From the Pastor:
Welcome. Recently someone pointed out that it has been a while since I've updated my message on this page. That is not good. In an age where knowledge about everything is available on the web...a page that never changes implies that our Church is not changing. This is simply not the case. As part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we confess that we are "Always being made new. This is a place where we discover what it is to be made a new creation in Christ. Advent is a dynamic and vibrant congregation where new ministries are developed to meet the needs of our world and the gifts of our members. Browse the pages in this site and see what we are about.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail me.
It is our sincere hope that this site is helpful to you whether you are a first time visitor or a long time member; whether you are looking for something in particular or stumbled upon this site by accident; whether you desire to gain information, find direction, ask a question, share your thoughts or request a prayer.
You are welcome here and in the community that makes up Advent.
Advent is not a perfect community free from conflict and able to meet every need of every person. We are, however, a people attempting to live lives that bear witness to Jesus’ presence in our lives as we face real issues in the world. Thanks for joining us in our journey together here, on the web. Please check us out in person!
Grace and Peace be with you! - Rev. Steven C. Bond
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A Reflection of our Day of Service
Rev. Steven Bond, Pastor
On September 8th, 2013 the congregation of Advent Lutheran Church in Mentor OH participated in the ELCA Day of Service – an attempt to celebrate 25 years of being the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We did this by helping people who were in need and sharing love and smiles with complete strangers. About 180 individuals broke into groups and participated in one of a variety of opportunities. Some did yard work for senior citizens. Some built and repaired tables our local homeless shelter. Some handed out taxable items (toiletries, laundry detergent and paper products that food stamps cannot purchase) free of charge. Young (very young) and old and every age in between worked side by side washing cars – we advertised it as a “Dollar Car Wash” and then surprised the patrons by giving them a dollar. Others spent time getting to know each other better as they wrote letters to soldiers and veterans. This group also wrote notes of encouragement to families who are living at Project Hope – the aforementioned homeless shelter. Cookies were baked, decorated and delivered with gratitude to our local heroes – fire fighters and police officers. One couple saw that visiting people who are in nursing homes wasn’t on our list of options. They thought it should be and spent the afternoon doing just that. And, finally, a bunch of teenagers with a few adult drivers fanned out throughout the community to do random acts of kindness…they were given suggestions as to what those acts might be but, their own creative ideas and the reaction of individuals to being the recipients of such love will provide me with sermon illustrations for a year!
At the end of the day, amidst the smiles and the sharing of the stories, I kept hearing statements that were variations on a single theme: “We should do this again.” Some said it should be an annual event – every year on Rally Day. One teenager said to me “Pastor, we should be doing WAY More of this kind of stuff.” Many simply asked the question “Can we do this again?” – as if reaching out to serve our neighbor is something for which we need permission. My first reaction was to try and explain that we are doing this kind of stuff all the time. We have people working in a food pantry we started with an Episcopal congregation. We have individuals who provide transportation to others with special needs. Our youth visit residents of nursing homes as do adults in our prayer teams. Mission trips to Appalachia and the Gulf Coast have happened every year for a few years now and another is already scheduled. We’ve done service projects at our Lutheran Camps, participated in our local Church Community Network that seeks to bring aid to the poor, given away all the proceeds of our annual rummage sale to local agencies, raised money to help end malaria and supported other overseas missions…the people of Advent DO this kind of work all the time and we know that we are just one of many congregations involved in such ways. But, I’ll admit it, this day of service was different and it was simply the addition of Yellow T-Shirts that made it so. These T-Shirts made this day different in a number of ways.
First, we included new people and new ideas. When asked by the ELCA to make these T-Shirts available and to set aside one day to get out into our community, we were forced us to ask the question “What shall we do?” In listening to the whole congregation (we passed out 3x5 cards in worship and asked that members write down their suggestions) creativity was unleashed. Fresh ideas we’ve never tried were put on the table. Individuals who worship or serve in a particular ministry but, who have never served in one of our traditional service and outreach programs were brought into the process.
Second, we could visibly see the Body of Christ in action. Our worship experience was done in a small sea of yellow and going out to our various activities, we did not need to be told we were part of something much bigger than ourselves. Being told we were wearing 180 of 58,000 T-shirts sold by “Old Lutheran” only heightened our realization that we are part of something MUCH BIGGER than ourselves.
Finally, a freedom to be get excited about what God is doing through our congregation was shared. It feels good to know we are a people willing to listen and serve. We used the day to not only serve but, also, to invite others to become part of our particular community of faith. The yellow T-shirts reminded us that we are “Always being made new” and that it is “God’s work, our hands”. The yellow T-shirts also had printed on our backs: Advent -- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We wore those shirts with pride.
Yes. We need to do this again – at the very least, annually. Yes. We need to be doing way more of this kind of stuff. Can we? The answer is not only “Yes, we can” but, also “We will.”