March 2018

Pastor Loren Mai        We can now say that NEXT YEAR is the 150th Anniversary of Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church. It was on August 19, 1869, that Bethany Church had its beginnings in a stone building just east of Coronado Heights. We will celebrate the sesquicentennial of the congregation on Sunday, August 18, 2019, with worship and activities still to be determined. It is hoped that many members of Bethany will participate in the planning of events leading up to that day—and on the day itself. The time between now and then will go very quickly, and the members who comprise the beginnings of an Anniversary Committee realize the importance of promoting and planning the celebration. It is noteworthy that the founding of Bethany Church coincides with the 1869 founding of Lindsborg; it is hoped that congregation and community can partner in some activities throughout 2019.

       In recent months, I have spent significant time in reading and thinking about the history of Beth-any Church. In pondering the ministry of previous pastors of Bethany Church, I am in awe of their contributions to the history of this congregation. The first two pastors of Bethany, Olof Olsson and Carl Swensson, were on the short list of the towering figures of the early years of the Augustana Lutheran Church. My sabbatical reading of the book The Augustana Story: Shaping Lutheran Identity in North America reminded me of the influence and impact of these men. The pastors that followed have left their mark in the ministry of this congregation as well; all of them have shared their gifts in ways that have benefited the advancement of the mission to proclaim Christ. So too have the life and witness of thousands of congregation members through the years contributed to the vitality and vision of Bethany Lutheran Church in proclaiming the Gospel.

       As I look ahead in the next year and a half, I commit myself to enthusiastically affirming and celebrating the history of Bethany Church. This congregation has been and is an amazing com-munity of faith! From its beginnings, this congregation has been an influential mission-minded congregation. I do not expect that identity to diminish in the years ahead. If anything, it is my expectation that Bethany Church will continue to thrive in its mission as a leadership congrega-tion of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Indeed, the history of Bethany Church has provided a foundation for the future. How will our celebration of the 150th Anniversary inspire and enliven our mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ, crucified and risen for the world? How will you assist in that celebration?

Pastor Loren D. Mai


10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalm 46:10-11

       Be still and know that I am God. Sit still! Stop moving! For a kid that can be torture. At least it was for me when I was kid. I was always on the move, active. I have a child who is the same way. She is very busy, very active, and very amazing! I still have a hard time sit-ting still. I would rather be out and about than sitting in my office. I believe that ministry is best done out with the people. But, there are times when I need to be still, to be in study, to be in prayer, and to be quiet. It is in those moments that I truly feel close to God.

       That is my personality. I would rather keep busy than sit and relax. But sitting and re-laxing is important. Being still is indeed good. It is good for our bodies to rest, to relax, and to recharge. The same goes for our minds and our souls.

       It is good to be still because in our stillness we heal, we reconnect, and we are renewed. We do all of these things with ourselves, with others, and with God. It is good to be still be-cause in our stillness we know God. As the Psalmist says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

       We are in the season of Lent. In our Ash Wednesday Service we had an invitation to Lent. The invitation said this, “I invite you, therefore, to the discipline of Lent—self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love—strengthened by the gifts of word and sacrament.” Prayer, fasting, repentance, self-examination. These are all disciplines of our faith, of being still and knowing God.

       During this season of Lent, take time to be still, relax, and recharge. During this season of Lent, take time for repentance, prayer, fasting, and self-examination. Most of all, take time for you and take time for God. Amen.

Phillip Hett