PLUM Pastoral Message
Better Together; Together in Spirit, Together in Mission, Together in Hope
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:4-5
The theme of this year’s synod assembly, held June 16th and 17th, was “Better Together.” As members of Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries, we are better together. The pastoral team of PLUM were honored to be named as the chaplains for assembly this year. It seems that our synod planning team thought that we would have something to say about being better together. As we planned, the themes of better together in spirit, mission and hope emerged.
We are together in Spirit. When we confess our faith in the words of the Apostle’s Creed, we state: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” Martin Luther explains this article of the Creed in this way; “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” The Spirit has called us together as PLUM.
The members of Christ Lutheran Church, Duquesne are participating in a program of the ELCA that is called Life of Faith, Holy Innovations. They have formed a team for the purpose of exploring and defining what it means to be Church, gathered and equipped, sent and scattered, for faith in action. One of the first questions asked by the team was, “Aren’t we already doing that?” Well, yes, we are. But we can always explore more ways to listen for and follow the call of the Spirit to determine what ministries it is time to let go of, what ministries are great as they are, and what new ministries we are being called to.
We are better together in Mission. Each congregation of PLUM has a mission that is their own, and as a PLUM congregation, a shared mission with our sister churches. Our mission is to show our faith in Jesus Christ through our actions. Currently, we are serving our Lord through a diaper bank, food pantries, hosting nursery schools and vacation Bible schools, and opening our buildings to outside groups. We participate in activities in our communities. Each member of our congregations is blessed with unique gifts and talents that they use in serving our Lord in their everyday lives. Our administrative team meets weekly to share ideas and to obtain information to keep us all current about what is happening around PLUM. Our Board meeting is a place to share ideas, joys and challenges. We are well-represented in our synod, with members who serve on various committees and synod council.
One illustration of being better together in mission is our participation in Rise Against Hunger. It takes contributions of resources and a team of participants from each congregation to make this annual event a success. And, it is a great time of fellowship!
We are better together in Hope. Our faith enables us to step out into the unfamiliar with hope. Our “What’s Next” committee is actively reviewing our most recent PLUM survey and exploring and planning ways for us to step out in mission, full of hope for our future. Two of our congregations are in the process of making major changes to their worship spaces. They are exploring new places for ministry, new ideas about what it means to be a congregation, and are open to the Spirit’s leading them into new missions. They have hope.
We, the members of PLUM, are better together in Spirit, Mission and Hope. Better together means supporting each other in our local ministries. Better together is having a team of Lay Worship Leaders that lead worship on a regular basis. Better together is a team of administrators that prepare our bulletins, update our calendars and support each other in their duties. Better together is a team of dreamers asking, “what’s next?” Better together is a team of pastors that offer variety in preaching styles, ways of leading Bible study, and support of each other in the pursuit of Continuing Education or in the replacement of body parts!
We are better together because of each of you. Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with us. Thank you for living out your faith in action.
We hope that you have a wonderful summer. We have some exciting things happening this summer. On July 16th, Bishop Kusserow will visit two of our PLUM congregations to lead worship, and he will also lead our Zoom service that day. We have three summer picnics scheduled: June 22nd at Dormont Park, July 27th at Settler’s Ridge Park, and August 24th at White Oak Park. All of these picnics start at 5:30 and will end with a Prayer service at 7:30. Join us for one or all, bring a dish to share, and invite your family and friends to join us.
Please call us with your pastoral care needs, to share your joys and concerns, or just to say Hi. May you be blessed with long, relaxing summer days, much time with family and friends, and good health.
On behalf of the pastoral team,
Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412-466-7773