Peace at the Last: Questions About Death and Dying July 13 & 14

An ongoing series responding to questions asked at the initial meetings in May. Each participant was invited to say their name and ask one question. These questions were divided into broad categories. Participants Norma Dirks, Mary Hart and Jenine Jordahl volunteered to find resources and people to explore and address questions in each category. You are invited to participate in any or all of the discussions in this series. Each of the titles is offered on two consecutive days: Wednesdays 11:30 a.m -12:45 pm & Thursdays 7 – 8:15 p.m. Each Thursday session will also provide a Zoom option upon request. The schedule:



Legal Documents

Hospice / Palliative Care

Funeral Industry Options

Memorial Service Planning


July 13 & 14

August 17 & 18

September 14 & 15

October 12 & 13

November 9 & 10


Pastor Mike Wilker

[To Be Determined]

[To Be Determined]

Scott Helms, LFD

Pastor Mike Wilker

Creation Care Team Green Tips: Reduce Food Waste

Worldwide, about a third of the food we produce goes uneaten, which generates up to 10 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, if food waste were its own country, it would rank third in greenhouse gas emissions, behind only China and the US. Households come in first, at 37 percent of the Food Wasted. On September 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the United States’ first-ever national food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50-percent reduction by 2030 (USDA News Release No. 0257.15). As Christians who care for God’s creation, let’s help our country reach that goal!

Green Tip: One way to remind ourselves not to waste food is to say a family grace together  before each meal—the common meal prayer “Come, Lord Jesus” refers to the coming foods as “these gifts,” reminding us that our nourishment is a precious gift. Talk as a family about food scarcity in the world. Do a food waste audit of your household. Figure out what goes uneaten. Keep close tabs on your fridge so you know what nourishing food needs to be used before it spoils. Think about how you package and store leftover food: is it well sealed and prominent in the fridge for you to reuse? Consider making two meals in two days, making enough that you can serve it twice, alternating serving them so that you use up both meals in four days. If you have young children who often do not finish their meals, consider whether some of it is safely salvageable to serve them later, as a snack or another meal. A useful guide to doing a family-learning-project for evaluating how much of your food is wasted is at


Sanctuary Design Meeting #4, June 22, 2022

Having focused last week on the Assembly (including various entering/seating/worshiping configurations), we concentrated tonight on two of the three other liturgical centers, the Word and the Meal. Consultant Gale Francione again provided photographs and commentary about different possibilities. 

A fundamental contemporary worship principle is that both the proclamation and the interpretation of the Word should come from the same approximate location. We struggled with the name for this place (“pulpit” suggests a raised space for the pastor alone; “lectern” can easily suggest a book stand in a lecture hall; and “ambo,” the ancient word that liturgical designers prefer, is foreign to most people). We imagined an almost impossible combination of qualities for this building feature: artful solidity, without being a massive barrier between speaker and assembly; adjustability for different speakers, without being flimsy or overly-complicated; functionality, without seeming merely utilitarian; potentially moveable, without seeming unsubstantial.  We raised similarly high expectations for the Eucharistic table, both in its construction (artful without being over-elaborate; solid without being massive and immoveable), and in its location (in the midst of the assembly, but still visible and widely accessible). The table is often the general location for communion, but we also discussed the older traditions of communion rails and of kneeling for communion.

As we talked through all these possibilities, and more, we discussed various strategies for gathering the greatest input from the upcoming congregational gathering (June 29, 6:00-8:00 pm, Fellowship Hall). 

—The Sanctuary Design Team (including those who couldn’t attend the June 22 meeting): Pastor Mike Wilker, consultant Gale Francione, Wilfred Bunge, Brenda Carlson, Kate Elliot, Jennifer Larson, Mark Z. Muggli, Carrie Nimrod, Mark Potvin, and resource persons Adrian Walter and Spencer Martin. 

Council Plans for the Remainder of 2022 and Beyond

The Congregation Council met June 17-18 to build our relationships with one another, to review the past few years of our congregation’s history and to sketch plans for the next 6-7 months. On Friday night we met at Phelps Park for a potluck, welcomed new Council member Kara Franke, and reflected on Jesus’ call to be salt of the earth and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). On Saturday morning, we reviewed the key themes and recommendations from the 2018 Focus Groups, the 2019 Kairos Listen Report conducted before covid which led to the Capital Campaign, and the 2020-2022 Action Plan and Ministry Site Profile. Then we considered the themes that rose up during this year’s Lent Small Groups. We ended our time by stating the tasks the Council needed to guide over the next 6-7 months. These included: the Building and Sanctuary remodeling and additions; the Call Committee and staffing process; continue to help new and long-time members connect and build relationships with each other; support high school youth trip and ministry, meet about middle school ministry and confirmation, and provide Orange and other youth and family ministries in the midst of the building renovation; prepare the 2023 budget and nominate new members to serve on Council; continue visitations with people who are homebound and/or ill; prepare for how to provide funeral ministry when the sanctuary is being remodeled; determine times and locations for Sunday morning worship, education, and fellowship ministries while the buildings are being remodeled. Pastor Mike will also call initial gatherings of interested members to consider the following service and justice issues: mental health, addictions, affordable housing, and anti-racism. He’ll continue to meet with leaders to support the Free Clinic, Food Pantry and Creation Care boards and teams.

Sanctuary Update: Where Will We Sit?

Our third, June 15, meeting with Liturgical Design Consultant Gale Francione focused on the center of worship–the Assembly. Gale used photographs of our sanctuary and of others to help us evaluate different configurations. We considered churches with flexible, movable seating, others with fixed pews, and others with a combination. Some arrangements were front-facing, others were “U-shaped,” and others were in the round. Some were all at one level, and others had platforms of various materials. All configurations require effective lighting and sound. All these possibilities led us to think more about the relationship between music and the assembly–what configurations and placement can help musicians to both represent and lead the congregation? 

Although our team’s focus is the sanctuary, we are inevitably considering related issues: the relationship between the sanctuary and the gathering space; the number and placement of the doorways between the two spaces; and the status of the original south entryway in a renovated sanctuary (one possibility would be to replace the red entry doors with windows, and to replace the imposing side-facing concrete steps with a ground-level gathering space, garden, or sculpture display space). 

The Sanctuary Design Team (including those who couldn’t attend the June 15 meeting): Pastor Mike Wilker, consultant Gale Francione, Wilfred Bunge, Brenda Carlson, Kate Elliot, Jennifer Larson, Mark Z. Muggli, Carrie Nimrod, Mark Potvin, and resource persons Adrian Walter and Spencer Martin.

Plan now to meet with the Building and Sanctuary Teams on Wednesday, June 29, 6:00-8:00 PM to see the updated building plans and to discuss with the Sanctuary Team the principles that will guide the sanctuary design.