thursday of each month.  We will meet at Blackwoods starting at 8pm.  Bring your Bibles or get a Bible app for your phone (contact me for suggestions).  This is designed as the Bible study for those who cannot attend the Wednesday afternoon Bible study.  Alcohol is optional; discussion is encouraged; fellowship is inevitable!
Here’s the “Right Now” list for January.  Check out these TV shows and reading material.  The first show is Timeless (NBC).  The premise of this show is that three companions are sent back in time to make sure certain historical events take place.  These time travelers are pursuing another time traveler who is trying to change the future by stopping historical events.  Timeless is a fun history lesson and also helps us to think about the consequences of our actions.  On the humorous side, check out The Good Place (NBC), a smart, unique comedy about what makes a good person. The show follows an ordinary woman who enters the afterlife and, thanks to some kind of error, is sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place.  While hiding in plain sight, she's determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome (or, at least, the pretty good) person within.  Both shows highlight how our lives interact with others, for good or for bad.  Remember that you can use the same daily devotional that I use.  Martin Luther’s Day by Day We Magnify You is available from Augsburg Fortress publisher.  Each month, our council members gets a copy of the Living Lutheran magazine.  The magazine shares stories of Lutherans living out their faith and connects us with the national and global Christian community.  Subscribe to keep informed about the ELCA.
Peace+ Pastor Kowitz