Pastoral letter from Pastor Uhlhorn September 6th
Dear Friends in Christ at Beautiful Saviour:
It’s been four full months since I was installed as your pastor. My time here has been full of every opportunity for Gospel ministry that I thought it might be – and then some! I thought it might be good to address the congregation with a pastoral letter, letting everyone know what things have been accomplished by God’s grace, and what things are ahead of us, as we move forward with the Good News of Jesus.
Let’s start with the every member visits. So far, I have visited 65 families or individuals. I have approximately 35 visits left. I have learned so much about the people and history of Beautiful Saviour as well as the communities in North County. What I have learned has already been a blessing as I serve you with the Gospel message.
We’ve got a great start to the new school year at Beautiful Saviour Lutheran School. 47 children have enrolled in 4K through 8th grade. We’ve had to start a waiting list, in fact, because one of our classrooms is already filled to capacity. What this means is that we will soon need to begin long-range planning for what we need to continue to do as God blesses our avenues of Christian education. Do we start a pre-school? If so, what is required? Where would we put it? What do we project as far as future enrollment, staffing needs, classroom space? And more.
And yet we still have some work to finish. Mark Moeller has spearheaded the process to get our school accredited. Being accredited communicates to current and prospective families that we take our mission of serving families with excellence in Christian education very seriously. It publicly acknowledges the quality of our school through an objective outside agency; and provides accountability for the families, school and congregation.
We are almost to the finish-line! We thank Mark for taking on this huge task and for all his contributions. Mr. Neujahr , our school principal, will work with Mark to complete the accreditation process. We need approximately $3500 to complete the work. We ask that you prayerfully consider giving a gift towards this important task.
One of the things I’ve learned over the past four months is that we’ve got a lot more young families than we think we do. In an effort to do all we can to serve their needs – we are offering Sunday School for ages 3 through high school, starting Sunday, September 11th. We will have children’s devotions, twice a month, starting on the 11th. We are having a big Sunday School family Kick-Off picnic after the 2nd service (at 11:30 am) at the playground and picnic area. We need our young families to get into the Word and to get into the habit of being in the Word, so that the next generation is made wise for salvation and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17). There is great encouragement when young families meet and gather with other young families. September 11th is when it all begins. Note also, a new adult Bible class starts this same Sunday, and we now have seating for 77!
One of the things that we also are doing for all married couples – and even people who might consider marriage one day – is offering marriage enrichment with this fall’s Legacy offering. Last year we focused on parenting. This year, we focus on building up your marriage. Mike McNabb has put in a lot of work organizing this year’s program. It’s called “Love and Respect”, and it runs for 5 straight Sundays, starting September 25th, from 5 – 7 pm. Sign up on our website!
And thanks to Nancy Quandt for spending so much time not only keeping our website up to date, but enhancing it in so many ways. Did you know you can watch the sermon if you were out of town and could not worship on a Sunday? You can learn about our school and other ministries, check out the church calendar, register for events, and so much more. Check it all out www.beautifulsaviour.com.
There are so many things happening that are exciting, but probably the most exciting for me is watching new people come to know their Savior Jesus better and better through the Bible Information class. 19 total people are taking the class right now. Many of them are taking the class in part because they are considering Beautiful Saviour as their church home. May God be praised that so many are showing such great interest in what we believe, teach, and confess according to the Holy Scriptures! Classes right now are being held Thursdays from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm, and Sundays from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm. (Sunday classes will be suspended during the Legacy program). And I’ve got a few individuals classes going during the week as well. Make a special effort to give these new faces a warm Beautiful Saviour welcome as you see them begin to join us for worship!
Though there is a great deal of concentration on young families, our school and Sunday School, and new members – and rightly so for the future of our congregation and for the building up of the Kingdom – I want you to know what an inspiration it has been to meet and get to know the many veteran members of Beautiful Saviour. The stories of how they wound up in southern California and our congregation, and what they’ve all gone through in their life are an amazing testimony to God’s grace. I can’t get over how active many of our retired members are and how dedicated they are to the ministry of Beautiful Saviour. So many are also regularly bringing before God in prayer, the many needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ. And there are people willing to assist in visiting those who cannot make it on Sundays for worship. What an inspiration! I get to hear some fascinating stories and have some tremendous conversations as I visit these soldiers of the Cross. I hope that they can be as equal of an inspiration to you.
Finally, it’s time for an update on our Beautifying for our Beautiful Saviour (B.O.B.S) project. Have your seen our new playground?! Enjoyed our renovated and beautiful fellowship hall?! Noticed some new paint in the classrooms?! So far approximately $90,000 has been raised for these and other projects. That is astonishing. To God be the glory!
We have some projects that are not complete, however. We need to address the old parking lot, and have plans to replace it with pavers – a striking and more permanent solution. We have to improve our outdoor lighting for safety and security. We need to redo the flooring in the entryway to the church and re-stain the wood. We’d like more attractive coverings for the picnic table area. We are about $30,000 from reaching our goal and finishing all our B.O.B.S. projects. I don’t think it would be difficult at all for us to reach that goal if everyone considers one more special offering. We’re almost there! Thank you for your generous support and gifts.
We’ve got some good things coming up. We will have a special Veterans’ Day service on November 13th. We have some outreach events like “Bring a Friend to Thanksgiving Eve and pie social” on Wednesday, November 23rd and Christmas for Kids on Saturday, December 10th. Don’t forget about the aforementioned Legacy program, accreditation completion, long-term planning, and more. These are exciting times. And, as the hymn writer says, “There still is room. There still is time. NOW is the time”, for reaching people with the Gospel.
Looking back and looking ahead, I’m so thankful that God called me to serve you with the Gospel. Daneen and I love it here and have experienced a warm welcome, and know that we are loved and supported. But more than that, I see more opportunities and more possibilities than I thought there would be. I see dedicated servants of the Lord already working here. I see a bright future, full of new and dedicated Christians. I thank you for working with me towards everything God has in store for us.
In Christ our Beautiful Saviour,
Rev. Wayne Uhlhorn