A Note from the Pastor

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Holy Week

   Holy Week is the big event for Christians. During this time we really focus in on what it took for God to win our forgiveness and bring us back to Himself. Jesus went to the Jerusalem temple daily to teach. On Thursday we mark the evening of the last supper by coming together to hear a sermon and receive the Lord's Supper as He instituted it that night. The altar is stripped to remind us that Jesus lost everything, His clothing, even all His disciples left him, and he was arrested and led away as a captive. On Friday we gather in darkness and silence to remember His suffering for six hours on the cross, to remember the seven times He spoke upon the cross, and to see the love He had for us. He gave everything for us because He loved us.

   On Sunday morning, Easter, we gather early after sunrise. The service begins at the door with the lighting of the paschal candle. As the flame is carried to the altar, we praise Jesus for being the light of the world, shining through the darness of death and giving us life. Later in the morning we receive the Lord's Supper in the midst of singing the great festival songs of His resurrection.

   I hope that you will join us for Holy Week and Easter services after the long loneliness of the pandemic. The light has come! It's time to sing and praise Jesus together as a congregation again.

Pastor Wright


The Immanuel LERT (Lutheran Early Response Team) deployed to a small disaster in Beecher City on Monday, July 20, 2020. Storms late Sunday night knocked down trees and disrupted power to several residents of the village. One mobile home was wrecked with a tree through the roof and two hospitalized. The American Red Cross provided shelter for the family. Our LERT team was activated by the Effingham County Emergency Management Agency. On such short notice only five of us could deploy. Ken Mercier, Gary Wolff, Maurice and Alta Lowry and I were able to help three residences by cutting trees and piling the debris by the street.  The mayor's office and the fire department provided rehabilitation with water and sandwiches. We were able to assist the two city employees and public works manager to get the community cleaned up. We were assisted by nearby residents and the family of one of the properties.

Immanuel received LERT training in 2013 and again in 2015. We have about 20 people trained for response. Our goal is to provide help through recovery effort and encouragement. It provides a great opportunity to give witness to our Lord Jesus through work, words, and just being there in time of need. People were certainly appreciative of Immanuel for coming.

We will try to schedule another training at Immanuel next year when the coronavirus epidemic is over. Surely there will be more disasters to respond to in our area.

Pastor Wright

Doing Good

How are you doing? Good? That expression has new meaning in 2020, with Coronavirus, economic depression, and unemployment rising. I pray you are all doing well. And if you aren't, then I pray God will help you in your time of need.

The church is doing well right now considering the situation during Phase 4 of the Illinois response to Coronavirus. We are back to having the three regular services on Sunday morning, however, they are not as well attended as before. That is understandable as some of you are compromised in your health and really need to stay away from group gatherings. That's okay. Don't feel you HAVE to come to church if you are worried, but do continue to worship with us at home using our online resources here or on cable tv. 

People are bringing their children back to church now and that's good. We are still following the guidelines of social distancing when we worship. We sanitize the church twice a weekend. Nothing is gathered or touhed by mutiple hands. Masks are encouraged and required if you are going to get close to people outside of your houshold. 

How are you doing? Good we hope. Good works, that it. While good works aren't considered for our salvation before God, they are the product of hearing and believing what God says. The word for today from Galatians 6 9 says, "Let us not grow eary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especailly to those who are of the household of faith."

We have rejoiced in seeing our members engage in good works during the crisis, in such acts as replacing the roof on a member family's home, delivering food to elder people, helping us with our video live streaming, and giving donations to the ministry of Immanuel. 

A good work that will reap a harvest is our vacation Bible school which will be offered on video stream starting July 19. Packets are available with crafts and materials. Simply register with Andy Wendling, our Director of Youth and Family. Learning the Bible stories as a child has the power to shape a persons life, literally forever.

God bless all of you in these difficult times. Especially those who must be distanced from your church and loved ones. 

Do good to everyone, everyone!

