Tag Archives: Newsletter

March 2023 Newsletter

From Pastor Petersen:
Pastor Frese’s New Position with Synod, Release from Redeemer
Pastor Frese has served Redeemer as a called, part-time pastor since 2012. For most of that time, he always worked as a chaplain for the Indiana National Guard and found other ways to supplement his income. This past spring he received and accepted a call to work full time for the Missouri Synod as the Deputy Director of Church Relations. The position allows him to work from Ft. Wayne two weeks a month, but also requires him to be in St. Louis two weeks a month. He also needs to travel to other parts of the country and out of the country from time to time. On top of this, he is still a chaplain in the Indiana Air National Guard.
Because of all this, with both my and the elders’ consent he took a break from his duties at Redeemer this fall. It was a long shot, but the goal was to see if he could work out a way that he might continue at Redeemer in some modified, but still part-time role. All involved knew it was unlikely, but we all wanted it to work. Unfortunately, it did not. It simply isn’t possible for him to do this in a way that is good for him or his family. The demands of his duties as Deputy Director and the needs of his family are too great for him to be able to continue to serve us, on a regular basis, as a called pastor while also serving the Synod full time and being a military chaplain.
For these reasons, he requested that Redeemer release him from his call. This was to free his conscience and allow him to serve the Synod. The council voted on Sunday, January 8, 2023 to do so. He and his family remain active members of Redeemer. He will continue to serve at our altar and in our pulpit as do our other clergy members.
Installation of the Reverend Deacons Wietfeldt and Boyle
After six months without Pastor Frese, the elders and I took a motion to the council to obtain some regular part-time pastoral assistance. We haven’t issued a call but we may do so eventually. For now, as we work out the kinks, it is a contractual arrangement wherein both Rev. Matt Weitfeldt and Rev. Dr. Geoff Boyle will provide pastoral support and care to our congregation, particularly in the form of leading services on weekdays, helping with preaching and teaching, and doing some visitation.
The work they will be doing is precisely what the New Testament knows as diaconal work and for that reason we will refer to them as our deacons. This is a distinct use of the term from liturgical deacons, a role that is often filled among us by students, and also from the use of the term for laymen who fill various congregational roles. In the New Testament this is a pastoral office. It is filled by ordained men who work under a parish pastor. The Reverend Deacons will be installed on Sunday, March 12 at both services.

Acolyte Vestments needed
Our acolyte corps has grown both in terms of numbers of young men involved and in lbs. per height. We made a significant investment five years ago in vestments and those are still in great shape, but to deploy as many of our current acolytes as possible, we need more vestments. To bring us to a full set of vestments for all and so that we have a good stock to take us into the future we need 12 cottas or surplices (the white part) and eight cassocks (the black part) at a cost of $2000. To fully equip a single acolyte costs $245. If you would like to support this effort financially, please earmark funds for the acolytes.

Marriage and Singles Seminar: The Power of Words for Good and for Ill Saturday March 18, 2023
We will put on a Marriage and Singles seminar on Saturday March 18, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. entitled “The Power of Words for Good and for Ill.” The Seminar will begin with Holy Communion at 9:00 am. At 10:15 there will be a session targeted toward married couples or those engaged to be married in the undercroft and a simultaneous session targeted toward those who either have never been married or are currently not married. Both sessions will give Biblical and Theological advice and counsel toward relationship skills with an eye toward better understanding our various vocations. The undercroft session will be taught by Pastor Petersen and the singles session by Deacon Boyle. Anyone, regardless of marital status, is welcome to attend either.
Study after study has shown that participation in such sessions has drastically lowered the statistical likelihood of divorce and other family trauma. Which is to say: this is worth a few hours of your time. To aid your attendance, childcare will be offered free of charge. Please help us plan for this by RSVPing by March 12, 2023 at secretary.redeemer@gmail.com or by phone (260) 744-2585 or by leaving a note on Jane’s desk in the office. Please do not tell Jane that you will be coming while standing in the narthex or undercroft and expect her to remember. We need to have an accurate count for childcare.

Workday: Saturday, April 1, 2023 9:00 a.m.: Saturday, April 1, the day before Palm Sunday we will have a workday to prepare the Church for Holy Week and Easter. There is lots of deep cleaning and polishing to be done and we could use your help. We will start at 9:00am. We will stop at 11:00 for Matins, then enjoy pizza together in the undercroft before calling it a day.

Easter Service and Photo: We will only have one service, at 10:30 am, on Easter Sunday, preceded by the Easter Breakfast from 8:30 am until 10:00 am. Immediately following the service, Steve Blakey will take a picture of everyone that we can get to stay in the pews for just a few extra minutes. We have a beautiful black and white photo that was taken of the congregation probably in the 1940s that is currently on display near the elevator. We want to reproduce this shot and would like your help.

