There are many ways to serve and be a part of the St. Peter’s community. One of the most rewarding ways to share your gifts and talents with the congregation is by serving on the Church Council. The Council meets monthly and helps to both make sure that the work of the church is running smoothly and also helps to plan and set the vision for the congregation moving forward. John Lewis has served on the Church Council many times and brings both experience and expertise to the group. He is a very active member of St. Peter’s and we decided to ask John a few questions about why he serves, his thoughts on the future of St. Peter’s, and some other things…
1. You’ve got a long history of service on the church council right? How many times have you served on the Council?
I have served on Council intermittently for 3 terms, including this one that is, at present, a one-year replacement appointment for an existing member who resigned because of illness. I was blessed to serve as Council President for two terms.
2. How did you get back on the Church Council?
I was asked by the Council to serve this year to help balance the group that would have had five new members because of term limits and resignations. I was told that the Council was interested in balancing new folk with one more experienced member; the by-laws allow existing Council to appoint a replacement during a term.
3. Why did you agree to come back to serve again on Church Council?
As with many opportunities at St. Peter’s, I view this kind of action as a response to a call—in this instance a call to serve the Lord and the constituents of St. Peter’s as everyone needs to work together to accomplish our mission. As it worked out, life circumstances and Council’s needs made the choice to return very easy.
4. You do a number of things within the life of St. Peter’s – Adult Forum, you’re working on the Reformation 500 project, Adult Choir, just to name a few – why do it all and where do you find the time?
Service such as this is always an option. Most everyone is busy. But, when it comes to participating in activities, where there is opportunity and need, the time can be made available. It is often to easy to say, “I’m too busy;” however, upon closer view, that is not always the case. We are free to set our own priorities. Service of this type ranks, for me, at the top.
5. What is your favorite thing about serving on Church Council?
Historically, it has been said that “What ‘ere is best administered, is best.” Churches do not run themselves. Like businesses and other non-profit organizations, operational decisions great and small arise on a regular basis. When these decisions need to be made, a systematic and researched approach is most warranted. It is most gratifying to me to be involved in guiding those actions that chart both the short-and long-term life of St. Peter’s. Knowing that Council lies at the heart of the fabric of activity at the Church, the opportunity to have an influence on that fabric is enough to create a favorite.
6. What is your greatest hope for St. Peter’s in 2017?
This year will be a sentinel period for St. Peter’s, as Pastor Todd moves on to other pastures of adventure and service. It will be our task to discern who will be the next spiritual leader for all of us. We cannot afford to take this charge lightly, nor can we afford to act too quickly. This time, no matter how unsettling it may be, will allow us to learn more about who we are as a loving and worshipful congregation, and to chart the course toward enriching our heritage of service and worship. We need to pray for patience, understanding and spiritual guidance as we undertake this challenge.
7. Tell the truth, who’s sermons do you like better?
Jesus’ The Sermon on the Mount! (editors note: we have absolutely not retort to this answer – it wins.)
8. What’s one thing you want the people of St. Peter’s to know?
Unlike several other Lutheran Churches in the country, St. Peter’s is most blessed with human and physical resources that enrich our worship in many wondrous ways. But, these blessings do not come without a trade-off. Our 265-year legacy has naturally shown times of both strife and abundance, and the coming years will likely be no different. We, today, are fortunate enough to have the capability of maintaining and enriching the Church as we come to learn, to teach, and to practice the Words and deeds of the Lord. We can neither embrace complacency and inaction, nor can we abide doing “just enough to get by.” As a vibrant congregation, we have inherited a mandate to be the best we can in service to God and to one another. I would like the people of St. Peter’s to know that they are the church and, with God’s help, have a responsibility to make it the best it can be. We can, and we ask God to help us!
A huge thank you to John Lewis for taking the time to answer our questions (even if he diplomatically gave a fantastic answer to number #6 that we really can’t argue with at all) and for all the leadership, service, love, and care that he gives to all of St. Peter’s!