St. Peter's Blog 'End of Year Message' from St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – North Wales, PA's Blog

End of Year Message

Friday, Dec 30, 2016
Author: Pastor Andreas Wagner

"Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

December 2016

Dear people of St. Peter's,

As I reflect on this past year, I am grateful for the fulfillment of hopes and dreams we set out to achieve a few years back. I am sure, in God’s plan they are but a small part of a much bigger picture, but for us they are tangible milestones.  Together, we eradicated our long-standing and substantial debt (270K), raised over 90% of our campaign goal and created a new and much needed staff position for Family Faith Formation. That’s a wonderful accomplishment! I want to remind myself and others that we were not nearly so sure in 2013 whether this would be a realistic and achievable goal. It paid off to think big and trust in God.  

For sure, we have a way to go to establish St. Peter’s as a place of thriving children, youth & family ministries. But wouldn’t it be nice to envision a time when people in our community tell others that they absolutely need to check out this church on Main and Church Streets, that -over at St. Peter’s - they really have the “faith bug” and care for the community. There is nothing unrealistic about this vision. We are on that path. Only our own lack of faith can hold us back. There is lots of work ahead of us, outreach to be done, improvements to be implemented, but He who has promised, is faithful and will lead and guide us.      

At this busy time, it’s difficult for me to remember that I was on Sabbatical for one third of this year, from May through August. After twenty years in parish ministry I was afforded four months of time to go back into study mode and dig deep into a practical theological topic of my interest. This too was wonderful and I am grateful for the grant from the Louisville Institution that made this all possible and pastors Amy Smith and Ed Neiderhiser who so ably provided pastoral services during that time.   

This was also a year in which we expanded our ministry horizon quite a bit. St. Peter’s has always been active in social ministries in our community, thanks to so many caring people - the Thrift Store and its charitable donations, the Social Ministry Committee, etc. Our Global Outreach Team added to that a concern for people in other parts of the world. We raised 40% (and hope to reach 50% by the end of this year) toward the construction of a new farm in Haiti. Additionally, thirteen people are planning to travel to southern Belize next February to work with children (VBS) and help construct an agricultural project in a small Mayan village.  We look forward to sharing our experiences with you!     

A lot of preparation went into our planning for next year’s anniversary celebrations. In 2017, it will be 500 years since the beginning of the Lutheran Reformation. Luther’s posting of the 95 theses in 1517 is widely considered the trigger for the Reformation. We will observe the year with a succession of celebration events, including a Renaissance Dinner, Luther Play, art work, education events and concerts. What does it mean to be a Lutheran Christian?  I invite you to wrestle with that question. 

Our church is a busy place and a place of community.  Whether you come to church to worship and pray, whether you are engaged in service projects or tending to the emotional and spiritual needs of those who are hurting, whether you participate in music or in the nuts-and-bolts of what it takes to run a church: thank you so much! May God bless St. Peter’s and help us to be a blessing to many more people!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Andreas Wagner


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