Here is the message from Pastor Kern for the Monday of Holy Week, 2020.

Message from Pastor Kern for the Monday of Holy Week, 2020

Thank you for your offering. Your gifts make the ministry of Trinity possible. Electronic giving may be available through your bank or financial institution. Offerings mailed to the church office will be promptly deposited.

Dear Trinity Family,
I hope this Sunday brought you some lightness and joy.  I found the sunshine late today just felt hopeful.
Every day I become more and more aware of just how connected the members of Trinity are to each other, and their neighbors.  It’s such a basic way of being church and it’s encouraging at the same time.
Carol, Angela, and Anita and I are having a good time generating the worship videos and daily contact for you.  We are learning as we go!  But oh how we look forward to the day when the church is filled and we can all be together again.
Remember in your prayers those in the front lines of this pandemic – physicians, nurses, aides, therapists, first responders – may God protect and sustain them.  Remember the sick and suffering among us – those undergoing treatment and those awaiting care.  Remember teachers and school staff about to embark on new ways of teaching and learning.  Remember those who are not able to work and are even now lack the funds to eat, pay rent, etc.  May God bless each and every one.
Pr Kern

The Reformation began 500 years ago as a simple and faithful call for the Church to return to her solid foundation: faith (our only salvation) and the gift of God (grace). This undeserved gift of faith was given to Abraham and Sarah, and it was the gift God extended to all nations in Jesus Christ. But, there are always those, in every age, who want to add conditions to God’s grace.

In the days after the resurrection of Jesus to today, there are those who claimed that God’s gift of faith was not quite free or that it was not for all. In the first years of the Church, St. Paul had a struggle with those who claimed that Gentiles needed to follow all of the rules of Mosaic law to be included in the family of faith. Martin Luther rejected the idea that we could purchase an “indulgence” to receive God’s grace. Søren Kierkegaard challenged Danish Lutherans who thought membership in the state church was their salvation, as did Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Nazi Germany. In our day we challenge those who trust in their own wealth, power, intellect, or decisions to earn God’s grace.

In my younger days, I didn’t believe that there would ever be a resolution to the struggle between the grace/faith alone Lutherans and the grace/works Roman Catholics. In the 1980s I remember being surprised that an old conservative professor of mine was an official Lutheran observer at the 2nd Vatican Council and that he became friends there with a Roman Catholic cardinal. I was surprised that the Roman Catholic cathedral in St. Paul, MN invited the Lutheran St. Olaf Choir to sing the dedicatory concert for the renovation of the building. Then in 1999, I was really surprised that Lutherans and Roman Catholics came to an agreement on Justification by Grace through Faith. Through shared prayer, dialog, and service Lutherans and Roman Catholics have come to understand that faith is God’s free and undeserved gift, which will necessarily result in Christian service (works).

In my years in Pittsburgh I was surprised to become friends with the neighboring Irish Catholic priest. His counsel and comfort extended after my father died will always be cherished. In Maryland I have also been blessed by the shared faith, hope and love that I have enjoyed with the neighboring Roman Catholic and Protestant parishes, priests/pastors, and the leaders of our area Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Fran Kleinhenz and Joe Weiss. Last year, I was again amazed that Pope Francis accepted the invitation to share in the leadership of a Prayer Service with the leaders of the Lutheran World Federation. And, guess who called me to ask if they could come to Trinity to watch it together on TV – Fran and Joe!

So, when anger, fear, hatred lead to condemnations and even war – do not despair, even if it goes on for 500 years! God has been working in and through us to learn and change. Sometimes it takes 500 years for us to catch on, but we are now walking together in faith that is full and free, and well as in Christian service that is the result of God’s grace.

Soli Deo Gloria! To God be the Glory!

— Roger Berner, Pastor

Jesus, When Did I See YOU A Stranger, and Welcomed YOU?

For more than seven decades, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) has been a champion for migrants and refugees from around the globe. It is a story of courageous and compassionate service for hundreds of thousands of people who have sought safety and hope in America’s communities.

In 1939 the National Lutheran Council (NLC) set up a Welfare Department with an office for the “rehabilitation and placement of Lutheran refugees.” It helped 522 refugees in the first year. At the end of WWII (1945), refugee camps spring up in Germany, Austria and Italy for displaced persons (DPs) from Eastern Europe, one-third of whom are Lutherans. [Two Trinity members, one in Sweden and from Norway, helped settle refugees during and after the war.]

In 1946, a trickle of refugees of refugees came to the United States, including a group of 21 teenage boys, most of whom are Estonian Lutherans. In 1947 the U.S. Congress authorized the admission of 205,000 eligible Dps and the constituting convention of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), made helping refugees a priority. In that year Howard Hong (a St. Olaf College philosophy professor) became the director of the Lutheran Resettlement and Emigration program for refugees in Germany and Austria. In 1948 the first Lutheran DPs arrive in the United States on 30. October.

Today LIRS continues this work with migrants and refugees, U.S. Lutheran congregations, and many Lutheran social service partners. One of the greatest needs now is settlement of people driven from their homes by the wars in Syria and children being separated from their parents from many nations. A Trinity member recently sent a link from the Center for the Study of Social Policy, as source material for understanding immigration to the USA today (see links below). This report from CSSP cites a report a from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS).

Yes, Lutherans in America have been leaders for decades in helping, supporting and sponsoring immigrants and refugees. LIRS helps us to learn more about the emerging immigrant and refugee crises around the world and the policies of our elected leaders. To learn more about Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, go to: http://lirs.org/

— Roger Berner, Pastor