How does one measure the health and vitality of a community of faith in pandemic days? There are many metrics that we can use to measure congregational health and vitality.
In the past three months our congregation has celebrated the baptisms of 5 children and one adult. In addition, another 26 adults affirmed their baptisms. This is a sign of vitality. One third of all ELCA congregations reported no baptisms in 2021.
Consistent with national trends, we have seen a decline in our in-person worship attendance by 35% when compared to pre-pandemic days. During the same time, our online presence has increased dramatically.
We have been welcoming a wide variety of visitors and will receive new members on Sunday, June 26. People of faith have been moving to Whidbey Island. Others have begun attending in-person after a season of worshiping with us online. Welcoming visitors and new members is a shared responsibility. Please be aware of this calling and go out of your way to warmly greet those who visit with us.
2022 is off to a very strong start. Blessed to be a Blessing! The people of TLC are generous and faithful. In gratitude we support the church and the most vulnerable in our world. In 2022 we have given $105,000 to disaster relief. Most of this giving was in support of refugees in Eastern Europe. We have given $17,000 to ELCA World Hunger, and we have offered financial assistance to dozens of non-profits on Whidbey Island.
The challenge in the second half of 2022 will be to support our general fund as all areas of our budget are feeling the effects of inflation. It is critical too that we fairly compensate our employees.
Consistent with national trends and Whidbey Island demographics we are not growing younger. We are aging. Our Preschool is thriving, but our Sunday School students have been slow to return from their pandemic absence.
Unity of Mission
Mine is the church where everybody’s welcome! We are united in our love of God, in our commitment to follow Jesus Christ, and to serve our neighbors far and near. We do not agree on all political issues, we support different political parties and agendas. When we gather at Trinity, our differences are put aside as we joyfully worship and serve together.
Thanks to our generous donors, and the good stewardship of the TLC Endowment Committee, we have been able to offer scholarships to 32 students this Fall. The Endowment benefits our larger community and the world. Your gifts to the TLC Endowment literally touch the future.
We have been blessed with outstanding leadership as we have weathered the pandemic, the vitriolic politics, and the anxiety brought on by war and gun violence. I am thankful to Gus Erikson, Julie Humling, Vicki Theel, George Fisher, and Julia Maher as they complete their terms on the Church Council. I am thankful for the many volunteers who lead by serving and loving the people of God. Your church staff is thankful for the many expressions of support that we receive from our leaders.
In the Summer of 2022 Trinity Lutheran Church is healthy. It is a time of transition. We will be making a major effort to re-engage our community and reconnect with members who have yet to return from the pandemic lock-down.
It is a time of transition as Linda Nevermann, Pastor Eric Ottum, and Felicia Lindus retire from our staff.
I had a private visit with our Northwest Washington Synod Bishop and our Assistant to the Bishop two weeks ago. They recognize TLC as a model congregation, a healthy, vital parish marked by trust, hospitality, and generosity.
I thank God for each of you and for the ministry that we share. The future is in God’s hands, the future is bright, the TLC miracle will continue, and together we are One Day Closer.
Pastor Jim Lindus