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Our Redeemer's

Lutheran Church

April Showers bring May Flowers

April showers bring May flowers. That’s a saying that I’m sure we all have heard. This year we are praying for April showers. We have been in draught conditions for months. We need rain for crops, for gardens, for flowers, and to keep the water table at an appropriate level. We need water for life. We don’t always appreciate everyday items in our lives until they are missing. We may not always appreciate having enough water in our lives until we hit these draught conditions.

              We may not appreciate our health until something happens, and our health isn’t as good as it once was. Many of you know by now that my husband had a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini stroke a few weeks ago. As he was finishing up his shift at work, he suddenly could not control his right hand. Within 30 minutes the symptoms had gone away, but now we wait as the doctors try to figure out what caused it so that it won’t happen again. Every medical professional who has seen him is amazed that the result wasn’t worse. It’s not that we didn’t appreciate our health before, but this incident reminds us how fragile life and health can be.

              I’m part of an ELCA clergy Facebook group. There have been a good number of conversations on there over the past few years about small congregations that have closed. Sadly, COVID sped up the demise of many of them. Even though they have gone through a process of evaluation and decision making, it’s still said when the doors close for the final time and the building and contents must be sold. Sometimes we don’t appreciate our church and our congregational family until it’s too late.

              However, April showers bring May flowers. Spring brings with it the promise of new life, and the opportunity to begin again. Animals have babies. Birds hatch their eggs. Trees bud, blossom, and leaf out. Flowers pop out of the ground. We make plans for our own gardens and our flower beds. The daylight stays longer than during winter. Hopefully, the weather will warm up. We have just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

              For me, Spring is an exciting time. I look forward to seeing how that new life which is all around us will develop and change. Hopefully, I also take some time to appreciate the new life and to give thanks for it. Hopefully, we all take some time to appreciate God’s handiwork in our lives.

Pastor Beth



March is filled with Holidays

This March will be a month filled with holidays (and Holy Days) this year, and many of them have significance in the Christian faith.

Many people remember St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. It is a day when we all seem to want to be Irish, wear green, drink beer, and eat corned beef and cabbage. The story behind St. Patrick’s Day is that Patrick was a devout Christian who believed that God’s voice spoke to him in his dreams. He was born in Britain, but he moved to Ireland as a missionary of the Christian faith and is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. He is also associated with having driven snakes out of Ireland.

However, when St. Patrick’s Day approaches, my husband likes to remind me to also celebrate St. Urho’s Day on March 16. He knows this celebration from having lived among Finnish immigrants in the U.P. As legend has it, St. Urho is credited with driving grasshoppers out of Finland. In honor of St. Urho, people celebrate by wearing purple, drinking wine, and reciting the story. This is Finland’s version of St. Patrick and is believed to actually be a made-up holiday for the Finnish people as they prepare to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

My friend Pastor Cory also likes to remind me that March 17 is also St. Gertrude of Nivelles Day. Devoted to her faith, Gertrude started a female-only monastery in the 600s to tend to people in need. Because of the illnesses and plagues spread by rodent infestations, she was often called upon by townsfolk to ward off illness. To do so, she encouraged people to keep cats around and to treat them well so that they would help control the rodent population. Therefore, St. Gertrude is known as the patron saint of cats. (Cory is a huge fan of cats which is why she promotes this celebration.)

All of those are very fun days of celebration, but this March also brings us some very solemn Holy Days. Palm Sunday is the day when Jesus rode a colt into Jerusalem amid grand pomp and circumstance, but it was his entering Jerusalem for the final time. Maundy Thursday is the day when Jesus gathered with his followers in the upper room to celebrate the Passover feast; however, the night ended with Jesus arrested. Good Friday is the day when we remember Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. All of these are vital stories in the Christian faith, but they are not the most pleasant of stories. They are solemn, and they are real.

But, of course, in March this year we also will celebrate Easter, the highest Holy Day of the year. This is the day when we remember that Jesus overcame sin and death. Jesus rose from the grave and brought us new life. This is the day that anchors the Christian faith for all eternity. This is the day to rejoice for all the world to hear!

