Ministry in Context

My Guilty Pleasure

As I write this I prepare to say good-bye to whatever vestige of mature, cultured, intellectual status I might have previously claimed, revealing myself to be a total slob. As if you didn’t already know.

Three tides converged at about the time I retired from full-time parish ministry:

  1. My wife and I took ballroom dancing lessons.
  2. I had more free time in the evening.
  3. "Dancing With The Stars” became a TV hit.

What can I tell you? I confess to being a “Dancing With The Stars”

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Spring cluster meetings

After Easter, cluster meetings begin! Here's the schedule:

Washington Cluster: April 9-10, at Rainbow Lodge, North Bend, Wash. (Julie Josund)

Twin Cities First Year Concurrents: April 10, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Luther Seminary, Northwestern Hall Room 230. (Steve McKinley)

Northern Minnesota-North Dakota Cluster: April 16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Hope Lutheran Church, South Campus, Fargo, N.D. (Steve McKinley)

Twin Cities West Cluster: April 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Trinity Congregation/Augsburg College, Minneapolis,

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The grace of community

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, the Apostle is writing to a community for whom he has real affection. You’re familiar enough with Paul to realize that this love doesn’t preclude the occasional reprimand or extended harangue. Paul is not afraid to list what he calls the "works of the flesh."

It’s a pretty gnarly list—actions and attitudes, appetites and deeds that are destructive to community and to people—drunkenness and deceit, anger and anxiety. The chaos

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Intern income taxes

Pastors work in a complex financial situation. Their salary is frequently public and is approved as part of the church budget process. In addition, they have a unique standing before the IRS, both as common law employees and as self-employed for Social Security purposes. The complexities that result are often not well understood by pastors or their tax advisors, and there are specialists in the tax preparation industry who work solely with clergy.

But student interns are not yet clergy! It is important

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Don't be late for church!

Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 10.

If you are one of our perfectionist interns, you will set your alarm clock for 2 a.m. when you go to bed on Saturday night, then wake up and push the proper buttons to set the clock ahead one hour.

If you are a normal productive intern, you will set the clock ahead before you go to bed on Saturday night.

If you are one of those I-do-my-best-work-at-the-last-minute (meaning I-only-work-at-the-last-minute) types, you might still be working on Sunday’s

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On keeping it simple

One of my great friends and mentors when I was a young pastor was the Rev. Elward (yes, Elward) O. “Ozzie” Hollman, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Windsor, Conn. Ozzie respected the high church liturgical tradition of the Episcopal Church, but led the liturgy in a very down-to-earth way, which was Ozzie’s style in all things. He had a great gift for keeping things simple and cutting through to the core.

Ozzie was famous at Grace for one of his Easter sermons. He stood up in

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Our Turning World

My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.

Even as the sidewalks are still frozen here in St. Paul, and the ground is way too stiff and snowpiled to even think about planting and harvest, we are in a season of flux. This should come as no surprise to people in our line of work. We know the rhythms of liturgical years as well as program years. Like the slow rotation of the earth, even now

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Save the trees!

The CL office is running out of file space—and you can help. Once you've submitted your mid-year and final evaluations online, all we need from you are the signed signature pages that accompany them. There's no need for you to print and submit the entire evaluation form; we can access that portion online ourselves. So please think of our files (and consider the trees) when you go to print your evaluations—and just go for the signature pages.

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Here's an idea

At Bethany-Elim in Ivanhoe, MN, where Steve Rasmussen and Julie Anderson are the pastors and Kent Krumwiede is the intern, some wonderful veteran members of the congregation were "present" virtually for worship on the Sunday after Christmas. For a Lessons and Carols service on that day, elderly and shut-in members of the congregation were videotaped reading the lessons, and the videos were played at worship as part of the service.

When one of those members died a few weeks later, she had “just

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The undertaking

by Ingrid Arneson Rasmussen

“A good funeral gets the dead to where they are going, and the living to where they need to be.” –Thomas Lynch

During theology school, I took a preaching course on death and dying with Tom Long. Long assigned Thomas Lynch’s book entitled The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade. Lynch, a poet and a funeral director in Michigan, shares Long’s abiding interest in the way that the living treat the dead.

Unless your internship congregation

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