Monday, May 18

Good morning dear church,

I hope you enjoy the attached image of the flower as much as I do. The flowers grow in my front yard and I am just super thankful that the deer don’t like them, because the deer decide what’s growing and not growing around here. These are bearded Irises, and some of the colors they come in are truly breathtaking. These flowers also bring us much better news than CNN, Fox News or NBC. They tell us of a creator who appreciates beauty. I am sure the creative process was helped along by breeders playing with colors, but I don’t see that as a contradiction. They can only with what they were given. Also, it speaks of a creator who teaches us resilience. And boy, can we use that right now!

I was happy to see a full panel of participants for our Adult Forum with Sue Z. from the Interfaith Housing Alliance yesterday morning. Did you know that affluent Montgomery County has more than 300 homeless people? It is baffling to me that communities of faith have to step in to help with the shortage of shelters and homes in a county like ours, but that’s what inspired the establishment of the Interfaith Housing Alliance 30 years ago. I believe that the First Presbyterian Church in Ambler was the moving force behind it. Credit to whom credit is due!  We had been planning to house three homeless families in our Christian Education wing in the month of June. That won’t happen now, but the session yesterday gave everybody a better understanding of what this ministry is about. We are also strongly working together with our other local churches for the end-of-May community wide food drive. If you can help out as a volunteer on any of these days (May 29/30/31), please contact Robin A.    

Last week I introduced you to our Red Cross Blood Drive coordinator Diana S. Here is what Diana Sundar writes:

St. Peter’s is proud to be able to sponsor our next blood drive with the American Red Cross on June 8th from 2 PM to 7 PM, during these trying times.   An estimated 38 percent of Americans are eligible to give blood or platelets, but of those, less than 10 percent actually donate each year. If you are healthy and eligible, please come out to donate. Most donations take about an hour, so book your appointment, roll up your sleeve and become a part of the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross and St. Peter’s Lutheran Evangelical Church.

I realize that this time is going to be a bit different for all of us and I’m sure you are thinking about this as well.  I want to share with you what we are putting in place and hope that you will give this your serious consideration.   First, I wanted to let  you know that blood donations are now more than ever, very needed,  as few blood drives are being held.  Next, I feel that we can safely carry out a drive in our Fellowship Hall which has not been used lately and is cleaner than it has ever been!  Additionally we are putting the following into practice: 

  • Masks will be required to be worn by both the donors as well as the Red Cross personnel
  • Gloves and masks will be used by the Red Cross team at all times
  • Distancing will be required.  Once checked in people may need to wait in their cars until they receive a text saying their ready for them
  • No guests allowed and walk ins will not be accepted – Appointments only
  • Use Rapid Pass

Drive Details: Date: June 8th, Times:  2 – 7 PM; Your Contact: Diana Sundar,  email me at:  secretary@stpetersnorthwales.org.

TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, PLEASE GO TO WWW.REDCROSS.ORG, ENTER SPONSOR CODE St. Peters North Wales.

On Saturday, I conducted my first funeral service under COVID conditions, with masked family members, masked children, a masked funeral director and a masked pastor.  It was a strange experience, but I am glad that it all came together in a dignified manner. We said goodbye to Lois G., a wonderful lady and a member of St. Peter’s for more than 20 years. I have attached her eulogy and I think you will appreciate a few things that you may not have known about her. These days many people emphasize the term “Celebration of Life” instead of the more dour sounding “Funeral”. I don’t have a problem with any of the terms, but a eulogy as I practice it, is almost always a celebration of someone’s life. And there was much to be celebrated about her 87 years on earth!

Today is the birthday of Mason C. Mason, have a wonderful birthday!!! 

Today are also the Baptism days of Phoenix W. and Catalina B. Happy Baptism Day!

A funny story aside:  when I baptized Phoenix  six years ago, he was already two years old. He thought the Baptism candle was really cool, and blew it out right away.

I said to him: “Phoenix, whenever you blow out your own candle, God is going to light it again.” Still true!  

Be blessed and be safe!

