More About First Lutheran's Ministry Review

On May 16-18, First Lutheran underwent an extensive Comprehensive Ministry Review which was facilitated and overseen by a team from the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin under the leadership of Rev. Laurie Skow-Anderson, Assistant to the Bishop and Dir. of Evangelical Mission for the NW Synod of WI and Rev. Neil Harrison, Director for Renewing Ministry of the ELCA in our churchwide office in Chicago. In addition, the review team also consisted of three area pastors who gave their insights, listening ears and feedback as to where First Lutheran is at as a congregation called to be disciples of Jesus in Eau Claire and throughout the world.  Here are some of the commendations - or the good things that this review team would like First Lutheran to note about their findings.

 

Affirmations for First Lutheran in Eau Claire, WI

 

  1. The synod review team affirms the congregation's openness to the Comprehensive Ministry Review process. The group of lay leaders and staff that were assembled were engaged and eager to honestly explore all areas of First's ministry with an eye to the future of their congregation.
  2. FLC's Mission Statement: "A community of faith reaching out in the name of Jesus Christ" is well known by the lay leaders and appears to direct its current mission and ministry.
  3. The 150th Anniversary plan to build a health care facility (clinic), well, and feeding station in Malawi is affirmed as it both looks back to FLC's involvement in health care with the building of the Lutheran Hospital in Eau Claire in the early days of its existence.
  4. The synod review team would like to affirm the work of the church leadership in "right sizing" the budget and use of the Foundation as support to the congregation. Both seem to be moving in the right direction. The team would especially like to affirm the Foundation gift/loan to Luther Park and Living Water.
  5. Affirmations are given for your building use policy that allows so many different nonprofit groups to use the building without charge - the congregation sees its neighbors as ministry partners.
  6. In so many ways, this congregation is a community catalyst with social ministry and community conversations. First Lutheran is at the front when new ministry and initiatives begin in the greater Eau Claire area.  The synod review team wants to affirm this, as well as the way the congregation focuses on both local social ministry and global mission.
  7. The synod review team affirms the Facilities Taskforce recommendation: Quote: "The Task Force determined that for the long term success of the congregation, relocation appears to be the most positive and proactive choice." We know that this is a sensitive issue, but a reality that the congregation must face.
  8. We affirm the mentoring ministry for the year following confirmation - this ministry is notable as it helps the student's connection with the congregation.
  9. We affirm the strong lay involvement in the leadership of this congregation.
  10. We affirm the commitment of the congregation to involve youth in the governance in the congregation and growing young leaders, as well as the support of seminarians.
  11. We affirm the 41 year history of First Lutheran's preschool and affirm the closure of the preschool for fiscal responsibility and stewardship of resources.
  12. We affirm the worship model of the congregation, especially the addition of a Wednesday night worship service during the Connections schedule, which increases the potential for the whole congregation to join together.
  13. We affirm the gift of space used by the Synod Resource Center.
  14. We affirm Pastor Amy Odgren's leadership here at FLC.  She is a trusted leader who empowers the lay leadership and is especially gifted with a collaborative style of leadership that will help guide this congregation in the future. 

These affirmations all are things for us to ponder as we continue to be steeped in prayer, asking God to give us guidance in those critical identity questions:

            Who Are We?

            What Are We Here For?

            Who Is Our Neighbor?

The entire congregation is invited to continue the conversation with one another as we look forward to God's future for this vibrant and important ministry. Come Holy Spirit!