March 2020 Newsletter

The Lamplighter

The Newsletter of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church Conover NC

March                                                                                             2020


When I was in high school, I sensed something of a call to full time ministry. I was not raised Lutheran; in fact, I was not really raised “in the church”—my family of origin had sporadic attendance, at best. Long story shorter, after years of searching, I read some Martin Luther and attended a Lutheran Church during college and felt I’d found a denominational home. The path I trod, took me to seminary (Master of Arts in Religion), to teaching public school (middle school, mostly history and literature), back to the seminary (Master of Divinity). Once, while trying to discern the call to ordination, I asked my pastor what he did during the week. I had a clear picture of Sunday mornings, weekly sermon preparation, visiting the sick. But the rest of the time…what? He smiled at me. In fact, I asked at least two of my pastors this question and both smiled. They both started their answers somewhere along the lines of “You won’t get it all done; and, you won’t satisfy everyone.”


Accountability and transparency are important. So is trust. Below is a partial list of a “typical” week in my call as pastor at St. Luke’s Lutheran:


  • reading the upcoming week’s Bible text, making some preliminary notes for sermon and the bulletin;

  • typing and preparing the bulletin draft; (Sandi & I often select songs on Sundays after worship; I usually select a hymn of the day once I have a direction for the sermon. Sometimes I write a Call to Worship or other piece of the liturgy.)

  • Sermon work; a 2nd reading of the text may lead to researching ideas in the text; (maybe some Greek or Hebrew work to explore a word or phrase; or reading about some historical event that helps build understanding) read commentaries on the text; notes and ideas, then maybe a first draft flows;

  • more work on the sermon; (It might happen on the same day or might get broken up into chunks, depending on other events in the week. A second draft is usually when I read it aloud – to myself and work toward a “final” draft. Then later in the week, usually the day before preaching it, I reread and may rework a bit.)

  • finalize the bulletin with Jennifer for printing; (are there inserts? proof read announcement page)

  • prayers are written weekly; (I do use some of the petitions from pre-written resources; but prayers are crafted with the congregation and the current news in mind.)

  • research and write / plan children’s messages; time gathering supplies for those;

  • monthly there are meetings; (For example, council, congregational committees, NC Synod Catawba conference gatherings, Bible study with other clergy)

  • monthly newsletter articles are written;

  • regular and emergency visits and conversations; (for example, with the sick, home-bound)

  • attendance at community functions to represent congregation;

  • teaching catechism; Spiritual Direction, or Pastoral Counseling session or private confession times with someone, or just a short talk to check in; (how’s the foot? the eye? the job situation? etc.)

  • looking ahead to plan for “other-than-regular-Sunday” worship; (for example Lent evening services)

  • the daily “interruptions” of life or a death;

  • continuing education reading, writing, and work; and being attentive to my own spiritual direction;

  • praying – for the world, the church, congregation members and those walking with us – you!


Grace and peace,

Pastor Russell Makant





Each Sun. in Lent Lenten Worship (7 PM)

Mar. 8 *Daylight Savings Time begins (2 AM)

Mar. 11 *Seniors Luncheon (11:45 AM)

Mar. 17 Church Council meeting (6:30 PM)

Mar. 20 Newsletter info DEADLINE


*See Notes for More Information





Lenten Challenge

The Stewardship Committee is asking for you to help pay down on our mortgage. We’d like to see $4400 come in on Easter Sunday so we can make a full extra payment on the loan principal. The suggestion is to prayerfully figure out your personal goal for the 40 days of Lent (Ash Wednesday, February 26 to Holy Saturday, April 11, not counting the Sundays of Lent). Once you have a goal, live it for the 40 days of Lent. Then turn in your financial gift on Easter. Once our gifts are combined with others, we’ll pay extra on the loan. Please note that this is a special offering, not to replace your regular giving to the general fund, building fund, or mission support.


Lent & Holy Week Schedule

We are now in the season of Lent, a time of preparing ourselves for the great celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord. On each Sunday during the season, we will offer Holden Evening Prayers with readings and a brief devotion on Sundays at 7 PM. Holy Week begins on Sunday, April 5, opening with the Triumphal Entry and concluding with the Passion of Our Lord. Maundy Thursday service will be here at St. Luke’s at 7 PM. Good Friday service will be at St. Stephens ELCA, also at 7 PM. Be sure to watch the bulletin and next month’s newsletter for more information.


Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 8 at 2 AM. Be sure to set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed on the 7th.


Seniors Group News

The seniors will have their monthly luncheon Wednesday, March 11 at 11:45 AM in the Fellowship Center. All members 60 years of age and over are invited to attend.



Council Planning Session

The Council held a planning session for the year on February 22. Conversation led to identifying the most pressing need for each of our standing committees. Council contacts were tasked to meet with their respective committees to develop goals. They also identified our financial situation, especially with our mortgage debt, as a key concern. The council is committed to keeping the congregation informed on all our progress; in addition, they will also emphasize why we gather and the joy of God’s grace.




3/1 - Harry Reep                                         3/7 - Karla Grant

3/10 - Dot Hedrick                                      3/11 - Shirley Cline

3/11 - Eric Jones                                          3/11 - Aviva Schempp

3/ 20 - Danny Austin                                    3/29 - Karen Gurley





Serving This Month (March)

Ushers – Ralph Huffman, Tim Killian

Reader– Joyce Baker

Communion Assistant – Dot Hawn

Prayer Assistant – Lynn Baker

Greeter – Shirley Cline

Offering Counters – Barbara Hefner, Amy Sigmon

Flowers – 3/1-3/29 – Lent - NO FLOWERS






Bucket Money

The money taken up in the buckets during this quarter (January-March) will be for NETWorX




Remember in Your Prayers

Those among us who are:

Serving in the military

Are homebound or are in nursing facilities

Sick or chronically ill

Nearing death or have recently passed away


Dealing with drug or alcohol addiction and their families

Victims of violence or hate

Disaster victims

The Church Council and all groups in the congregation

Prayer Partners: The Children’s Advocacy Center, St. Stephens Volunteer Fire Department, Sipe’s Orchard Home, St. Francis of Assisi Service Dog Organization

We will pray for individuals in our weekly worship and our personal prayer life.