I hope you enjoy the month of March with its various holidays and celebrations!

Pastor Beth


Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s January, and I think most people are grateful for the chance to turn over a new leaf as well as a new calendar. I think most people use this time of the year as an opportunity to make some changes in their lives and to start doing things differently.

Change can be difficult. Just ask anyone who decides to lose weight in the New Year. In order to lose weight, we need to eat differently and exercise more and be more mindful of our eating habits. We need to not give into cravings as often or to stress eat or to allow ourselves to be tempted. That’s a lot of smaller changes that add up to one large change. And if we don’t keep up with the changes, we backslide and regain any weight we did manage to lose.

In the life of Our Redeemer’s, we have had some changes take place over the past few months that lead us to starting 2024 looking different than when we started 2023. In July, Christy told us that she planned to re-retire in October from working as our office secretary. We then hired Cheyenne whose life then changed to the point where she could not continue in the position. We then hired Erik who has now just started as our office secretary.

Things have changed with our music program. Cindy who played for worship services for years and years has stepped back from playing. That leaves Wayne to play on the second Sunday of the month and Maddy to play two other Sundays. That also means that we may be singing with prerecorded music or having guest musicians for other Sundays in the month. That will be a big change in the life of the congregation.

For me personally, my life has also changed recently, also. Because I am only ¾-time as your pastor, I have been working at Festival Foods in the deli part-time. Back in October I was offered and took a part-time position working the front desk at the downtown YMCA in Green Bay. After two months of training, I am now able to work alone. My regular schedule will be one evening a week and part of a Friday/Saturday rotation. I am trying to quit working at Festival, but my boss has begged me to continue on Sunday evenings because they need someone over age 18 to slice meat. I am currently trying to weigh my options and figure out finances. Sometimes changes take time.

With the changeover in the office, I did also recently change my regular days in the office. Instead of Tuesday and Wednesday, I have been working Tuesday and Thursday 9 – 2. That works out better with the office schedule and with scheduled evening meetings. I do also continue to drive up to the church on Mondays or Wednesdays as needed and am available by phone, text, or email.

Blessings to you and yours as we begin 2024 together!

Pastor Beth


Ordinary events becoming extraordinary events

Have you ever thought about how often an ordinary event in life can become an extraordinary event? Sometimes we are simply making our way through life, and what seems like a simple event or an everyday occurrence can suddenly become overwhelmingly wonderful. We don’t expect it, so it usually catches us off guard.

I think about this in the case of Mary and Joseph. They were betrothed. We don’t do betrothals much today. However, in Bible times, betrothal was step #1 in the 2-step process of becoming married. Typically, marriages were arranged by the parents of the couple. Once both sets of parents came to an agreement, there was a betrothal ceremony held so that the couple could pledge themselves to a future union. During the betrothal period, the couple was legally a couple, but they each remained living with their own family until the wedding day. Step #2, of course, was the marriage ceremony, after which the couple would live together as husband and wife.

Since Mary and Joseph were betrothed, they were not living together. However, they would have been spending time together and preparing themselves for their wedding day. They would have been dreaming together about what their lives would look like. They would have talked about where they would live, that Joseph would continue to be a carpenter in his father’s carpentry shop, and how many children they hoped to be blessed with. These were normal occurrences.

But when that angel appeared to Mary, everything changed. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now you will bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.” (Luke 1:30-31) This had the potential of destroying the relationship Mary and Joseph had. Because they were betrothed, Joseph had the right to divorce her and leave her on her own. In fact, when Mary told Joseph the news, he planned to do just that. However, God sent an angel to Joseph who said, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20)

Suddenly an ordinary everyday occurrence became extraordinary. Suddenly Mary was preparing to bear the long-awaited Messiah. Suddenly with very little warning she was expecting a baby. Suddenly they were being visited by angels. Suddenly both Mary and Joseph had their lives turned upside down. And it all became a grand and glorious occasion that absolutely changed the world forever.

