To think that our time at Luther Seminary began with Pastor Jake, a Lutheran pastor from northern Minnesota, and an accomplished pianist, who performed in this sanctuary some 9 ½ years ago. My wife, Becky, read an announcement about him in the newspaper, which said that he would even play the piano with mittens on. So we came to hear him one Sunday evening. And we got more than our money's worth in entertainment and inspiration. Okay, so they only took a free will offering. But in addition to an inspiring mix of music, meditation and humor, Pastor Jake did indeed play one song on the piano with a big furry bomber cap on his head, and with mittens on his hands. And he did pretty well. The harmony was a bit sparse, but one can understand how that might be a helpful skill on a very cold January morning in a northern Minnesota church when the sanctuary may never warm up until the service is over. At the conclusion of that concert, Becky said to me, “I can see us worshiping here.”
At the time, we were still meeting at the Roseville Activity Center, our church's second location after meeting in homes. We knew that the RAC would soon be no more. Townhomes now stand where we once worshiped. So after we brought some members of our worship committee here, such as Nancy Boer and Marilyn Miller, to check it out during morning chapel services in the summer semester, a wider circle of people began to say, as well, “I can see us worshiping here.”
And thanks be to God, some people at Luther Seminary agreed with us when we approached them about worshiping here. So our first worship service here was held on Sunday morning, September 12, 1999. The rest is history, nine years' worth.
Next week you can find us at the former sanctuary of Messiah Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, at the corner of Columbus Ave. S. and 25th Street S., near Abbot-Northwestern and Childrens' Hospitals.
But for one last time in the Chapel of the Cross, we celebrated and praised God for what was and what is yet to come. And we got a word of blessing and encouragement from Rev. John Mann, campus pastor for Luther Seminary. For the text of that Sunday's (Dec. 7, 2008) combination Advent/Leavetaking message, and reflections on what was and may come for Emmanuel Mennonite Church, download Download Advent2-08
Pastor Mathew Swora