Don’t forget to check the calendar on the bulletin board in the hall for upcoming social events!

The Spring Voters’ Meeting will be Sunday, April 23 at noon. This is the annual budget meeting.

There is a group meeting every Monday morning at 6:30 to study the Book of Concord.

The first Saturday of each month at 4:30 p.m. there is a family game time in the undercroft, followed by a potluck. All are welcome to either or both!

Books & Beer next meeting will be Sunday March 12th at 7:00 p.m. This month’s book is Reverence, by Paul Woodruff. As always, the event is open to all the men of our parish of drinking age or friends that you think would fit in.

Easter is coming! The hat library will set up in the coat room off the narthex in the next couple of weeks.

Newsletter message from Pastor Petersen

From Pastor Petersen:
Starting on Wednesday, May 25 and lasting until August 31, funded by the Lily Endowment fund and with no financial cost to the congregation, I will be taking a Sabbatical. I am not retiring. It is a long break, but not that long. It is shorter than the school’s summer vacation. In many ways, it is a kind of big vacation; but it is distinct in that it is not only longer than a vacation, but in that it is purposeful and is funded. The idea is that I will step away from the daily grind and pressure of pastoral work to rest, travel, recreate, and work on healthy coping strategies and techniques, spiritual and otherwise, for dealing with stress and anxiety. All of this is meant to help me return to Redeemer with renewed energy. It is not product-oriented. I am not trying to finish a degree or write a book. But with God’s help and by His grace, I hope to stay healthy, to avoid burnout, and to develop skills that will enable another 22 years at Redeemer.
We received a grant from the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis for $48,840 to help us realize these goals. The plan, goals, and application were designed by an ad hoc Sabbatical Committee consisting of Jonathan Busarow, Jane Casey, Maggie Casey, Jody Lent, and Gifford Grobien. The money from the grant will be used in two ways. First it will be used to fund interim pastoral care while I am away. That effort will be led and administered by Pastor Frese. He will be helped, of course, by the elders. The money will also be used to fund my renewal activities, for some supplies for the youth darts program at Redeemer, and for a culminating event in September after I return. Any equipment purchased for the programs will belong to the congregation at the end. Any funds not expended according to the approved budget must be returned to the Endowment. The grant is meant to alleviate any financial burden or stress on the congregation associated with this program but not to be financially profitable or to fund other ministries and missions.
My side of the program will have three intertwined components revolving around darts: time, travel, and training. The time, 98 days in total, is meant to enable me to disconnect from the Ministry. I will travel 43 days with Jacqui to reconnect with her, to see darts at the highest level and receive some coaching, to visit my ancestral home and develop new horizons. Those 43 days include travel to New York City to attend the North American Darts Championship at Madison Square Garden. That weekend will be spent with former field worker, Rev. Evan Scamman, and his family. We are also going on a two week bus tour of Ireland and Scotland. After there there will be a long weekend in London to include some dart coaching and then five days on the Isle of Man. In London and on the Isle we will be joined by Jacqui’s best friend and her husband and get some motorcycle time in. It won’t be funded by the grant, but Jacqui and I are also hoping to get in at least a couple of weekends visiting her father in Northern Michigan.
I will also do some solo travel. I will spend one week at a wellness retreat in the Smoky Mountains. There I will receive mental training and engage in new and healthy experiences. This might be painful, but I am looking forward to it. I will also do some solo travel not funded by the grant. I will attend the English District convention in June and a pastors’ conference in Wisconsin in July. In August I will teach a continuing education course for the Seminary in Minnesota. I also agreed to write an article for a Festschrift for a friend that has to be completed this Summer. While I won’t be preaching, teaching Catechism or Bible classes, seeing shut-ins or making calls, or attending meetings, I will still be engaged theologically and with the Church at large.
Along the way, I will have a few weeks at home with no scheduled activities. There I hope to have uninterrupted and unhurried practice time on the dartboard. Already in January, I began in-person training sessions with a sports psychologist. Those will also continue and wrap us this Summer. This is a course of study and discipline to help with performance anxiety. It is centered on darts but its applications are legion.

The congregation’s side is less focused on darts. It is mainly time with Pastor Frese and other ministers for Biblical study. Some of that, particularly with Pastor Frese, will take up spiritual and practical aspects of dealing with anxiety and stress, focusing on the peace that passes all understanding and the comfort that comes from recognizing and knowing our place in this life as God’s redeemed children. During this time, I ask that you do not contact me about pastoral care. The program expects real benefit to come from a limited but extended break. While I am away, please make use of Pastor Frese.
I will return to full-time work on September 1. On Saturday, September 17, we will host a seminar in the morning on what Pastor Petersen has learned about dealing with stress and anxiety and spiritual applications. We will then enjoy a catered lunch followed by a dart tournament. Baby sitting will be provided. The tournament will not be competitive. It will place an emphasis on fun and involvement and include prizes and contests for everyone. The whole community will be invited and the grant will pay for all of it.
Thank you for your prayers and support over the years and for your support of this program. It is a great gift for me and for Jacqui. Retirement is likely at least 15 – 20 years away and maybe not even then. I am not looking for an out. I love the people we serve here. I love the work I’ve been called to do. I am excited about our future together and I thank God for you and this place daily. Jacqui feels the same way.

