Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sally Narr--new Director of Children's Ministry at Chain of Lakes

It is my great pleasure to announce that Sally Narr is the new Director of Children’s Ministry at Chain of Lakes Church.   Sally was hired by the Chain of Lakes Steering Committee at our August meeting and started working here this week.  She will work twelve hours a week.
Sally has a proven record of building children’s ministries in main-line churches.  She most recently served at Director of children, youth and family ministries at Community United Methodist Church in Monticello.   While there she assisted the church in growing from 425 members to 514 members.   Before that she worked at Arlington Hills Presbyterian church, White Bear Presbyterian Church, and North Como Presbyterian Church.  She was also the executive Director of the Eastside Children’s Summer Program in St. Paul.  In each of these settings Sally left the church in a better place.
I have known Sally for almost 20 years.  When we talked this week we remembered that the two of us served as Adult Leaders at Youth Triennium in 1995 and 1998 and went on the Presbytery Mission Trip to Louisiana in 1996.  In meeting with her this week I was reminded that she and I look at the world and the church in a very similar way.  She will be a terrific colleague.
When she interviewed for the position, Sally shared that she had a deep desire to build and develop relationships with parents and their children.  Sally doesn’t have a program that she wants to implement at Chain of Lakes.  She wants to build relationships with families and children and then collaboratively discover where God is leading. 
In her cover letter for the job Sally shared that she loves reaching out to neighbors and welcoming children, youth and their families to the church.  These are qualities that we were searching for in a Children’s Ministry Director.
I want to encourage parents and children in the north Metro to seek Sally out.  I can hardly imagine a better mentor to help children and their families grow in faith.
I believe that God called Sally to this position.  I can hardly imagine a person who has the set of gifts that we are looking for in a Director of Children’s Ministry.  I can’t wait to see how the Spirit works in her ministry!
I want to close by sharing a very special thanks to the Education team for their work in hiring Sally.  I had the privilege of working with them through this hiring process.  The people on the Education team did seven phone interviews with candidates, they made decisions about who the team would invite for a face-to-face interviews, they did almost all of the reference checks, and they conducted the interviews of three final candidates.  The team and I spent about four hours doing the final three interviews.  Participants on the Education team are: Justin Leitch (chair), Kate O’Brien-Soltau, Lena Truong, Stacy Foreman, and Cathy Smith.  They did terrific work!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Property Celebration at Chain of Lakes

I want to invite the community to a celebration on Chain of Lakes property on Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30 p.m.  Directions are below.
We have quite a celebration planned for tomorrow night.  We will be celebrating under a tent.  Kristel Peters has organized a worship band, the choir from Presbyterian Church of the Way is singing, David Maghakian will share a greeting from Friends of Chain of Lakes (F.O.C.O.L), and I will be preaching.  We will enjoy ice cream cones at the end of the celebration.  Sherri Varsho will have activities planned for young children.
We are encouraging everyone to bring backpack supplies to the celebration for the children of Lino Lakes Elementary STEM school.  A list of supplies can be found at:
It’s not often that folks have the opportunity to participate in a celebration like this.  Come for a wonderful evening!
The property is located on Edison on the north edge of the Lakes Development. From the intersection of Main Street (125 Ave NE) and Harpers go south on Harpers, taking an immediate right on Marina Circle Drive and then turn right on Edison. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Music Camp at Chain of Lakes Church!

I want to invite the children of the community to join us for Music Camp starting this Monday, August 12 and going through Thursday, August 15.  Children entering into grades 1st through 5th grade are invited to participate.  Music Camp will be held at Northpoint Elementary, 2350 124th Court NE in Blaine, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Kristel Peters, Chain of Lakes Music Director, has done a terrific job of organizing this ministry, which is called “Musical Road Trip.”  Each day children will travel to another culture through songs, creating instruments, games, and other musical fun.  Kristel is super excited to share this ministry with the children of Chain of Lakes and the children of the community.
Music Camp is FREE!  To register to go and click on the link on the front page.
Music Camp is a wonderful opportunity for children of the community to have fun and grow in their musical skills!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Expecting the facts

As I was browsing the Internet yesterday I came across a blog placed on the Presbyterian hymnal Project called “In Christ Alone.”  Recently the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song decided not to include the hymn “In Christ Alone” in the new Presbyterian Hymnal.   According to the blog the committee “had hoped to include a previously published version of “In Christ Alone” that altered a line in the second stanza from “the wrath of God was satisfied” to “the love of God was magnified.”
A few months ago our new congregation had sung this song.  When I met with Kristel Peters, our Music Director, a few days later I shared that I was a bit uncomfortable with the lyric, “the wrath of God was satisfied.”  We had a healthy conversation about lyrics and the importance of having a broad range of views shared in the music we sing at Chain of Lakes.  We’ve sung the song since that conversation, and I anticipate that we will sing it again.
When I found out about the Hymnal Committee’s action I sent an E-mail to Kristel.  I was surprised to learn that she knew about the issue.  Some folks had expressed concern about the action and the theology of the Presbyterian church.
The controversy was generated by a blog written by Timothy George at: 
Adam Copeland, who is on the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Son wrote an excellent piece about the decision at:
I shared with Kristel that if I had been on the committee I would have voted to keep the song in the hymnal, but I can certainly understand the concern as it is the same one that I had shared in my meeting with her.
However what pains me is the desire to brush the Presbyterian Church (USA) as a group of people who don’t believe in the substitionary atonement of Jesus.  Because one song is not included in the hymnal?  Really?  When other songs that have that theology are shared in the Hymnal?  Really?  Presbyterians don’t believe in the Bible because one song was taken out of the Hymnal?  Really? 
Many Presbyterians believe in the substitionary atonement of Jesus.  This theology is expressed in the new song book.
But even if we didn’t, would that somehow prevent us from being followers of Jesus Christ?  As Presbyterians we confess that Jesus is Lord and Savior.  This powerful statement connects us with followers of Christ who travel in other denominations.  Jesus was very clear in John 17:21 that he desires that his followers be one.  Our oneness comes from our expression that he is our Lord and Savior, not from our view of atonement.
I realize it is easy to be critical of the PC(USA).  We’re going through difficult times.  Many conservative Presbyterians are leaving.  I am very sad about this.   

However if people are going to be critical, they should have their facts in order.
The foundation of this controversy is simply incorrect.  Though we may be a punching bag, I think it’s only fair to expect the truth from our critics.