• There’s a better Way to W & E!

    Don’t let Chicken Little run your Witness & Evangelism initiative. Try the Back to Church Season of Invitation that I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs. Have you invited someone to worship lately? I have – I’m a Lutheran, ask me how!

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  • A Season of Invitation

    For those of you who were at Synod Assembly the Bible studies were led by Michael Harvey – Back to Church Sunday founder. I’m working with Michael & our Bishop Michael to bring Seminars of Invitation to each conference in 2013. You can order the basic Back to Church Sunday kit from AugsburgFortress as well as order Michael’s book to prepare your congregation to invite others. You can also e-mail me for more details on BTCS & A Season of Invitation.

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  • Invite someone to church/worship

    It’s said that 80% of 1st time church/worship attenders go because someone they know personally invited them. Have you invited someone to church/worship lately? I did. Okay, so after I did they (next door neighbors) moved across town. I’m sure the 2 aren’t related, are they? Enjoy the video.

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  • [both and] Reimagining church in a Lutheran Context

    and] Reimagining church in a Lutheran Context
    is a conference being hosted by Trinity Evangelical Lutheran
    Church, New Hamburg with
    the support of the Eastern Synod.

    When: Friday & Saturday June 15
    & 16, 2012

    Where: Trinity Church, New Hamburg

    Who: Event is opened to Lay
    Leaders, Pastors, Students, Seminarians, Young Adults and those who are
    interested in exploring different forms of church

    Guest Speaker: Dennis Hendricksen – Pastor,
    Mysterium Community, Church Lutheran, Regina, SK

    Cost: $25 per person
    [both and] will be helpful to rostered
    ministers and congregational leaders who are “seeking to renew and
    re-imagine the possibilities in their own context.”

    For more information
    please visit

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  • Godly Play Workshop May 12th

    Introductory Godly Play workshop.
    Godly Play is a whole different approach to children’s ministry and encounter with sacred story and liturgy.
    This workshop will take place on Sat. May 12 at the Church of the Ascension (Anglican) in Ottawa.
    Judy Steers will be leading the workshop. At her home parish of St David and St Patrick in Guelph, Ontario, she loves leading the 4-7 year old Godly Play group (and sometimes adult Godly Play too) in wondering together.
    When she is not involved with Godly Play, Judy works for the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada as Coordinator for Youth Initiatives and at Huron University College as the director of the Ask & Imagine youth theology program. In this capacity, she was a guest speaker at the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa synod in 2010.
    For more information and to register online visit:
    The cost is $30 per person and will include lunch. You can choose to pay by credit card, cheque or at the door.

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  • Free Seminar – Back to Church Season of Invitation – Thursday April 26th 7-9pm

    Free Seminar – Back to Church Season of Invitation – Thursday April 26th 7-9pm
    You’re invited! This is an open invitation to the congregations of the Eastern Synod.
    A number of our congregations have participated in the past 2 years in Back to Church Sunday. This year, a pilot program is expanding this Witness-Evangelism tool into a Back to Church Season of Invitation – September through February. If your congregation is interested & you have lay or clergy members available, I hope you will attend this training seminar with Michael Harvey, Back to Church Sunday Developer.
    The seminar is on Thursday April 26th, 7-9pm at Peace Lutheran Church, Pickering, ON
    The Seminar is Free.
    It is open to both laity & clergy.
    Registration is simple.
    You can e-mail or call Peace Lutheran Church:


    The R.S.V.P. date is Monday, April 16th.
    I will need to know the number of people from each congregation who will attend [laity & clergy].
    I hope to see you then.
    Pastor Mark Van House
    Witness-Evangelism Director

    Extra Resources:

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  • How would you describe your church?

    As the new director of W & E ministry I want to thank my predecessor Lori Pilatzke for her work. I’ll do my best to offer creative resources and ideas to further the W & E ministry in your congregation. Let’s begin by talking about our ELCIC (mainline Protestant) churches.
    Many of the churches in our synod would describe themselves as friendly. Some would go further and label themselves as welcoming. How many would take the next step and describe themselves as “inviting?” To be friendly is a good first step in echoing the ministry of hospitality found in the Old and New Testaments. To be welcoming is to take an additional step in the journey. One of my favorite moments in my current parish is when a visitor told me “I couldn’t join this church. People here are too friendly and welcoming. It’s too much.”
    To be inviting, that is another matter. It sounds like evangelism which is often uncomfortable for most Lutherans – despite the first name of our church body being Evangelical. In a 2011 W & E blog post 89 synod congregations ordered materials for/participated in Back to Church Sunday (BTCS) – up from 14 in 2010. I invite those who have already participated in this program to try it again this year along with every congregation that has never tried it. This year an emphasis is upon inviting those who aren’t a part of a worshipping community, and doing so through a Season of Invitation – rather than just 1 Sunday. A Season of Invitation fits in not only with Witness-Evangelism and in being In Mission “With” Others, but is part and parcel to sharing the Good News.
    In the weeks and months ahead I’ll keep you updated on the BTCS program, seminars and other materials. As today is Ash Wednesday, I pray that your worship service is inviting to all people of God.
    Micah 6:8
    Pastor Mark Van House

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