Dear Congregational Family,

1. Life Week 2021: Last Sunday was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, but this entire week is “Life Week” and Lutherans for Life is offered a brand new multi-generational opportunity: “Life Week 2021: Invisible to Indispensable.” You can join each day through Saturday, January 30. Each day will explore a distinct aspect of life ministry through local activities, online educational events, interviews, and resources. Simply go to the Lutherans for Life website.

2. Confirmation: I just want to give a “shout out” here to our confirmation students. They have been tackling some very deep theological lessons and I have been so impressed with their depth of questions and understanding! Pray for these remarkable young people, and praise God for them!

3. COVID & CHURCH: As noted a couple weeks ago, there has been a dramatic decline in Christians going to or engaging with their church on livestream, this past year due to COVID. But at the same time, COVID has caused others to seek out a church! There are many Christians who have become more involved in their church. Others came to realize that their church was rather spiritually dead and in this time of crisis, began seeking out a church that was spiritually alive and actively caring for its members. In summary, this is an important time to be inviting people to either come with you to our church or to connect with our worship services online. Let’s reach out!

4. The Church around the world in the face of COVID: Open Doors recently released their findings that nations around the world that typically discriminate against Christians have used COVID as a reason to increase their hostility. An example of this is in Nigeria in the state of Kaduna where Christian families are only given 1/6th of the amount of food that is given to Muslim families.

Even more alarming is what is taking place in China and India which have both significantly increased their persecution of Christians. COVID has given those governments “reason” to shut down Christian businesses and church gatherings. When it comes to people receiving COVID medical care and food supplies, Christians are pressured to renounce their faith in order to receive supplies. This is especially concerning as these two nations have developed the most sophisticated ID program in the world for tracking their citizens. This is increasingly being used against Christians with dire repercussions. When one considers that 40% of the entire world’s population lives in these two countries alone, one can easily see that the Church is entering a new season of state persecution. The Open Doors 2021 World Watch List sums it up well in stating, that the COVID-19 pandemic has “exposed the ugliness of Christian persecution in a new way.”

5. Baby Bottle Ministry: Normally we are involved in the Baby Bottle Ministry to help support the life ministry here in our community through the Women’s Resource Center (Curo…. It has had different names) which has been connected nationally with Human Coalition for the past several years. This year, because of Covid, the ministry is not utilizing the baby bottles to be filled with coins, etc., but rather they are encouraging people to simply give financial gifts toward the ministry.

For us at Ruthfred, to be part of this, simply put a check in the offering basket or mailed to Ruthfred (made out to Ruthfred, but with a designation for Human Coalition) and we will write a comprehensive check to Human Coalition from Ruthfred. The dates for these special offerings are: Sunday, January 24th – Sunday, February 14th.

6. Sermon: Title: “The Purpose of Life” Text: I Corinthians 8

God bless you as we continue,

“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God!”

Pastor Carlson