Pastor Wright

My Flesh and Heart

It is good to see businesses begin to open up again as the coronavirus diminishes. Restaurants are serving meals outside and hair stylists are clipping, curling, and setting hair again again. Crops have been planted. Much time and money has been lost. The future looks bright again, although many have died around the world from the virus.

Death will come to us all. Psalm 73:26 reads, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Our flesh, that is the body we live in, is wasting away. I have had a severe back sprain for two weeks now. Maybe you notice me limping in church. It is something I've had occasionally since my mid twenties. I know how to deal with it, but it is a nagging reminder that my body and everything else I love about the world is falling apart. One day my soul will be separated from my body. Not a pleasant thought, yet, all along God has told me  this is how it will be.

God also tells me that he is preparing a place for me in heaven. This is not because I am a pastor, preach His word to you, try to be nice, or give donations to charity. I have a place in heaven because God loves me, knows I am a sinner, and did something about it. He gave His Son to die for me and for the rest of the people in the world. Because of Jesus I know that one day my body will be raised without a back problem or any other hindrance. When Jesus returns he will raise the dead and change those still living so that they will have a glorified body. All of this comes when we trust him to save us. Faith in Jesus is the key to eternal bliss.

When we are troubled it is good to think about such things. Troubles will always be with us. Just pay a visit to a nursing home or a hospital for sick children. We can ignore death, but it comes to all of us one day. Suffering is with us now, but not forever. My heart is cheered when I think of how much God loves us, what he did for us on the cross, and where he is promising to take us after death. Heaven is my home.

Pastor Wright

Welcome Back

May 31, 2020

We are back to having larger services now at the church at the normal times. What a joy it is to see you again! God has been good and sustained our faith through the two months of small group only worship by the power of his holy Word. Now it is the season of Pentecost and we are thankful for the giving of the Holy Spirit who brings us to faith in Jesus and keeps us there. 

If you are not able to join us for church services yet, don't worry. Keep watching our live and recorded services. When the time is right you can join us again safely. I am offering small group worship with communion in the parish hall at 10:00 on Sundays for those who need it. 

We thank you for your prayers and support of the ministry of this church. Let us keep our church leaders in mind, pray for the leaders of our government, and ask God to bring peace between the demonstrators and law enforcement. May this pandemic be ended and people everywhere get back to work.

God's blessing through Jesus be with everyone.

Pastor Wright

Coronavirus Meltdown

 May 27, 2020  

   We're into this pandemic response eight weeks now in Illinois. No big church services. No school. No in-person Bible classes. Very few people stopping by the church office. No hosptial or nursing home visits. Work from home. I really miss seeing you all at church. You are my family.

   I know many of you are without work right now. Funds from the government have tried to soften the blow, but there's real hardship. We are very thankful that donations to the church have kept up. You continue to support us on the church and school staff, even if we can't meet together in large groups like we are accustomed to. The ministry of Jesus carries on.

   I'm learning as we go. At the beginning I said the church was closed. It's not. We are open, but we are trying to obey the authorities while we remain faithful to the Word of God. So we do have servcies on Sunday morning. They're short with no music, but we have the essentials: Scripture, confession and absolution, prayers, creed, and the Lord's Supper. For those who are healthy, I encourage you to come in small groups. For those who are compromised in your health, stay safe at home. For all of you, watch our service, complete with music and sermon, on Youtube or cable 81.

   We should take the time we have been given to pray. God knows what He's doing. He will sustain those who call out to him. Hebrews 1:3, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."  This means Jesus is in control and has purified us from all sin. The "sitting down" part means his work is finished. Nothing will be able to take us away from his authority over us and his love for us. Certainy not a virus. When we pray, we acknowledge this by asking for the things we need. Praying in Jesus name means praying with his word in our mind, so we ask for those things that will keep us close to him and bless our faith in him.

   So we pray for ourselves, for our whole congregation, for the goverment, for the students, medical workers...for everyone. When we have a worry or concern, turn it into a prayer. God will answer. Believing this means you have faith.

God be with you. Hope to see you soon in person.

Pastor Jim Wright