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A Note From Pastor Bruce

Beloved People of God,

It was another Zoom meeting. (Funny how something we’ve never heard about a year before has become forever embedded in our culture because of Covid-19.) But, for whatever reason, I was “zoomed out.” That is, my screen froze. After a few moments

of confusion and aggravation the message flashed on the screen: “You have lost your connection.” Perhaps you’ve had something similar happen with your computer or your phone connection was lost. Many of us may feel that way after the last year. Many have not been in our physical worship space for a year. Most of our fellowship and service events had to be put on hold. Birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, baby showers and more have all been affected, and we have all felt the losses.

God has created us with the need for connection with God and with others. You were created for community. That’s why I’m so happy to invite you to get connected! (Or re-connected!) Beginning Memorial Day weekend, all who have received their Covid-19

vaccines are welcome to remove your masks and sit where you like! The three Sunday morning worship services will be indoors this summer at 8 a.m., 9:30 and 11 a.m. We will also offer the Thursday evening outdoor services in the pavilion at 7 p.m. beginning June 3, 2021. We will have communion at all services. We do ask, if you have not been vaccinated, please continue to wear your mask for your own safety and the safety of others and to love your neighbor as yourself. This is a judgement free zone! Further, we will continue our Facebook Live offering at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. As you can see, there are many ways to connect!

I’m also excited about the opportunities to get connected with Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church. At our May 16 Special Congregational Meeting St. Stephen voted to move forward with the relationships with Kountze and begin the due diligence necessary to prepare to adopt Kountze into the St. Stephen Martyr family of faith. There is much work that will need to be done prior to voting on a full adoption by merger, but I believe this creates some wonderful ways for us to deepen our connections with our brothers and sisters in Christ and help people experience God’s love in new and exciting ways throughout Stark County,

particularly in Louisville, OH. I hope and pray you will help foster those connections.

To help strengthen our connections, in July, we will begin a sermon series entitled, “Connections,” which will address our fundamental human needs. We will explore St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to hear how God continues to be at work establishing and maintaining connections. The letter to the Ephesians was written to an entire community of believers. It is essentially about the community of believers we call the church. Chapter one outlines the beginning of the church. Chapter two addresses how the church is built and grown. Chapter three sets forth the function of the church. Chapter four raises the issue of

unity in the church and the values of the church. After a brief side note in chapter five about Christian households, chapter six brings us back to the church and the spiritual battles the church is called to face. The underlying assertion is that Christianity is Community! The work of Christianity is Community work. The challenge of Christianity is a community challenge. I invite you to join us, in community as eternal insights and practical applications are shared as we, the Christian Community, gather around the Word of God and the Sacraments.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Peace in Christ,

Pastor Bruce

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