Pastor Andreas Wagner

Lois G. Eulogy: Dear family of Lois,

Let me begin where I am sure your mother and grandmother wouldn’t mind me beginning: The Swan. In Celtic culture, the swan was a symbol of song and dance. Swans also stood for love, happiness, positive energy, purity and music. Some even believed that swans had healing power. I know that Lois adored swans, had artwork that depicted them, was intrigued by this animal and its significance in Celtic culture. They could be feisty, Lois told me at one point. But mostly I think the swan, which is depicted on the gravestone that will eventually adorn this site, speaks of who your mother and grandmother truly was: love, happiness, positive energy, purity and music.  I think we could check all those boxes easily; and even in times when her happiness was clouded by depression, pain or worry, it was always there underneath the clouds – happiness and positive energy.  And it would always come with the remark, “I am so lucky. I have a wonderful family. I have wonderful children.”   

Lois Rae Lutz was born in 1932, the third of four girls born to her parents near Easton, PA.  By all accounts, she grew up in a loving, close-knit Evangelical pastor’s family that provided plenty of love, warmth, and nurture, bringing out the very best in her. The mores were stricter in those days, with few worldly pleasures allowed in her pious home, but that would ease soon enough once she married a Lutheran minister.  Lois graduated from Easton High School in 1950 and went on to Moravian College, obtaining a degree in English, which she would put to good use later in life. But first, she met her love, a young, tall, dashing fellow, six months her junior, whom she must have met at school. She had more time to check him out on the college-bound bus that dropped him off at Muhlenberg College and her at Moravian; well, she liked what she saw and heard. They got married in September 1954 and had a loving marriage that spanned 65 years until Fred passed a year ago. In the relationship she was the soprano, he was the bass; she was the heart, he was the head; she was the anchor at home, he served in the community. Later those roles would get relaxed and mixed up, except one remained: she always was the soprano and he always was the bass. They both benefited from each other, but perhaps we can say now that Fred benefited more. Over 65 years, it was a relationship spiced with love and respect, and they were just so lucky to share so many of the same interests and passions, such as music, art, theatre; and, oh yes, the church, and faith, and ministry, and an interest in social justice. They were both separately wonderful and inseparable. And over the years they enriched several churches and community choirs. They inspired many others to go and attend the famous Bach Festival in Bethlehem. I was told from an unnamed source that Johann Sebastian will meet them in person at the pearly gates!

I had the privilege of getting to know both of them when I came to St. Peter’s 13 years ago. They were never anything short of supportive and encouraging. I am glad that Lois in later years found her own space professionally, apart from the all-consuming role of pastor’s wife in the earlier days. She was finally able to put her considerable gift for language, her innate intelligence and her sense of style to good use.  She worked for many years as a Senior Copy Editor and Associate Managing Editor for the Division of Parish Services of the Lutheran Church in America. She also worked as a free-lance copy editor for many church publishing houses, working with many prominent theologians. Lois was a champion of women’s rights and was known for her fierce pride in her Welsh heritage.

Throughout her life she was used to manage money wisely and make due with little. Having grown up during the Great Depression, she knew from her own mother what it was like to feed and support a family on a shoestring budget. That was an ability that came in handy in her own days as a young mom with many responsibilities and limited funds. What a joy it was that later, after she was able to find fulfilling work and contribute to the household, they were able to travel, many times to Canada, many times returning home with another piece of art, or two. And how busy she was sometimes with all the little thoughtful things she did, including her beautiful letters and Christmas cards! 

Throughout her life, Lois was a fount of love and kindness. One of her more memorable lines was: “I would advise you to be kind to each other.” Lois Rae G. lived a wonderful life and a life full of wonder. She was blessed with three amazing children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. And no, she did not ask me to put that line in her obituary, but then I am sure that is exactly what she would want me to say. Because that’s how she felt.

In recent years her health declined and she lost her soulmate Frederic, which was very hard for her. She missed him terribly. Lois hung on for about eight months without him and then took her last breath on May 8 in the midst of a pandemic that made it almost impossible to see any of her loved ones. Covid 19 would not kill her, but maybe the distance from her family pushed her over the edge.  As sad as that sounds, we need not to be overwhelmed. It’s important we remember that she lived a wonderful life, lived it to the fullest, and was spared further decline and suffering under not so great conditions. Today we give thanks for her life, for who she was and what she meant to us, and we gladly lay her to rest next to her beloved husband. May the Lord who created, redeemed and freed us, raise them both to new life in that mystical world that is beyond our imagination, where the swans roam and Passion flowers grow, where the Bach Choir sings cantata after cantata and the creative expression of word and visual art has no bounds. That is heaven.

Be blessed, Lois!

Child of God, Daughter of the Heavenly Father, be blessed forever! Amen.

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