It is a time of tradition.
For many years, parishioners of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Cuming County Line, have set aside time for a Harvest Festival.
This year, Bishop Brian Maas, will provide the sermon for an event in which congregants in this rural congregation and guests celebrate the harvest.
Members of the Faith Ambassador Lutheran Parish join in the celebration and the public is invited.
The event starts at 4 p.m. Sept. 15 with an outdoor worship service, weather permitting. After the service, a picnic-style, hamburger and hot dog meal with side dishes will be served.
Games and a bonfire with s’mores will be part of the annual event as well.
Leading the service will be Vicar Bob Ball and the Rev. Dr. Inba Inbarasu of the Faith Ambassadors Parish.
Maas, the newly re-elected bishop of the Nebraska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will deliver the sermon.
“When the weather cooperates and we are able to hold an outdoor worship service, the service is unique,” said Loree Dahl, church member. “The quiet of the rural setting lends itself to a relaxing time.
“Because St. John’s situated on a hill, much area around the church may be viewed,” she added. “To focus on seed time and harvest, to think on the vastness of God’s creation, the beauty of it all, and the love that created it lends itself to a service of grateful praise.”
Holy Communion will be part of the service as well.
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“I love this,” said Donna Meyer, chairperson on the parish’s hospitality task force, “We form one huge circle for Holy Communion and/or blessing of other attendees and children. Everyone can participate, like one big family, whether they take communion or not.”
During the event, participants will be able to consider harvest as God’s provision and blessing. The significance of a seed and its growth will be used to correlate God’s relationship with each person.
An offering will be taken with the funds going to LifeHouse (formerly Care Corps Family Services and the Low Income Ministry of Dodge County).
About 1 ½ years ago, five area churches combined to create the Faith Ambassadors Parish when area residents realized they could do more by working together as a single parish with several worship centers.
Each center retains its own identity, Sunday worship services and other programs, but they work together on projects and ministries. The harvest festival is one of those collaborative events.
The worship centers are: St. John’s Lutheran Church Cuming County Line, St. John Ridgeley Lutheran Church and United Evangelical Lutheran Church, all of Scribner; St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Uehling and Redeemer Lutheran Church of Hooper.
Maas has served as bishop of the Nebraska Synod in Omaha since 2012. He was pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lincoln, from 2006 to 2012 and pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Mo., from 1997 to 2006.
The bishop earned a bachelor of arts degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln in 1986, states the ELCA website.
He earned a master of divinity from Yale University Divinity School in 1989 and a second master of divinity from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (now United Lutheran Seminary) in 1992.
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.