When our circumstances change from ordinary to extraordinary, they don’t usually change the world in this way. However, they change our lives forever. I encourage you to pay attention to the circumstances in your lives that change from ordinary to extraordinary and to celebrate them. Such unexpected occurrences are a blessing!

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas!

Pastor Beth




I have been mindful as of late of some things that I am grateful for simply because those things have not been there when I needed them to be or when I expected them to be. People say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think absence also leads to gratitude.

I recently went to the Kohl’s store where I used to work to purchase some new washcloths. I was struck by the fact that they now have self checkouts. When I worked there two years ago, I know that already then they were having trouble getting enough people to work at the checkout registers. Since then they have even remodeled part of the store to eliminate one whole bank of registers, but now to find self checkouts really surprised me. I have been seeing self checkouts more and more in stores, but I don’t like them. There are too many things that can go wrong (as evidenced by having often seen an employee having to help people with their transaction anyway). Self checkouts are also an area where a great deal of retail theft takes place which hurts everyone in the long run. I miss having people check out my purchases.

We also had two worship services at church recently without music. For me, this is my worst nightmare. As a worship leader, I can do everything in a worship service except lead music. I’m not a musician, nor am I a singer, so I can’t help facilitate music in worship. As a worshiper, I love the music that is shared, even the wee ones who play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” for the very first time. Even the sour notes are music to my ears. I miss music when there is none.

We have also been without an office secretary at the church since the beginning of October when Christy re-retired. While we should have someone beginning in November, the office jobs in the meantime fell on me. Christy had put together the outlines of worship bulletins through the end of November, but there were still things to add and to change each week, plus copying and stapling them. Christy had also put together a framework for the November newsletter, but I still have to finish adding information before copying and distributing it. I miss having an office person when there is none.

As our thoughts turn to those of thanksgiving at this time of the year, my thoughts are at a place of missing things and being extra, extra grateful when those things are present. Have a joyful month of Thanksgiving!!

Pastor Beth



Lessons taught early on

I’m sure that each and every one of us was taught as a child that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. In the classic children’s movie “Bambi,” Thumper even repeats, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

There are other sayings that have a similar meaning:

I’m sure that each and every one of us was taught as a child that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. In the classic children’s movie “Bambi,” Thumper even repeats, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

•            Bite your tongue.

•            It’s better to bite your tongue than to eat your words.

•            Be careful with your words; they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.

•            Keep your lips sealed.

Unfortunately, we don’t always remember this lesson taught us from early on. Other times, we don’t realize what we are saying before it comes out of our mouths. Or it sounds better in our head than when it comes out. We say things we don’t mean. And too often, our words hurt other people.

I have heard several stories recently about how people have been wounded by words that other people said to them. I, too, have been wounded in the past by the words people have said to me. Sadly, “wounded” is the word that has been consistently used. That is truly what words can do. Words can wound us deeply whether they are said thoughtlessly, carelessly, or intentionally. Unfortunately, such wounds stay with us. We can sincerely forgive the one who spoke the words. We can move forward and continue to work with that person. But we carry the wounds with us, and sometimes those wounds can change our lives completely. Envision nailing a nail into a board. You can always remove the nail, but the hole remains. The wound remains.

So, back to that lesson we were taught as children. We really need to stop and to think about our words before we use them. We need to ask ourselves some questions before we speak. Is it necessary to speak? Is it better to keep our opinion to ourselves? How might these words harm? How can we clearly communicate what we mean so that our words do not bring about harm?

As it says in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”

Pastor Beth



September, a strange transitional month

I always find September to be a bit of a strange transitional month. It’s generally still warm, but we also sometimes get frost. Our garden produce is in its prime, but we also have to harvest it, especially if we get frost. The children go back to school, but there are still plenty of summer events like county fairs for the family to attend. There is still plenty of daylight, but the leaves begin to turn colors. It’s not really still Summer, and it’s not yet truly Autumn.

