To all the followers of the risen Christ gathered into Trinity Lutheran Church: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
I am writing this to you just after returning to the office from the April meeting of the Fulton County Social Service Committee, a meeting which I attend each month. As I participate in these meetings, I am always encouraged that God is working through some truly amazing people in this community, and I am blessed to be in the company of such a great cloud of witnesses to the power of humble service.
During this particular meeting, however, I was struck by another realization, one beyond my normal appreciation of the community servants. I realized that our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a tremendous force for good in the Canton area. Of course, I know that Trinity has been rooted in this community since 1890...but that meeting was a wonderful visual reminder for me that the ministry of the ELCA in Canton is larger than just the labor of Trinity’s hands.
In that meeting, I saw God’s work in Canton through ELCA hands as our sister Andrea Barbknecht updated us on the community outreach of Spoon River College. I saw God’s work in Canton through ELCA hands as I sat next to two staff members from MOSAIC, an organization founded by the ELCA to provide group and host homes for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I did a sort of impromptu “house blessing” for them last month as they opened their third Canton group home). I saw God’s work in Canton through ELCA hands as a family services contractor for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) introduced herself to the group. And (at least hopefully!) I spoke of God’s work in Canton through ELCA hands as I invited people to ride with us in Pedal for a Purpose and updated them on a local 211 help line project I am getting involved in through Chamber of Commerce connections.
I want you to take heart, brothers and sisters in Christ, that God has called us to be part of all these wonderful things in this community. Through your participation in this congregation and faithful support of the ELCA through benevolence to our Central/Southern Illinois Synod, you are at that Social Service Committee table. You are part of community-building events, of the great quality of life at the MOSAIC group homes, and of the transformation of families through LSSI.
God’s work is all around us, and our hands are reaching farther than any of us might have imagined. Let this good news drive us forward as we Welcome, Nurture, and SERVE!
Pastor Micah Garnett has been our Pastor since July 2016. He grew up in York, PA and graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2011. He enjoys worship, working with social services in Fulton County, writing hymns, and cycling.