In the Sanctuary at 8:30AM and 11AM -
a blended service of traditional and contemporary elements with communion

In the hall at 9:45AM
scripture, prayer, and creative response with communion

Worship each Sunday @ 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

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We have moved the service that was tentatively planned for this Friday July 13th to Friday, September 21st 7PM-8:30PM in commemoration of th...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thoughts on Moses, Succession Planning, and This Sunday's Reading

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, September 27, 2015:

Deuteronomy 34:  1-12

It's hard for those of us of a certain age to read the text that we'll be studying this Sunday and not think about the last days of Martin Luther King Jr.  His last speeches are full of references to the last days of Moses.  What does it mean to see the Promised Land, but to arrive too late to live there?

I first read this text as a child in a distant Sunday School class at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Montgomery, Alabama.  I remember feeling that Moses had been treated unfairly.  He had done so much work, and then not to get the final reward?  Not fair!

I suspect that many children react the same way to many a Bible story.  Think of all the people in the Bible who are treated unfairly.  They try so hard, but in this life, they don't seem to get their just rewards.

As a grown up, though, I find this parade of people like Moses to be a comfort.  After all, many of us are working on huge projects, and we may not live long enough to see success.  But the Bible promises that the work will go on even when we are not there to lead the way.

My thoughts return to Martin Luther King Jr. and the work of the Civil Rights Movement.  I think of our own justice activities in Broward county.  I think of all the incremental gains, and it's impossible not to think of all the work still left to be done.

I think of those workers who built medieval cathedrals.  They must have known, especially in the early days, that they would not live long enough to worship in the cathedrals.  But still, they showed up to do the work.  They knew that there would be following generations coming who would complete the work.

God calls us to important work.  How will we answer the call?  How will we plan for the day when the next generation takes over the work?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2 Corinthians 12:9

Perfect Imperfection!
...but he [Jesus] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9


Friday, September 18, 2015


This Sunday will not be an ordinary Sunday at Trinity. Truth be told, we don't really have ordinary Sundays because after all, when you gather in the presence of God, normal because something else altogether. During worship we will collect food for the Food Pantry in the shopping cart in the narthex (entrance) to the sanctuary. During worship we will dedicate the already completed Hygiene Kits bound for world emergencies through Lutheran World Relief (LWR). Our worship will focus on justice with reflections and updates from our Justice Ministry Team. We'll take a few minutes after communion to hold a brief special congregational meeting to consider two important projects that require congregational approval - the updating our handicapped parking spaces and the replacement of our leaky flat roof over the office.  We will hold Bob Manrodt and his family in our prayers at the recent death of his beloved wife, Marion. (Memorial Service details are TBD).  Following each worship service we will engage in various projects as part of our celebration of “God’s Work – Our Hands” Sunday: Making more LWR-bound hygiene kits (We still need seven 27” x 52” towels by the way) , sorting and putting away food for the food pantry, helping to make LWR quilts with Kristin, boxing up cookies and writing notes of encouragement for our college kids, working in the Memorial Garden – there is something for everyone!  For the early services there will be breakfasty things and for the later services Folks are bringing some food – plus we will order pizza.

Sort of a normal-ish Sunday for us made extraordinary in and through Christ J

Please join us!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

To Be of Use

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for September 13 and 20:

Mark 10: 34-45
I spent part of my past week-end making about 40 pots of coffee at the God's Spa retreat for women.  Was I so inspired by the ideas of service that I went to the retreat determined to serve?

Not really.  But I do like making coffee in an old-fashioned Bunn machine, and the coffee needed to be made.  Not everyone knows how to make coffee that way anymore.  The kitchen staff was small and taking care of the food.  So I kept the coffee pots full.

Parts of the week-end were designed to have participants relax and let others serve them.  It's interesting that some of us were not good at being on the other end of service.  I, too, wanted to take the plates back to the kitchen.  After all, our servers had spent the week-end working even more intensely than I had.

It's also interesting to observe the way that some of us simply cannot serve.  Some of the women were so frail that it wouldn't have been safe to have them carry plates to the kitchen or to make the coffee.  It's good to know our limits. 

By serving where we can, perhaps we can release others from the calls of service that they cannot fulfill.

Some of us may feel there is no way we can serve, but that's simply not true.  We can pray.

I often joke that my prayer list is so long that I need half a day to get through it.  Lately, it's not a joke, and I tell myself that even if I run out of time, the monastics do not. I've found it an enormous comfort to know the monks and nuns are praying for us all. 

I suspect I'm not alone in feeling comfort.  I'm reminded of one of my favorite Kathleen Norris quotes:  "Deep down, people seem glad to know that monks are praying, that poets are writing poems. This is what others want and expect of us, because if we do our job right, we will express things that others may feel or know, but can't or won't say" (The Cloister Walk, page 145).
At times, I have needed to be reminded of how important a service it is to keep the world in prayer.  And I'm surprised by how often people approach me in secular settings and ask me to pray for them or their families.  I remind people that I don't have special powers, that they can pray too.

But I do have a regular practice of prayer, which may be why people ask me to pray for them.  We get better at prayer, as we get better at most anything, if we return to it regularly.

A practice of prayer can also make us better attuned to the other ways we can serve.  The ways that we can serve are as varied as the whole human race.  God has created us with a variety of gifts, and the world needs each and every one of them.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

GWOH Sunday!

Thank you to Basilisa Perkins, Mark, Kate and Belen for helping get us ready for our Celebration of God's Work. Our Hands. (GWOH) Day of Service next Sunday! After doing an inventory of supplies,  they put together 25 hygiene kits for Lutheran World Relief! To complete the rest of the kits next Sunday we still need volunteers after each service plus 28 bars of 4oz or so sized soap, 35 dark colored 27x52 inch towels, and 40 nail trimmers (with or without files). If you can help with any of those items, please let me know! 