I actually really love September, even though it is a bit unusual. When I was a child, I was always excited for September because school was starting, and I loved starting school. It was exciting to find out who my teacher was and which friends were in my classroom. As I advanced each year in school, there were new challenges and opportunities. As we got older, we were given more privileges, and it was exciting to find out what those would be. But, of course, those days are far in the past for me. But, I still love September just for different reasons these days.

September is a month of anticipation. As the weather changes, what will it be? Rain? Cold? Warmth? When will the colors of the leaves on the trees change? How much harvest will we get from our gardens and fields? September is a time to pull all the rest of the garden plants and prepare for winter.

September is a month of beauty. The leaves on the trees do change color, but they are not alone. Certain flowers flourish in the September air and bring new beauty. Some crops in the field turn color as harvest time approaches. Some wild animals change color as their coats prepare for winter. Even frost itself brings about a lovely coat of white.

September is a month which marks time and passage. Football and volleyball seasons begin. Pumpkin spice everything surrounds us. We snug away our lawn furniture, our summer clothing, and anything else which needs to not be left out in winter. We tune up our snow blowers and furnaces and get out warmer clothing, jackets, and blankets. We need to be prepared for what is to come.

And September is a month for us to give thanks. There is so very much for us to be grateful for. Transitions in particular cause us to pause and reflect and give thanks. I pray that this September as our lives transition from one season to another we do also give thanks to God for all that we have been given and for all that we receive.

Pastor Beth



Small Churches

I read a lot of interesting articles, primarily because I belong to some very interesting online groups. On July 6, of this year, an article was published by Karl Vaters entitled, “8 Experiences Every First-Time Guest Should Have in a Small Church.” I found it to be especially interesting not just because I serve in a small congregation, but also because when we were on vacation in June, we attended a small congregation for the first time, so that experience is fresh in my mind.

In the article, he talked about the fact that with big churches, you pretty much know what you will find when you visit: age-appropriate children’s ministries, professional-quality bulletins and brochures, and high-end paid musicians. He compared it to eating in a national-chain restaurant. You know what to expect. However, small churches vary much more widely. It’s more like checking out the local diner in a small town: you don’t know what you will get, but you take the risk because you are hoping for something you can’t find anywhere else.

Here are the eight experiences according to Karl Vaters that every guest should be able to expect when visiting any healthy small church:

1. Genuine, intentional friendliness = Most people think their church is friendly because that’s where their friends are. However, friendliness is not automatic. We must be intentional about seeing people that we do not recognize, genuinely greeting them, and welcoming them into our midst.

2. Meeting the pastor = A simple greeting and handshake with newcomers before or after the worship service goes much further in welcoming visitors than preaching the best sermon ever. However, the pastor may not know who is visiting so it is helpful for church members to take the visitors to the pastor.

3. Sincere and passionate worship and prayer = A congregation does not have to have the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or a fantastic pipe organ, but worship can still be passionate and sincere. Real worship is about turning our hearts toward Jesus in praise and prayer.

4. A building that looks like it’s cared for = Again, the building does not need to look like a European cathedral, but it needs to be clean and kept up. That does mean budgeting for long-term maintenance. But the almost-free things like cutting the grass, tending the flowers, cleaning the restrooms, and painting the building show great care and concern.

5. Accurate, up-to-date ministry information = Whether it’s the Sunday bulletin, a website, or a Facebook page, the information must be accurate and up to date. It would be better to have nothing than to have inaccurate or out-of-date information.

6. Obvious signage = Once people have found us, they need to know where everything is (especially the sanctuary, coffee, bathrooms, and classrooms). Signage doesn’t need to be expensive, but people need to be able to find the basics.

7. A clear practical presentation of the Gospel = We should never be sloppy, boring, or inaccurate with our presentation of the Good News. Nothing else matters if the Bible is not honored, taught, preached, and lived in the simplest and clearest way possible.

