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Staff Trax

Connecting at Christmas

I grew up in a military family, moving every 1 to 3 years, leaving friends behind for new adventures. I learned from my parents to take lots of pictures, keep addresses and phone numbers, and stay in touch by sending Christmas cards every year. When we lived away from our grandparents, which was almost always, my mom wrote long letters to them every weekend to keep them updated, as long-distance…


Driving to my youngest daughter’s house for our traditional family Thanksgiving dinner, I was thinking about the prayer I would deliver and how wonderful the day would be. At some point we would hold hands and sing, circled around the Christmas tree just like the citizens of Whoville. Expectations rarely, if ever, live up to the hype in my head. First of all, one of my son-in-laws was asked to…

Catching the Glimpses of God

Where is God? This past Sunday, Christ the King Sunday, I preached about seeing glimpses of God’s kingdom. There were all kinds of glimpses in our worship Sunday at both services! Did you catch them? Were you paying attention? At the font and at the table, in the pew and in the aisle (a child dancing in the second service), in the watching and the speaking, in the singing and the praying — glimpses…

The Next Seven Weeks

I needed a little inspiration for this Staff Trax, so I went to my Bible app. The Verse of the Day was from Galatians 1:10, “Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” I think I can work with this.

These next seven weeks are generally THE time of people pleasing. There…

Thank a Vet

If you love your country, thank a vet.
If you cherish freedom, thank a vet.
For the price they paid, for the sacrifice they made.
If you love your country, thank a vet.

— From “Thank a Vet” by Mike Wilson

I first heard this song when my daughter sang it with her choir in the Veterans Day program in elementary school. My husband and father-in-law,…

The Fun in Waiting

Isaiah, the prophet, said it well, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

As the new organist here at Salem, I have an interesting perspective. I have pastored in the Baptist denomination for many years, and I have learned that…

Crooked Grins and Gooey Faces

We carved pumpkins last night at our house. Watching my 5-year-old grab an orange toothy mini saw and jam it into a pumpkin — mere centimeters from her fleshy little fingers — is scarier than any ghoul …

My children’s laid-back uncle came over to pull off this task, because I get WAY too nervous and make it less fun for the whole group. Plus, I think he has the patience of Job.


Love, Understanding, and Support

This week we are asked to be aware of and support those with mental health disease. I’m pretty sure that there are many of you in our congregation that are affected personally by symptoms or have friends and family that are. Challenges are both physical and mental. Getting help for mental health challenges was a topic on CBS This Morning. I’m not going to get into the politics of insurance…

Persistence is Key

Don't give up the fight. Stay the course. Nothing worth doing is easy. There are so many motivational quotes about being persistent — I suppose it's human nature to want to give up instead of pushing through. Our scripture this week tells the parable of a widow who bothers a judge nonstop until he grants her justice. If your family, friends, or career involves advocating for a person or cause,…

From the Covenant Agreement for an Interim Ministry

From the Covenant Agreement for an Interim Ministry Between Salem Lutheran Church and Pastor Cynthia Schnaath

In Holy Baptism, we are called by the promises of God into a relationship of faith toward God and love toward one another. This relationship finds expression in our gathering as congregations of the Church to hear God's Word, eat and drink at the Lord's…

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