Advent 2013 - Times of Transition

King Solomon reminds us that for everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). As we embark on the season of Advent, the church focuses on its eager anticipation of our Lord’s coming at the end of time. Thus, we prepare to celebrate the great mystery of our Christian faith, that God is a man, Jesus Christ the Lord, born of the Virgin Mary. Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries exists to proclaim the Messiah whose manger foreshadowed His tomb and who received the gifts of the wise men foreshadowing His death and burial.

December marks a time of transition for PLM—Philadelphia’s loss is Peru’s gain. Sunday, November 24th was Rev Joshua Gale’s last service at Shepherd of the City Lutheran Church. He has been called to another field of service among the people of Peru. We wish him and his family Christ’s richest blessings as he embarks on this new call. We owe Pastor Gale a debt of gratitude for his work in our midst. We ask you to join the supporters of Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries in prayer for next pastor our Heavenly Father will sent to labor in the harvest of Philadelphia. Rev Art Boone, who has been assisting Rev Gale over the past several months, will serve as pastor of Shepherd of the City in the interim. Seasons of transition are often challenging, but it is good to take the opportunity to remember the mission statement of Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries: PLM exists to enliven the city through increased proclamation of liberty in Christ, expansion of the sacramental life of the church, and dedication to mercy that flows from the Gospel. We remain unwaveringly committed to this mission.

With all of its needs, the city of Philadelphia is most impoverished when it comes to the robust proclamation of the Christ who suffered and died for the sins of all humanity. Many things pass for church in the city, but people desperately need the preaching of repentance to see their sin and to receive the soothing gift of the forgiveness of sins flowing freely from Baptismal water and the chalice of our Lord in Holy Communion. From the proclamation of Christ’s forgiveness and restoration, Christ’s church grows—people see the tangible reality of the Gospel in their lives as we provide tender hands of mercy to those in physical need. I, as well as Rev Kieselowsky, other Philadelphia-area pastors, and the Board of Directors, remain strongly committed to these eternal truths, and we seek your partnership in the work of Christ’s ministry in one of the most populous cities in our country. Your year-end gift to our ministry will ensure a solid financial footing as we begin a new year under the grace of our Lord and as we seek to call a new pastor to tend Christ’s sheep in Philadelphia. Please help us to serve as beacons to our city of Philadelphia, as the Scripture says, “the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region of and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” The peace of Christ rest upon you during this season of joyous anticipation and celebration.

In Jesus Christ the Lord,

Rev Thomas Engler