8. Opportunities to serve inside and outside the church = Look at your bulletin and newsletter. Listen to announcements. People want to participate in the ministry of the congregation. If churches only offer internal opportunities, people will turn away.

Pastor Beth




Repairing the Broken

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken or chipped items such as pottery with a lacquer that is mixed with gold or silver. The pottery can then be used once again. There is no denying that it was broken. But there is a beauty in the repair. This way items that have special meaning can be brought back to life, and such broken items are not simply thrown away. The repairs also add to the item’s beauty.

It seems to me that this is what our God does for us when our sins are forgiven. Quite often we can feel devastated and broken because of things we have done or things that have been done to us. In those times, God’s loving arms reach down into our lives to comfort us and to forgive us of our sins. God does not love us any less. God does not see our brokenness as ugly. God looks at us with the loving eyes of a Father and only sees us as beautiful. Perhaps the fact that we turn to God in our brokenness makes us even more beautiful in God’s eyes.

I think we all would agree that living through difficult times can help us to grow in life. According to an article from UWHealth from April 2020, research has found that up to 70% to people experience positive psychological growth from difficult times, such as a deeper sense of self and purpose, a greater appreciation for life and loved ones, and an increased capacity for altruism, empathy, and desire to act for the greater good. The actual journey going through pain, agony, confusion, and grief is not fun, and it can take a long time. However, we learn lessons about life along the way, and we grow stronger because of that journey.

You know, the butterfly does not look back at the caterpillar in shame, just as we don’t need to look back on our past in shame. Our past is part of our own transformation in life. Those transformations allow us to change into someone different, someone better, someone more beautiful. Again, they are not easy, but they are a part of the journey.

Back in February when the members of the church council met on a Saturday for a council retreat, we talked very openly about where we as a congregation have been. We talked about old wounds and hurts, and we committed ourselves to moving beyond those things to turn over a new leaf. We are now halfway through the year. I trust that we are continuing to do those things as a whole congregation.

May we all pause, look back, and give thanks to God for bringing us through the challenges of life while we are trying to turn over new leaves.
Pastor Beth

Pastor’s message for May

A Mother’s hands reach out to bless her children
and reach up to praise the Lord.
They’re always loving, often praying, and
ever giving more than she keeps for herself.
A mother’s hands may tire
but they never expire in their efforts
to do good for those she loves.
A mother’s hands may age,
but her influence lasts forever.

I found this verse on the front of a greeting card on a Christian supply site. For many people, this speaks to how they view their mothers. Mothers do so very much for their children when their children are young and even when they are adults. They continue to do so very much when they become grandmothers, also. We can never be grateful enough for all of what our mothers do for us all of our lives.

My Mom died a little over a year ago. We are grateful that her health led her into a care facility at the end of 2019, so she was taken extremely good care of by the staff of that care facility during Covid. We suspect that it would have been a disaster if she had still been living alone in her own home when Covid hit. Instead, they took terrific care of her and doted on her at the facility. The staff there became like family to her.

As we know, we someone dies, there is that year of firsts – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and memories without them. My Mom’s birthday was in February, and when it came around this year missing her hit me much harder than I anticipated. So I decided that instead of leading worship on Mother’s Day this year, I am giving myself a break. I am taking Mother’s Day weekend off this year. I just need to take care of myself this year as all those memories of her come flooding back.

I hope that you are able to celebrate with your mothers and grandmothers this Mother’s Day. It is a wonderful day to honor those special women in our lives. They continue to be part of our lives forever. I wish you all many blessings on your celebrations.

Pastor Beth

About Us

We are a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). The church was founded in 1895 by Danish immigrants. All are welcomed to worship and commune with us. Music is an important part of our worship service. We are a very rural congregation and are celebrating our 125 year anniversary this year, 2021.


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11005 Country Rd M,
Suring, Wisconsin 54174

Pastor Beth Macha
Church Office Phone: 920-842-2039

Secretary - Christy Firgens
Office Hours: 7:30am - 12:30pm
every Tuesday & Wednesday
Phone: 920-842-2039

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