Sunday, June 11th, 2017 was a gloriously hot and sunny day when parishioners of ten of the thirteen churches in the Grand River Ministry Area gathered at St. Luke’s in Kitchener for its first ever Ministry Area service and picnic. With their sun hats and lawn chairs, people began gathering at 10:00 a.m. for social and coffee time to the music of St. Stephen’s famous band “The Rock”. By 10:30 a.m. over 400 parishioners were sitting and waiting for the anticipated start of the service!
This vast crowd was welcomed by Rev. James Koellner, host pastor and Dean of the Grand River Ministry Area. The message of the day focused on Pentecost under the leadership of Rev. Jennifer Wirt, St. Paul’s Bridgeport, Rev. Richard Schwass, St. Stephen’s Kitchener, Rev. Stephen Weber, St. Paul’s Galt, Cambridge and Rev. Mark Ehlebracht, St. Peter’s Kitchener, and “The Rock” band, and became an interactive experience that included running, making wind sounds, re-creating fire with crepe paper, shouting out words in various languages and singing some very favourite Pentecost hymns. This was followed by a sharing of the Peace, Holy Communion, and prayer petitions accompanied with the singing of “Listen to your Children Praying.” At the end of the service there were many comments of it being “quite a spiritual occurrence” when sharing the experience with so many fellow local “Lutherans”!
A small but mighty Picnic Committee (Fay Albrecht, Dilys Miehm, Kim Schaner, Bev Roeder, Jan Hansen, Kathleen Robert, Krista Ogonowski and Shirley Mitchell (Chair)) envisioned inviting everyone just to come and enjoy the day with the food being provided in exchange for a free-will offering. A menu included hot dogs complete with fried onions, sauerkraut and condiments, potato salad, coleslaw, chips, carrots and pickles; for dessert everyone got to enjoy some wonderfully delicious, hot, freshly-made apple fritters by the Fritter Haus. Refreshments of coffee, lemonade, and water were provided for the social time and throughout the picnic. The left-over food was donated to the Community Ministry Supper initiative at St. Mark’s.
After the meal, children and adults alike enjoyed a variety of games and activities.
The many positive comments that were received have spurred plans being made for another service and picnic in 2018.
submitted by Rev James Koellner
Dean of Grand River Ministry Area