As part of the redevelopment process, we prepared a timeline of the church’s past and planned a session for members to share memories of Risen Lord’s past. Attendees brought pictures and memorabilia from the early years of Risen Lord, and the charter and covenant were available for everyone to view. People were asked to share memories of the church’s history, and we had an interesting discussion about events people wanted to remember and share.
As part of that session, we asked everyone when they first began attending services and what first attracted them to Risen Lord. From the discussion and responses, we have tried to compile a list of values important to our church family. These were things with a continuing history on the timeline, and as such are the foundation for defining where we came from, and potentially where we are going. This is the short list of those defining values: We value relationships and community – people came to Risen Lord because of the friendly welcome and feeling of being a family, we support each other in personal time of need, and we worked together to build the original building. We value having fun together – lots of descriptions were told of the Easter bunny arriving by helicopter, the Rocktoberfest with Pastor Mike’s pumpkin catapult, toilet paper basketball and the mud pit, clowns in the parking lot at the high school to show the entrance for our first service, Christmas parties with white elephant gift exchanges, large VBS gatherings, women’s Christmas supper and cookie exchanges, progressive dinners and more. We value worship. We value our Lutheran heritage and denominational connection. We value children. We value Christian education, for adults and youth. These values give us a good idea of where we came from, but we also need to know where we are right now. Again, we asked for input from attendees and received answers ranging from being in transition, in the middle of growing up, and beginning a new chapter to taking care of each other, being more tolerant and caring and growing in Christ. What the redevelopment team hopes to learn from these things is where we are heading, based on our past and present conditions and values. When asked who we hope to become, we received answers expressing hope for the future, of thriving, of being better disciples, and showing more diversity. From Ginny Lucaites: Who do I hope Risen Lord will become? Being a charter member and having attended from the very first service way back in 1996, I have seen many changes along the way. We’ve changed service times and numbers, changed leaders, built a building, and then an extension, gained and lost dear friends, seen our numbers rise and fall, but through it all kept the feeling of belonging and caring for each other. My very dearest hopes are that Risen Lord will continue to evolve and continue as a vibrant community of disciples for Christ. This can happen if we allow ourselves to be transformed by the grace of God, and work at growing in faith and discipleship through study of scriptures and with each other. Risen Lord is already working on the direction of our focus, and working toward becoming outward-focused with more community involvement. I sincerely hope this trend continues as so many people in our community are not lucky enough to experience the love of God in their daily lives. Risen Lord can become that important link, sharing our feeling of community and family with our neighbors, and showing that truly all are welcome here! From John Schilling: Review of the past history of Risen Lord enables to better understand those events that helped shape the faith of our founders and subsequent members of the church. Changes both locally and nationally have impacted our lives as church members. We continue to learn by our experiences and, yes, our mistakes. There was tremendous energy generated by our friends that started Risen Lord. Having not participated in the formative years, I was interested in listening and understanding those events that they saw important. You could see excitement in their expressions as they recalled those things of the past. Some serious, some funny, some bringing tears to their eyes. Tears not of sorrow but tears of joy shed in the realization that God’s grace and love was with them as they worked to establish the church. Our traditions are solidly anchored by our history. Our personal relationships and love for one another has enabled us to be tolerant, caring, and transformed by God’s grace. Our future is not only about changing Risen Lord, but changing the world as well. We have choices to make and commitments to live up to but the end result will be a spiritual renewal unlike anything in our wonderful past.