Redeemer News, July 2021

A Note from Pastor Petersen
Summer never seems to deliver on its promises. All Fall, Winter, and Spring we long for it, setting aside what cannot be done then, both in terms of work and recreation, for the Summer, but the expectations are typically unrealistic. The work never goes as planned and the recreation is plagued by family politics, bad weather, and impossible financial burdens. The days are lovely but crowded and go by much too quickly. Too soon, it is over and our list is barely touched.
We have largely lost the ability to rest and to live in the moment. I am not sure things have ever been worse in this regard. For not even those who praised and eagerly embraced the strictest restrictions meant to safeguard our population from COVID-19, found them restful in it or as it has lifted. Masks, mandatory physical distancing, and more time on screens did not create solitude but loneliness, anxiety, and increased distraction. We did not emerge rested. We emerged exhausted, ears ringing from our echo chambers, and more divided than ever.
This is a problem because the command to rest is woven into creation itself and is central to Christianity:
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Genesis 2:2–3, NKJV)
Jesus said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NKJV)
We need the rest that Christ provides. We were meant for it even before the Fall. We need the peace that passes all understanding and the comfort that hope in eternal life, into which physical death is a passage not to be avoided at all costs, more than ever.
Thus we need the Church’s worship more than ever. There, in the Divine Service, we are taken out of this mundane world and out of our loneliness. We are reminded of what is real and what endures. There, like nowhere else on this side of glory, we are with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need them and they need us. We need real people, embodied realities in the Creator and Redeemer’s image, who are far more than just images on a screen. There we are welcomed back again to where we belong, focused on the one thing needful, and in a fellowship that endures forever. Thus we are restored by forgiveness, united in grace, and are refreshed by the Sacrament which cleanses us and strengthens faith.
All that to say: come to Church. It is what God instituted for you, what He created you for, what will satisfy, refresh, and encourage you. Summer days will pass and the garage will still need painting, the weeding is never done, but that is not where your treasure is or the seat of your hope. You belong to God and He has gifts to bestow in His Service.
– Pastor Petersen

Thank you to everyone who helped with the rummage sale or donated to help the Garnetts! The profits of the sale were over $3100 and we received an additional $3000+ in donations.

On July 25th, at 3:00 p.m. in the undercroft, there will be a bridal shower for Onika Ritzman. The women and girls of the congregation are invited. RSVP to Azrielle Ritzman.

The Casey family invites you to join us at Redeemer on Saturday, July 31 from 5:30-8:30 for an Ice Cream Social to help raise funds for Jonathan & Maggie’s adoption. (They are working on adopting two special needs children from Eastern Europe.) Hot dogs, chips, ice cream, and other goodies will be served. There is no charge for food, but we welcome your generous donations, which will all go to the adoption fund. There will be music in the courtyard & undercroft and the winners of the hymn voting will be announced. (With prizes!)

Redeemer Family Camp at Deer Run Wilderness Area, August 4-7. Boating, orienteering, stargazing, ropes courses, volleyball, beach with island, wooded trails. For more information go to: https://sites.google.com/view/rcsfamilycamp. To register, contact Joy Pullmann.

On August 21 & 22, at 2:00 p.m., join us for performances of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, being performed by many of the children of the congregation and directed by Maggie Casey.

The church picnic will be August 29 at Foster Park beginning at noon. Be watching for more information!

Last year our missionary offering went to support the five Nigerian students studying at CTSFW. Our church will continue financial assistance by supporting the seminary in Nigeria. These offerings can be placed in the box in the narthex.

Project wish list: There are several projects that the trustees have pending. Each of these needs funding outside of the budget. This list is also posted on the bulletin board. If you are able to help with one of these projects, contact Effie Sheron. Thank you to those who have donated funds so far!
The men’s bathroom downstairs has been painted, the stairwell and landing sanded and varnished, and a good portion of the work on the Bach Room has been funded. In addition to the money raised, Hagerman Construction donated the construction of a wall in the Bach Room that is the first step toward making the room into three classrooms.
Items still to fund: The women’s bathroom downstairs still needs to be painted, at a cost of about $400; about $3,000 is needed to finish the Bach Room; and the wood floors upstairs behind the choir loft need to be refinished, with a labor cost of $3,280.