Next Sunday, the Food Pantry Shopping Cart will also be in the narthex all Sunday morning to collect your donated food items for the Food Pantry - it has been so busy lately - food comes in and goes out. 

Ever wanted to help refugee families? Next Sunday, Kristin Berkey-Abbott and her crew will be making LWR quilts all morning long in the hall. Completed quilts will be shipped off and distributed to refugees through LWR's program. 

Every year on GWOH we also ship cookie packs off to college students (if they are home or away for school, it doesn't matter). And we will send cookies to any college student you wish to be so blessed. Just give us a name and address! We will also include some notes of encouragement for them. 
So we need lots of cookies on Sunday! And volunteers to pack them up after each service. And if you have any more names/address to add to our mailing list please get them to me ASAP.

It is a blessing to serve!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Serving Jesus by Serving Others

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for September 13 and 20:

Mark 10: 34-45

This week’s Gospel reminds us of the order of things in God's kingdom. In the fallen world, the rich are first; everybody else gets along as best they can. In our modern world, as was true during most of human history, the lives of the non-rich feel increasingly precarious.

Jesus comes to proclaim the new Kingdom, where the situation is reversed.
We see that the disciples don't always understand his message, and this reading shows a classic example as the disciples argue over who gets to sit at the place of honor.  Jesus warns them that the place of honor that he offers is not the type that the world will recognize:  "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."

Humans, most of us, aren't wired that way. Watch what happens at work when one of the higher-ups leaves and there's a vacancy to fill. Watch how many people convince themselves that they're perfect for that job. Watch children, who will always struggle for supremacy. Very few of us come to service naturally.

But those of us who have worked to adopt the servant ethos can tell a different tale. Those people might talk about how good it feels to serve, how their own desires disappear in the face of those that are needier than they are.

But there is a bigger reason why we're called to serve: God hangs out with the lowly. Go back to your Scripture. See how often God shows up with the poor, the outcast, the lowest people in the social structure. We serve, so that we meet God. We serve, so that we serve God.

This reading reminds me of the 25th chapter of Matthew, where humans are separated depending on whether or not they fed Jesus or clothed him or visited him while sick or in prison. And the ones headed to eternal punishment say, "When did we ever see you hungry or naked or sick or in prison?" And we get the classic rejoinder in verse 45: "Truly I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me."

We serve God by serving. Leaf through the Gospels and let yourself be struck by how much of the message of Jesus revolves around this message. We are called to serve. We elevate ourselves not by making ourselves better, but by serving others, by serving those who have the least to offer us.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Saturday, September 05, 2015


From our conference dean, Pastor Bill Knott:
                & FELLOWSHIP

The Broward-Bahamas Conference will join with the Miami-Dade Conference in a joint celebration of the Lutheran Reformation on Saturday, OCTOBER 24th at 4:00 PM in Christ Lutheran Church, Oakland Park. The church is located at 1955 E Oakland Park Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale with convenient access to I-95 and Federal Highway.
The Rev. Kevin Strickland will be preaching and presiding for this celebration worship service.  Rev. Strickland serves as the Assistant to the Presiding Bishop / Executive for Worship of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The Rev. Frank Kopania, EKD will be bring special greetings and commentary from the Lutheran Church of Germany as we all prepare for the 2017  celebration of 500 years of a constantly re-forming Church. It was on October 31, 1517, that Luther famously nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle church in Wittenberg, outlining his thoughts on how the Catholic Church in Europe should be reformed. Luther's public display of his views is considered the beginning of the Reformation.
David C. Morse, Dean, Fort Lauderdale AGO, will serve as organist for this exciting event.
Music and worship leadership will be provided by clergy, choirs, and lay people from both conferences. All are welcome to participate.
Musicians will gather for a joint rehearsal on Saturday at 2:00 PM to prepare for the 4:00 PM service. Music and liturgy will be provided beforehand for individual and group rehearsals.
Members and friends of our Lutheran congregations are invited to join in the festive worship celebration and the “Brats and Brew” German Fellowship that follows.
Thank-you all for your partnership in mission and ministry.
Pastor Bill Knott, Broward-Bahamas Conference
Pastor Larry Boudon, Miami-Dade Conference

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A Meditation for Justice Sunday

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, September 6, 2015:

Nehemiah 5:  1-13

Every year, when we have our Nehemiah action with BOLD Justice, I think about the book of Nehemiah, which is much less familiar to me than much of the Bible.  Our text today gives us a vision of justice restored.

Justice is different from charity.  Charity often fixes an immediate problem:  think of a food bank, for example, where a family gets several bags of food to tide them over.  Justice looks at the larger picture and ponders why we need food banks at all--where are the jobs that would allow people to earn enough to buy their own food?

Even if we aren't successful at creating change, God still calls on us to work for justice. 

Not to contribute to charity, although God mandates that too. But to work for justice.

In a book I cannot recommend highly enough, The Heart of Christianity, Marcus Borg explains the difference this way: "Charity means helping the victims. Justice asks, 'Why are there so many victims?' and then seeks to change the causes of victimization, that is, the way the system is structured. Justice is not about Caesar increasing his charitable giving or Pilate increasing his tithe. Justice is about social transformation. Taking the political vision of the Bible seriously means the practice of social transformation" (page 201).

He offers this comfort: "The world's need for systemic transformation is great, but it is important not to become passive or discouraged ('without heart') because the need is so great. None of us is called to be knowledgeable about all of it or capable of doing something about all of it " (page 204).

We are lucky to be part of a church that works for both justice and charity.  We are stronger in a group than we are alone.  Together we can help create a world where everyone has what they need.

We have been successful on many levels.  It's time to celebrate that success--and to continue the work.