JANUARY 2018

Pastor Loren Mai        For the past 4 ½ years, Phillip Hett has been employed as a Lay Associate at Bethany Lutheran Church. He is an important member of the staff, working approximately 30 hours per week, and I am grateful for his ongoing ministry and collegiality. He has as-sisted in visitation (especially to home-bound members of Bethany and hospitalized members), led youth ministry, led worship, preached, taught Confirmation classes, and served the congregation in other ways. Since September 2013 Phil has also been en-rolled in the Distance Learning Program in St. Paul, MN, with the goal of graduation and ordination in 2019. For 4+ years, Phil has been taking classes (on campus and via the internet) at Luther Seminary.

       At this time, Phil is completing a seminary-required program called Clinical Pastoral Ed-ucation at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. Following fulfillment of this requirement, he will continue with course work (elective and required) that will move him closer to his goals. He will also be seeking endorsement by the Central States Synod to continue his educational process. Included in that process will be a year of internship—which we hope will be on site at Bethany Church; the location of his internship will actually be de-termined by Luther Seminary.

       In the meantime, Phil has also been appointed the part-time interim chaplain at Bethany Home as of January 1—when Pastor Bill Buschbom will retire as full-time chaplain. Phil will continue to be employed at Bethany Church on a part-time basis (as he has been for the past four years). He will visit, teach, and do youth ministry. He will assist in worship periodically at Bethany Church, and he will preach occasionally—but he will be responsible for leading worship and preaching at Bethany Home on Sunday mornings. This interim position will last for up to one year, as stipulated by the Synod documents. This is an exciting opportunity for Phil Hett, Bethany Lutheran Church, and Bethany Home—but it will require a good deal of understanding and partnership. I trust that we will, together, enable this arrangement to work for the benefit of all concerned.

       It has been a privilege to serve with Phil, and I look forward to continued mutual minis-try with him at Bethany Church. He has significant gifts for ministry and a commitment to serving in the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is my hope that the members of Bethany Lutheran Church, as well as the staff of Bethany Home, will support Phil and his family with prayer and encouragement, as Phil continues to work toward his Master of Divinity degree and ordination into the ministry of the Lutheran Church.

Pastor Loren D. Mai

A WORD FROM PHIL

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” 2 Corinthians 13:13
       Happy New Year! Another year is upon us. Another chance to start anew. An-other opportunity to make our New Year Resolutions… and another opportunity to for-get them. What are resolving to do this year? What are you wanting to change? Eat better? Exercise more? Perhaps you are wanting to focus your efforts on a more spir-itual goal by reading the Bible more or praying every day? These are good goals. I once had a goal of making a new goal for each day. That goal did not last. Perhaps you will have better results than me.

       Here is a goal that will last—to live into your calling as Christians. To walk by faith and not by sight alone. To believe in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit.

       But what does that mean? It means first of all to give yourself grace this new year. I recently had a person tell me that everyone deserves a little more grace. She was enthusiastic enough about the phrase that she was planning to get a tattoo of it on her arm. A permanent, physical reminder of God’s permanent, divine love. We all need grace; that includes you. This new year, resolve to give yourself freedom to re-ceive it and the joy to live it.

       This new year, resolve also to receive God’s love. It is a love that knows no bounds and a love that is given freely. For that is the very nature of grace, God’s love given freely. As the familiar verse John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” But the good news of God’s love does not end there. Verse 17, gets to the true heart of God’s love. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” That is a love so great to celebrate this new year, and a love so great to share.

       We share God’s love through the communion of the Holy Spirit. This new year, let us all resolve to live out God’s love in our lives by sharing God’s love with those around us. After all, we all need a little more grace. Let us give grace as we first receive it.

       Happy new year! May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you this year and always. Amen!

Phillip Hett